I’ve been hurt the most by the people I loved the most, I try to love everyone the same but that causes so much hurt. I choose everyday to replace that hurt with hope and that is only through Jesus. Because Jesus is my hope and the number one love of my life. Without Him, I would cease to exist. My mom has taught me love, just as your mother has taught you love. I begged my mom while she was alive, to stay alive after her seventh attempt at suicide. She is an alcoholic and alcohol is a tool of the evil one. It affects the entire body except the cochlea. When you drink you are physically pushing out the Holy Spirit. Just as when you smoke weed, the frontal lobe of the brain ceases to function. This is the part of the brain that makes decisions. I was delivered from Alcohol this past November and I was delivered from weed on Christmas Day. It took a lifetime for me to realize I love my life in Christ and any other life is literally death. My mom attempted to stab me and slashed the back of my coat seven times. She came after me with a rifle to shoot me and I restrained her. She was in and out of my life growing up. All this because she was under the influence of alcohol. She can run fast and she is running from her past. Her life was far harder than the life I have had. As a young girl she was raped by a family member. She ran and ran and ran till her little legs gave out beneath her. She cried oh she cried. She saw Jesus Himself that day. He appeared to her. His love for her will never cease. She won’t talk about it. It is beautiful her soul. I will never give up on her and I will give her her hearts desire which is her very own home. I will give that to her if I have to build it with my bare hands. She is still a alcoholic and homeless in my village. I pray and talk to her every day. It was God Himself who told her in a dream that the only way her children will be safe is to dedicate them to God. When her children suffer her heart suffers, that is what she means when she says she wishes she never gave birth to us. It hurts her heart to see us grow up in poverty, but we are humble hearts willing to serve others because we know hard work. That was our lot in life, but we are far blessed beyond measure for we have the heart of our mother who’s heart was touched by Jesus Himself. The one unforgivable sin and there is only one is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. So I do not doubt in the works of our Father for that is unforgivable. I forgive my mom so easily because she is my heart just as Jesus is. Her ways are sinful because she may know Jesus but hasn’t fully accepted Him into her heart. The ways of the world destroy the heart of the innocent and those are the deeds of the evil one who doesn’t deserve any recognition for I do not fear anything other than God Himself. Every single day I subconsciously put on the armor of God, I was always willing to go to battle I just never felt the need to till now. My weapon is love and it is understanding of love that is powerful through Christ. I am the weakest soul but I draw my strength only from Jesus and through Him all things are possible. God is willing to lend his ear to all but He listens to those who don’t ever stop loving Him through trials and tribulations. In order to love Him fully you need to understand love. So when I say love and be beloved, it’s as simple as that.
The statistics aren’t favorable when we look at sheer numbers. 9 out of 10 people in this world do not know Jesus. All the more opportunity to continue that what others before us were so passionate about and that is being an example of love, extending that love to everyone and allowing those people to choose for themselves to make Jesus a part of their heart. It is all out of love and not fear where He truly shines. I met a young man from down south from the Georgia straight area of America back when I was a host for my ex husbands company. I would put together BBQs and we would invite his friends over. We were out back on the small deck grilling and Jesus became a part of the conversation. One of the young men was an atheist, the gentleman from down south was a Christian and I was an Eskimo with a different view of God and Jesus. I simply told them that the way I see it is so very simple. God sent Jesus to be a gift (sacrifice) to all man kind and we are forgiven of past, present and future sins. Our main goal is to be love. When Jesus is welcomed into the heart of a man, it’s Jesus who gets a perspective of this world through your heart because He became a part of it. The southern drawl on this lad was super cool to me. He looked at me and smiled and exclaimed “not once have I ever had a conversation about Jesus that didn’t end in a fist fight until now.” I was taken back not understanding what he meant. Apparently religion, which is not the same as being saved, is preached down south. To the point where people are fighting to be correct about Jesus who is nothing but love. It didn’t make sense to me. The rest of the BBQ went great. Bellies were made full right along with the heart and who can be happier than to feel a good love in both the body and the soul. I love to meet new people because when I hear stories from others it only broadens my horizons so that we can make way for a new Verizon. The world is being consumed by darkness but it is going to stop. When the light that we have in our hearts shines in unison it is brighter than the morning star. Only because it is the morning star emplified. Hope is not lost, it never will be. Love and be beloved.
Last month, after I went to Soldotna to see my sister, I was praying on my way home for God to open doors. I wasn’t specific I meant doors of opportunity. Anyway, I was tasked to go pray at the Alaska Native Medical Center. I walked through the halls of the hospital on a Sunday and there was a mini church service in a meeting room by the Quyana Care wing, lovely singing. I paused for a moment to listen and my heart was happy. I brought with me my Bible, my sewing tin and a stuffed ducky from my sister that was meant for Duke, but she also gave him a lion and he would be happy with that. Duke was at the cabin with his dad. I knew I had to go up to the second floor “meditation” room I called it the prayer room. I walked up and tried to open the door. My heart sank, it was locked. I was infuriated because who would lock his special place? Where mother’s pleaded to God for their children, father’s prayed for their mother’s and where I begged God to save my brother Axel the first time he tried to commit suicide. His brain stem was decaying after he hung himself in Unalakleet. My cousin Ginger brought us the news, when she did I asked her “Doesn’t God make miracles happen?” And she looked me in the eyes and told me yes and I believed her. I went to this same prayer room that was now locked and pleaded to God for my brothers life. He pulled through miraculously. He commited suicide three months later. My world shattered and Jesus is still piecing it together. So you see, even to me, this prayer room meant a lot to me. So I walked up to the desk on the second floor, I asked the lady nicely to have security come and open the door to the meditation room. Then, THEN I asked her in a stern voice of authority “who locked this room and why?” She didn’t have the answers to my questions, but she said she would ask her supervisor. I went back to the common area where there was a display case with hand made grass baskets. I love to look at all the intricate handiwork at the Native Hospital. I am in awe every time and the two that I was drawn to were made by women from Hooper Bay. I have been there before and will return one day. The security guard came and I heard him talking with the lady at the desk. He opened the door and I politely thanked him. I told him that this door shouldn’t be locked, because most people won’t bother to ask for it to be opened. I went in and read my Bible and sang songs on my heart. Then I prayed to God at the alter and Thanked Him and loved Him. I let go of the hurt and the pain from my brothers death. And I sang for Him to create in me a clean heart and I pray that every day. Doors were opened.
I took my grocery bag of my sewing tin and the stuffed ducky and held my Bible close to my chest and proceeded to the main lobby of the hospital on the first floor. This lobby is circle with seating in the area in the shape of a circle where our people can drum and dance our native way. I had to go sit and listen. There was a elder couple sitting on one bench and that is where I sat. I started sewing my sealskin mitten ornament. Wow how I enjoyed each song and dance. There were two boys to the left of me, one playing on the floor by himself and a younger son with his dad who was drumming sitting on one of the inner benches. The women dancing made me smile, they were beautiful and dancing their heart out. My foot tapped along with the drum and I’m sure my head was bobbing while I was sewing. This group was from Kotlik area and they made my heart overflow with joy. I have relatives all over Alaska and no matter how distant, I will love them just the same. A man tapped me on my shoulder and asked what I was working on. He asked where I was from and I told him Unalakleet. He knew one of my Aunts who passed away from cancer. He had lost his wife six years prior. I listened to his story of hurt and he said “sometimes around the holidays it’s hard because we miss those who are gone, sometimes it’s hard to let go” and I told him “no, it is easy. You just have to remember that they are in a better place and they no longer live in pain and suffering.” He smiled at me and I smiled back. He wanted to say goodbye to my aunt but her daughter didn’t allow it. He loved her and just wanted to say goodbye. I told him to stay strong.
After we were done talking I had to go sit by the boy playing by himself on the floor. I asked him what he was doing. He had an awesome set of magnetic toys in the shape of squares and triangles. I was so fascinated and he wanted to show me something cool. He laid out a pattern and slowly and ever so gently the magnets linked together to form a sphere. I was in awe and thought it was an awesome toy. I loved magnets as a kid, but we didn’t have anything this cool. The younger boy by his dad was watching us. He didn’t have a toy and I asked him what his name was. Quinton. I was heading back to the cabin soon I told them both. The older boy looked sad I was going but I told him not to be sad and that it would soon be Christmas and he smiled. I explained that I had a son waiting for me at home. I gathered my sewing tin and Bible and gave the yellow stuffed Ducky to Quinton and wished them both an early Merry Christmas. My heart was overfilled with joy. Simple acts of kindness, making our future leaders smile.
Be a magnet by following your heart. It is made beautiful fully when you accept Jesus into your heart. Without Him in your heart there is pain and suffering, or if you have Him in your heart and are running in shame turn around and embrace Him. There is no need to run in shame, He washes the shame away. Your story has a purpose. You can change the world. Jesus wants YOU! Love and be beloved.
By Gertie Ann
Ever since I was a little girl one of my favorite people to simply observe was Anna LaMug. She frequented our humble home when she traveled to Unalakleet. It was my one goal to make her smile while she visited, I won almost every time. Her stature and the way she carried herself is how I hold myself when I need to, only when I need to. I saw her beauty beyond her red stained lips and make-up. I knew she was making her rounds, meaning that I felt she was a prayer warrior. You could feel it, literally feel it. The best warriors make their rounds without telling a soul. But some of us just know. And she made my heart happy because she always looked ageless to me and her seriousness was what I strived for at times, only when I need to. Her smell was pleasant and sometimes I’d get a hug from her. When we observe people in their actions, you have the ability to learn from their actions. I call it learning through other’s actions. Taking advice to heart only to strive to be the very best person you were created to be. When I went to church for the first time after my brother Axel died, I did not want to go. I had just gotten over being sick for seven days where I only had strength to get out of bed only to tend to Duke’s needs. The Sunday before Christmas I got ready to go to the Mat-Su Covenant Church. In my mind I told myself to pretend to be Anna LaMug so I made myself presentable. The thinking behind that is that people are more willing to accept a message when it is made presentable. So i made myself presentable.
It was going to be Duke’s first time going to Church and after my brother died I refused to ever go again until that day. Our frankenvehicle did not have heat so we bundled up, the white car had engine problems so we were left with no choice but to dress warm. I took one look in the car and saw no car seat, I completely forgot it was left in my brother’s vehicle, he had invited us to Thanksgiving and that was the one time we saw people for three months, we were ever so thankful. So no car seat, yay we don’t need to go after all. Then the idea that my neighbor had a carseat was set in my mind. I sent her a text and she had a carseat but they weren’t home. No go. So maybe we didn’t have to go to Church after all. Then I remembered there was a booster seat we had for when Duke was old enough. I found it and the seat was covered in frost, I took the frost off and it fit him just right. It would work for the purpose of going to church, so we took off. It’s a forty minute drive from where we live.
On the way a thought that maybe we would be too late crossed my mind, so my next thought was just don’t look at the time. I didn’t look at the time. We kept going and maybe we were almost half way there and I felt like turning around and just going back to the cabin. Then a song that I never heard before came on. Be brave, say what you want to say do what you want to do and this lady singing this song gave me the gumption to keep going. I was on a mission. I brought my notebook that had a part of my testimony written in it. I was like, ok I will bring it but don’t expect me to share. First, no one invited me to church I just had to go (Holy Spirit) Second, usually when people speak in Church it’s preorchestrated. We made it to Church. I took Duke to the Children’s play room and to my great surprise my cousin Ruth was watching the children. She invited me to stay in the play room with her and as much as I love children and adore them I had to say no. I had to go sit and listen and worship.
Duke had no problem letting me leave he had his two cousins to play with. No matter how much I try to be a kid with him he needs the social interactions of actual children. I was looking for a place to sit and my cousins husband was leading worship and he was seated up at the front. Oh gosh, really? I have to go sit up at the front? Any chance I get I will try to go unnoticed. I was wearing my Parka from my Aunt Harilynn and she recieved the Parka from her Aunt Agnes, I only had to do the fur work on it. I felt a little peacockish but not on purpose. No way was I going to walk down the middle isle so I walked up the left isle of the pews ALL the way up to the front. I felt the tugging of the Holy Spirit and went with His flow. I gave my cousin a hug and he was surprised to see me. His last name is Johnson and that is my maiden name, he married my first cousin so I call him my cousin, she got to keep our last name Johnson.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to share but worship was coming up soon so I asked my cousin if I could share something to the congregation. I said look, this is what I want to share and he skimmed my testimony and said to keep it around two minutes. I smiled and agreed. He called me up and I did not want to go up. It’s not like I wasn’t already praying for strength and for God to use me. I got up there and the congregation was among my favorite people, elders. I love elders because my mom taught me to. Anything my mom has ever taught me in love stayed in my heart, same with all the lessons of love people showed me simply by loving me.
I shared my testimony. Tears, heartache, then smiles and hope. Always a message of hope. It was good to go to church again. I met people who knew my dad and saw the Egli’s who used to live in Unalakleet. I gave them a hug becuase I love to give hugs to people I know and love. When so many people show you kindness, how do you not live to do the same thing. My heart was happy and I hope the one person who needed to hear hope heard it.
God is good to me, even when I have nothing I feel as though I have everything because He loves me. I will never give up on my family, on generational healing and on spreading Love and that is allowing Jesus to continue to be the Lord of My Life, this time all the hurt and pain that caused me to run and hide is no longer there. I was never afraid, only ashamed and Jesus is not ashamed of me, He carried me through the darkest of hours and I spent a lot of time in dark places because I was following my own self desires and the further I strayed the harder life was. But, I wouldn’t trade any of it because I met amazing people through simply being someone experiencing the world through my own perspective. Always choosing good over evil when that is made clear.
If you feel ashamed of your life, give your life to Jesus and walk a life free of shame. I only want to be a sheep if Jesus is the Shepherd, and He is a good Shepherd. Amen.
Be careful what you sow, and you better be able to reap it. Love evolves love. This is in part a book of hurt, but with hurt and pain comes healing and forgiveness; and that is a beautiful thing.
It started with a dream my mom had. She was told in her dream to dedicate her five children to God. She had us dedicated to the Unalakleet Covenant Church and sent us to Sunday School each weekend. I didn’t mind because of all the crafts we could do. This was when the basement of the church had sliding panels to make different classes. I liked looking out the basement windows because it was so cool to me to be able to see the view of outside from so low. I enjoyed it.
My middle school years were like my rebellion years. Very mischief group of girls I rolled with, but the way I see it, is I got to be a part of something. In the summer there was always a way for us to go to the Unalakleet Covenant Bible Camp, our week away from camping to go camping. I loved the trails of camp, they were well worn and I could run fast through the woods.
I drank for the first time after my eighth grade year. I was the reason we got caught because I tried to do the dishes and the water overflowed and made a mess into the cupboards and onto the floor of the old house. Now, my mom knew how to punish us and it worked. My older sister and I spent that entire summer indoors. Our cousin from Utah came up that summer and we weren’t allowed to go play out because of our actions.
I strived to do my best in High School because I knew my grades in middle school wouldn’t affect my high school grade point average. I knew that if I wanted a higher education I had to work for my scholarships. My freshman year I whole-heartedly accepted Jesus into my heart. I got a taste of Him through Sunday school and Bible Camp and I knew I loved Him. I was willing to give up the ways of the world to me and that was my basketball card collection and CDs from Colombia House and BMG. I bagged up my belongings and took them to the dumpster.
The best part of being a young Christian is the excitement I found in having Jesus in my heart, that led to a lot of opportunities. I went to a youth convention that year in Anchorage with my aunt Jean and our youth group. I remember it like it was yesterday because all my memories are like that. We went to worship at Abbott Church and I was taken back at all the young people gathering together to worship. It was powerful. We were blessed to be in God’s house singing to Him in adoration. I love to adore my God by simply enjoying nature.
There was another trip we went on that year to Shaktoolik. It was a Spirit filled trip. I was baptized in the shallow Shaktoolik river by Pastor Dotomain. Him and his wife were blessings in more ways than we will ever know. After those called to be baptized were, we went to worship at the Assembly of God Church. It was the one and only time I spoke in tongues. Sounds I’ve never heard or knew I was capable of making flowed from my mouth without control. I was frightened, a good fear. In middle school I paid very close attention to the unforgivable sin, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I knew not to question God in His works and wonders.
My Freshman and Sophomore year I maintained my 4.0 GPA. I did a stint of confirmation but got too busy to finish. I enjoyed a lot of one time programs through the Covenant Church in the summer. Including the Upriver Uplook Canoe Trip and Christ’s Own REvolution (CORE) trip. I was totally in love with Jesus and on fire for God.
My idea of being perfect was my own undoing. Later I would realize that Jesus doesn’t ask us to be perfect. He simply asks us to do our best in loving Him and in turn loving others. My junior year of High School I received my first B. I begged my Physics teacher for extra work, anything that would help me get an A. I was denied that opportunity and I walked home crying. I felt as if I wouldn’t get my scholarships for a higher education. No one understood me. It was silly to let a B change my way of thinking in a way of I no longer cared. I kept at it getting all As besides the Bs I would receive in that class.
One summer in High School I was able to be a part of a Missionary Trip that took place in the rural villages of Alaska. Hooper Bay, Scammon Bay, Mountain Village, Shaktoolik and Unalakleet. I met a single mother in Mountain Village with the last name Bean. I met her through her children who I love and they brought me to their home. A trailer mobile home, that was still to me, better housing than what I grew up in. I liked looking at the knick knacks the mom had saved that her children made. There was a struggle I saw in her that felt familiar. I prayed with her and her children and left their home with a sense of love and it made my heart happy. I liked talking to people who other’s overlooked. A simple smile or compliment. A simple act that can change one’s outlook on life.
In Scammon Bay I was in awe of the hill of rocks that seemed so close to the village, I wanted to climb to the top and jump from rock to rock. We played basketball with the youth and shared our love for Jesus. I stayed at the Mute’s home in Anna’s room and ate Musk Ox for the first time and only time in my life. It was a rich dark meat that reminded me of meat we eat at home, only more powerful. More filling. I love Yupik’s just like I love all our indigenous nations. That love extends to all nations of the earth. That is what Jesus told us to do, accept and love all.
I’ve stumbled time and time again in my life. I like to say I’m the best example of what not to do. There was one constant in my life I’ve had since the ninth grade and that is the love I have for God. Who sent His son Jesus to die for us all. I call it the love blood of Jesus. The most powerful thing in existence. A mother’s love will change the world.
I was told I’m a good writer but I just like to get what is off my chest and my mind just to try to make sense of things. I wrote letters to God my whole life, writing a prayer, reading it twice, something to look back on and willingly receiving His grace time and time again. The things I did not understand took time to make known the Truth. Jesus is the truth, the way and the life.
I ran, I ran in shame not wanting to give my burdens to God. He had enough on His plate and I felt unworthy because that is what we all are.. Unworthy. But given life by the Grace of God that is Jesus.
In Shaktoolik I talked with a gentleman who witnessed the suicide of his best friend. A testimony all in itself of how the evil ones seeks to destroy our people. By stealing hope, by lies told by non believers, tricks of the ugly one who doesn’t deserve any recognition but was overcame by the blood of Jesus. We are all set free, we all have free will. Jesus is Hope and Love and it is the best life, no matter what walk of life you come from, choosing Him is the best thing I’ve done for myself. The only thing that will save you from the depths of despair. A choice that has everlasting effects. It is never too late to repent and accept Jesus when you are alive, but without this, when you die YOU will go to Hell. There is no question about that because He clearly states that. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Dear God, Thank you for sending your son Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice, the perfect example of love, my everything. I am nothing without Him. I am capable of anything through Him. Three waves of love will wash over the earth giving three chances for you to accept the Truth. There is only salvation through Jesus, the perfect gift to mankind. Cultures around the world know Him without knowing His name. We now know that name and that is Jesus. Holy Spirit I invite you, use me I come before the Trinity Humbled and Willing. Amen!
People of all nations are given a chance to be God’s chosen people. The ways of the world leads nations to tumble and fall. Our heritage and values beat in the hearts of the indigenous people who will never give up our way of life. The men provide sustenance through hunting and the women raise her children in endless love and teaching of how to survive when food can not be caught. We turn to Jesus to heal that what was stolen. An identity in the handprint of God. Appreciating the land and the creatures who dwell upon it. Helping our elders and our children who cannot fend for themselves. A proud people who’s pride is not one of viscous cycles who seek to destroy the earth. We are the healers of the world because our ancestors taught us how to protect our land and values. Those are built on foundations of love. My soul awakens when the stick hits the drums and my heart pours out love when I see our young ones dance to the beats of our native tongue. I cannot grasp the beauty of our creator but I see what I see and I’m filled with wonderment. The heartbeat of my ancestors lives on through me. I could walk into the woods alone and flourish only because I was taught to do so by my mother. My respect for the land and our elders is never ending because it is every breath I take in humble gratitude for the struggles of those who went on before us. Without a shadow of a doubt our people know the one true God, who’s son is Jesus and the Trinity through the Holy Spirit. I am who I am because of my lineage and the scars of the past are ripped opened as to heal to cause the winds of change for our future generations. My people, our people, God’s people this is our destiny to stand in unison in love because that is who we are. Rise. Awake. The soul being inside of us is all consuming love when we accept Jesus into our hearts. A love that knows no bounds, accepts all creeds and nations and upholds our beliefs and respect for all.