Covenant, Samaritan’s Purse Partner to Build AK Church

Post a Comment » Written on December 4th, 2009     
Filed under: News
MARSHALL, AK (December 4, 2009) – For more than three years, longtime Covenanter George Landlord would travel several hours by snow machine to lead worship services in this tiny village just south of the Arctic Circle. The services were held in people’s homes, but attendance has grown to as many as 35 people – far more than can be accommodated in a residence.

The people of Marshall will be able to meet in a church next year, however, thanks to Samaritan’s Purse, an organization founded and led by Franklin Graham. The organization will construct the facility that will serve a dual purpose – as a worship space and youth facility. They also plan on building a parsonage for Landlord and his wife, Eunice, and another for a couple who will work with youth.

Graham offered his organization’s assistance after meeting Landlord in February.

Graham and then-Governor Sarah Palin were distributing some of the 44,000 pounds of food that Samaritan’s Purse had donated to needy families in the villages of Marshall and Russian Mission. According to the ministry at the time, many of the families had been eating only once a day due to a poor fishing season. Fuel prices had skyrocketed, and some families were paying nearly half their income for heating oil.

Landlord made sure he had the opportunity to meet Graham. “I told him how I got to know the Lord by watching his father,” he says.

In recent years, Landlord’s passion to share the gospel has inspired him to travel by snow machine from his home in Kako to Marshall twice a month so he could lead services. He often has made the roughly three-hour trip in sub-zero temperatures.

Graham asked if there was something he could do for Landlord. He responded without reservation that the people of Marshall needed a new church building. Graham called over Luther Harrison, Samaritan Purse’s director of North American projects, and told him, “We need to build this man a church.”

A site has yet to be found. A Covenant church once existed in Marshall, but the former building is contaminated with asbestos. Tearing down the building and trying to use the site again would be far too costly in an area where costs already are staggeringly high.

Construction still is slated for summer 2010.

Samaritan’s Purse has been a generous contributor to the Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska (ECCAK) on several other projects. The ministry has donated roughly $2 million in finances and labor over the last three years, says ECCAK Field Director Rodney Sawyer.

“We have a marvelous relationship with them,” says Sawyer.

After fire destroyed much of Hooper Bay in 2006, Samaritan’s Purse worked alongside Covenanters from across the United States to build five homes, a parsonage for the pastor, and a multipurpose building that has separate church and youth centers. 
Click here to read a previously published story on that disaster.

The ministry also contributed significantly to the construction of a chapel at the Covenant Youth of Alaska (CYAK) Bible Camp in Unalakleet.

Harrison says the Covenant’s focus on young people has been a factor in Samaritan Purse’s involvement. “They are really working hard to share the gospel with youth.”

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