ALASKA BEFORE IT WAS A STATE
i about age 17 and was in a basketball group at a Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Illinois.They picked me to travel to Alaska and help build a Presbyterian church in Petersbug Alaska.
The train trip from Chicgo to Seatle Washington was very unpleasant as I had Restless Leg Syndrome [but did not know this at the time]
Things got better when I arrived in Seattle as I was able to ride in a sea plane to Petersburg Alaska. [A sea plane which lands on water.] We were flying inbetween some mountains--it was really neat!
This was in 1958 when I was age 17. Alaska became a state in 1959. There was a very large glacier nearby but now it has greatly receded.
Petersburg Alaska is a small fishing village on the Southern coast of Alaska. I was there almost 3 months helping to build a church.
I also had a partner--he was age 18. Together we worked as a team. Often very hard work such as digging out a stream which ran under the church.
We resided in a pier which extended over the water and there was a little construction where we lived. We ate fish every day as it was so available and free. The place was called "Devils Slum" which I found interesting as I was sent there by a church.
We would work 6 days per week and attend church services on Sunday. Sometimes I taught Sunday School.
It rained and rained. In fact it rained 38 days in a row! However there was no Great Flood as in the bible.
One Sunday morning I told my partner I was not going to church as I was just too tired.. This really upset him as he thought I was obligated to go to church.
He became more and more angry but I told him I was not going to church that day. Finally I blurted out: "I'm not even a Christian!"
This really blew his mind. Before I knew it he blindsided me. He hit me in the upper part of my head and it bled a whole lot. Still have the scar... Thought about turning the other cheek but I was really in too bad a shape to do that and besides he was so angry he might just hit me again!
I left and was just walking the street but still bleeding a lot. As it happened my person in charge and his wife spotted me and they got medical help for my bleeding. This was 2 months into my "mission"
My partner and i were both scheduled to go to Juneu Alaska which was the capital and not far from Petersburg. However they let my "partner" go and I was to stay in Petersburg They were questioning about my statement that I was not a Christian. I told them while I was a member of the basket ball group that did not mean I was a Christian. They assumed I was Christian as I was baptized.
Now was this a little decption on my part? Well, I answered all their questions truthfully before they decided to let me go to Alaska--however I did let them assume I was a Christian! So, a good deal of deception on my part. [I wanted to go to Alaska!]
But now they had to decide what to do with me--a non Christain. I got a break and did not have to work on that church anymore.
I was to read the part of the New Testment called John. John , of course this is the best book in the bible. The book of John is often cherry picked,
I read the book of John BUT -I also read other parts of the bible and was greatly disturbed about the parts of the bible where God orders his tribe to do genocide and even rape.
Did it really hurt the Presbyterian Church to send a non Christian to help build their church in Alaska? I do not really think so.
Today, I googled and found the "Presbyterian Church" is still there in Petersburg Alaska. It does not look like much but it is bigger than what appears per google,