Seminary additions constructed by Samaritan's Purse are nearing completion in Bethel, Alaska.
Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers have been hard at work since June constructing additions to Alaska Bible Seminary (Moravian) in Bethel, Alaska. The project, on schedule to finish in October, has seen more than 150 volunteers travel to this remote community to assist the school and help share the Gospel with area families.
Remote towns in Alaska, including Bethel, often struggle with many social ills, including depression, alcohol abuse, and suicide. Local Christian churches have a history of working to strengthen locals in their faith to help combat these problems.
“Rural Alaska is dying. People are leaving. Suicide rates among Alaskan youth are among the highest in the country,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said. “I think seminaries like this—training pastors, locals, to go back into their communities, back into their villages—this is the way to do it.”
Our Program Manager Dan Burton said that so far, those who have worked on the seminary have come from 34 different states. He said each group who has volunteered has been a blessing to the team and the community. When the project first started, they were able to lay the foundation materials in only four days.
“The people of Bethel are amazed at all that we’ve gotten done,” he said. “God is obviously ahead of us on this project and making it work out.”
The additions Samaritan’s Purse is building will make a significant impact on the seminary, particularly for women and couples who need additional housing as they study. Classroom capacity will also increase three-fold and the new library area is five times larger. The multipurpose building supports Administration functions and future seminary growth.
“God is obviously ahead of us on this project and making it work out.”
“This is the most kingdom-oriented project that we’ve done out here that has a large ongoing affect,” Dan said. “Seventy to 80 percent [of Alaskans] don’t have Christian influence out [here] and to produce indigenous native pastors to go out to their people and speak their language—this is a Kingdom-progressing work.”
The Alaska Bible Seminary was founded as an educational institution in 1947 by the Moravian Church. It was set up to be the educational arm of the church here in Alaska to provide biblical training for local people, according to the school’s website.
Please continue to pray for our staff and volunteers as we finish this project in Bethel. Please also pray that God will use graduates of Moravian Bible Seminary to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to many people throughout Alaska.