Archive for Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mill Creek VBS focuses on missions

July 20, 2006

Children at Mill Creek's vacation Bible school cooled off last week with a little help from some Alaskan friends.

Thanks to the Funk family, whose grandmother Jackie Weaver is from Johnson County, children in western Lenexa, western Shawnee and De Soto learned all about the difficulties of growing up on an Alaskan tundra. The Funk family is part of a missionary effort to bring better supplies, care and Christ to Hooper Bay. The group sent a video of typical needs in Alaska.

Volunteer Bible school teacher Barb Cavanaugh showed children the video and talked to them about life in the North.

"You can see how blessed we are in Kansas," she told the children.

On the video, two Pacific American Indian children gave a tour of their home of about 1,000 people north of the 61st parallel.

In Hooper Bay, all deliveries come by barge or by plane. The nearest university is about 1,000 miles away.

The town has no running water. Several feet of snow cover the ground throughout most of the winter and spring. In the summer, little vegetation grows on the frozen tundra. The town has one police officer and one jail cell.

Weaver's grandson, 19-year-old Caleb Funk, videotaped the typical shacks that make up the community and the government-funded $3 million road that no one ever uses. The town has three trucks and drives mostly all-terrain vehicles. Gas in the area was $5.85 a gallon a month ago when the video was made.

"There's really nowhere to go, is there?" Cavanaugh asked the children. "They don't have that much, do they?"

Julia Wheeler and Avery Kilgore, who will both be third graders next year at Clear Creek Elementary School, agree life on the tundra must be difficult.

"It would be hard just finding food," Julia said.

"If you couldn't get out it might be really hard living there," said Avery.

Director of children's ministries Sue Johnson said the church used a modified curriculum to teach about Alaska. She said teaching about missionaries is one of the important parts of the church.

Johnson said activities included panning for gold, looking at real furs and animal parts and craft projects. They kept games indoors because of the heat.

"We've been blessed to have so much support from the community," Johnson said.

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