Friday, May 28, 2010

Teaching in Alaska

I have a good Christian friend who is an educator and counselor. He has been offered a job to teach school in Alaska which would be a huge change for he and his wife from the life in southern Ohio.

He asked me for prayer and opinion so I made it my blog today.

"If you received this e-mail, just know that you are very special to me, and that I'm entrusting you to pray for Larissa and I right now.

On Tuesday, May 25th, I got a phone call about a job offer to work as a school counselor (Grades K-12) out west... way North and West!

The position is to be a school counselor in a remote region near Fairbanks, AK, working in a 5 village area centered in Nulato, AK. I would be working with a student population that is 95% Athabasca Native American. I would be working with 5 village schools with as few as 12 students and as many as 60, with a total work load of about 110 students. Much of my itinerant travel would be either by sea plane (bush plane as they call it inland), snowmobile, ATV, or truck during warm weather. I would have to travel on occasion to the district headquarters in Fairbanks (about the size of Loveland or Batavia/Eastgate) for debriefing and evaluation. The schools are fully powered and have wireless internet capabilities.

Much of the learning is computer and distance based, which is great during the winter months. There should also be no problems keeping in contact with everyone. My pay would be comparable to what I currently make (I currently make $64.5K. They're offering $66K), housing would be provided by the school (only 60 feet from the school itself and at no cost), I would have great benefits, and I would be a part of a team of three other counselors.In addition, I asked if any teacher assistants were needed at the Nulato school, which would be our home base, in order for Larissa to work. The contact person said yes, and she would be much needed. Larissa would start out at $8-9.00/hour for two months, then be paid $15/hour afterward.

The contact person is originally from Ft. Wayne, IN, and her mother lives in Loveland, OH. She knows our area, and knows it would be a dramatic change of lifestyle for us, just as it was for her 8 years ago. While some groceries and supplies would have to be mailed or shipped to us (things do cost higher there), the town of Nulato has a store for more perishable items, the locals are, for the most part, great in sharing game meat, or we could purchase some, or hunt for ourselves, and we can bring back other supplies from Fairbanks when we make trips there (though sea plane space would be limited).

As for church, we might very well be the only Jesus they may see. It will be like being a missionary. Our contact person said that it was "third-world America." The way of life is simple, but our contact person enjoys it nonetheless. Many of the native people life within their means, but appreciate it when others help their children with school supplies and opportunities to learn, while still respecting their traditions and culture.

Right now, with not many opportunities made available in our area in eduation, Larissa and I are at peace with this, and believe that it would a an opportunity of a lifetime to BE Christians, and not just talk the talk to the people of Nulato. Sure, it will be different, to say the least. Yet, aside from trying to figure out what to do with our house and some of our possessions, we believe that we can face the challenge, as well as enjoy it. For now, it would be a one-year commitment, pending observations and how we deal with the climate and other factors. Would it be worth it?

We believe so.I need you to pray. Time is a premium. I will need to contact the people in Nulato/Fairbanks on Friday to set up an interview. While I know that I love our church, Living Word Fellowship, would miss it and will still be a part of it, Larissa and I also know that if God is for us in this, who can be against us? We just need prayer and for God to confirm it to us.

Please don't share this openly for right now. I just chose you all for the moment in order to pray. I need people we can trust in this who know how to pray, and hear the voice of God through His Holy Spirit.Better go for now. Please reply back soon with your feedback."

LuAnn and I know them better than you do. Our initial reaction is go for it. They are that kind of people, young, energetic, no children, full of Christ and good educators. It would be a huge change, one that could be good or not so good.

What do you think?



  1. Ed, To me this sounds like a call from God to spread his word. But also for them to get bach to the simple life and enjoy that for themselves. They will be me my prayers. Keep me informed as to how they are doing. Sounds like a once in a lifetime change.

  2. That is what we think after prayer. I do think he will come back from this mission. He was taught at Oral Roberts and is a deep christian friend, one of those rare people with a real meek and mild personality but strong spirit.