Posts by Joanna Rich:
One day while driving up to the Downtown Hope Center, a man approached Bro Martin’s vehicle and asked if he could just sit in the vehicle and warm up a little. To which Bro Martin responded positively. This along with another man’s comment, “I’m not welcome anywhere in Anchorage!” birthed an idea to use the Hope Church bus as a place for the homeless community to escape the elements, as well as to receive free coffee, hot chocolate, snacks and the Hope of JESUS!
By Rev. James Martin.
A wise and committed person once said, “I’ll go anywhere, so long as it’s forward!” Our current worldwide health and economic crisis is presenting challenges that are unprecedented. We are navigating uncharted waters; at least they’re off our charts. Where do we turn in such times as these?
Our normal is disrupted. What will be the new normal? I was reading Joshua 3 yesterday morning. How pertinent these timeless truths are for us today!
Our political and healthcare officials are echoing the words of Joshua’s officers, “ye have not passed this way heretofore” (v4). Let me say that I sincerely appreciate the diligent deliberations and difficult decisions that our leaders are tasked to execute.
So, how did God prepare, position, propel and perpetuate a new way forward for His people?
They were not being presumptuous to move forward at a time when the Jordan was flooded. It was God’s time to move. “…Remove from your place, and go after it (the ark). Yet there shall be a space between you and it.” (v3-4). Spatial distancing is not new. God instructed Israel to follow the priests bearing the ark of the covenant — about a half mile away so everyone could see the mighty acts of God. “…Ye may know the way by which ye must go” (v4). The sight of the ark assured them of God’s leadership and proper course of action. Apart from God’s direction, they were clueless and helpless. But confidence is birthed in divine revelation. “Sanctify yourselves” (v5). The purification of our hearts, hands, and habits is essential. How much do we desire to move forward with God? It is evident by the intensity of our willingness to clean up our lives! “…tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (v6). The promised wonders follow the sanctified life. Adventure awaits those who amend their actions and attitudes.
The people watched as the priests had to “get their feet wet” before the Jordan began to stand up.
It was a faith-building time. This miraculous action assured them that the God who is able to do this will surely overcome the powerful heathen nations who occupied the Promised Land. “Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan” (4:9). Build a pillar of memorial in the middle of your trial.
“.p..Take…twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place” (4:3). Then carry some memories with you to ensure a legacy of faith for generations to come! God will see us through!
It’s a new way, and always forward!
A Great Prayer Request:
Greetings to our dear Family and Friends!
We greatly appreciate your continued prayers on our behalf and on the behalf of the ministry here in Anchorage, Alaska. We have a specific prayer request for you to agree with us about. We need HELP! We have suffered some changes at Hope Church with several helpers moving on to other ministries and responsibilities. We feel the heart of our Father when he asked, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest. that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:38)
Bro Martin and Jordan will be coming down this weekend for a few weeks of itinerating and also to minister at OBI Convocation and a Missions meeting in Ohio. It is a challenge with the responsibility of Hope Church for Bro Martin to be away for this length of time. However, he sees the need to be able to tell our supporting churches and individuals “Thank you!” We are not asking for sympathy, but simply prayer. We know the same ONE that called us is able to speak to the hearts of other individuals to come alongside and help.
Thank you for your investment into our lives and the ministry here.
May God bless you!
Joanna Rich, Ministry Assistant
“Some want to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop, within a yard of hell.” C.T. Studd
First of all, we want to say “Thank you” for your prayers for us and the Tent Revival here in Anchorage, Alaska. The quote above was on my heart as we were preparing for the Tent Revival in this location. We recognize and appreciate the partnership we have with you in the people God allowed us to touch during the week. We are so excited to share some stories of how God worked in hearts.
We had a great turnout the first night despite the rainy weather. It actually may have worked in our favor because people were seeking shelter. We did find out that there were some misconceptions as to what a tent revival consisted of. Some thought we were giving away tents and were upset that this wasn’t the case. However there were others that expressed their appreciation for us having such a meeting in that it reminded them of meetings from their younger years.
Linda* came in the first day with a hardened expression on her face. As we talked, she began to share of how she was raised in a Christian Children’s home and that she would go to church camps, “Like this” but they would also have cabins for them to stay overnight. She smiled as she reminisced on those memories. She was very attentive during the service and she was obviously touched as we prayed for her in the altar service. At the end of the service, she was smiling and asked to give a hug before she left.
Lisa* and her boyfriend, Carl* came to church on Tuesday afternoon. Bro Derek preached that evening from the story of Jonah about the importance of true repentance and taking personal responsibility. When Derek gave the altar call, this couple responded quickly with tears in their eyes. After we prayed with them for a while they said “the truth hit us in the face! He was talking about us!” Lisa* then expressed that she had turned to alcohol to try to cope with the pain she was experiencing, but had been scared because she knew she wasn’t ready. After prayer she said, “I feel lighter! I’m crying happy tears.” What she said next was so encouraging, “I’ve never been to a service like this before!” We saw this couple at the Downtown Soup Kitchen before we left to come back to Oklahoma and they said that they have been sober, and they knew it must’ve been prayer that helped them.
A young lady, Carrie*, came forward on the last day as the altar call was given. She was very sincere and expressed her desire to receive Jesus. We prayed with her and she showed great excitement to receive a Bible at the close of the service.
A young hispanic man, Roberto* also came forward on the last night. He was very broken, tearful, and repentant. The Spirit’s work of conviction was evident. He prayed, and prayed, and prayed. He wanted a Bible, and promised to come to Hope Church on Sunday, which he did. I’ve seen him several times since then, and he is encouraged in his new walk with Jesus.
There are other stories we could share but one of the encouraging things was that there were quick responses to each altar call. There was no prolonged pleading and pulling. The Word was preached, and when the invitation was extended, the response was spontaneous. We believe that God touched hearts in a special way and we pray the seeds sown will bring forth a mighty harvest for the Kingdom of God.
Thank you for being a part of this work here in Anchorage, Alaska.
To God be ALL the glory!
Two years ago next Sunday I began having church services in the Downtown Soup Kitchen/ Hope Center at 240 E. 3rd Avenue. Most of the people who we bring to our Hope Church via shuttle bus on Sunday mornings are those who regularly hang out around the Brother Francis Shelter and Bean’s Cafe at 1021 E. 3rd Avenue. My family and I also minister with live Gospel music, Bible exhortations and prayer inside the Downtown Soup Kitchen throughout the week during the lunch serving time.
As you may be aware, the homeless population in Anchorage is plagued with unbelievable dysfunction. Since I’ve moved here from Texas three years ago to work among these people, I’ve grown to know and love them. Some have accepted the help and hope that is presented to them; of course, others have not. But I’m convinced that the words of Jesus are true, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). He was indeed lifted up on the cross to provide a way of salvation for all men, and His magnetic pull upon the hearts of men and women is effective as His message is proclaimed. Many of these hurting people feel totally unwelcome and uncomfortable in a traditional church setting. Their bags and “baggage” are unwanted. The tent setting will provide a connectivity that will be effective.
The location that I have secured for the Revival of Hope is ideal! It is a vacant fenced area on E. 3rd Avenue directly between these two primary outreaches to the homeless. It is only a block from Bean’s Cafe.
I have no personal agenda to mitigate. I only desire to facilitate the purpose of Jesus to build His Church, I will work in cooperation with other ministries in the community to provide an atmosphere of acceptance, love, truth, and hope by focusing the attention of attendees upon the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Lord really gave us favor with Andrew. He’s only charging us for a day’s tent/chairs rental even though we’ll be using it for 5 days. Then the cost per chair (for 250) is only $0.625 compared to other rental quote of $3.95.
The dates have been set for the Tent Revival of Hope on E 3rd Ave. This will be Mon-Fri, August 27-31 @ 3 pm. We chose that time so as to not conflict with the time that those who stay in the shelters must check in.
Please pray fervently for effective ministry.
I have secured the city permit ($500), Tent/chairs ($2268), portable toilets ($625) in addition to other lesser expenses. I found a nice generator to power the PA at a yard sale for $175. I already had to use it at our house when the power went out the other day.
Thanks for all of your loving & prayerful support.
Rev. James Martin
It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by at Hope Church. We were thrilled to have Bro. Mike & Sis. Sheila Shelton with us for this special occasion. Bro. Shelton shared a powerful message on “Decisions Determine Destiny”. Several responded to the invitation.
As we look back, we rejoice at how God has worked in hearts during these 2 years, and look forward with anticipation of how the power of the Gospel is going to continue to transform lives.
We would like to share some of the blessings/changes that has taken place this year.
- Pastor Kent Redfearn of Muldoon Community Assembly expressed a desire to partner with Hope Church by sending help at least once a month. From ministry in music & prayer to serving food & cleanup, they have helped to relieve some of the load from our family.
- Another great enhancement has been Sunday School for the children. Joy saw the need and felt the burden to start it. There are 2 children that come on a consistent basis, and others from time to time. One of the boys (the 6 year old) that comes consistently has started memorizing scripture. He enjoys it so much that his family helps him at home. When he comes to church, he excitedly quotes his verses to anyone that will listen.
- We have had the privilege of having 3 of our 4 board members come and be with us so far. We are hoping to hear from each of them individually and share with you their experience with the ministry in Anchorage, Alaska.
“IT’S A MIRACLE”
Carolyn* was sitting up in her chair! On Saturday, when Bro. Martin last saw her, she was put down (in a medically induced coma) because of liver failure. Bro. Martin prayed then with her tearful and fearful husband beside her bed. However on this day, everything was different. Now the Dr. says it is damaged, but at least active. David*, her husband, said it’s the first time he prayed. And God has answered — “it’s a miracle!”, he said trembling.
Bro Martin shares, “It’s a privilege for our family to play music and share a devotion with prayer at the Downtown Soup Kitchen/ Hope Center 4 days a week. Today (2/12) was a special encouragement to me. I was playing “‘Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus” on my saxophone. I noticed a blind native woman enter the front door, tapping her white cane and being led by another native woman accompanied by a small girl. (pictured above) They went directly to the line. They got their soup and sandwich. As they came close to the door to exit, they paused to listen for a while. The blind lady turned her head toward me, broke out into a big smile and waved. Her escort said, “I wish we could stay longer! Do you come here every day?” It really touched my heart that I could be an inspiration to someone today. It so impacted me that I read Proverbs 3:5-6 to the people, and exhorted them to trust in the Lord and not lean to our own understanding, like the blind woman who was depending upon the assistance of others to find her way.”
A couple Sundays ago, Bro. Martin preached a powerful message on the Value of Repentance. On the bus afterward, taking the people back to Bean’s Cafe, one native lady told Bro. Martin that she hadn’t been in church for 20 years. She was noticeably moved by the message. Another lady spoke up and said, “This is my first day sober!” She said she really repented that morning and wasn’t going to drink anymore. Please pray for these two ladies. They will need God’s divine strength to be strong in the midst of contrary influences.
Let me fill you in a little since I last posted. The family went to TX for a family Christmas get together as well as Jalisa’s High school graduation celebration. They were also able to minister in several churches and attend the Minister’s Conference in Pigeon Forge, TN the last of January. Jordan and Joy arrived back to Alaska a couple weeks ago, making the rest of the family feel more complete. There were people able to step in and take care of the church while the family was away, which was a great blessing. However, they were glad to be back and see everyone again.
We pray God will bless you who pray and invest into these lives!
Joanna Rich, Ministry Assistant
Bro. Martin was visiting people at Anchorage Native Medical Center (ANMC) last week when a nurse came up to him. She told him that they wanted him to visit a lady who had been asking for a preacher to talk to. She further relayed that they knew that he should be the one to talk to her. Bro. Martin stepped into the the hospital room and greeted the lady. She was thrilled to have someone to talk to. She shared that she had been an alcoholic and that she knew she needed a change in her life. Bro. Martin shared some scriptures with her about the plan of salvation. Upon her own confession, she had never had an experience with the Lord before. Yet after Bro. Martin shared the plan of salvation, she was ready to pray. However, she asked Bro. Martin to tell her how to pray because she didn’t know how. Bro. Martin started it out and she prayed a heartfelt prayer for salvation. Bro. Martin told her afterward that she should be ready to tell others about what Jesus had done for her. While Bro. Martin was still in the room, the nurse came in that had asked him to visit this lady. When the nurse asked how she was doing, she responded with “I GOT SAVED!” We pray that her decision to follow Jesus will be long-lasting and that she will be bright light to all those she comes in contact with. Please rejoice with us… another lost soul has been found!
A Touching Story from a Hospital Room
Bro Martin shares,
As I approached the private hospital room, I noticed the door was closed and the placard was posted with instructions to wear the protective gown and gloves. A nurse was standing nearby, so I asked if now was a good time to visit the patient. She replied hesitantly, “Well, you can if you really want to. But I don’t know how she’ll respond to you, because she’s been very irritated with all of the staff.”
I knocked, opened the door, then stepped into the room. The woman, Maria* , was sitting on the side of her bed with her head down, and her hair hanging over her face. She spoke gruffly, “Hello. What do you want?” I told her that I was a Chaplain. She said, “I’m really mad at God and everybody. All my family has cut off all communication with me. My sisters have changed their phone numbers so I can’t call them. I guess I’ll just go ahead and die from this alcohol poisoning. And I’m mad at God because my son is in jail, and my daughter was born retarded.”
I expressed sympathy as gently as I could. Then I asked her if I could pray with her. She replied, “It won’t do any good. I’ve tried all that God stuff before, and it doesn’t work!” I applied the truth of Proverbs, “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” She didn’t need a harsh sermon right now. She needed someone to care. Again I asked her if I could pray. This time, she reluctantly agreed.
Not very long after I began to pray, I heard her beginning to pray. She prayed, “Lord, I know I should not have been saying the things I’ve been saying about You. I should not have these feelings. Please, Lord, forgive me of all my sins, and come into my heart right now!” She prayed for a while longer. Then she said to me, “My heart feels so much lighter now!” She raised her head, brushed her hair back out of her face, smiled, and then chuckled a little. It seemed she was surprised at herself. She said, “I can’t remember the last time that I laughed. But now it is so easy.”
I encouraged her to read the book of Philippians to help keep her thoughts upon good things. Then I challenged her to begin to have positive and pleasant words for those who came into her room. She smiled, and agreed to do so. I pray that the nurses will notice the difference, and give God the glory He deserves.
*Name changed to protect privacy