“Termination Dust” on the mountains indicates that winter is coming soon. We are hoping to stay outside under the canopies for the next few weeks, but definitely seeing our end in sight. Bittersweet it is: as seasons change, there are both challenges and opportunities. We do miss some sweet faces, as some don’t come to church inside making our crowds much smaller.
In March of 2023, Tricia Hight Martin shared a “peek” into a Hope Church Sunday on Facebook before they were scheduled to leave to fulfill some obligations in the Lower 48. I thought it would be good to share it here for you that wonder what it’s like.
“Sunday morning we left the house at 12:30 PM for Hope church, after James packed the Yukon with around 3 totes, several bags and our church sign.”
“Arriving at Hope church, which is on the second floor of Hope Center in downtown Anchorage, James set out our church sign and unloaded all the totes.”
“Inside, we loaded everything on the elevator, then wheeled it into a classroom, which is our Sunday church sanctuary.”
“We take down the classroom’s tables and set up around 40 chairs, of which I place a wrapped Lifesaver mint in each chair. Just a little “welcome treat” on their seats when they come in.”
“Then, set up the keyboard and podium.”
“James sets up a podium for his laptop and Bible.
For the past month, he has been putting the songs, his sermon scriptures, and easy-to-follow notes on his laptop, then “jumping them” to the classroom monitor so everyone can follow along. They loveeee this!! However, that’s way too much hi tech for Tricia to translate properly – so … jumping along here.”
“James goes to the kitchen on the 1st floor, gets the lunch bags and brings them upstairs. He then puts them on a cart with the bottled water and ice cream sandwiches.”
“Tricia sets up the COFFEE bar!!
And I certainly know how to do that in fine fashion. Plentyyyyy of creamer and sugar. Coffee cups and stirrers. Hand sanitizer and paper towel.”
“Typically we use a 100 pot coffee urn, but due to us flying out immediately after the service, we used 3 pump pots of coffee, which hardly lasted until service started.”
“When Pastor James was ready to start service at 2PM, I went to the keyboard at the front. After singing, I went to the back of the congregation to stand, so I would be ready to pass out lunch.”
“This Sunday we had at least 30 in attendance. Pastor James preached outstanding from the book of Ephesians. Several raised their hands for salvation, healing and personal prayer.”
~Tricia Hight Martin
Thank you for your continued prayers for Hope Church and the ministry to the Homeless community of Anchorage, Alaska.
While we were setting up our canopy tents (9), one of the guys helping me said, “Wow! This makes me think of Moses.” Later, Sis. Vicki Myrick led us in worship with the songs “Our God Reigns” and “How Great is Our God”.
The thought of Moses setting up a tent of worship made me strongly desire that the glory of God would fill these tents. I challenged the people to worship and welcome the Holy Spirit’s presence.
Then Bro. Jared Myrick preached an anointed and powerful message about Zacchaeus’ wonderful transformation.
I want to express the deep gratefulness I have in my heart for the Myrick’s faithfulness to the Lord and usefulness to His work in Anchorage. Praise God for their dedicated and fruitful lives!
The Lord affirmed His pleasure and blessing upon them today with at least 15 souls who stood in prayer, affirming their desire to trust Jesus for a full transformation like Zacchaeus.
I shouted and rejoiced, and many others rejoiced with us as well. (We expect to have a celebration every Sunday — that’s why we bring the ice cream!)
We gave at least 12 Bibles to those hungry for the Word!
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