Alaska is a land of extremes. Covering 656,425 square miles stretching 1480 by 2700 miles, climates range from rainforests to artic desert to treeless islands where hurricane force winds are normal. Alaska contains over 80% of North America’s active volcanos. Temperatures range from 100+ to -80 F. In this state where the average income is among the highest in the nation, there exists entire communities living in poverty and third world conditions. Alcoholism is rampant. Most are firmly in the grip of the Russian Orthodox or Catholic churches.
- Alaska is only two miles from Russia and 750 miles from Japan.
- Transporting goods usually costs more than the value of the goods themselves.
- Snowfall can be as great a 62″ in a day and 81.2 feet in a winter.
- The longest day is 3 months and the longest night is 2 months.
- Alaska’s coastline is 33,904 miles long.
Within the wilderness and beauty of Alaska thousands of people live in third world conditions with no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Few Christians in the lower forty-eight are aware of the great need or obstacles facing missioanries and churches working in Alaska. With a population of close to 680,000, only 39% claim a religion. This leaves over half the people with no religious beliefs.
- Russian Orthodox and Catholic traveling priests have consistently targeted the Alaskan bush since the 1700s. Both religions are firmly entrenched in Alaska.
- Alcohol abuse is rampant, bringing with it suicide, rape, incest, spouse abuse and child neglect.
- Many native Alaskan live a subsistence lifestyle, spending summers in fish camps along most major rivers, which serve as travel routes throughout the bush country.
- Communities with fewer than 100 permanent residents are prevalent.
- Thousands live in homesteads where their contact with the outside world is limited to radio broadcasts.