Missionary Calling

OUR MISSIONARY CALLING

My parents and mother’s parents were discipled in part through local church ministry in Alaska. My father and grandfather were both in the US Air Force and stationed in North Pole, AK. During this time, my family was exposed to missionary works reaching remote Eskimo peoples with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though I was born in Alaska, my dad’s military job took us away from the state when I was 18 months old. An initial sense of interest in Alaska was instilled in me through family stories told from time to time.

My mother led me to Christ when I was six years old and would sometimes give testimonies about Alaska. Occasionally, she would even sing me a few hymns in Eskimo from a Baptist hymnbook she acquired as a teen.

As I grew up the Lord gave me a calling to preach which led to me to enroll in Pensacola Bible Institute immediately after public high school. During time at PBI, 2000-2003, I read the journal of David Brainerd, missionary to American Indians in the 1700’s. I felt a strong connection to Brainerd’s inward struggles and his doubts and strivings to live a life wholly pleasing to God. His journal gave me a burden to work with Native American peoples.

After God settled my heart regarding my own eternal security halfway through Bible school, I experienced some intense searchings about God’s will for my life. I had no idea what God wanted me to do, but was encouraged when a fellow classmate, David Robinson, invited me to Fairbanks, AK for summer work with his dad’s construction business. It was truly a dream come true for me! I spent my first summer in Alaska in 2002 working as a laborer for Ron Robinson, along with a several other classmates. We spent time that summer, street preaching, tracting, and visiting several local churches. After returning to PBI in the fall, I soon heard news that God had led Ron Robinson to officially start Northstar Baptist Church in Fairbanks. I then began earnestly praying about the Lord’s will in going back to Alaska.

Bazaal, Chad, Sarah

Evelyn, Asher, Jonathan, Ezekiel

One Sunday during my last year at PBI, I prayed again and asked the Lord to confirm my calling to Alaska in the morning service. Dr. Ruckman was teaching Sunday school and was reviewing some verses on being surrendered to God’s will. The only specific location he mentioned when giving illustrations was Fairbanks, AK. I was surprised when asked to help take up the morning offering, something I had never done before, and was then asked to give a personal testimony before the whole congregation. God had put His finger on me to publickly declare my specific calling to Alaska, and I did.

After graduating PBI, May 2003, I returned to Alaska as a construction laborer to Pastor Robinson, but simply had no natural aptitude for the construction trades. After about a year, I became so frustrated with work that I soon left Alaska to follow a family tradition by joining the US Air Force.

Although God blessed me at this time with a wife and children, the Lord chastened me throughout my military experience. I suffered a back injury in Basic Training, weathered Hurricane Katrina during Tech. School, and failed to qualify as an Air Traffic Controller at my first duty station. I repented of turning back on God’s calling to Alaska and was soon separated from the USAF with an honorable discharge.

In 2007, my family and I moved from Dover, DE to Fairbanks, AK. We began working out of Northstar Baptist Church and were helped to build a house the same year. In 2008, we took a trip to visit Missionary Nick Serino in the remote village of Point Hope to survey the need for a missionary family in the neighboring village of Point Lay. I was invited the same summer to survey Point Lay with an evangelist team, Operation Saturation, whose mission was to place King James Bibles in every home north of the Arctic Circle.

We prayed and God opened the doors. God provided a full-time job in Point Lay during the trip with Operation Saturation. There was already a church building available through previous works. I moved up to begin working and to finish preparation for my family. God provided tenants for our house in the Fairbanks area and my family joined me in Point Lay a three months later.

After coming to Point Lay, we had a handful of local churches take us on for monthly support. After our first winter, we presented the work to some churches within Alaska. In 2010, we were accepted with the Bible Baptist Mission, and then made several short-term deputation circuits to churches in the lower 48 states. Lord willing, the aim is to plant Bible-believing works in other coastal arctic villages. I believe our specific ministry calling is to remote Inupiat villages along the coastline of Alaska’s North Slope Borough.

We stayed in Point Lay for six years, ministering to the saints and evangelizing the lost while also living and working among the people. In the spring of 2014, we made a move 100 miles northeast up the beach and are currently serving in Wainwright, replacing a transitioning missionary family. The Lord also provided a Bible-believing pastor to replace us in Point Lay.

Are you and your church helping the effort to reach souls for Jesus in the far north? Will you please join in prayers and support for the ministry God has given the Bernick family to the Inupiat Eskimos at the top of Alaska? Thank you for taking the time to read this testimony.