As we continue with this story, let me recap where we wrapped up
last week. Just before Dad passed into eternity and changed addresses 30
years ago on Good Friday of 1986, he said to me, "Son, I'm sorry that I
don't have a great inheritance to leave you." I couldn't help but
weep. I said to him, "Dad, you are leaving me something far greater than an inheritance. You are
leaving me with a heritage in God that no amount of money could ever
purchase. I wouldn't trade that heritage for all the money in the
Ministry like that which I saw with my parents does not come
without a cost -- and great personal cost, at that! Dwain McKenzie, my
lifetime friend, brother in the Lord, and one who followed my folks' ministry,
ministering both in Point Hope and in Barrow, will easily remember Dad's
comment, made on more than once occasion.
"Our lives are here for the Lord to spend as He sees fit so
that He receives His reward."
It is something that has stood both Della and me in the years
since. Though the opposition and persecution we've endured has been of a
very different nature, it has still be of a nature that would cause the great
majority of people to quit. What we saw in Dad and Mom and learned from
their example was that when you have the Word of the Lord -- a rhema in your spirit, nothing -- and I mean NOTHING
-- can stop you from continuing forward in obedience to that Word!
opposition and attacks came, Dad would get a smile on his face, shrug his
shoulders and say, "It just goes with the territory."
they began to face the longest and most sustained attempt on their personal
well-being and existence on the island you could possibly imagine. You'll
recall the Coffee Breaks where I mentioned the rock-throwing incidents and the
eventual death of the Russian Orthodox priest's son in a manner that the priest
knew was the judgment of God.
you would think that this would have ended the matter. The fact that the
Orthodox priest came to visit Dad and to say to him, "I know that my son's
death was the judgment of the Lord," was a visible testimony to the people
of Saint Paul Island. He accepted responsibility for what had
happened. He acknowledged that he -- in his religious zeal -- was
wrong. Alvin and Lorraine Capener were on Saint
Paul Island because the Lord sent them there. Neither the priest, nor his
predecessors, had produced anything that was life-changing for the
island. They were stuck in their religion and their traditions.
nature is strange. One would think that with the tragedy that struck the
priest and his family -- especially in view of the circumstances and the Word
of the Lord that had been given him before those circumstances -- repentance
would take place and there would be measurable change within the Russian
Orthodox church on Saint Paul. Not so. Because of being so steeped
in the traditions and doctrines that he had grown up with, and because there
was no repentance towards God, and because the priest genuinely was ignorant of
the Word, he returned to the traditions of the church, practicing the same old
rituals week after week, and preaching the same error that had been preached on
the island for more than a century. (I'll talk a bit more about this a
of the young men who were part of those rock-throwing attacks blamed Dad and
Mom personally for the death of the priest's son, despite the priest's public
confession to the contrary. They were so indoctrinated and dominated by
religious spirits that their ability to hear and receive truth was completely
shut down. They vowed a vow
vow essentially amounted to this: "Whatever it takes, we're going to drive
the Capeners from this island, and we're going to
take their property away from them to
ensure that this heresy is driven from Saint Paul."
made mention in previous Coffee Breaks about the Alaska Native Claims
Settlement Act (ANCSA, for short) in which Alaska was divided by Congressional
fiat into 13 native regions -- each region representing an Eskimo, Indian or
Aleut tribal group or designation -- and an amount equal to roughly $8 Billion
paid out to the corporations as "restitution" for "illegally
taking their land away from them."
was a case of political insanity that resulted in such upheaval as to effectively
take away from the native cultures an indigenous lifestyle they had known for
centuries and exchange it for a western-oriented greed, coupled with a welfare
mentality that essentially made the people wards of the Federal
Government. I don't want to expand too much on this because it is more
political and social commentary than anything else, and that's not what this
series of Coffee Breaks is about. (When I wax political, my Coffee Breaks
are so identified. ...chuckle....) I will say that at least two or
three of the thirteen native corporations that were formed out of ANCSA
actually produced some real benefit for their regions.
of the native corporations formed for the Aleuts was called Tanadgusix
Corporation. It was a local governing entity over Saint Paul and Saint
George Islands whose mandate was to apportion and distribute the land to the
corporation stockholders in such a manner that they would be able to keep and
hold within their families the lands and homes they had lived in for decades
and centuries. Tanadgusix was separate from the
main regional entity, the Aleut Corporation, which had the mandate for all of
the Aleutian Islands.
Paul Island had been under the effective governance and control of NOAA (The
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and specifically, the
National Bureau of Fisheries. Under
ANCSA, any grants of land or titles for property given out by NBF would
supersede ANCSA's distribution. The same held true in other native
regions and communities.
had been granted the property (roughly equal to about three-to-four acres -- by
my guestimate) for the church and home by the Bureau
of Fisheries, and when Congress was preparing to pass ANCSA in 1972, he was
advised in writing by U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (who was a longtime family
friend) that NOAA would grant permanent title to the land, and that it would
become exempt from seizure by any native corporate entity when the NBF ceded
the islands to Tanadgusix Corporation (TDX).
process was under way, moving with the due and deliberate speed of a snail (you
all know how quickly government bureaucracies function) in 1973 when Richard
Nixon resigned as President and the entire White House administration endured a
shakeup such as America had never seen. The shakeup only slowed the
process of permanent title transfer.
do not know when the two aforementioned boys (who'd vowed their vow to see the Capeners removed from Saint Paul Island) actually became
involved in the political affairs of the islands, but they managed to work
their way up the ladder by hook and by crook until both the city government of
Saint Paul (separate from TDX) and Tanadgusix
Corporation were under their thumbs.
that point, they took legal action against Dad and Mom, filing suit to remove
them from Saint Paul Island and take the land for TDX. The premise of
their legal action was that Dad and Mom did not hold (and NOAA had yet to grant
in writing) actual title to the land -- and that it was "the will of the
islanders that the Capeners leave."
fact, it was not! Della and I still have the entire case file from that
lawsuit in storage, and we have reviewed portions of it on more than one
occasion. Dad was compelled to circulate a petition among the native
islanders in which the voting members of both the community and TDX expressed
their desire and intention that they stay on the island and that permanent
title be granted. Of some (roughly) 200 voting people on the island, 153
of them signed the petition instructing the corporate leaders to grant
title. A mandate of more than 75% of the voters and corporate
stockholders should have sent a clear message, but our two young men weren't
months which (turned into years) in which there was much political wrangling,
threats and attempts to negotiate for Dad and Mom's departure, the case finally
came before a Superior Court judge in Anchorage in 1981 who ruled in favor of
TDX. The ruling, however, was stayed pending an appeal to Alaska's Court
of Appeals. The Appeals court overturned the original decision, and TDX
then appealed that decision to the Alaska Supreme Court.
those of you with a legal bent, the following URL should provide you with
interesting insight into this case: http://touchngo.com/sp/html/sp-4142.htm.
little more than eight years after Dad went home to be with the Lord, on
November 4, 1994, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that TDX's position was
faulty, and title passed to Mom. The case was yet appealed to the U.S.
Supreme Court, but with changing management at TDX Corporation, Mom struck a
deal with TDX's new leaders that made the appeal moot and enabled her to retain
title to the land.
had left Mom with a reasonable nest egg for her remaining years -- a nest egg
which included some $250,000 in cash and trust funds. The legal battles
virtually consumed it all. In her last year of life (2000), Mom was
compelled to call us (and other friends and family members) to ask for
she did not consider herself "needy." She had won a nearly
twenty-year legal battle that set legal precedent in native claims settlement
was a testimony to the fact that God never calls us to do the
"possible." "Possible" is only the rational mind's
way of dealing with human capabilities. God ALWAYS calls His people to do
and perform the impossible. "Impossible" only exists in
rational thinking. "Impossible" is ALWAYS "probable"
and "accomplished" when seen through the eyes of faith. One of
Dad's sayings to me when I was young and reacted to what my rational mind was
thinking was, "Son, get that word, "impossible," out of your
dictionary. Remove it from your vocabulary! With God, ALL things
is part of the heritage I received from my parents! Let me back-track now
for a bit to share some of that influence in the events that unfolded for me as
talked briefly about the fox-trapping, and the fact that in the winter of
1976-1977 Dad and I trapped some 208 arctic blue foxes, not counting white
foxes and red foxes. We've talked about the great price those fox pelts
brought at the Seattle Fur Exchange in the spring and summer of 1977, and how
the $10,000+ that came from those pelts was the seed that began Christian
television broadcasting in Alaska.
to admit: when we were out tramping through knee-deep snow in blizzard and
white-out conditions, considering that we were advancing the Kingdom of God was
not really forefront in my thoughts. On better days, however, as I was
taking a fox out of the trap, I would speak to the fox and say, "Little
fox, you aren't going to spoil the vine. You're going to add to its
vision of taking Christian television to the entire state of Alaska was one in
which I had no idea whatever as to how it was going to unfold, or even how it
would be possible. Having a background already in radio and television
broadcasting, I knew there would be enormous expenses involved -- particularly
when it came to providing television to the small, isolated villages and
communities where access to broadcast television was a fantasy.
process began, as it turned out, with a simple request from the local TV
station at Saint Paul Island. This was a 100-watt station which
rebroadcast television programming from Anchorage by means of recorded
television programs using three-quarter-inch Sony commercial television video
recorders. The programming was being recorded in Anchorage, then flown
out to the island where the community would receive (at that time) perhaps
four-to-six hours of sometimes-grainy television, depending where they were on
City of Saint Paul was responsible for overseeing the tiny TV operation.
The City Manager knew of my background in broadcasting and engineering.
He called me in one day to talk about the poor audio quality of the sound that
went out with the picture and asked if there was anything I could do the fix
the problem. As soon as I saw their equipment and the way it was set up,
it was immediately apparent that they had no intermediate audio control for
controlling the sound levels, or dealing with some of the scratchy sound that
was recorded on the video tapes.
was a tailor-made opportunity to begin Christian television programming right
then and there! I agreed to build a piece of equipment that would remedy
their problems in exchange for their agreement to broadcast the 700 Club as
part of their daily programming five days a week. A quick phone call to
Scott Hessek at CBN in Virginia Beach (he was the guy
who laid this vision on me to begin with) resulted in him agreeing to provide
the 700 Club on professionally-made video tapes, a week at a time, and we would
bicycle the tapes back and forth.
was a small beginning in a remote location on a small television "station"
(and I use the word, "station," somewhat euphemistically) in a small
community. I couldn't help but think of the prophecy of Zechariah:
Zechariah 4:8-10: Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, The hands of
Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house;
his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know
that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of
small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the
eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
promise of the Lord was that though there were small beginnings, we would see
the growth and development to the finish -- that the Lord was doing the
you next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our
Healing Prayer Call takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM
Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty
getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in
number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in
case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by
conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference
number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code
is 308640#. We hope to make
these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you
miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
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