Alaska, an Aleut word meaning "The Great Land" is a land of contrasts. It is as green as Eden and as white as snow. It is rich in resources and as barren as tundra. It is a land of boundless wealth and a land of poverty. It is a land of the Eskimo, Aleut, and Indian, and the land of the oil baron. It is the largest state in the union, it has the smallest population that offers the warmest hospitality in the continent’s coldest climate. Its people are of a much determined and self reliant quality.
During the gold rush, Skagway and Nome became famous places. So did Klondike Kate, and Soapy Smith and his infamous gang. Along with these early northern fortune seekers came men of integrity. Jasper N. Sylvester, grandfather of H.M.S.Richards, Sr., (founder of the Voice of Prophecy), a blacksmith in Skagway and to our knowledge was one of the first Adventist in the territory. He preached the Word and left our literature. Others like him, with a spirit of adventure, followed and have left their imprint on the minds of the people.
The work began slowly, but flourished in the 1930's-1970's, when much of Arctic Alaska was won to Jesus through the efforts of dedicated public school teachers and student missionaries doing Bible work in the villages. These years of strong evangelism helped to establish a stronghold throughout the Arctic. In the mid-1980's, Alaska's status was changed from a mission field to a conference and we continue to reach out to the people of this remote, pristine and unspoiled state.
If you would like to learn more about the conference, the Alaska Mission History book is available for purchase from the conference office. All proceeds go to the Arctic Mission Adventure program.