Joe and Holly Greeson met at Faith in 1989 and were married two years later. While attending Faith, they were involved in a variety of ministries, including choir and Evangelism Equipping (now called GO). Their desire to serve others and spread the gospel eventually led them on an almost 20 year adventure that has taken them thousands of miles throughout Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
The Greesons serve with SEND North, a ministry that establishes churches in villages and cities within what is called the “60/70 window.” This band of North America between 60 and 70 degrees latitude is a sparsely populated area where there are indigenous groups in hundreds of villages, many off the road system. Joe says, “Though missionaries have long been active in some areas of the far North, most villages do not presently have a strong and growing, locally- led church with solid Biblical focus.”
Joe and Holly serve church-planting missionaries by encouraging them through visits and other communications. They help provide resources for the families and fill in for them when they must be gone from the field. Joe says, “Our mission is to make sure that people are connected and reduce the sense of isolation that saps the vitality of ministries in the North.”
Joe and Holly live in Anchorage, Alaska and serve 52 missionaries and their families. They frequently travel by small plane to villages that are off the road system. At the end of January they visited six missionary families in the Yukon, a trip that covered 2,150 miles. “Our people have been called a ‘rock in a hard place.’ They and their families endeavor to live incarnationally (showing who Jesus is by the way they live) in communities that are afflicted with the problems of the inner city with far fewer resources to deal with them. Sometimes they are blindsided by spiritual warfare, compounded by the effects of seasonal depression and loneliness. We want them and their families to survive, grow, and even thrive in the face of those challenges.”
The Greesons especially have a heart for the children of missionaries (called MKs) and work to help them through the struggles of growing up in remote areas. Last fall The Greesons initiated
a retreat for the teenage MKs in Anchorage. “We wanted to strengthen the peer influence of fellow MKs. We also wanted to express understanding of the difficult challenges they face and appreciation of the important role they play in family and ministry. God used many on our logistics and support team to provide fellowship and encouragement to these high schoolers. We are still getting messages of thanks for the retreat from the teens and their parents.”
It has been decades since Joe and Holly have been a part of Faith. Like many of the missionaries they serve, they sometimes long for a connection with their church family. Still, they would not trade their experiences for anything. “Because we travel to just about every village where SEND missionaries live, we have a ringside seat to see churches planted and lives changed.”