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  • Kelli Foreman

This All Started A Long Time Ago

I often talk about Kodiak being a remote, disconnected island in Alaska. It sounds pretty extreme when in reality we have mail delivery nearly everyday (it’s very weather dependent), two flights coming in and out, fresh fruit and vegetables, and internet which means close contact with the lower 48. However, that’s not how it has always been.

Let’s take a step back in time to 1893 when the Kodiak Baptist Mission was established.

What else happened in 1893,

  • Thomas Edison finished construction of the first motion picture studio in West Orange, New Jersey

  • Rudolf Diesel receives a patent for the diesel engine

  • The USS Indiana, the first battleship in the United States Navy comparable to other nation’s battleships of the time is launched.

  • Grover Cleveland is sworn in as the 24th President of the United States

  • The first recorded college basketball game occurs in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

  • The 1893 World’s Fair opens in Chicago, Illinois.

  • Settlers make a land run for prime land in the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma

  • Brothers Charles and Frank Duryea drive the first gasoline-powered motorcar in America, on a public road.

So while the world was making great strides forward a small mission was being formed on an island in the Pacific Ocean.

Communication was extremely challenging with only four months of back and forth between the lower 48 (much different than today's fluid travel and communication). Mr. Roscoe arrived May 9, 1893 and went to work. He laid out 640 acres of land on Wood Island, selected a site for the building and began construction. The North American Commercial Company, gave substantial aid and the first child was received July 4th of 1893.

It was written,

“The first eighteen months were difficult. Help was hard to find, buildings were hard to heat, and there were misunderstandings with the local priests. Mrs. Roscoe wrote in midwinter: “I have managed to keep a little hole thawed through the ice in the winter, but is has been hard work. I have not been warm since last October.” But the work went on steadily. The building was completed, land surveyed and ground broken. A day school and Sunday school was opened and the children were cared for.”

I can only imagine life during that time and the extreme amount of dedication and sacrifice of the missionaries. I wish I could say things only got better from there, but a long history of hardship and determination was still ahead. But, this has always been and continues to be God’s mission and through it all, the life saving message of Jesus Christ has been shared.

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