Well that’s a wrap on another Bethel trip. [Even before starting Choose RCVRY, my family previously lived in Bethel. Since that time we try taking trips back to this part of Alaska to keep up relationships there and do what we can alongside other ministries there. So when the mission of Choose RCVRY became more clarified for me, I knew Bethel would be on the radar for a trip!]

This place still has a piece of my heart and while several have either passed away or moved on from Bethel, it’s always a joy to see familiar faces and friends still in the trenches here.


In the Trenches


Warriors serving in the trenches is really a fitting way to describe what the ongoing situation in the Bethel area is like. The kingdom of darkness is trying to take back ground, and in some ways honestly has. Yet we have this beautiful and powerful promise that Jesus is building His church against the gates of hell.


Our friends in this region are truly in the trenches of a fierce battle… one of light and darkness. This trip we saw so many drunk people stumbling around town and even collapsed on the ground. We saw so many disputes, cops arresting people, we even saw two guys beating a girl up and had to intervene. We heard drunken cries across the dark night sky near the homeless shelter where we volunteered. It’s truly like a battle of epic proportions that COVID and isolation has only made worse. So when I say in the trenches, this is the kind of daily battle I speak of.


Now there certainly are areas where things don’t seem as bad, but I’m convinced our communities are only as healthy as our weakest parts. We can do better and we must do better. As Christians we carry a responsibility to wage war for healthier communities where people find freedom in God’s loving redemption. We’ve got to see more of the church wake up to this battle… not just the reality of it, but their collective need to be in the middle of it.


This is the calling that I’m giving my life to more and more. The things that keep me up late at night are the children who are sexually abused with seemingly no voice, the drunk who’s collapsed on the street with no hope, the drug dealer or user who’s created a world of captivity for his or her own self, the man or woman whose abuse and exploitation warp reality and identity, the porn addict who secretly creates a world of his or her own choosing that silently feeds a sexual underworld of lost identity, the woman whose eating disorder drives her to inner despair, the many who wrestle under the iron fist of empty religion’s judgments, and all those with suicidal thoughts in seeming hopelessness. These are all areas affecting not just the Bethel region, but really every community across our state, nation, and world.


A Brand with a Mission


I’m realizing something more and more. God brings us along His path through seasons all to mold us for what’s next. I came to Alaska with the idea of helping do church work across Alaska’s villages. God gave me and my wife a love for the cultures here and hearts that aim to impact all the darkness across Alaska. Little did I know that He would put me on staff with Freedom House, have me pastor a recovery church, and start the Choose RCVRY brand. Through those new areas I’ve met some incredible friends from the recovery community that to this day challenge my own ongoing healing and recovery. I’ve personally healed and recovered more in these last 3 years than my entire life. I feel like God has the upper hand yet again… making me inadvertently stumble into the recovery world and find out that it’s more for my own healing than helping others heal.


So there you have it! Choose RCVRY, an apparel brand with a mission… but whose mission is becoming more front and center of who we are and why we exist. My heart bleeds for the areas of darkness across our state and world. This first big Stories of Hope outreach in Bethel is the first of many efforts like this for the brand. So thank you for supporting Choose RCVRY through your purchases. When we represent this brand together, we’re supporting and representing the pushing back the darkness in Alaska and beyond.


 - Derek

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