I had the opportunity, while in Alaska, to witness the ministry of many men and women, who work side by side in service of the Gospel. I was especially impressed by the women I met, who, in a very male dominated world, and in the midst of the expectations on women in Native traditions, strive to offer their unique gifts to the Church and their communities. Life is not easy for many of them. They are not verbally strident but instead, they take the steady role of firm but gentle leader. They persist, even in the face of adversity. They work hard and complain little. They see themselves as strong witnesses, and do their work with great joy and laughter. In an atmosphere of long darkness and long light, of great cold and great beauty, and of challenges too great to mention, they carry on with energy and humility. And I believe God delights in the work they do, and blesses their ministries.
Today, I want to be a little more like the strong women of Alaska. Honest about the challenges but fearless in the face of it all. I want to go through the day with a faith that is so firm, nothing can shake it. And I want to be challenged to carry my light, and the Gospel light, despite all of the daily extremes, with great joy and laughter. May we all be strengthened and encouraged by their witness. May we blossom where we are planted. And may love grow because we have been fearless and have offered the gifts that we have been given.