Monday, September 10, 2012

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST:Tragedy on the Tundra


 Kiana, Alaska-

My friend Lisa and her children and I attended a delightful home church service and luncheon held by Brother Lance Kramer of Kotzebue this past Sunday, September 9th. Several other Christian couples also attended, who had come up to this region for the hunting season.

We enjoyed Lance's homemade soup with wild fowl, and my fudge brownies and homemade cornbread were a special treat.

The service went well as Lance shared from the word of God. 

But then, the service took on a more somber tone. Lance shared about a tragedy that just occurred over this past week-end in the Inupiaq village of Kiana. A man he had known and counseled for years, Teddy K. Smith, had returned to the villages after working in Hollywood. Teddy came to spend time with Lance before the weekend, and to recount his achievements in the movie world.

Teddy had found a niche in the world of movies in Hollywood, and was very proud his recent accomplishments, as he revealed to Lance in his home. Warning flags began to appear to Lance however, as it became clear that none of Teddy's accomplishments bore any resemblance to the Christian lifestyle. 

Deeply concerned, Lance encouraged Teddy to re-commit his life to Jesus Christ and to spend time in prayer with him that day.

"Oh...maybe some other time," Teddy responded, brushing off the opportunity. Lance felt apprehensive as he watched Teddy leave to go to his home village of Kiana to visit his mother and relatives. Teddy's mother Dolly Smith was a respected elder in his home village.

Lance shared with us what happened next.

Following Teddy's refusal to re-commit his life to Jesus Christ,  tragedy was to follow swiftly and unexpectedly. 

Teddy returned to his home in Kiana and purchased some alcohol and became drunken Friday night. Sadly, the unthinkable happened: Teddy tragically killed his own mother, Dolly Smith! Still under the influence of alcohol, Teddy began firing at first responders as they arrived on the scene. He then fled and escaped into the wilderness surrounding Kiana and has not been yet apprehended as of today, September 10, 2012.

Now, the entire Eskimo village of Kiana is in deep mourning. One of their beloved elders is now dead, and Teddy, whom everyone in the village knew, is now at large and considered armed and dangerous.

We all sat silently pondering the deep spiritual significance all this as Lance finished this deeply moving account at his service on Sunday. 

The entire village of Kiana is in deep shock and mourning, to the extent that counseling teams will have to be sent in this week to both the school and the medical clinic. 

Lisa especially requested that my readers take the time to pray over this deeply moving tragedy. The Inupiaq villages are small and tightly knit communities. Everyone knows one another, and almost all are inter-related to one another.

Please pray the Holy Spirit to move upon these people of Kiana at this time, bringing comfort and love and compassion into this situation. Pray that God will move Teddy to deep repentance and to peacefully turn himself in, and that no more shootings occur by him as he remains at large.  

Pray for grace and strength for LISA, as she flies to assist people through this painful Kiana  situation on Tuesday, September 11, 2012.

May God use this tragedy to bring many closer to Him as they seek love, comfort and understanding at such a time as this, and to illustrate the reality that earthly success and fame such as Teddy felt he had achieved, means nothing if it is apart from Jesus Christ. 

Thank you, wonderful readers, for your prayers over this for all affected and involved.

-Pamela Rae Schuffert

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