And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
John I, Ch. 3, Verse 22
To those who are prepared to listen, the North has a strong spiritual power. Throughout man's time here, he has
invoked the spirit world to assist in securing the necessities of life.
For the Inuit, carving spirit-helpers
into the ivory of their weapons honoured the animals who willingly gave
themselves to the hunters. For the interior Indians, a vast range of ceremonies was a crucial part of hunting activities, so that the
animals would not be offended and quit giving themselves to the people.
Driving into Eagle, Alaska in September 1999, I had the pleasure of meeting the modern equivalent of those traditional
hunters. Barry Westphal and his wife live in Eagle, and each year he asks the Lord to provide him with the meat needed for the winter.
For the past 3 years, caribou and moose have given themselves to Barry and his family by standing beside or on the road he's been driving along.
When I met Barry, he was in the middle of cutting up a fat young moose alongside the Taylor Highway just south of American Summit ("Highway"
in this context means a lane-and-a-half of gravel).
I had initially driven past, then something stopped me, and I backed up to talk to Barry as he worked. I believe that I have a
guide (an angel, to use the popular word) who tries to gently direct me, and the more often I listen to the voice, the more I meet people who are living
the most wonderful lives because of their beliefs. The lives that many of these deeply happy people lead would appall some of you - getting your steak at
Safeway, for example, is so much more civilized.
Throughout our conversation, Barry's love of this country, and of God's generosity in providing for his family, was clear. Often, though,
such conversations with Northerners don't mention God - Nature is the provider. The faith, however, is the same.
One of the things that I'm most thankful for is my discovery of this world that is so full of such people.