Celebrating Renewal at the Harvest Chapel
Despite its idyllic surroundings, Harvest Chapel has faced some difficult times. Located on Point Mackenzie Correctional Farm, the chapel is home to minimum-security prisoners who want to worship or who need answers or comfort from God. Because of its remote location on the outskirts of Wasilla, Alaska, Bibles, resources, and materials can be hard to find.
In 2017, the chapel members began praying for God to give them a renewed purpose. Henry Bauer, a chaplain’s assistant, was one of the men determined to use the chapel for God’s glory. Bauer entered Alaska’s prison system broken and lost after killing a man in 1995. Nearly 16 years after his crime, he softened his hard heart and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.
“I still have a few years to go before God releases me from Point Mackenzie Correctional Farm, but in the meantime, He continues refining me,” Bauer said. “He continues to temper my faith and use me for His glory. God has begun a wonderful thing in this once stone cold-heart of mine.”
As Henry and other chapel members prayed about their purpose together, they heard the prophetic words “Celebrate Recovery.” They also prayed that they would be authorized to hold meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous without outside volunteers. God answered that prayer quickly by giving them the liberty to have the programs led 100 percent by their peers. But they still weren’t sure exactly what “Celebrate Recovery” meant for them. They continued to rely on God for understanding.
Eventually, they were led to use a Life Recovery Bible for the program, given to them by one of the chaplains. The Bible is based on the 12-step recovery model and points to God as the true source of healing. It seemed like an answer to prayer, but when it was borrowed and never returned, they were once again at a loss. They knew that materials weren’t readily accessible in their location and that they might never receive another Life Recovery Bible.
“This is where you come in,” Bauer wrote to a Christian Library International volunteer. “Praise the Living Lamb of God! You sent us 12 green Life Recovery Bibles.”
With the renewal of the program, Bauer and the chaplains decided to keep the newly provided Bibles in the chapel so that they could use them for a Celebrate Recovery devotional every night. They needed more Bibles to give to men who seriously wanted to study the Bible, but they thought that the first delivery of Bibles had already been a large miracle. They didn’t think it would be possible to receive more.
“Guess what?” Bauer wrote in his letter. “You already know the rest of the story, because you sent us another 12 and we are now able to bless men who are relying on God to walk in recovery. We celebrate recovery here at Harvest Chapel and it is awesome. Thank you, Jesus!”
During the nightly devotionals, one young man confessed Jesus as Lord. Through the prayer and faithfulness of Henry and others at the Harvest Chapel, this little chapel at a small correctional farm in Alaska has been renewed. We hope this is only the beginning for the Celebrate Recovery program at Point Mackenzie Correctional Farm. Please pray with us that our resources will continue to reach remote corners as they answer prayers and provide a way for God to change lives.