All men die. Few men ever truly live.
- William Wallace, Braveheart
#1: MEN ARE DRAWN TO ALASKA
You can read more about T.O.G.'s mission and vision in the who we are section of this website. For now, we'll shoot you straight. Alaska is spiritually dark, and the opportunities to serve and invest here are as vast as the landscape, but the reason we're in Alaska is because we want to dig in the hearts of men, any man, even the disengaged, fringe man who is lost in the monotony of life yet drawn to the vastness of Alaska. You know who we're talking about. Maybe you are who we're talking about: the guy who probably wouldn't go on a mission trip to Guatemala or Africa or Honduras, at least not yet. There's something about Alaska that calls out to a man's heart and reminds him that he was meant to adventure with THE FATHER. We want to create space for that interaction and challenge men to engage or re-engage in their own lives at a deeper level.
#2: ALASKA IS RIPE FOR THE HARVEST
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life rated Alaska as one of the least religious states in the United States. Their U.S. Religious Landscape Survey report found that one-in-four Alaskans (27%) describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular, compared with 16% among the adult population of the continental United States. This survey also found that Alaskans tend to be less religious on a variety of measures as compared with the overall U.S. population. Whereas a majority of American adults (56%) say that religion is very important in their lives, only 37% of Alaskans place great importance on religion, and nearly one-third of Alaskans (31%) say religion is not too important or not at all important in their lives, compared with only 16% among the public overall. According to the 2012-2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Alaska was ranked as one of the top ten states for rates of illicit drug use in a number of categories and also has the highest rate of suicide per capita in the country.
There are front-line Christian men and women here who are engaging the darkness and owning the lostness in their communities. These soldiers are often tired and under-funded, and they remain on the ground long after a team departs. Trades of Grace offers a unique mission opportunity by making it our business to invest in and with these missionaries and church planters year-round so that we know the needs they have and match incoming teams with project and serving opportunities to meet these needs. That way, there is no hit or miss, and every team makes a difference that continues to compound in their abscence.