Broadcasting the Gospel

“Broadcasting the Gospel,” Ensign, June 1995, 69–70

Broadcasting the Gospel

Not every woman has a state legislature pass a resolution in her honor, but Rachel Craig of the Kotzebue Branch, Anchorage Alaska Bush District, has. Sister Craig was recognized by the Fifteenth Alaska Legislature for her work in cultural affairs in the Northwest Arctic School District; for promoting cross-cultural understanding through writing and lecturing on the native Inupiaq language; for her selection as Outstanding Graduating Senior Woman at the University of Alaska; and for helping share and preserve the Eskimo heritage.

Living on the tip of an icy finger of land that reaches into the Chukchi Sea just above the Bering Strait, Rachel is both an influential citizen and one of the few members of the Church in the area. Her testimony affects everything she does. For example, every Sunday Rachel and her husband, David, broadcast a brief religious radio program over the local radio. David writes the sermonettes in English, and Rachel translates them into her native Inupiaq language. Both versions are broadcast.

Although Rachel grew up in Kotzebue, she met David in Seattle, Washington, where she was going to school. They were married in 1959 and later adopted a son. As their son grew, they felt the need to provide him with religious upbringing. The missionaries came into their life from two directions at once—through telephone contacting and when a friend invited the family to listen to the discussions in their home.

After thirteen years of marriage, the Craigs decided to return to Kotzebue. The Craigs were happy to see the organization of the first branch in the area.

“We don’t have a lot of new members yet,” Rachel reports. “But the people here often comment positively on our radio program.”

Rachel has been very influential in gathering histories and genealogies of her people. Anthropologists have worked in this area for decades and have not been able to acquire some information because of the language barrier and the reluctance of some people to share information with strangers. But they willingly talk with Rachel.

In her, they know they have found a sister.—David Albert Hales, Fairbanks, Alaska

Photo by Barry McWayne