Tommy Thompson Bio 14 Indian Valley

CHAPTER 14

Indian Valley

While at a gospel conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, the mother and aunt of a young woman living in Alaska asked me to try to locate her. They said Sylvia was living about 25 miles south of Anchorage in a place called Bird Creek. I visited the area when I returned to Alaska, and located Sylvia at Bird Creek. At one time, Sylvia was in assembly fellowship. She had married a man who claimed to be a Christian and moved with him to Alaska. Alas, he turned out to be an abusive, domineering failure of a man. Returning from this visit from Bird Creek, I noticed an unused A-Frame building in nearby Indian Creek. It had a sign outside that identified it as the Valley Bible Chalet. Upon investigating its ownership, I discovered that the chalet belonged to a Gospel Mission, but was not used by them.

I arranged to rent the building from the Gospel Mission, and started a Gospel outreach witness to the residents of Indian Valley and Bird Creek. Within a couple years we were able to purchase the building. Sylvia attended faithfully until her husband moved them 140 miles away. The Lord saved some souls and a little assembly was started in the A-frame chalet. Bonnie Kelly was the first to profess. She had been a Mormon at one time, but her family soon moved her away from “this cult”.

Mary was another one who was wonderfully saved. Raised a Roman Catholic, Mary and her boyfriend, John, came to me and asked me to marry them. They seemed to have turned away from their religion. I am careful about performing such a wedding. But, after talking to them carefully, everything seemed fine.

After the wedding, Mary attended the gospel meetings in the chalet and was saved. This resulted in John physically abusing her and finally he shot her because she was a Christian. This ended the marriage and he left Mary for another woman. At the time of writing, Mary is in faithful fellowship at the Anchorage assembly.

On another occasion I visited door-to-door in Girdwood, 40 miles south of Anchorage where the famed Alyeska Ski Resort is located. At one door, another lady named Bonnie accepted our invitation and began attending the gospel meetings in the chalet.

As we got to know her, she told us about the sad life she had lived. At a young age, Bonnie ran away from a sexually abusive step-father. She went to live in Miami, Florida. There she entered the world of drugs. But she always lamented and thought about her innocent life before her father died when she was 10 years old. She had come to Alaska to try to escape her cruel and dangerous drug life. However drugs were a weekend pleasure for many professional men at the Alyeska Ski Resort, and Bonnie soon got mixed up with the drug crowd again.

After our visit and invitation, Bonnie attended gospel meetings each week. After six weeks, she was wonderfully saved and baptised. Her thoughts turned to her young sister at home, so Bonnie left Alaska to rescue her from the step-father. A few years ago, I met Bonnie again 50 miles from Anchorage. She had married a good man, started a family and was attending a fundamental church. The reports I have heard about her since then are that she still goes on in her Christian life. She credits our ministry through the chalet for saving her and her life.

A man named Dallas ordered me off his property at gunpoint. I learned later that Dallas had shot a man who was stealing some fuel from his tank. He was reputed to shoot any dogs that strayed on to his property.

I left him alone, but continued visiting other cabins near him. Often when passing by, I would call out and ask him, “Are you doing any shooting today, Dallas?” He took the ribbing good- naturedly. Soon he would wave me to come and talk with him. He even removed the snow from the chalet parking lot with his snow removal truck, but he never attended any meetings.

A number of years later Dallas became seriously ill with cancer, so I went to visit him. “Tommy, will you pray for me?” he asked. He was so weak and thin from cancer that he needed constant attention. He could not lift his arms and his limbs, and needed daily massages to prevent further deterioration. My heart went out to him because death was near. I lifted my heart to heaven and the Lord gave me words suitable for Dallas. I was very disturbed that I had seen no results of this visit and went home deeply moved about his death so near and him not saved. Encouraged by Marjorie I returned the next day to visit him. When I entered he said to his son, “Come and hear what Tommy has to tell us.”

I took him to Calvary. I described for him that it was there that the thief had cried out to Christ, “Lord! Remember me.” I told Dallas that at that moment, Christ assured that criminal that his destiny was with Him in Heaven. My heart was so heavy, looking at Dallas possibly for the last time. Suddenly he lifted his weak, withered arms towards heaven. “Lord Jesus, save me!” Dallas cried as loud as his weak voice would let him.

Arms that were immobilized were now strong enough to express his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I cried with joy all the way home. Shortly afterwards, Dallas went home to be with the Lord.

Another man named Naylor was the owner-operator of the combination bar, restaurant and motel at Bird Creek. His daughter and wife accepted an invitation to the gospel meetings at the Chalet and both professed salvation.

“Watch out for that blood-sucking preacher,” Naylor warned them, referring to me. “He’s only after money.” I spoke with him about the things of the Lord, but he declared he had no need for it. After that he said to his family, “He’s different than those blood suckers.”

Fifteen years later, during Sadie’s illness, Naylor was brought into the same hospital for an emergency heart operation. His family looked until they found me. When they found me, they were crying and asked me to come quickly to him. I accompanied him to the operating room, speaking to him all the way there about his soul.

God allowed Naylor to rally and get better. All this brought a change in his attitude. He loved me to visit him and read the Bible to him. He even gave me a massage support for my back when he heard I was having back trouble and much discomfort. When his condition took a turn for the worse and he was admitted to the hospital, it would be for the last time. I prayed with him and spoke tenderly of Christ’s work on the cross.

“Tommy, how can I be saved?” he asked. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” I said, quoting Acts 16:31, and simply told him what this meant. In that moment, on his deathbed, “twas done, the great transaction’s done”. Naylor was saved when he cried out “Lord save me.”

At his funeral, I let a few of his friends speak about him. One old, hard sinner stood up and said, “Naylor is in heaven now; he told me he was saved when I visited him in hospital” - a real confirmation of Romans 10:9. This was a great comfort to me and all the family.