October 30, 2019

Life-Sized Tabernacle Replica Comes to Alaska

Mike Osborn, GleanerNow, and Adventist Review

Pastors from Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley in Alaska, United States, gathered for prayer and fellowship in October 2018. The conversation eventually moved toward answering the question, “How are we going to be salt and light in Alaska’s largest metro area in 2019?”

After much prayer, they began working to bring the Oklahoma, United States-based Messiah’s Mansion, a life-sized wilderness tabernacle, to Anchorage in September 2019.

As area churches caught the vision, the Alaska Conference administration offered to cover up to 50 percent of the proposed budget, as bringing Messiah’s Mansion included considerable expense to move equipment and people from Oklahoma to Alaska.

A view of the outside of Messiah’s Mansion during its display in Anchorage, Alaska, United States, in August 2019. Local church leaders said the replica of the tabernacle in the wilderness elicited many questions, interests, and requests for follow-up. [Photo: North Pacific Union Conference Gleaner]

At the Alaska State Fair in August 2019, a booth with a full-scale model of the Ark of the Covenant was displayed. Volunteers at the booth promoted the up-coming Messiah’s Mansion exhibit, talking with people and handing out brochures. The Russian Orthodox archbishop, who caught Adventist pastor Jim John’s enthusiasm, asked one of the Orthodox leaders to encourage his entire congregation to attend.

In September the truck arrived, with staff arriving the following day. The first tour was conducted for local evangelical pastors by Clayton Leinneweber, Messiah’s Mansion director. “The tour was a humbling account of the measures God has taken to bring us all back to personal communion with Him,” leaders said.

Public tours began the next afternoon, and despite heavy rain, more than 330 visitors came to see the life-size sanctuary. Leaders shared that one young couple, Miles and Kaitlin, had recently arrived in Anchorage and been convicted they needed to get back to God and attend church. The tour they attended hit the mark, and they wanted to learn more. The couple attended follow-up meetings at Anchorage Northside Seventh-day Adventist Church and have now started Bible studies.

John writes, "Miles and Kaitlin are seeking for a deep relationship with God, and their sincere efforts to learn about His character was sparked by attending the Messiah's Mansion."

By the final day of the exhibit, 2,920 people had toured the sanctuary, and more than 285 people requested follow-up.

“Volunteers continue to meet these requests with invitations for sanctuary classes, studies on Daniel, and mailouts of A Divine Design,” leaders reported. Leaders and church members are also making the most of the opportunity to share about the Brian McMahon evangelism series that will be held in February or March 2020, they said.

The original version of this story was posted on the North Pacific Union Conference Gleaner news site.