May 22, 2013

Who We Are

Our heart is to point Alaskan Native people to the healing and freedom that’s found in Jesus Christ.

The Alaska Freedom Journey leadership team…

 President Don Shugak


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path” – Proverbs 3:5-6.

I’m married to the most beautiful woman I know, Edna Sophie Shugak, and we’re blessed with two of the most gifted kids anyone can ask for – Kendra Janell Shugak/Jurica – hitched to Justin Jurica – and Jason Kyle Shugak – and five of the grandest kids we’ll ever know – Wren, Tazlina, Renton, Penelope and Cora. I’d show you pictures but that might take a while.

 Vice President/Executive Director Harry Hafford Jr.


I was born in Galena, Alaska, in 1959. My grandparents are George and Rebecca Jimmie and Harry and Rena Hafford. My mother is Helen Hodgkin and my father is Harry Hafford Sr.

My Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ. I’ve been married to my wife Heather for 29 years and we have four children – Althea, Lynette, Leneil and Earl. We currently live in North Pole and I’m serving as pastor at Fairbanks Native Bible Church. I also serve on the board of Alaska Freedom Journey as vice president.

My relationship with and pursuit of Jesus Christ has led me to freedom, peace, joy and countless blessings. My love for our people makes me to want them to have these things which I’ve received through Jesus Christ and this is the reason I serve. I believe, in my heart, that the mission of Alaska Freedom Journey can and will accomplish this. God bless one and all.’

 Secretary Linda Ross


I’m Linda Ross, Dena’ina Athabascan, and born and raised in Kenai, Alaska. My parents, Harry and Julia (Oskolkoff) Mann were also born and raised in Kenai. My grandmothers on both sides were Russian and Dena’ina and also born and raised in Kenai. My grandfathers were Russian and Finnish.

I graduated from high school and attended Bible College in Vancouver, Canada, where I spent four years and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Education. I’ve been married to Alan, 41 years in December 2011, and we’ve worked as missionaries with InterAct Ministries for 38 years, having served in both Canada and Alaska.

The past 24 years have been spent on Kodiak Island. We have two sons, Jonathan and Richard, and two daughters, Staci and Rebekah. They are all married. We have 12 grandchildren and one on the way.

Sixteen years ago I went to a Wounded Heart Seminar to hear Dan Allender and my healing journey began. I’m now working with Alaska Freedom Journey and, together with my husband Alan, have done five Hearts Going Towards Wellness conferences on Kodiak Island.

 Treasurer Barbie Williams


I was born on April 16, 1961, in Northway, AK, in a little unknown fish camp. I was shuffled between different homes and eventually raised by my biological mother’s brother – Fred Demit and his wife Bella. They already had four children. Cancer has since ravaged this family and they’ve all gone to heaven.

My mother sent me to Victory High School instead of school in Tok or anywhere else. I later attended Capernwray Bible School in Lancaster, England, and then Arctic Bible Institute, but due to unfortunate, secular, events in my life I didn’t live consistently for the Lord.

I lost my childhood friend and teenage sweetheart back in 1980. He and I had gone through some horrific things and we really connected due to similar life experiences. In July 1980 he disappeared. My life went off a cliff and it’s only by the grace of God I’m still here.

I dabbled in drinking sometimes and then went years without. But, when I did drink, it was with the full intention of staying numb – days at a time – as well as smoking cigs. I knew deep down God had never really let me go but He allowed me to go my own way. When it was time to pull me back, He pulled with much gusto. Six children, many failed attempts at happiness, one marriage later… and a blessing with cancer was the only way God could get my attention. That was in April 2007.

On May 15, 2007, my first surgery was scheduled. This was also the day I recommitted my life to Him, essentially laying my life at the foot of the cross and asking God to help me. From then on I’ve literally built a trusting relationship with the Lord. My God carried me when I couldn’t carry myself.

Board Member Jerry Valley


I am the son of Dal and Ann Valley, the grandson of Ewan (Moses) and Tatianna Naumoff of Karluk, Alaska. My dad was English and my mother Alutiiq. I was raised in a my father’s logging camp on Afognak Island and moved to Kodiak at five where I spent my elementary and high school years. My Christian journey began in 1976 by the roadside in Anchorage where I gave my life to Jesus and began studying His Word as my guidebook for life.

I am married to the love of my life, Patty.  We have five amazing children, twelve grandchildren and live in the beautiful Matanuska Valley where I am now retired and dedicated to serving my Alaskan Native brothers and sisters.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Alaska Freedom Journey is a dynamic ministry that is answering the call for such a time as this and I am honored and privileged to be a part of it.

And staff member…

 Administrator Jennifer McBride

Color cropped resize 

Greetings.  Shortly after arriving in Alaska in 1998, the Lord saved me. Very early on in my Christian walk, I had a vision of the State of Alaska being covered with a very dark cloud, like a thick blanket. There were a few spots of light shining through a few small areas, but mostly it was just very dark. I understood the spots of light represented where there was a strong Christian witness, but that we needed more lights. I have come to understand that vision expresses a burden for the people of Alaska that the Lord has given me. He also gave me my personal mission statement:

I have a passion for deliverance of the saints, who are suffering from spiritual oppression and discouragement, by encouraging them with the Truth of the Word of God and showing them the effectual working of God in their lives, so that they can join with us as fellow soldiers in the work for the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, while it is still day.

Over the past several years, I have been blessed by attending and supporting Anchorage Native New Life, and recall the year when we prayed about the establishment of Alaska Freedom Journey in its current form. I have also experienced healing and blessing by attending two Hearts Going Towards Wellness Conferences, one at Camp Woody and the other at Palmer.

After gradating college with an Accounting Degree, I started my professional career in the banking industry in the early 1980’s. Since then, I have held various positions as Director of Finance and Administration, most recently for Alaska Geographic Association.

I am an avid inductive Bible study student, and am currently serving in the Children’s ministry at my church and also run a weekly women’s Bible study at home.

It is an honor and a blessing to come along side and help, support and encourage the work of this ministry.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *