You know how stories and stereotypes go — you hear something about a person or a place and immediately develop a preconceived notion about it.
For the last six months we’ve had many conversations with neighbors, church people, passerby’s at Petco (where we fundraised) and family about Alaska. When July 10 rolled around, we had pretty solid knowledge about The Last Frontier.
Fresh off a week of traveling through Alaska and encountering many people, we’ve learned quite a bit. Certainly, one week is definitely not enough time to identify a culture or mindset, but these five things really stood out and were different to what we’ve encountered in other states.
1. People will actually refuse prayer
Living and ministering in the ‘Bible Belt’ – that is Louisiana – the good ole’, “Can I pray for you?” or “Do you have anything I can pray for you about” works. It works so well that I’ve never seen someone in Louisiana refuse prayer during my time with them.
When we were out canvasing parts of Seward, Alaska, the majority of people refused prayer. I grew up a Catholic turned atheist and I never refused prayer. Sure, I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t care, but even when I didn’t believe it still felt like the right thing to do.
With 30 students across Louisiana — many born and raised in Bible believing towns — hearing someone actually say “no” after those above questions was a bit of a shocker.