Upward Challenge 2013 kicked off the year in Wasilla, Alaska, June 16-22 2013 with forty-five youth and adults in attendance. We met at First Presbyterian Church of Wasilla, our host from 2011.

It was a wonderful week, as God displayed both His power and His love in undeniable ways, and most of the kids were deeply impacted.

The week was characterized by the intimate, loving community at camp and God’s powerful Holy Spirit labs.

Read more to hear about the amazing healing and empowerment God did in and through us.

There were:

  • multiple healings,
  • demons driven out (many through the prayers of the campers themselves, not the “experts”)
  • difficult conversations handled with love
  • kairos moments recognized

Spiritual attacks came hard and fast on Monday, and continued throughout the week, but we learned quickly to draw together and call upon the Lord, and our intercessors, and He triumphed every time.

Group Discussion Time at Upward Challenge Alaska
Group Discussion Time at Upward Challenge Alaska

It was hot in Alaska this year! It felt more like North Carolina than Alaska. We even had to cancel one afternoon outdoor activity and move it indoors. We don’t do 80s well up here, let alone 90s.

We began the week on Sunday afternoon with leadership training and anointing.

All the leaders then helped with final preparations for camp and then campers began arriving around 6 p.m.

We officially began our UC week with dinner and worship. Small groups met for the first time that evening, and this year, God led us to do something new, same-gender groups.

We were excited to watch the groups as they quickly drew together.

Nearly every camper commented on how wonderful the small groups were and that they loved keeping the genders the same.

They felt that it made it a lot easier to discuss personal issues and become more intimate with one another.

Group Teaching at Upward Challenge Alaska
Group Teaching at Upward Challenge Alaska

Excellent teaching was provided throughout the week by Steve Coleman, Judy Cook and Benjamin McEntire.

Evening talks were led by various leaders, and included testimonies on operating in God’s will vs. under our own power, letting God use us now, not waiting to get ourselves “fixed” before thinking we can be of use, and moving away from the lies of New Age and into the light of Christ.

Our afternoons were active! Our camp pastor/fun guy, Henry Woodall, led games on Monday. It was a hoot listening to a room full of teens giggling as they were taught line dancing and country dances.

Line Dancing at Upward Challenge Alaska
Line Dancing at Upward Challenge Alaska

On Tuesday, the group had a choice of heading into the mountains for a hike (and a dip into an ice-filled lake) or staying back at church to participate in a variety of worship workshops (dance, art, music).

Upward Challenge Youth by Mountain Stream
Upward Challenge Youth by Mountain Stream
Group Photo of Those Who Went Hiking
Group Photo of Those Who Went Hiking

On Wednesday, we did service projects. One group stayed at church to sweep the massive parking lot and repaint the lines, another group went to a nearby thrift shop to help sort clothing.

Sweeping the Parking Lot
Sweeping the Parking Lot

On Thursday we had several prayer activity options. The guys stayed together for a healing prayer session, one group of girls remained at church to practice listening prayer, and two other groups set out on “treasure hunts,” first praying together for words or pictures and then setting out to see how they connected.

The debrief that night was especially fun as the various groups reported on how God had worked during that time.

Expressing Worship at Upward Challenge Alaska
Expressing Worship at Upward Challenge Alaska

Friday was the sweetest day of our week, as we drove to Mountain Streams Bed & Breakfast in Hatcher Pass for a day of prayer. It was a perfect culmination to the week!

Glynn Strabel had prayerfully prepared her beautiful home and land for the walk and shared a wonderful testimony about the property with the campers. The campers then did one or more of the three prayer walks available and then we spent the afternoon in solo time with God.

We concluded our day of prayer with a back-porch worship/communion service led by Pastor Henry, and then had a barbecue dinner and a debrief of our day.

Porch Time at Upward Challenge Alaska
Porch Time at Upward Challenge Alaska

Our final day was a surprise, as God led us to lead prayers for empowerment on Saturday morning—not necessarily the ideal time as there was no chance to debrief afterwards.

Nearly all of the campers came forward for prayer and many rested in the spirit. Some were blessed by holy laughter while others experienced healing.


The campers have expressed a desire to remain connected throughout the year and we are planning to hold periodic Upward Challenge events before next year’s camp. The first of these was a debrief on July 21 that was well-attended (about half the camp was there).

Good teaching and clarity were provided by Judy Cook and others. We are very excited to watch how Upward Challenge is growing and impacting the youth in Alaska, and feel that something incredible is building here.

We pray that we will walk in step with Him and that Upward Challenge will glorify Him only. It is a joy to be in ministry with Him!

Your Next Step

Upward Challenge 2017 in Wasilla, AK, is happening very soon, but there’s still time to register! To learn more details about this year’s event or to register, please follow the link below.

Even if you can’t come to the event in person, please pray that the Holy Spirit would meet, lead, and empower the teachers and the teens who attend.

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