While attending separate colleges, Ted at Multnomah School of the Bible and Marilyn at Grace Bible Institute, both graduated with hearts ready to serve the Lord. After graduation Ted served under Arctic Missions Inc., in Pedro Bay, Alaska. He remembers it being a time for those gracious native people to train him in practical Alaskan life experiences as well as challenge him as he served the small village church. Marilyn, at that time was living in Anchorage, working at East High School and was privileged to lead the Youth for Christ Club in that school for several years. During these years, both worked at Victory Bible Camp in the summer months.
Ted Franke and Marilyn Gillespie were married in 1980 at Victory. For the first two years of their marriage they served in Anchorage at Chapel by the Sea where Ted directed the youth department. In 1985 they were asked to consider moving to Fairbanks to take over the direction of a small three week summer camp called Camp Li-Wa. The camp was being given to Arctic Missions, later known as InterAct Ministries. Through God’s direction, they accepted this call and took on a challenge much bigger than either of them could ever realize.
By God's grace and provision the camp grew into a year round summer camp and winter conference/retreat center. The primary mission of the summer camp was not just to evangelize but to disciple and grow future Christian leaders. After 26 years of service, up to seven families were on permanent staff and outreaches into Fairbanks community were significant. God chose to bless this ministry with many lives changed for eternity and it was a privilege to serve in that capacity.
While in the ministry of Christian Camping for nearly 28 years, Ted and Marilyn were blessed with connections with ministry leaders all over Alaska. Now for them to join with Alaska Mission Connection (a special project under the umbrella of Arctic Barnabas) seems like a natural progression to their past ministry experience. The Alaska Mission Connection is an organization attempting to facilitate collaborations among ministries working around Alaska as its motto states, "Jesus followers united in mission." The Frankes have been encouraged as almost daily they see God uniting Alaska's ministry leaders, and building connections to effectively evangelize and disciple all of Alaska's people.