Shungnak is located on the right bank of the Kobuk River about 150 miles east of Kotzebue. The original settlement was 10 miles further upstream at Kobuk. Mission work in Selawik begun in the 1930s and 40s by early Adventist flying missionaries. The first baptisms took place in the Selawik River. Several young people from the village spent some years at the Bristol Bay Mission School during the 50s and 60s. In this growing village of some 950 there are currently only about 15 members, but many local people have a connection to the church via family affiliation. Blessed with a new church and parsonage, AMA volunteers Tony and Airen Sherman are leading the small faithful group in Arctic Alaska.



Anthony & Airen Sherman

When Anthony and Airen Sherman first arrived in Alaska in 2011, they were inspired to move to the small village of Shungnak.  Anthony was trained as an Indian Health Services community health aid practitioner and the couple sought to use his medical skills while making connections for Jesus.  Much work has been done during their time there, but there is much more to do.  At times the challenges can seem overwhelming and the progress slow, but the Tony shares, “It’s hard to see exactly how the Spirit is working, but I believe things are happening. After many years, people are starting to warm up and trust me and what I have to say about Christ.”

Shungnak Kids


Can You Help?

Costs Include Transportation

Food Bank ($6,000)

Children's Ministry Program ($4,000)

Weekly Youth Night ($5,000)

Volunteer Support, i.e., utilities, ongoing housing costs ($12,000)



Source: DCRA Portal

Founded in 1899 as a supply point for mining activities in the Cosmos Hills, the Inupiat residents of Shungnak were forced to move in the 1920s because of river erosion and flooding. The old site, 10 miles upstream, was renamed Kobuk by those who remained there. The new village was named Kochuk but later reverted to Shungnak. This name is derived from the Inupiaq word "Issingnak," which means jade, a stone found extensively throughout the surrounding hills. The city government was incorporated in 1967.  It is a traditional Inupiat village with a subsistence lifestyle. High school students from Kobuk attend school in Shungnak.