Staff

E.D. Burns: President
E.D. Burns was first appointed as a missionary in 2004, and he and his family have lived and served in numerous countries around the world. His vision for GCA is that the desire to honor Christ among the unreached and undiscipled would motivate our efforts, that the Word of Christ would permeate our discipleship/training, and that lost souls and theologically famished believers among the Alaska Natives would arouse in us compassionate service. 

Mike Sidders: Manager of Operations
Mike has been flying for 25 years. Summers spent flying in Alaska prompted Mike to leave a successful real estate appraisal business in Montana in 2009 and serve full time ministering in Bush Alaska. Mike serves as the VP of operations, coordinating the full time staff and various part time volunteers in areas of maintenance and air lift, and flies missions as needed. Mike also works as the GCA FAA certified IA (Inspection Authorization).

Billy Tjernlund: Pilot, Teacher, Mechanic

Billy Tjernlund grew up in the Chicago area and graduated with a youth ministry degree from Moody Bible Institute in 2006. After serving as a local youth pastor for a time, he pursued aviation and became a commercial and instrument pilot, and a certified A&P and IA mechanic. From 2011 to 2018, he served as a teacher, translator, pilot, and mechanic with an indigenous indian group in Mexico before joining Great Commission Alaska in 2019. He has been married to Erika since 2009, and his daughter Evaleigh was born in 2017.

Rich Redmond: Director of Field Personnel & River Ministries
Rich grew up in Alaska as a missionary kid and even with missionary parents, he was a born sinner. He is thankful to now be reborn a saint of God-1 Tim. 1:12-16. Prior to serving as a missionary for GCA, Rich worked as a school counselor serving in several Native villages.   He utilizes his people skills providing guidance and encouragement to GCA field personnel. He has been ministering for nearly five years in South-central and Southwestern Alaska on the mighty Kuskokwim River. Rich also works with our ministry partner KYKD (Bethel) Christian radio passing out solar powered radios on the river where there is no electricity and the power of Darkness is strong. Rich welcomes you to join him on an outreach trip if the Holy Spirit leads.

Michael Nylund: Certified A&P (Airframe & Powerplant) Mechanic
Michael had accrued 30 months of aircraft maintenance experience and completed an A&P course December 2016 to become a certified aircraft mechanic. Michael earned his private pilot certificate in the spring of 2016.  He has been using his new flying privileges to transport his parents and other biblical teachers in support of a weekly village bible study, which is only accessible via airplane.

Jeff Kirsch: Content Manager & Aviation Maintenance
Jeff is a commercially rated instrument pilot, is working as an aircraft mechanic in training, and is the content manager for the GCA website/social media. Jeff is excited to serve with a ministry that advances the gospel of Christ through bible camps, discipleship, and outreach trips. Please be praying for the Kirsch family as they continue to serve with GCA in Alaska.

Daniel and Kelsie Vrenna: KAGV Christian Radio

Kelsie has been working in radio since 2009, when a Christian radio station trained her for that particular ministry. She came to Alaska to serve at KAGV 1110 AM “Alaska’s Gospel Voice” in 2015. The following year she married Daniel, who has lived in Alaska since 2009. Daniel began serving full-time at KAGV along with Kelsie in July 2018. Radio provides a unique opportunity to share the truth of the Bible with people as they go about their daily lives.

Through preaching, teaching, music, audio dramas, and more the gospel is broadcast on KAGV to the most populated area of the state.

Board of directors

Shawn Bickford: Chairman
Shawn has his A&P mechanic’s license, military experience flying heavy jet transports, and is currently a pilot for a major airline. Growing in his love and commitment to the Lord, he and his family have embraced mission work in Alaska since 2005, supporting Kokrine Hills Bible Camp. The camp has grown significantly in the past 12 years and Shawn and family have continued giving time and resources to the ministry.

Ben Mosier: Vice President

Tim Turner: Member
Tim has been flying for over 30 years in military and commercial aviation. Tim flew F-16s and T-38s in the Air Force and currently flies for Delta. Tim moved to Alaska in 2004. Tim has a desire to see the gospel thrive in the Alaskan villages, and equip the next generation of pilots to carry on the work. Between flying for Delta, Tim trains new GCA pilots, coordinates various village ministries, and serves on the GCA board.

Nate Carson: Treasurer

E.D. Burns: Member (also serves as President of GCA)

volunteers

Peter Opheim: IT Logistics
Peter and his wife Evie moved to Alaska in the summer of 2014. Peter is a software developer, and manages the IT logistics of GCA. He is a private pilot and is currently building time with the GCA fleet.

Tim Larson: Pilot
Tim has experience flying for law enforcement, corporate aviation, and he currently flies for Alaska Airlines. Tim has flown many hours for GCA in support of the Kokrine Hills Bible Camp.