Blog

A Winter Road and Answered Prayers

By Jeff Kirkpatrick and Colleen Estes

Near the end of February, a trailer home was delivered to Pikangikum via the winter road. This delivery is the culmination of over two years of prayer and hard work by Terry Janzen in partnership with Colleen Estes in Pikangikum. In June 2019, Terry led a six-member team from Shantz Mennonite Church in Baden, Ontario to visit Pikangikum with a desire to see first-hand the ministry needs.

Important News for our LHNM Family

By Clarence Meekis, LHNM Board Chair

Stuart and Delores Swartzentruber have been serving us faithfully and with passion and dedicated commitment for the last few years in what has been an agreed upon position as interim Executive Director. At the last LHNM Board meeting in November 2021, Stuart informed the board that they will be ending the active leadership work and position of Executive Director on November 1, 2022.

I See Jesus in You

By Stuart Swartzentruber

Recently I sat in a Sunday service at New Hope Fellowship in Thunder Bay listening to a new Christian describe what drew him to follow Jesus. He said that he saw happiness and passion when individuals talked about Jesus. As he became part of the group, he observed how people took care of, prayed, and shared love with one another. He said, “I saw Jesus from looking at you. When I talk to you, I see Jesus’ personality in you.” I can think of no greater affirmation for a church than that comment! I was overwhelmed with gratefulness at that moment for the privilege of belonging to this local expression of the body of Christ.

Hopelines March 2022

Legacies of Hope and Purpose

In Memory of Goyce Kakegamic and Jim Keesic

By Merle Nisly

Even while we commit our ways and our days into God’s hands, sometimes we are forced to make drastic changes to our plans and to our perspective on the future.

December 2021 has brought into sharp focus the reality of death and the uncertainties about the plans we make for ourselves and for our families. Within a week, two elders who were dear friends of ours left their spouses, families, and communities grieving their sudden passing.

It makes us wonder if, or when, our plans for life and for family will be altered just as suddenly. Would I adapt and embrace the new outlook in similar circumstances?

Hopelines December 2021

Year in Review: 2021
Adjusting to the Changes in Ministry Life

It is a joy to share the following updates with you. Once again, this year-end reflection shows God’s faithfulness as the LHNM team looks back on a year which was still affected by the pandemic—probably more than anyone would have guessed!

Pastoral Opening in Whitefish Bay

Whitefish Bay is a community of approximately 175 people, and is one of three communities which comprise Lac Seul First Nation. It is accessible by paved road. The community has a Christian school which was established in 1993 using the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum, and is still in operation. Next to the school is the community complex, which is then by the community church.

A Journey From Blindness

By Stuart Swartzentruber

The discovery of unmarked graves at former residential school sites has brought horror and grief to many in Canada. There is also a certain kind of vindication for the residential school survivors who have spoken of atrocities at some schools for many years.

I am non-Indigenous, but help lead an organization that is owned and controlled by a majority Indigenous board. I grieve for the loss and the pain that the residential school system brought to Indigenous people in Canada. I grieve that LHNM’s historic connection to organizations that operated a residential school still causes pain. I grieve that I participated in a government funded system designed to destroy Indigenous culture. I grieve for the students and friends that encountered pain and loss at Poplar Hill Development School where I worked. I am trying to learn how to walk in humility and repentance in regards to those years of my life.

Hopelines September 2021

New Connections in Parry Sound

By Jamie Thornton
Over the years I’ve enjoyed following the Living Hope Native Ministries (LHNM) website and looked forward to receiving the Hopelines newsletter in the mail. Rhonda and I feel blessed and humbled to be able to share our calling to serve with you in this issue.

Where we live in Parry Sound, Ontario there is only a swing bridge separating the town from Parry Island (Wasauksing First Nation). When I started school in the mid 60’s many of the students from Wasauksing were bused to Isabella school where I attended and many friendships where formed. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for our First Nations neighbours….

Tensions that Strengthen

By Stuart Swartzentruber
I have memories of baling hay as a boy on our farm in Delaware. The hay was compacted into a chamber where strands of twine were knotted around the bale. The right amount of tension was needed to produce a bale that was firm, but not too heavy. Too little tension and the bales were soft and unstackable; too much tension and the bales were heavy and the twine in danger of snapping. I remember tightening or loosening the tension on the machine.

Words like “restriction,” “stress,” “tension,” and “constraint” bring up negative emotions in many of us these days. But can there be tensions that strengthen? Is there a stress that produces beauty?

Hopelines June 2021: Staff Edition

Tensions that Strengthen

By Stuart Swartzentruber
I have memories of baling hay as a boy on our farm in Delaware. The hay was compacted into a chamber where strands of twine were knotted around the bale. The right amount of tension was needed to produce a bale that was firm, but not too heavy. Too little tension and the bales were soft and unstackable; too much tension and the bales were heavy and the twine in danger of snapping. I remember tightening or loosening the tension on the machine.

Words like “restriction,” “stress,” “tension,” and “constraint” bring up negative emotions in many of us these days. But can there be tensions that strengthen? Is there a stress that produces beauty?