Hopelines March 2024


A quarterly publication presenting news and stories of Living Hope Native Ministries, a partnership dedicated to serving the First Nations of Ontario.

Pikangikum Praise

We’ve been praying for someone to work with Colleen in Pikangikum, and moved in faith by getting a trailer moved to the community for that person to live in. This January, we moved Kirsten Watson into the trailer, and God provided even more than we imagined by sending Nick Backlund as well (we had to build him accommodations in the Eagle’s Nest). Praise God for his faithfulness and answered prayer!

Kirsten Watson

Nick Backlund

Our Vision

That in every First Nations context the local church would reach its full potential--worshipping in full devotion, attracting the seekers, mobilizing believers, restoring families, changing communities, affecting the world.

Miracles and Answered Prayer

By Rodney Martin, Thunder Bay

Miracles. When it comes to miracles in the Bible, we often see an event or situation that involves a powerful move or a powerful display of God’s power. The display often surpasses our natural laws or understanding. These miracles are extraordinary occurrences that can only be explained and attributed to the supernatural work of God. Whenever God does miracles in the Bible, it is to reveal Himself: His character, His love, and His purposes to us.

Miracles can provide evidence of God’s power and presence to the world and demonstrate His authority and love on behalf of His servants. A miracle can be performed directly by God or through His servants. Other words used to describe God’s miracles in the bible are signs and wonders (often used together), powers, and mighty works. And quite often, as believers, we share these testimonies of God’s miracles to encourage one another.

Arthur Lyndaker walking near his home in Red Lake, ON.

One morning, while in Bible school, I came into the living room of the place I was renting. From there I noticed my landlady out in the parking lot crying, which was very unusual; she was a strong lady who didn’t break down for no reason. I came to the window and asked her if she was alright. All she said was, “pray for me,” without any explanation. I put my hand on the window screen and she did the same, just as a point of contact. And I prayed for her. When I was done, I asked if she was going to be alright, to which she replied, “I’m believing for the best.” After she had gotten into the vehicle and left, I felt led to pray some more. So I shut the TV off and continued to pray for a few minutes longer. After some time had passed, I felt a peace of relief and continued on with my day.

The following weekend after the Sunday morning service, I was browsing at the bookstore, when I noticed my landlady running towards me. She was dragging a friend by the hand. She approached me and said, “Want to know what happened to me?” She continued to explain that day before she felt a lump under her arm, and had called the doctor and they made an appointment for her to have a biopsy. My landlady used to be a nurse; she had gone through cancer treatment before, so she knew what this was. She was on her way to the hospital when I saw her and prayed for her. While at the hospital they had the tray laid out with some surgical tools, and she was dressed in a gown. The doctor had the needle in one hand and with the other hand was looking for the lump. But miraculously the lump had disappeared. She had brought her friend to church just to give her testimony. That was in the year 2000 and still I am still in awe. This was just one miracle of God that I witnessed. God is so good. Amen.

Only God

By Jamie Thornton, Parry Sound

The Lord's greatest miracle in my life happened when he saved me over 14 years ago at age 48.

I was married to Rhonda and our life together had hit rock bottom. After exhausting all of my plans and ideas to find solutions to the unhappiness, confusion, and brokenness in our lives, I decided the answer was to end our marriage and to go our separate ways. At that time I didn't even know that Jesus was an option. I knew nothing about Jesus, grace, mercy or salvation. In the midst of all the darkness surrounding our lives, Rhonda cried out to the Lord, “God I believe, I believe, please save my marriage!”

In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:6

Not only did God save our marriage, He took it one step further! Out of nowhere, He showed Himself to me in a mighty, supernatural way and saved my soul!

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins Eph. 2:1

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Cor 5:17

The Lord was faithful and showed us His transforming power in the lives of numerous children during our time in camp ministry. We celebrated our 27th anniversary on February 13.

He is an awesome God and continues to bless our lives in ways only He can!

God is at Work!

By Andrew Lang, Interim Executive Director

Have you ever prayed super hard for something? You were really focused on it and wanted with all of your being for God to answer you in a certain way. Has it always worked out for you? Maybe you lost a little faith when the answer didn’t turn out the way you had hoped or wanted. I’ve definitely spent time searching myself and my motives when God doesn’t answer the way I want him to. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t love me, but it means he has a different plan and my prayer wasn’t lined up with the way he wanted the story to unfold.

Sometimes it’s hard to accept the fact that I’m not God, and I don’t always act in line with his will. God is so amazing though. Even though I miss the mark and don’t have it all together, he’s using people like me, and working in the lives of those around me to bring glory to himself.

I’ve recently been amazed at the incredible ways that God is at work in the Church and how he has been answering some very specific prayers. I’ve seen broken hearts mended, wounds and disease healed, and even God’s provision in new and unexpected ways. I hope this issue of Hopelines leaves you encouraged and excited to see what God is going to do next!

It's the Little Things

By Sebai Yaman, Thunder Bay

Here’s a small collection of miracles that we’ve seen in our church lately. We had a man whose hand was cut pretty badly on a coffee cup. We prayed for him, and the wound completely healed with no stitches and no medical attention in under a week.

Next we prayed for a woman who had a growth on her knuckle. She had an appointment booked to have it removed medically, but by the next day it had completely diminished, such that when she went in to see the specialist they told her the procedure was no longer necessary.

Finally one of our congregants asked for prayer for her small dog. She had recently found a considerable lump on its neck. She was very concerned as the dog is like a child to her. We prayed and by the next week the lump was gone without any veterinary intervention.

Praise God! He cares about the little things like cuts and growths and even pets.

Raised to Life

By Kevin Moore, Sudbury

A couple of years ago my cousin T, who was living up north, wasn't feeling well so got on his bicycle and drove himself to the hospital. When he got to the hospital he collapsed. He was gone. He died for at least 10 minutes, was revived, and was flown to the hospital in Sudbury. I went to visit him in the ICU. Upon arriving, I found his older brother with him. He shared how the medical people thought if T was to survive he might be in vegetative state, because he was gone for more than 10 minutes.

T opened his eyes for about a minute, and when he saw me he made some noise like he was trying to laugh. I could tell he was happy to see me. Before leaving we prayed for T. Many other Jesus-followers were praying for him as well. We all kept praying for him, and God heard our prayers. Within a month I got news T is walking around in his hometown. He still had a ways to go, but he was on the mend. God raised him up from the dead, but he has since passed due to other health issues. I'm trusting T is with the Lord. God is a God of miracles and He is a God who covets our prayers. I'm very thankful for the visit with my two cousins whom I hadn't seen in quite some time. Although the situation wasn't the best, God used it to bring us together. God is good.

Weak but Strong

By Arthur Lyndaker, Red Lake

Soon after Iris’s death, I was feeling very broken, weak, and vulnerable. I was also feeling guilty that I wasn’t investing more in people, but I felt like I had nothing to offer except brokenness and grief.

One day I told the Lord, “I have nothing to give anyone. If you want me to minister to people in my current messed up state, you will have to bring them to me. I am not going to go looking for ministry.” Within a week God brought two men into my life. One a recent widower who was also struggling with losing his wife, and the other a runner who had just gone through a serious health challenge.

Since that time I have been connecting regularly with both men. The widower and I often meet for coffee just to visit. We “get each other” because we are both struggling with losing our wife. The runner and I run together and God is blessing our friendship.

Through Iris's death, I am learning that God doesn’t need strong, independent, got-it-together people. Instead, he chooses to use broken, weak, vulnerable people. “When I am weak, I am strong.”

Softened Heart

By Stuart Swartzentruber, Thunder Bay

I was recently visiting someone very close to me. This person was going through deep waters and I wanted to walk alongside. Conversations between us had been somewhat shallow and not very helpful up to this point. Some things came to a head. I was frustrated and blew up and "spoke my mind."  My compassion and patience went out the window. This person blew up as well, and we came to a silent stalemate. I had not been so angry in a long time.

This is where God worked in an amazing way. He softened my heart, and gave me the ability to break the strained silence and apologize. God used this to break something loose. We shared for the next three hours with openness, and I believe God brought truth and honesty to the conversation. I am so grateful that God takes our sins and weaknesses, turns them around and accomplishes the good we were praying and trying for, but can't make happen!

Choosing Life

By Mary Kirkpatrick, Thunder Bay

Before Covid, Transformation Church in Thunder Bay had a relationship with a fly-in community, Marten Falls First Nation. A small group would go to visit and encourage the Christians in the community. Over a few years they did nine trips. After Covid, they tried to go back, even planning a couple trips, but for some reason things kept falling through. They didn't give up. They believed that their partnership with the community wasn't over.

A few months ago, Jeff and I started attending Transformation Church, and through some networking a health worker connected the church with other people in Marten Falls. We ended up partnering with a local program and working with local leaders. A team of four went up to Marten Falls for five days. I was one of them and enjoyed working with the community and fellow team members! We brought bows and arrows that the kids couldn't get enough of shooting, made crafts, went skating, did outdoor activities, roasted hot dogs on a bonfire, and helped with a community meal. Local leaders and a few elders took us and a group of children out rabbit snaring and we caught one rabbit!

Our pastor, Nathan, talks about this renewed relationship with the community as a type of "resurrection." God is at work! After years of not being able to go, we are now writing a proposal for continued partnership with the Choose Life program to come regularly. Even the school principal and teachers were very supportive. Multiple people of influence in the community recommended planting a church there. Currently there is no church or building for gathering other than the school gym. We are starting to make plans to figure out how to get a building there. There's a long road to wholeness for the community, but God is up to stuff and we are excited to work together with our brothers and sisters in Marten Falls to help people choose life!