Infectious Joy in Weagamow
By Michael Nowling
With tongue in cheek, we always ask the people going to northwestern Ontario to pack a flexible attitude. Generally speaking, it is not possible to travel 1700 miles by bus and plane without encountering a few logistical hurdles which require flexible hearts and humble spirits. As Leidy's Church packed up to head to Canada this year, little did we know how crucial that flexibility would be.
In the days and weeks before our planned departure from Souderton, Pennsylvania, intending to minister in Pikangikum and Sandy Lake, forest fires raged, people had to be evacuated, and our plans had to be radically altered. Instead of heading to Pikangikum and Sandy Lake, our team went to Weagamow Lake. While our hearts were somewhat downcast because we could not visit with old friends in Pikangikum, we were excited to see where the Lord was leading. Because of the changes and logistical hurdles which were overcome, our team had a sense that this was precisely where we were supposed to minister.
Once we arrived in Weagamow, we found a lovely community full of folks who were eager to have us come and minister in their town. Over the five days of Bible School, we saw more and more kids from the community come and learn about Jesus. As the kids sang songs, made crafts, and learned Bible lessons, their joy grew, and it was infectious. Throughout the week our team saw the Lord working in the hearts of the community and kids. As our team spent time loving and caring for the children of Weagamow, we found that their joy in turn ministered to us. For this reason, we feel blessed by our time in Weagamow. We pray that the Word of God would continue to be preached within the community and that the Word of God would continue to take root in the hearts of His people.
As our team has reflected upon the trip, we praise the Lord for His ongoing ministry amongst the First Nations people of northwestern Ontario. We praise the Lord for allowing us to partner with Living Hope Native Ministries presenting the gospel. Our prayer is for many more years of partnership to the glory of God.
Michael Nowling led the Leidy's VBS team and is the Youth and Children's pastor of Leidy's Church.
Anna Heebner, age 13, reports on her first trip with a Leidy's VBS team:
The 2019 Weagamow Trip was an amazing trip from teaching the sweetest kids about the Lord to meeting new people. The bus ride was not what I expected. I thought it would be boring and I thought wrong. When we arrived in Round Lake, it was awesome. It was bigger than I expected. We were placed in the Christian School where we would eat, sleep, and live. I loved meeting the kids each day at Bible School. After Bible School we would go out and play with the kids in the community. I am so glad that I was able to go, meet new people, and share the love of Jesus.
Silas Quill Ministers with a GO Team to Nicaragua
Learning to trust God in what to say, and not to worry
Silas Quill, a 20 year-old, set-apart follower of Jesus from Pikangikum First Nation, was invited by Barry Chalifoux, representative for Gideon's International/ShareWord Global to be part of a GO team ministering in Nicaragua July 10-19, 2019. Barry met Silas on an outreach trip to Pikangikum in February and sensed the call of God on his life. The previous two summers, Silas had shared the hope found in Jesus as a member of the On Eagles' Wings team, ministering on 10 reservations each July. Even though the circumstances of Silas' life could have destroyed him, he is an overcomer and strengthens himself in the Lord through His Word, worship and prayer.
While in Nicaragua, Silas distributed the SPARK youth magazine, Bibles, and Gospels of John and shared the love of Jesus on the streets, in schools, hospitals, and among the "garbage pickers" living in the dump.
Here is Silas' report in his own words:
"When I got invited by ShareWord Global, I was hesitant at first. I thought, what are the chances of a personal invitation as a Native American to share the gospel to a different country? So, I pondered what was I doing-am I equipped for this? Or am I ready for this? But the peace of God was present as I often thought about these questions. If I had listened to my second thoughts, I would never have seen how God works in miraculous ways, how encouraging and empowering it was just to work in his will, walking with Jesus very close. That is what I felt when I was in Nicaragua. I felt no fear, nor was I anxious even when we heard of the unrest in the country. God's peace was among us, ensuring us that everything is going to be alright. Isaiah 40: 10 "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
My trip to Nicaragua affected my walk with Jesus. Before Nicaragua I often hesitated to talk to people about His salvation. I feared I would mess up in my speech if I should witness to people. My trip to Nicaragua allowed me to trust God in what to say and not to worry, just to keep faith in Him. It has been a huge turn around from being hesitant to just sharing the gospel of Jesus. This verse reminds me that I should trust him - Luke 12:12. "For the Holy Spirit will teach you that very hour what you ought to say."
I enjoyed the scenery in Nicaragua and hanging out with the team. When we first met we were not close, but as time went on, we became like family. Despite their situation, most of the Nicaraguan people I talked with were friendly and hospitable. As I presented the gospel to them, many were receptive. My greatest joy came from seeing people receiving Jesus in their hearts. It was encouraging and rewarding to see them committing to Jesus. Matthew 9:37 - "Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few."
Live Free! Warrior Leadership Summit
"At WLS I left my old life behind"-GK
"Jesus never let me go when I forgot about Him." -JS
"He called out to me for some reason. I was being pulled back, but I stood up and walked up cuz He called me out."-CK, in response to invitation to follow Jesus
"He showed me what to believe in."-JQ By Stuart Swartzentruber
"I LET JESUS INTO MY LIFE"-HQ
"He showed me I am not alone. He is with me at all times."-GH
This is the fourteenth time that Pikangikum youth have boarded boats and then buses to attend the On Eagles' Wings Warrior Leadership Summit, sponsored by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries. The group of 26 teens was chaperoned by Colleen Estes and 5 others, as they made their way to Carlinsville, Illinois. This year's theme was "Live Free." Once again, what the youth loved the most about the 5-day conference was the worship and the teaching in the midst of 700 other First Nations youth from all over North America with similar struggles as their own.
The youth also tasted the joy of fellowship together. GH wrote on the Facebook WLS group page, "I want to encourage all of you not to go your separate ways, but just to stay like this, as brothers and sisters, take care of one another, talk with someone if you have a troubled mind. I would hug each and every one of you guys for giving me the best week and laughter. I thank you for that."
By Stuart Swartzentruber
FaceTime was introduced by Apple in 2010. This technology allowed individuals who were kilometres (miles for the non-metric world) or continents apart to connect face to face through their smart phones. We have achieved a level of omnipresence through the internet and other technological advances. Today there is even an app you can download called omniPresence if you are a Mac user!
As followers of Jesus, we can preach, teach, disciple, be discipled, attend church, and evangelize without ever being in physical proximity to another person. We have podcasts, video, and internet-based tools, along with live-streamed church services that produce an astonishing amount of information and facts. We "like" video clips of the latest "favourite" person we are "following." As the Body of Christ, it is possible to do all of this without human interaction. I wonder sometimes what Jesus thinks of me? Of us?
The Son of God was omnipresent. As God, Jesus could have easily conveyed all the needed information to every culture, race, and people in this world without living here. He could have used a cosmic megaphone to proclaim truth that was understood perfectly in all of the earth's languages. He could have entered the world the night before his death, shed his blood for our sins, been resurrected three days later, and headed back to heaven.
But He didn't.
Jesus laid down omnipresence. He came to earth and lived among us. He related to people one person at a time, one group at a time. He touched people, heard people, loved people, wept with people, and died for people. He did this to restore all things to the way they should be. Apparently efficiency wasn't the only thing Jesus was after.
We live in an age where we have many wonderful tools to use in God's amazing kingdom, but we must resist the urges of our efficiency-driven culture. Sometimes slow is better. Sometimes less is more.
In this issue of Hopelines you will read a story of a youth group who traveled many kilometres to join forces with a church in North Caribou Lake. They entered another culture's world and had real facetime together. You will also read about a young man from Pikangikum who encountered people face to face on a trip to Nicaragua.
We have a staff at LHNM who are committed to living incarnational lives in the cities and remote communities of Ontario. We are looking for others who are willing to take up this challenge. Are you one of them?
Another Akwachink Leadership School canoe trip happened in early September. Arthur Lyndaker and Carissa Lilly led a group of 14 participants, many from Rosedale Bible College in Ohio. The two week expedition on the Turtle River system taught outdoor skills, team-building, and spiritual development.
LHNM Staff opportunities
North Caribou Lake First Nations, on the shores of Weagamow Lake, is a community of 800 people located 320 km north of Sioux Lookout, Ontario. This opening is ideal for a married couple who could partner with the local churches to connect with the youth and children of the community. Relationships would be built through activities such as after-school programs, youth groups, teaching Sunday school, or hosting summer camps. This assignment is for a minimum of two years.
Thunder Bay is a small but busy city (110,000) with many people coming and going from the northern communities, especially for education and healthcare. This job description will be developed with the candidate from many opportunities including partnership with ministries to Indigenous youth, hospital visitation, and contributing to the local church. Additional opportunities exist in the LHNM office, including IT support and assisting with public relations. This assignment is for a minimum of two years.
The LHNM office has an opening for an individual with skills and interests in graphi For more information on any of these opportunities, call Rhonda at 855.367.8199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org design, photography, videography, and public relations. The job description includes the quarterly Hopelines newsletter, the annual calendar, and communication with supporting churches and individuals. Occasional travel to LHNM locations and public relations events would be required. Additionally, opportunities are available to be involved in and contribute to the local church and youth ministries. This assignment is based in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
For more information on any of these opportunities, call Rhonda at 855.367.8199 or email email@example.com