Hopelines September 2022


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

Sharing the Vision

Several informational evenings were held in Pennsylvania and Delaware at the end of June. Stuart and Delores Swartzentruber and Jeff and Mary Kirkpatrick shared ministry updates, and connected with interested supporters while enjoying music and dessert together. We are grateful for encouragement through conversations, prayers, and donations.

Praise and Prayer

Praise God for the way that details are coming together for the setup of the Pikangikum trailer. Please pray for new co-workers for Colleen Estes as she continues to minister to the children
and youth of that community.

We appreciate your ongoing prayers for the LHNM Board as they discern God’s leading for the upcoming change in leadership of LHNM. Please pray for each board member as they give extra time and energy to meet more frequently, and that God would bless them with clear and unified direction for the future of LHNM.


Bible Class Teacher: This is a unique opportunity to assist in teaching Bible classes in a public school in a northern community. The job description includes classroom instruction for children in grades K-8, community involvement, and supporting the local church. This assignment is located in Pikangikum, Ontario.

Graphic Design: There is an opening for an individual with skills and interests in graphic 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, if based in Thunder Bay, opportunities are available to be involved in and contribute to the local church and youth ministries. This assignment’s location and duration are to be decided with the candidate.

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.

Annual Gathering of NLAC Churches

By Kevin Moore, Pastor of Sudbury First Nations Church

The worship team, mostly from New Hope, leading music.

On Thursday, July 21, Chuck, Hilda, Norma and I began our journey to attend the annual gathering of the Northern Lights Association of Churches (NLAC) in Thunder Bay. We stopped and stayed overnight in Sault Ste. Marie, and the following morning we picked up our friend Sam and continued on our merry way. We arrived in Thunder Bay and at New Hope Fellowship Church just in time for supper.

Earlier this year Sudbury First Nations Church (SFNC) became an official member of NLAC. We were hoping more people from our SFNC family would attend the NLAC gathering in Thunder Bay, but we understand why some were not able to attend. However, it didn’t take very long to notice this wasn’t unique to our church. There were many from other NLAC churches as well who were not in attendance. I think it was all related to Covid-19, since most people just wanted to travel and be with family now that restrictions are lifted. Hopefully the gathering will be even bigger next summer.

The weekend consisted of four sessions, with volunteers from the different churches helping out with worship, and preaching. Also, in each session, time was allotted for the purpose of providing church updates.

Friday evening, we heard from Cornerstone Christian Fellowship and Morson Community Bible Fellowship. Saturday morning, we heard from Forestry Christian Fellowship and Sudbury First Nations Church. Saturday evening, we heard from Grace Community Church and The Lighthouse, and then Sunday morning we heard from New Hope Fellowship and Living Hope Native Ministries. It was really neat to hear about the ways God has been working in the other NLAC churches.

Stuart Swartzentruber uses a bicycle wheel to illustrate how when we draw close to God, we come closer to one another.

The theme for the weekend was “Unity,” and pastors from some of the churches taught on different aspects of unity. Friday evening, Pastor Rob Weaver from Morson shared a message on what unity looks like within the Trinity. Saturday morning, I spoke about God’s purpose in unity. Saturday evening, Pastor Nate Hochstetler talked about the different expressions of unity, and then in closing, Stuart Swartzentruber from LHNM shared a message on what unity looks like in community. I think those in attendance found the messages very helpful in understanding unity and what it should look like in the church.

Saturday morning was our (SFNC) time to share. Hilda Wemigwans provided the church update and gave her testimony as well. This was her first time attending the gathering, and I know everyone was blessed to hear from her. Chuck, Stuart, and I led in songs of worship. Prior to Stuart moving to Thunder Bay, we three often led worship together at SFNC, so it was good to be singing and playing music together again. A special shout-out to Chris Hartman for playing the drums for us. It was the first time in my life I’ve ever played guitar in a group with someone playing drums. All four of us got to lead worship Saturday evening, as well. It was good to hear the Meekis family lead worship Friday evening. Sunday morning worship consisted of the Meekis family, some from New Hope Fellowship, and Chris Hartman on drums.

Saturday afternoon was free time. I think some went to the beach, and maybe some went hiking on Mount McKay, but our SFNC group along with the Swartzentrubers needed to rest, and rest we did. Some of us took a siesta. The travelling and late night on Friday took its toll on us.

Kevin Miller from Red Lake braves the smoke to test the roasting pig.

While I enjoyed everything about the weekend, I think the highlight of it all was the pig roast. Jeff Kirkpatrick and Kevin Miller got up very early Saturday morning (3 a.m. I think) to get the fire on and to prepare the pig for roasting. They tended to it all day long, and I saw Nate helping out there as well. They all seemed to be having so much fun, and I saw others hanging around, which provided encouragement and fellowship.  I think everyone who attended the meeting was so looking forward to the pig roast and it didn’t disappoint. It was so tasty, and there was plenty leftover so we had it again at the feast following the Sunday service. Thank you Kevin, Jeff, Nate, and all those who helped make the pig roast a success.

Rodney Martin, Thunder Bay, speaks at the Saturday evening session.

There’s a saying which says, “All good things must come to end,” and it means “Nothing lasts forever.”  This is somewhat true, and it’s true of this year’s NLAC gathering. Following Sunday’s feast, Wendell, Lila, Connie, and Sam (from the Lighthouse Church), along with Hilda, Chuck, Norma and myself began our journey back to our respective communities. We stayed overnight at the Grabers’ house, and we made it back to Sudbury early Monday afternoon.

The 2022 gathering has come and gone. We now look forward to the 2023 summer gathering, but even more importantly as Jesus followers we look forward to the great gathering at the Lord’s banquet table in God’s Kingdom. Thankfully it is one that will never end, and there will be no need of a siesta.

With everything that took place on the weekend, it should prove to make us better followers of Jesus. A big thank you to Stuart and Delores for putting up with us . . . I mean putting us up, and providing accommodations and good coffee for us.

What an awesome weekend. Thank you, Jesus.

Financial Review

We are pleased to be able to provide you with LHNM’s financial overview for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022. LHNM believes in accountability and as such is a member of the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities.  Part of that accountability is having an external financial audit done annually.  We are grateful to God and his people for financial provisions.  Thank you for choosing to support Living Hope Native Ministries through your prayers and finances.  With so many needs around the world we are humbled that you choose to give toward this ministry. LHNM wants to steward the gifts given responsibly.

For a more detailed financial statement please contact our office.

Created For a Purpose

By Stuart Swartzentruber

My Mom likes old things. She had antiques around our house when I was growing up and still has many around today. One item in particular that I remember from my youth is an old black iron. My Mom used it for a door stop, and I remember stubbing my toes on it many times with my bare feet.

That iron was created long ago to be used to take wrinkles out of clothes. It was designed and built with that purpose specifically in mind. It can also make an amazing door stop or a book end, but the purpose and potential it was designed for is missed when it is used in that way.

As humans, we were created to be image bearers of God in this world. We were created to love God and love others. Because of sin, rebellion, and the brokenness in our world, many times we live our lives not experiencing what God envisions.

It is tempting to use power when it is available and wield it for “good.” Violence or coercion may be “effective” in attaining a goal. Money speaks and moves mountains. I can win an argument for “truth” but in the process degrade a person’s dignity. It is possible to use the wonderful bodies God gave us for selfish pleasure, or to work hard to accomplish many impressive things. We can spend our lives in this way and it “works” but we may be living far below what God designed us for.

God calls us to join him in his purpose for the world and to model what God intended from the beginning. It is a call to serve the poor and disadvantaged, to love our brothers, sisters, neighbors, and enemies, and to be peacemakers and bridge-builders in a world that is divided and broken. We were created and designed to follow Jesus in surrender and trust as He builds His kingdom. As churches, God intends for us to humbly clothe ourselves with God’s character and become communities of light and hope in this world.

Diamonds work well for slingshot stones. A new tire can make an amazing swing when tied to a rope in a tree. But using these items in these ways shows disdain for their designed purpose.

I am so grateful for the many people in my life who live out God’s purposes for them. It is attractive and draws me closer to their Creator and Designer. I am encouraged by the community of LHNM: staff, board, and supporters, who model God’s purposes for his people.