That is also the reason LAMP goes to northern remote communities so that this wonderful news can be shared with the people. That is also the reason why your support in prayers and monetary support is so important, especially as we kick off the 2019 year.
With only 4 days under our belt for the new year, 9 members of the team from Trinity Lutheran Church in Billings, Montana and I made our 4th winter visit to Cross Lake, Manitoba. Since our first visit back in 2016 during the suicide epidemic that gripped the community, we have been compelled to keep going back and are welcomed with warm embraces (which is especially good when it's snowy and only 10 degrees Fahrenheit.)
We all arrived on Friday afternoon on January 4th. That evening was spent relaxing after traveling there and hanging out with the kids who knew we were coming. It was a fun evening for me to reconnect with the team and the kids that came by. I also was taught how to play Cribbage and was thoroughly trounced by one of the teenagers Trent.
|I learned how to play... and lose at Cribbage|
Soon everyone returned and kids started showing up at the school and playing in the gym. We all had supper together and then had an open gym night. I quickly forget how much energy the kids have and how much I don't. Also, I'm not normally a late night person and that was put to the test. I have to admit I was usually the first to go to bed, but let's face it. It was after Midnight!!!
The one important task that ends gym night is gathering everyone for a devotion. Members of the team take turns putting them together and usually focus on some of the issues they face such as bullying and depression.
|Roger did a devotion with the kids at the end of gym night|
Sunday brought a day of worship and a mini-VBS to the children who came to the school. It's always a moving experience to worship together and to share the Epiphany message of Jesus being revealed to the world. Afterward, the kids did a craft of the team's design of Christmas trees and angel figures. All weekend, the team was handing out age appropriate Bibles they had brought to the kids that came to the school.
|The children made Christmas trees and angel figures. Some "children" were acting up, however!|
|Kids of all ages enjoyed the crafts.|
|Volley ball and basket ball were the games most everyone joined in on.|
|The team from Billings, Montana|
|The team and some of the kids at gym night|
|My young friend Ripkin who is always good to see|
We had advertised the Family and Parenting workshop. The first gym night, no one came. But 2 young mothers came the second night. I didn't have time to go through the entire workshop, but was able to hit the high points and was able to talk with them about their families (one was expecting her first child and the other had 3 ages 5 to 1). The team had brought Bibles and gave each one of them a copy. I promised I'd send them the workbooks to that they would have something to reference in the future.
Our time in Cross Lake goes by so fast. It was time for us to leave early on Monday before the start of school, especially since the school was where we stayed. We all said our goodbyes and then they hit the road for the 2-day trip home and I got a ride to the airport to fly to Winnipeg. Or so I thought.
The ceilings were low and so the plane couldn't land that morning. I was re-booked on the afternoon flight. Dion, one of our contacts and my friend picked me back up and I spent the day with him and his family. Dion and I were able to talk about some of the trials and challenges he goes through. So it was good to be able to listen and support him. He dropped me off at the airport for the afternoon flight. But the weather worsened with freezing mist. There was an evening flight that was still on the schedule. So I decided to stay at the airport to find out if it would land.
As has happened in the past, whenever I've had some sort of delay, the Lord puts people in my path. One of the airport workers came in for a break from working on the plowing crew. With a cup of coffee in his hand, we started to talk. Then Kenneth began to share some of the spiritual struggles he and his church were going through. At the end of the conversation when he had to go back to work, I told him I would add him to my prayer journal. He asked if I would also pray for his brother William. I have another new friend and brother in Christ.
Well, the evening flight was canceled. So Dion came by and picked me up. He took me to his house which has become a home-away-from-home for a dozen young adults. We all had dinner and spent the evening together watching movies, playing video games, and playing guitars. It is truly and honor to be invited into a home and treated as part of the family. Dion made arrangements for a place for me to sleep that night too. So I was well cared for.
Thankfully, the next morning, the ceilings lifted and the precipitation turned into light snow. Because there were a half-dozen of us who missed our flights the day before, a larger Dash 8 aircraft was flown in to accommodate us all.
While I was waiting, my friend Connie came to the airport to meet a group of people who were supposed to fly in the day before. So we got to talk some more. Then Kerry, the vice principal of the school came in with his uncle and aunt. His uncle was flying out to Winnipeg for cancer treatment. I went over and Kerry introduced me. He told me he had stage 4 cancer. At that point, I offered to pray with him and his wife Lynn. He and his wife are 2 more names to add to my prayer journal.
It came time to board and I said my goodbyes to Connie and Kerry with hugs. Even thought I was glad to be flying out, I feel I'm leaving a part of my heart behind.
|Clearing skies allowed the morning flight to arrive to go back to Winnipeg for my flight home|
It is the trips like this one that your prayers and financial gifts support. It's obvious it's a critical need, not just for Cross Lake, Manitoba, but for the 40 plus communities that LAMP serves throughout Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Your support allows teams and myself to keep ministering to the communities with the Good News of Jesus.
Please keep these people in your prayers, especially during the winter month which are especially hard emotionally on them with the dark winter skies and isolation.
Until the next time...