It’s hard to imagine that another summer VBS season is almost here. Yet, it’s an exciting time to be able to continue the ministry to the First Nations people of northern Canada sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus.
One rather pinnacle event that took place ahead of VBS was my official installation as pastor/pilot with LAMP on Sunday May 22. With LAMP recently being granted RSO (Recognized Service Organization) status in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, LAMP can now directly call churchworkers. This has huge positive ramifications for the future of LAMP. Praise the Lord for his goodness!
So... This summer, I will be visiting 18 communities As far north as Churchill, Manitoba and as far south as Cat Lake, Ontario, just to name a few. VBS teams are already deep into their preparations to go. They are working on their VBS skits, crafts, music, and games along with planning how to pack everything they will need--VBS supplies, personal luggage, and food for the team. Scheduling flights are in the works as well as hotel stays on their way to and from communities. It's more work than you can imagine, but it's well worth the effort.
Each team will be carrying out the work of God’s Kingdom, not just teaching VBS, but becoming part of those communities. The bonds that each member forms with the children and communities is truly a blessing to observe. And as I learned this past winter and spring, those bonds are needed and appreciated. The proof is when you say your "Good bye" and the person asks, "When are you coming back?" That's when you know that a lasting relationship is building and that God's work will continue in those communities.
Speaking of communities, this year I will be using Red Lake, Ontario as my base of operations instead of Thompson, Manitoba. With our new missionary pilot, Dave Smith, coming on board, we have realigned our communities for better access. Red Lake will be closer to the majority of the communities I serve. What that means is that I can spend more time with the teams and in the communities. It's also better stewardship of resources like aviation fuel ($7/gallon US) and hours flown on the LAMP aircraft. So it will be a different venue that hopefully will allow me to minister more effectively to the teams and communities.
Of course, this doesn't happen by itself. It is, first of all, a work of the Holy Spirit. It is also a work of so many of you who have been such a blessing to me and committed to the ministry of LAMP. As the summer season begins, I would like to ask for your continued support, especially your prayers for specific needs These are…
- That he Good News of Jesus to be clearly and boldly proclaimed by the teams and me
- For strength of God’s Holy Spirit to face spiritual battles
- For safety while flying to and from communities
- Rain so that the fire threat will be drastically reduced over the summer
- For my continued good health
- For my family who will be “holding down the fort” during my absence
- Thanks for the support and encouragement I receive from you
Again, I cannot express my deepest gratitude for the heart so many of you have for LAMP and this vital ministry. May God’s Word from Phil 1:3-6 be my prayer of thanks to you for your partnership in the Gospel. “I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Peace in Christ,