We live in a dark world...a world that suffers the affects of sin and evil. Yet this is the world God send his Son, Jesus Christ who is the light of the world bringing us deliverance from the darkness of sin and evil. But Jesus also gives us his Word to light our path, to guide us, and to take to the far reaches of the earth. As His word says, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Overnight Visits Continue...

The weeks march on as volunteer missionary teams head to their communities.  For myself (and Steve Morley) it was a week of back-to-back overnight visits to the teams this week.  The first up was Garden Hill, Manitoba.  This community is unique as access is by water or winter road.  Island Lake airport is a short 5 minute boat ride away. 

On Sunday morning, we arrived at Island Lake hoping to catch a water taxi and meet up with the team in time for church.  Unfortunately, there were no taxis running anywhere at the airport dock since there were no incoming flights until after Noon.  We walked the half-mile to the Northern Store and thought we might catch a ride there.  Again, the store didn't open until Noon.  However we did finally catch a ride but arrived in Garden Hill too late to attend church.  Bummer.

We met up with the team at the elementary school where they were conducting the VBS and using the school for their accommodations.  The first task after lunch was to get set up for the start of VBS the next day. 

Shane, Matt, and Aaron joyfully work on VBS crafts.
Things were going along just fine until... the lights went out!  The gym was in pretty much total darkness with some residual light coming in from the hallway doors.  Not to worry!  The LAMP LED flashlights that each team member received as a token of appreciation for their hard work came in handy.  (There's a sermon in this about the light of Christ shining in the darkness.)

Letting the light shine on the darkness of VBS craft making.
Thankfully, the power was off for a short time.  The work continued as the first day craft covered the 10 plagues in Exodus.

Lindsay, Julie, and pastor Dennis hard at work making frogs for the 2nd Plague

This was posted in the entrance hallway of the school.  You wouldn't find this in a public school in the U.S. or Canada!
After we finished up working on crafts, we heard that the reason there weren't many kids around was that there was a community festival at the "south beach".  So we struck out to find where it was so we could connect with them.

This is the bridge the kids would jump off of into the lake below (which is not allowed anymore)
A friendly lady saw us and asked us where we were going.  She said, "It's a long, long way.  I'll take you there."  So a group of us piled into the back of her truck and off we went.

She was right!  It was at least a 15 to 20 minute ride one-way.  I can say that my body discovered every bump, rock, dip, and rut on that ride.

A panoramic picture of those of us who went to the south beach (that's rather jumbled because of the rough road)
Once we arrived, we were invited to come up to the stage and sing.  However, we graciously declined.  Some of the team members got a chance to chat with some of the children and the parents. 

We didn't stay very long as our ride was going to leave and return an hour later.  With supper in the works, we elected to ride back to the school.  With the temperatures heating up, the guys decided to take a dip down at one of the boat docks.

Catching Matt in mid-dive.  Island Lake airport is across the shore.
With a full day, we all turned in for the night camping out in various locations of the gym and adjacent rooms.  The next morning we walked to the band office to meet with the chief and council at 10:00 AM.  However, they were not going to arrive until 11 AM.  We continued to walk past the church and cemetery to the north shore.

The United Church where Rev. Don Little is pastor and our main contact
It is a beautiful vista of the area at the north shore.  Pictures can't begin to illustrate the beauty of the area.  Yet among such beauty is the struggle of the communities face with poverty, limited resources, and hopelessness that the Gospel of Jesus brings.

After our community walk, it was time for us to get back to the airport for our flight to Winnumin Lake, Ontario.  We easily got a water taxi since it was a weekday and the scheduled flights were once again landing at Island Lake.

On the open water in a boat taxi back to Island Lake from Garden Hill
With the latest weather briefing and flight plan filed, we pointed the LAMP airplane due east toward Wunnumin Lake.   We were met at the airport by our main contact, Rev. Joey Bluecoat.  He and a friend took us to his church where the team was staying and using for VBS.  We arrived during the last half-hour of VBS where the children were playing games outside.

After VBS was over, I was invited over to Rev. Bluecoat's home.   He introduced me to his wife and youngest daughter who will be a Senior in high school this fall.

Joey also gave me a gift of a wood carving that he said I should varnish so it shines like my head! 😊

He also drove me out to the landfill to see if there were any bears hanging out.  Not to be disappointed, there were a handful there feasting on some of the refuse.  I'm glad we were in his truck (with the windows rolled up too!). 

A black bear was napping after his evening supper at the landfill.

We drove back to the church for a 6:00 PM VBS hot dog supper.  Things got started slowly but eventually the church basement filled right up. It was good to see some of the parents come with their children.  That was another way to connect with the families.

Bobbie was a "newbie" to the team and blended in like a pro, especially in the hot dog production line.
Part of the evening activities was a bead craft the children could design.  Then an iron was used to melt them all together.  The kids seemed to enjoy the unlimited designs they could make.

Pastor/Pilot Dennis was the holder of the hot iron to keep everyone safe.

Yes, that is the outhouse the team used for the week.  They willingly make sacrifices for the sake of ministry to the children and families of Wunnumin Lake.
After a busy evening with the supper and craft, we got the basement cleaned up for another day of VBS the next day.  We all bedded down for the night for a well-deserved rest.  The next morning, we grabbed some oatmeal for breakfast.  Then we walked down to the nurses station where we met one of the nurses.  I talked with her about some of the issues the community is facing and left a copy of the DVD "Through the Pain" which is to help a person contemplating suicide.  She was very glad to have it.  I gave her my contact information in case she had any other questions or needed other resources.   We went to the band office, but found out Chief Rod was out of the community.

Looking at the skies prompted a call to flight service.  We decided to head out immediately since a storm front was headed toward Sioux Lookout.  It would be a race, but we should (and did) beat it by an hour. Joey happened to drive up and took Steve and me back to the church where we loaded up our things and took us to the airport for our flight home. 

The weather moved in and would delay us for a day.  Thursday was also the "changing of the guard" as Steve had to go back to BC (British Columbia) and Keith was flying in within a couple of hours of Steve's departure.

Friday would take us to the other community accessed by water, Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba.   This community is also unique as you go to your grocery store with your boat!  In the winter after the lake freezes, it's by snowmobile.  It brings a whole new meaning to convenience.  We were fortunate that we got a water taxi after a brief 15 minute wait and got dropped off at the dock nearest the Catholic church where the team was staying and conducting VBS.

The team which comes out of the Kitchener, Ontario area had one new member.  The other 3 were veterans at VBS in the community.   Shortly after our arrival, I met with the team leader Janine Cain to discuss a few of the issues with a couple of people in the community that the team had relationships with.  It's another indication of the trust in the teams and the hope in Christ that teams can offer to those in need of it.

We gathered for lunch and then geared up for the children to arrive for VBS.

We sported Canadian flags as part of the VBS recognizing the blessings God has give us.

Jeff, the new team member, prepared name tags for the kids.

Lois was getting items ready for the gift bags each of the children received for the last day of VBS.
The VBS theme for the LAMP curriculum

Janine is leading the Bible story for the day.

Part of recreation time was a water balloon toss.  Needless to say, not many of us were dry afterwards.

The children were enjoying making Jesus buttons.

The children signed and left messages on the banner the team would take back to their home church.

The VBS team and the children of Little Grand Rapids.

(L to R) Janine, Lois, Elaine, Jeff, and Pastor/Pilot Dennis
It was a full day of non-stop VBS activity with lesson, music, craft, play time, and snacks.  The team finished strong and was a blessing to the children and their families.   We also ended up spending time with Father Rheal and a one of the men who was having a difficult time.   Then it was time for us to grab a water taxi and head back to the main land.  The weather was good for the flight back to Sioux Lookout. 

It was a fast and full week of ministry to teams and communities.  The extra time spent with them allowed individual one-on-one conversations to take place that normally would not be possible under a tight one day trip, especially to communities that were far away.   It was a privilege to be an encouragement and supporter in the lives of fellow brothers and sisters in ministry partnership.  I can't imagine a higher calling or honor that the Lord allows me to carry out on His behalf.

Please remember to keep the ministry in your prayers, especially as team members minister to the people in need in the communities they serve.   And also keep the LAMP staff in your prayers in the last part of the VBS season.

Until the next time...
God's blessing to you all.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Unexpected: Big Trout Lake and Sandy Lake

My Oh my!  It's already here!  The VBS season has arrived.  The teams in Ontario began their trek north the second full week of July.  The first two teams in communities were heading to Big Trout Lake and Sandy Lake in Ontario.   These two teams have been going into these communities for a decade or more.  So the connection between team and community is quite strong.   It is especially important when the unexpected takes place in the community, the team, and for me.

A few days before the team arrived at Big Trout Lake, I had called our main contact there, Stanley Bluecoat, just to check on arrangements.  He let me know that he wouldn't be available when the team arrived because his sister had suffered a stroke and was in a Thunder Bay hospital.   So he gave me names of people who could help with the arrangements, especially keys to housing and transportation of their supplies and baggage from the airport.  To make a long story short, Stanley's sister went to be with the Lord that following Sunday.

On the way up to Big Trout, the team did an overnight stay at Sioux Lookout, which most Ontario fly-in teams do since they usually have morning flights the next day.  So I took advantage of this and invited the Big Trout team out to my cabin for a supper of burgers, beans, and salad.  They arrived late in the afternoon and appreciated it as they didn't have to worry about where to go to eat.  It also gave us time together to talk about the happenings in Big Trout.

We also had time together sharing a devotion and singing before they departed for the hotel for a night's rest before heading to the airport and flying up to Big Trout the next morning.

The team arrived and was taken care of thanks to a handful of people who provided access to the church, arranged for ladies to provide lunch for the kids during VBS, and a vehicle to use.   Everything was going according to plan until...

Stanley's sister, Rita, would be brought back to Big Trout for the funeral and burial in the community which would be the coming Wednesday.  I had arranged my schedule to fly up that day to visit the team and at least try and visit with Stanley.  However, when I arrived, I found out that the visitation and funeral were at the church where VBS had been held.  That was an unexpected change for the team who adapted and held an abbreviated VBS outside near the church. 

The team did a phenomenal job of being flexible and desiring to still provide some sort of VBS for the day.  They went to just the morning 10 AM to Noon session.  They broke for lunch and headed back to the teacherage.  The funeral would start at 1 PM.  So I headed over to the church with a quilt as a gift to Stanley to let him know we care and pray for him.  He was glad that members of the team would be at the funeral.  In fact, 4 of us were pressed into service as lay readers and to share God's Word of the hope of the resurrection.

After the service, Rita's casket was carried to the cemetery for burial.  Stanley then invited us to the community center for the meal after the funeral.  I also unexpectedly discovered that Rev. Joey Bluecoat, who is our main contact at Wunnumin Lake was Stanley's brother!  It is a small world in northern Ontario.

It was another opportunity to mingle with members of the community including Chief James and council members.  When the feast was over, we walked back to the teacherage to hang out for awhile to debrief about the day and the rest of their week.  This team has a good pulse on the community and would serve them well with God's love and Word.   We got a lift back to the airport and flew back to our home base at Sioux Lookout to be ready to go the next morning to Sandy Lake...or so I thought.

Steve and I got up early, checked the weather for our flight to Sandy Lake, Ontario, filed our flight plan and drove to the airport.  We preflighted the Lance and set to go.  I started the checklist items and got to the point where I start the engine.  Master switch "on".  Throttle open 1/2".  Mixture lean cutoff.  Propeller area clear.  Turn on the fuel pump.  Um... turn on the fuel pump.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  The engine will not start without the electric boost fuel pump.  Another unexpected surprise.

So I cancelled the flight plan, talked to the local mechanic to find out when he could work the plane into his schedule.  We didn't know if it was the pump itself or the switch, or something in between.  We didn't know how long the plane would be down.  Plan "B" went into effect.  I called Shelly at the LAMP office and said, "Could you check and see what flights there are to Sandy Lake today and what's available tomorrow?"   I was determined to get there one way or another.

Shelly called back within 20 minutes with the flights.  It was possible to fly out that afternoon and then come back the next morning.  So I had her book the flights.  I took my overnight bag and repacked them for airline travel.  By mid afternoon, I was winging my way to Sandy Lake.  Yay!

As I made my way across the ramp at Sandy Lake, Chief Bart Meetis was there and greeted me.  Unfortunately (as was the last time I was at Sandy) he was leaving on the flight I just came in on!  Oh well.  One of these days we'll get to sit down and actually have some time together.

I got my luggage and made my way to the church where the team has been holding a memorial service for the community for the past 5 years.  It's a time to remember those who have died within the last year...similar to our All Saints day in the Lutheran Church.  As the memorial candles were set up, some of them also had pictures and names of the people no longer in this world.  I was shocked to see Eddie Fiddler's picture.  He was a gifted artist and I was hoping to meet with him and purchase on of his pieces.  He died in October, 2016.  Besides Eddie, there were almost 3 dozen others being remembered from infants to elders.  That's a lot of people considering the size of the community (approx 1,800 in community).

The service had Scripture reading and songs led by talented musicians.  I was asked to say a few words.  I read the passage from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that speaks of our hope in the resurrection which was the same one I read at the funeral in Big Trout Lake just the day before.

The service had a good turnout and was emotional as everyone there...team members, community members, and me all had someone we knew.  After the service had ended, we gathered for refreshments and listening to songs with Pastor Zach on his mandolin playing with 3 of the team members.

Then it was back to the teacherage for an evening of relaxation.  That included a lot of laughing and shouting and screaming during rather ruckus games of Dutch Blitz and Ono until we decided the neighbors would probably like to go to sleep.  (So much for "What's said in Sandy Lake, stays in Sandy Lake!!!)

The next morning, we got up, had breakfast and then went over to the band office to meet with those present to have prayer and to thank them for allowing the LAMP team to come to Sandy Lake.  For some of the team, it was their 12th year going to the community!  Afterwards, the counsilors walked past the team members shaking hands and thanking them.  Then the team did the same thing.  It's a cultural way of thanking each other.

When we had finished at the band office, it was time for me to get to the airport to catch my flight back to Sioux Lookout.  It was sad to part company in less than 24 hours, but the time together was absolutely amazing.  It's being with teams like this, witnessing their love and care to the community, and their commitment to Sandy Lake that makes LAMP what it is today...taking God's Word to the ends of the earth.


On Saturday afternoon, I drove to Thunder Bay to pick up my wife who was coming north for a week for the first time.  While at the airport waiting for her luggage, the Canadian contingent of the Sandy Lake team had just flown in from Sioux Lookout!  What would the chances be of that!  So we had one more good bye before we headed off to our respective destinations.  

So there were a lot of unexpected events over the past week.  But the Lord was gracious and allowed us all to minister to His people in various ways.  And that is what this ministry is all about.

Please continue to keep the teams in your prayers for safe travel, good health, and lots of energy as they minister to the communities of northern Canada.  Also pray that our LAMP aircraft can go through the rest of the season with no major maintenance issues.  

And remember to thank and praise our Lord for all that he done for us and allows us to do as followers of our Savior, Jesus.  "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name." (Hebrews 13:15)

Until the next time...

Friday, July 7, 2017

One More Visit--Sandy Lake, Ontario

Don't faint.  Please!

I know what you're thinking.  "Dennis just posted a blog a couple of days ago."   Well, that's true.  But the last post was getting a little long.  Hence this one which is much shorter, but nonetheless, just as important.

This last week was a light one as far as travel into communities goes compared to previous weeks here.  I have one more community to go to before the VBS teams started to arrive and those visits began.

With a high pressure sitting almost on top of us, we headed northwest to Sandy Lake, Ontario.  This would be my first visit to this community to meet with our contacts and some of the people there.

The weather doesn't get much better than this up north!
Sidney Fiddler, our main contact was going to meet us at the airport.  We arrived within minutes of each other.  As Sam and I approached Sidney, he introduced me to the Chief, Bart Meetis.  He was going to be leaving on a flight that landed just ahead of us.   So we didn't have much time to talk, but made an important introduction to each other.  We also had a quilt we gave to Chief Bart that Sidney was going to keep for him.

We piled in Sidney's truck and headed over to the church to meet with Pastor Zack Kalegamic.  His church is the one the team uses for VBS.  It was good to see Zack again without all the hectic activity of VBS going on like last year.  It gives us a more relaxed time to talk and share with each other.

Pastor/Pilot Dennis with Pastor Zack holding a quilt made my ladies donated to LAMP
We walked over to Sandeus Fiddler's house which was next door to the church.  Sandeus is the retired pastor of the church and has been a long, long time supporter of LAMP's ministry to the community.  However, he had gone to the store.  So we got back in the truck and drove the 5 minutes to the store.
As we pulled up, Sandeus was coming out with a grocery cart full of goodies.  We also happened to meet one of the community members, Joe Harper who recognized Sidney.  In our conversation, Joe was sharing with us his health challenges.  So right on the spot, we gathered around Joe and prayed for his health and upcoming trip to the hospital for treatment of his hip issues.  I wonder when the last time you saw people praying together outside of your local grocery store.  Maybe we should be doing more of it!  Joe appreciated the prayers and we gained another friend in Sandy Lake.

With Sandeus all loaded up, we went back to his house.  We were able to meet with Clara, his wife, and Sandeus and give them a quilt as well.  They both are seniors and elders in the community who struggle with many of the issues of aging.  We gathered around them and prayed for their continued health and service to the people of Sandy Lake.

(L to R) Sidney Fiddler, Pastor/Pilot Dennis, and Pastor Zack
Before we all parted company, we talked about the details of the team's arrival and accommodations which are all set.  They are once again looking forward to the week of VBS and having the team in the community.

Sidney took us back to the airport for us to depart.  I would see him real soon since the team would be going there the next week.  But it was great to have time just for the people in the community.

This would be my last trip with Pastor Sam as he would be heading home at the end of the week.  It was a really enlightening experience for him.  Hopefully we'll figure out how to post his impressions from being up north for a couple of weeks.

Pastor Sam enjoying his last LAMP flight back to Sioux Lookout before heading home.
 Sometimes I'm afraid I sound like a broken record (or maybe I should say CD?) because I seem to be saying the same thing over and over again.  But then it does bear repeating how important the relationships and ministry is to the communities.  They need to know and experience first-hand the love and care of Jesus through the volunteers and missionaries that serve Sandy Lake and all the other communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.

That is our task.  The Apostle Paul couldn't state it any better either.  He says, "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe."  (Eph 1:17–19).

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Community Visits Continue

After a hiatus in June to go back home to take care of a few things, I arrived back in Sioux Lookout, Ontario for the last week in June.   The Piper Lance had been serviced by our new friends at Northern Skies Aviation and is ready for another 50 hours of flight.   So we were ready to hit the skies and communities of northern Ontario.

For the time from June 23 through July 6, a pastor and long-time friend, Sam Leiter, from the Indianapolis area came north to keep me company.  Sam served on the mission team to Tadoule Lake, Manitoba last summer.  So now he would get a different perspective of ministry to the communities from the pastoral side.

We had a lot of rainy weather that finally broke on Tuesday, June 27.  We were able to go to Wapekeka, Ontario and visit with our main contact there, Joan Winter.  Joan lost her 12 year old granddaughter, Jenera to suicide just two weeks before on June 13th.  She was the third of three girls who formed a suicide pact last year.  Jenera's two friends, Jolynn and Chantall commited suicide back in January two days apart.  It's a sad reality that happens far too often in northern remote communities.  You probably recall the suicide epidemic in Cross Lake, Manitoba that LAMP responded to a year ago this past winter.  Continuous prayers are needed for these communities for hope.  That is the main reason LAMP missionaries and the volunteer missionary teams go to these places to offer the children and their families hope in Jesus Christ that transcends the hopelessness of this broken world.

Joan and her grandson, DeVon, and her youngest granddaughter, Maddie, met us at the airport and took us to Joan's house.  We brought quilts with us for Joan, and for family members of Jolynn and Chantall.  Joan was very glad we had come.  She was able to share her story and the pain of losing Jenera along with Jenera's two friends.  It was a pain and concern that has rippled through Wapekeka.  Joan is also concerned about Jenera's 14 year old sister Diamond and 15 year brother Tyreese. 

Pastor/Pilot Dennis listening to Joan Winter tell her story

I was able to share Scripture from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.  "We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words."    Then we prayed together for peace and comfort for the families who experienced loss and for the safety of Diamond and Tyreese.

Afterwards, Joan had visitors from the Tikinagin agency who were there following up on Jenera's suicide and to find out how Diamond and Tyreese were doing.  I got to explain what LAMP is and what we do in First Nation's communities.   They appreciated our work and commitment to Wapekeka and the other communities we serve.

Pastor/Pilot talking with the counselors from the Tikinagin agency
I was also able to meet the wife of Rev. Roy Morris who is from Muskrat Dam.  We started talking and joking about all the "Roys" we know.  Somehow the conversation turned and I asked if they knew Rev. Solomon Beardy from Sachigo Lake.  Joan said to me, "He's here!  He's at the motel."  So we headed over to the motel around the corner from Joan's house.  Joan went back and got Solomon who was also there with his wife.  He came out and was surprised to see me.  What a small world it is, even up north.

Pastor/Pilot Dennis with the Beardy's

We were able to sit in the small family room and talk about things in Sachigo and the VBS team plans for there.  After our discussion, we prayed together for the work Solomon does in the communities to support them spiritually.

Pastor Dennis praying with the Beardy's
After our prayer time, we gathered in the lobby with Joan, DeVon, the Beardy's and with a half dozen social workers who were there to work with the children and families to try and stem the suicide attempts.  The Canadian Rangers were even posted in Wapekeka to patrol the area especially for children out at night and by themselves.  We all got to get to know each other and how all the pieces of the puzzle all of us make up to help the community through this difficult time.

Conversing with the various agency counselors sent to help with the recent suicides

We had finished up our conversations (and coffee) and headed back to the airport.  It was a really good and meaningful visit, especially to spend time with the families of Jenera and Chantall.  Everyone is also looking forward to the VBS team coming later in July.

(L to R) Joan, Pastor/Pilot Dennis, DeVon
As we flew home, it was obviously apparent again how critical and important the ministry of LAMP is to the communities up north.  It's quite humbling to be able to participate as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bring his comfort and hope to people who really need it.

On June 30, a weather window opened up for us to fly to Kingfisher Lake, Ontario.  This is a community that has not had a LAMP VBS team there for the past 2 summers.  I wanted to meet with Lydia Mamakwa who is the Anglican Bishop for the diocese Kingfisher is part of.   It's important that even though we don't have teams going into communities we serve, we want to keep the relationships and support continuing.

When we landed, Peter Kitchekesik met us at the airport.  He is the husband of Ruth who is Lydia's assistant.  It was great to make a new friend.  Peter has known about LAMP going back to the days when Al Anderson flew into Kingfisher (That's quite a long time ago!).   He drove us to the mission house where Lydia's office is located.

Pastor/Pilot Dennis, Peter, and Sam

We were able to meet with both Lydia and Ruth and talk about how LAMP can continue to support Kingfisher and her in the ministry she serves.   She would definitely like to see a VBS team come to the community.   Lydia also sees the advantage of the Family and Parenting workshop I've been doing in communities, not only for Kingfisher, but for other pastors to be able to take to their communities.  So Lydia invited me to be a speaker at the Ministry School next February to teach the pastors about the workshop.  It will be a "train the trainer" class which will help spread the workshop out further and faster in northern communities, especially those LAMP currently isn't serving at the present time.  This will be an incredible opportunity to support more communities than imaginable with my available time.  It's quite a door of blessing the Lord has opened for LAMP and the communities.  I'm really excited and looking forward to participating in the ministry school.

I also spoke with Lydia and Ruth about how I could pray for them and the community.   After talking about their needs, we all prayed together, especially to bless Lydia and the work she does in spreading the Gospel of Jesus to the communities in her Diocese.

Pastor/Pilot Dennis meeting with Lydia (left) and Ruth (right)

When we were done, I mentioned I'd like to see James, her husband.  She said he was outside and opened her window and yelled down at him (we were on the 2nd floor).   I said, "Tell him Dennis the Menace is here."   She did... and we could hear the laughter from outside.

Dennis and James updating each other since the last visit
I went downstairs just as Peter was helping James unload a huge catch of whitefish for a gathering later in the day.  James had been Chief of Kingfisher and "retired" from the position at the last election.   He decided it was time to take it a little easier and was enjoying the free time he had.  I could spend all day talking with James.  He's such a character but also a strong follower of our Lord.

As James and I talked, Peter took the cases of whitefish inside.  He started cleaning them and enlisted Sam to help him carry the tub of water he was using in the process.  When they had returned, we all gathered around and prayed together for Jame's and Peter and thanking the Lord for their blessing they are to Kingfisher.  

The catch of Whitefish James caught in his nets that morning.

Sam helping Peter dump the water used in cleaning the fish.
It was time for us to head back to the airport.  The time went by so quickly, but there was another front moving in and we needed to beat it to Sioux Lookout.  Another community visit was in the books.  But it was also another visit to connect, support, encourage, and pray with the people who have in a way become part of my church family up north.

Sam and Dennis winging their way back to Sioux Lookout.

We got back to Sioux Lookout with plenty of time before the front moved in with rain.   And again, we were blessed with good flying weather and able to connect with friends.

It can't be expressed enough how important it is to support the communities in their struggles and encourage them in their faith walk with Jesus.   That is how LAMP began from humble beginnings back in 1970.   And that is still part of the main mission of LAMP to continue this vital ministry to the almost four dozen communities spread out in northern Canada.

The passage from Colossians 2:2-3 is one verse that proclaims LAMP's mission to the people we serve.  It says, "My (our) purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

Through your prayers and financial support, you are an active participant in this ministry of encouragement.   What a tremendous privilege it is to take the Gospel of Jesus with the hope that only He can offer to the First Nation's people of northern Canada.

Until the next time...