Snow has already been flying in some places. Fall is falling behind with winter knocking on our doors. Thanksgiving (both Canada and the US) is fading quickly into the past. And the season of Advent in preparation for the season of Christmas is upon us. One of the traditions of Christmas is the giving of gifts. In a way, it’s a celebration of the ultimate gift that God gave us in His son Jesus, who became one of us, to live the perfect life, to take on the sin of the world, providing for each of us redemption from eternal death and a resurrection to eternal life. That is quite a list of gifts that all of us have received through faith in Jesus Christ.
Yet the Lord continues to give us gifts throughout our lives. Some are quite profound such as His Holy Spirit given through the Word in Scripture, our baptism, and the Lord’s supper. We have also received other gifts in our lives such as loving families, good health, and our physical needs met through the fruit of God’s creation. More specifically, there are gifts you and I have received this past year that have probably been quite a blessing to us. I know this year I received a special gift in the form of a place. And it’s called Sioux Lookout, Ontario.
But a surprise gift came this fall. People in these northern Ontario communities come to Sioux Lookout for medical care since it is a major hospital hub for so many of the northern communities. Therefore, they come for doctor appointments, surgeries, and emergency medical care. So, one evening, I got a text message from one of my friends in Weagamow Lake that her brother was flown out on a medivac flight and would be in the emergency room at the hospital. I drove into town and met with him in the E.R. and was able to pray with him. I met his sister at the airport the next day and took her to the hospital hostel where her brother was staying while undergoing tests. Then a couple of days later, I received another text that a man from Sandy Lake had fallen and cracked his hip. He also had been air lifted from the community to Sioux Lookout. Again, I drove up to the hospital and met with him and his wife, visited with them, read Scripture and prayed with them. This gift was that I had become hospital chaplain for First Nation people in Sioux Lookout! That was a true blessing and allowed the ministry to expand even more beyond the boundaries of the communities.
The gift of a place called Sioux Lookout, Ontario has allowed the ministry of LAMP to touch the lives of the volunteer missionary teams and the people of the communities in ways not previously possible. And as relationships develop more broadly and deeply, it’s only going to become a vital ministry the Lord will use to serve His people up north. This is what LAMP is all about… to not only take the Gospel message to the people up north, but to tangibly live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that His people can experience his love and care personally. And this would not be possible without the support of LAMP’s many donors and partners in ministry. As God’s Word from 2 Corinthians 3:3 says, “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
As you celebrate the gift of the Christmas Christ, celebrate gifts God has given to each of us to serve His people, especially so that the Gospel can touch the lives of more and more people in northern Canada.