Early January for us has come to mean packing up and heading north to Pickle Lake, Ontario. Many of you are familiar with our annual trip there to sing at the Winter Road Conference and then the community outreach. We always look forward so much to going there. And yes, this is where the plane crash happened last April.
But this year, we went to Winnipeg first. Since we used to live there we have lots of friends, and in a way it still feels like home when we visit. We stayed with the Ungers, who live just down the street from our old house. How can I describe our time with them anything short of “a blast”? Games, fellowship, singing, laughter…it is so good to have the body of Christ wherever we go!
Sunday morning we were grateful to remember Jesus through breaking bread with our church family there. Sunday evening was testimony night at church, and we were invited to sing a few songs during the meeting. One of our favorites went wonderfully along with the theme of the evening. The message of the song is: No matter your background, whether it was rough or you were raised in a Christian home, as brothers and sisters in Christ we can all say, “You can’t imagine what the Lord has done for me!”
Yes, our church family in Winnipeg truly is family. We are always so blessed when we visit.
Then it was off into the Ontario wilderness…the long, beautiful road to Pickle Lake!Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday was the Winter Road conference which our friends the Rasmussens host at Friendship Baptist Church. Basically, this is a time to encourage the believers in the north through song and messages from God’s Word. Since we’ve been coming to Pickle Lake for so long we know quite a few people and it’s always nice to see everybody again.
Friday through Sunday was the gospel outreach at the community center. This year especially there seemed to be a lot of spiritual opposition…several things happened that just reminded us we are in a battle. But God is still in charge and the meetings went really well.
Since this is the town where the plane crash happened, and in such a small community everybody knows about it, it was advertised that the family who had been in the plane crash was going to sing. Actually, it was really amazing…many of the main characters of the story were there—our family, Dan Hatfield (the pilot), the Brennemans whom Dad had been staying with in Round Lake during that time, Gary and Chris Quequish, the Rassmussens (Mrs. Rassmussen, the Brennemans and Dad had formed “The Maryland Trio and Cindy,”), and even one of the EMT’s who checked us out at the scene.
One night of the outreach Mr. Hatfield shared the airplane story from his perspective, and one night our family shared from our perspective and showed pictures on a screen. We’ve told that story in so many places to so many people, but to share it in Pickle Lake where it happened, I think there was a different kind of connection between us and those who came out that night.
Gary Quequish preached this year again. We never tire of hearing him share his testimony, the gospel, and whatever else God has put on his heart.
Also one night a young couple from Pickle Lake shared their testimonies. It was such an amazing story, one that really stirs you. To hear of the life before Christ and now what a difference He has made… There is hope in Jesus!
We were able to see God working in people’s hearts during these meetings. Pray for those whom He touched and those who have yet to respond to Him.
One afternoon at the community center we did a children’s program, featuring songs, games, a Bible memory verse, and a reenactment of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Thanks to the Rassmussens for all their help again this year!
In between all the different church and outreach meetings and activities, there was plenty to be done.
It was such a blessed week of ministry, fellowship, and great conversations with believers and non-believers alike.
And we have yet more travel reports coming soon!
From the rising of the sun to its going down the LORD’s name is to be praised. Psalm 113:3