No, it’s not a factory where moose are made. It’s a First Nations community located on an island in the Moose River in northern Ontario.
It’s really amazing to see how this trip came about. This Fall we attended Family Fall Retreat at Storybook Lodge Christian Camp. As has been the tradition for the last couple of years, we played some songs during chapel time. The speaker that weekend was Mr. Joe Reese from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, who had been invited to preach at some gospel meetings up in Moose Factory, ON in January. Mr. Reese asked if we had ever heard of Moose Factory and if we would be interested in joining him. (In fact, we have heard of Moose Factory and know some people from there… including our good friend and board member for Without Reservation, James Moses, who is now with the Lord.) Mr. Reese contacted the man in charge of the meetings to see if they would be interested in having us join him and provide the music ministry for the meetings. The Lord opened up the doors for the trip to happen and before we knew it, we were headed up north for another family ministry adventure.
On Monday, January 16th, we pulled out around 5:30am for our 12 hour drive to Sault Ste. Marie where we would be meeting up with Mr. Reese. We enjoyed a delicious supper at the Reese’s home where we met Mr. Reese’s wife, Ann, and his two sisters, Donna and Anne, from Mississippi who would be our traveling companions for the rest of the trip up north. Another lady from the Reese’s church, June, also came along on the trip making us a group of 12. Little did we know what a joy being with these folks would be.
The next day we left for Cochrane, ON—an 8 hour drive from Sault Ste. Marie. We traveled on a “back road” through Ranger Lake. It was a beautiful ride.
We got up early the next morning for the last big leg of our journey north… a 5 hour train ride to Moosonee, ON. We repacked bags for the train trip and headed over to the station at 8:00am to check in our 23 bags of luggage, including our 10 instruments. When we arrived in Moosonee, Allan and Lorraine Jolly, along with their son Mike met us with three pickups to haul all 12 of us and our luggage across the river to the beautiful Cree Village EcoLodge in Moose Factory where we would be staying for the rest of the week.
After we were settled, we hurried off to the Cree Gospel Chapel to eat supper provided by ladies in the church and set up the instruments for the first meeting that evening at 7:00.
On both Thursday and Friday there were ladies meetings led by Mrs. Reese in the morning that were such a privilege to be a part of. On Thursday, we simply had a time of sharing testimonies and it was such a blessing and encouragement to hear how the Lord worked to bring each of us to Himself.
Every evening, from Wednesday to Sunday, our family was able to minister through music during the meetings. We sang about 5 songs each night, followed by powerful preaching of the Gospel. The meetings were being broadcast on the local TV channel that airs in Moose Factory and Moosonee.
On Saturday morning, the church hosted a brunch. Lots of people came bringing dishes of yummy food! Mr. Reese shared a devotion that morning, and we all enjoyed the wonderful food and fellowship.
Dad shared on the local radio station for Sunday morning. The family was also asked to lead the music during the Sunday morning service and so we pulled out some hymns as well as some of our old Sunday School songs we learned at St James Gospel Chapel while living in Winnipeg. The kids loved “The Gospel Train” song as they were the “train” walking around the chairs.
Dad and the girls were also given the opportunity to teach Sunday School because some of the teachers weren’t able to be there.
That night was the final gospel meeting and God’s Word went out once again with great power. The church surprised us by giving us beautiful gifts that were handmade by people we had met.
Monday was our last day in Moose Factory and that morning we sang for the Moose Factory Academy of Christian Education. It was a Christian school that uses the same curriculum that we use for home school. There were about 30 students and staff that came to the church for the concert.
It was a special time in which we sang some songs for them, but then we also taught them some action songs and even had some of the kids come up to play instruments and sing “Jesus Loves Me.”
Monday was the day we packed up our gear and memories. It was a great time in Moose Factory. Apart from the wonderful meetings, we were encouraged by many people. We learned how to skin out a martin caught on the trapline, enjoyed some memorable winter road tours, and had great fellowship in Christ.
We crossed the frozen river and headed over to the Moosonee train station later that day and were delighted to have some of our new friends meet us there to say goodbye. One lady made us some delicious banana bread for our trip home and her son brought some activity books for Daniel and Jonathan.
It was sad to leave our new friends behind; its amazing how the common bond of the Lord Jesus Christ can build wonderful friendships in a short amount of time. We were especially thankful for the warm friendship of Allan and Lorraine Jolly… and the warm trucks that they faithfully drove us back and forth from our hotel to the chapel in below zero weather. We learned so much from them about the community and way of life up there and we were blessed by their commitment to Christ.
It was an icy mess when we got into the Cochrane train station around 10:00pm. We said farewell to the Reese family and June… folks that we had only met a week earlier, but now were fast friends and newly acquired grandmas. Being with these precious folks was a treat. We even got to learn how to interpret deep-south English! (Anne and Donna speak “Mississippian”.) There was no shortage of laughter during our time together.
We spent the night in a motel before heading toward our last stop before home. An 8 hour drive brought us to Beardmore, ON were our friends the Mikeshes are serving the Lord. We got there in time to have supper with them and some of their friends. Afterwards, all the kids headed outside for a game of street hockey.
We spent a wonderful evening and full morning with their family; we didn’t leave until almost noon the next day! And we were finally on our way home. Ten days is a long time to be away from home, but it sure was a wonderful trip on which the Lord blessed us abundantly.
Thanks to all who were praying for us on this trip; the Lord answered your prayers as He protected us on the snowy/icy roads and blessed our time there. Please continue to pray that the Lord would work in the hearts of those in the community who heard the gospel and that they would put their trust in Jesus Christ.
We will be heading up to Pickle Lake, ON from February 8-14 so we would appreciate your prayers for that time as well. We will again be singing up there and desire for the Lord to use us for His glory as we serve Him up north.
More pictures (click to enlarge):