So, what have we been up to lately? Actually, it’s more like where we’ve been up to.
Wednesday, February 8, found us loading up the van and heading north around 7 a.m. for Pickle Lake, Ontario. There was a Christian workers conference that weekend which we were invited to sing at and a friend of ours, Don Stolhammer, was asked to speak at. So, we rendezvoused around 7:30 and caravanned northward to Dryden, where the folks at Beaver Lake were very generous to let him leave his truck for the weekend while we carpooled on to Pickle Lake. Yes, we did visit briefly with our friends before starting out again. We enjoyed reminiscing about last summer.
Thursday morning we sang at “The Trailer,” a ministry the Rassmussen family started. People come the trailer house for coffee/tea and some breakfast. They sing songs and hear the Word of God from Mr. Rassmussen. It’s a wonderful ministry and one to keep in your prayers.
The workers conference was held at Friendship Baptist Church. It began on Thursday evening and continued Friday morning and evening and Saturday morning. Mr. Stolhammer shared wonderful messages from the Word of God. At each session our family sang a few songs, and we enjoyed being able to participate with musicians from the church as Dad led in some congregational singing. The whole conference was such a blessing—hearing the Word of God preached, fellowshipping with other believers, and praising the Lord in song, especially as a whole congregation.
Friday afternoon we went skating. We “southerners” had to get used to being on skates again. For some of us, it was pretty much a first!
Saturday afternoon we had fun snowmobiling.
Sunday morning…well, that’s almost a whole ‘nother story in itself. In a good way.
We were asked to sing a few songs for the Sunday morning meeting at “the red-roof church” on the Mishkeegogamang Reserve (or “Mish” for short). We knew there was no indoor plumbing, only an old outhouse, and we had heard something about someone normally starting a fire in the stove.
After waiting outside the church for a while for someone to unlock it, Dad decided to blaze a trail through the snow, if necessary, and take a look at the outhouse—for curiosity’s sake.
When the church was unlocked and we went inside, little did we expect it to be colder inside than it was outside!! (We were later told that sometimes they open the windows—in the winter—to warm the church up!) It was well below freezing, so no one took their jacket off. Someone got a fire going in the stove, and some church-goers began to gather around it…the best seats were in the back by the heat! People poured coffee to warm themselves and their hands. It was a long time before we could talk without seeing our frozen breath! Eventually the cozy warmth of the fire warmed things up enough to not feel so in need of a heavy jacket.
It was a blessing to be able to minister on this reserve. We have never experienced anything quite like that before. 🙂 Apparently the church building is usually warmer when people start arriving…but I don’t think we would have changed it. The extreme cold added to the adventure!
Sunday night was such an incredible joy to us as we gathered at Friendship Baptist Church to worship the Lord and hear the Word of God with others. Some we had gotten to know throughout the week and some we hadn’t, but we all have one thing in common: Christ Jesus our Savior. Our family sang a few songs, and at the end of the service many of the people who attend the church got up and sang for us a song called “I Have Been Blessed.” It was such a moving time—these people were family, and they were singing with all their hearts about the many ways God has blessed us. We truly were the ones who were blessed.
Afterwards, some of us gathered around the piano and sang lots more. What an encouraging time we had that night! It was hard to say goodbye.
Monday morning (the 13th) we had a wonderful homemade breakfast, and then began our goodbyes with the Rassmussens and Criscos (the pastor of Friendship Baptist and his wife). Both of these families have been an immense blessing and encouragement to us.
When we arrived at Beaver Lake to pick up the pickup, we just had to visit some more. And snap a few pictures.
Being here brought back so many good memories of last summer! We would have loved to stay longer, but we had to keep going.
We had to stop at Walmart to buy our favorite chips: All Dressed—only available in Canada (as far as we know). How long will six bags last…?
Having left Dryden, we continued down the long barren road for many miles. (I mean, kilometers.) Suddenly, out of the woods, a moose ran across the road in front of our van! If we had been driving there just a few seconds sooner, we probably would have collided. How exciting–God protected us and we got to see a moose close-up!
God blessed us with an amazing time throughout the whole trip. Thank you to everyone who was praying for us. We truly appreciate it.
“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” Psalm 96:1-2