Up North

IMG_1317Our family just got back from an amazing 10-day trip up to Canada.  Our first stop was Winnipeg, Manitoba… it had been nearly 5 years since the whole family had been back to visit (for those who don’t know, we lived in Canada before moving here to Minnesota – and so all three of us girls are Canadian born with American parents – dual citizenship!)  We were graciously hosted by our friend John in the city of our birth – our home and native land. 🙂 The day we got in, we had a concert at First Nations Church.  Some of the highlights that evening were that Dad and Mom got to reconnect with some of the Native friends that they knew when we lived there, and we also got to see Howard Jolly again (a couple of us “joined” his band for a set at the Beaver Lake family camp).

Singing at First Nations

Singing at First Nations Church in Winnipeg

The next morning, we attended St. James Gospel Chapel where we went while living in Winnipeg.  It was great to see friends that we hadn’t seen in years.  We had lunch and supper with two different families that we were really close to, catching up on the past five years.  And that night we were back at St. James to give a ministry update and sing.  After the service, we headed back to our dear friends, the Ungers, for snacks and more fellowship with the youth from the church.

Amy, Deborah, Sara, Brettony, Jayne, Abigail

Fellowship with sweet friends

Monday morning we were off to Ontario.  We spent the night in Dryden at Northern Youth Programs headquarters where we enjoyed great fellowship and singing late into the evening with the staff.  We so appreciated their warm hospitality – good food, warm beds, and encouraging fellowship before hitting the remote road for Pickle Lake the next morning.

Singing and jamming with the NYP staff

Singing and jamming with the NYP staff

Once again, we were staying with the Rasmussen family at the CJTL radio station, and this time the Mikesh family of 8 were staying there as well.  That made for 3 dads, 3 moms, 5 boys, and 8 girls… a very full and noisy house!  Yet there was great fellowship and fun in spite of the close quarters.

The radio station where we stayed

The radio station where we stayed

Tuesday evening started the conference ministry that we were taking part in musically.  Tuesday evening through Thursday morning, Mr. Rick Mikesh spoke to the youth about the importance of sharing the gospel with others.  Thursday evening through Saturday morning was a time of encouragement and refreshment for all as Mr. Tony Angus shared with the adults and families what the Lord laid on his heart — we are to be fighting soldiers!  Our family ministered through music each evening before the message.

Morning devotions for the youth conference

Morning devotions for the youth conference

Sunday morning we hauled all of our instruments over to Freedom Bible Mission (a.k.a. the trailer) where the Rasmussen family ministers to the people of Pickle Lake.  We sang and Tony shared a short gospel message.  We ran back to radio station for lunch, and then headed back to the trailer for Sunday School in the afternoon.  There were a lot of kids that came out and they all were so well behaved!  We enjoyed having them come up and help us play some songs.  The smiles on their faces were so precious!

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Besides ministry opportunities, there was a lot of fun activities that we were able to do… skating, sledding, 5-pin Canadian bowling (at a 2 lane bowling alley!), Round Robin ping-pong, jamming, and snowmobiling.  I (Sara) enjoyed cross-country skiing for the first time with a friend.  And Jonathan was constantly trying to avoid the snowbanks… or perhaps he was trying to avoid Mr. Bob who kept throwing him in the snowbanks?!!  It all makes for great memories.

Jonathan enjoying a ride from Dad on the ice rink

Jonathan enjoying a ride from Dad on the ice rink

Sunday evening we attended the service at Friendship Baptist church.  There was much music that was shared, an excellent message, and the Spirit was moving in people’s hearts.  The fellowship was so sweet… we didn’t leave the church until 11:30 (and for those of you who know us well, yes we were one of the last to leave!).  It was hard to say goodbye – it really feels like family up there among the believers.  Monday morning we left for Dryden where we spent the night at NYP again, and Tuesday evening we arrived safely home, thankful for the safety the Lord had given us and for wonderful memories treasured in our hearts.  We have been so blessed!

The youth at Friendship Baptist singing

The youth at Friendship Baptist singing

I have been blessed, God’s so good to me,

Precious are His thoughts of you and me,

No way I could count them – there’s not enough time,

So I’ll just thank Him for being so kind,

God has been good, so good — I have been blessed.

2 thoughts on “Up North

  1. HANNAH

    Sounds like y’all had a wonderful trip! 🙂 The neat thing is, I just met Amy Unger at a youth conference in West Fargo and didn’t realize she knew your family! What a small world! 🙂

    Reply
  2. ROGER & PATRICIA FERNELIUS, LITTLE FALLS, MN

    Thank you so much for the wonderful concert this evening, March 1, 2013, in Brainerd, MN. We truly were blessed by your music and sharing. You have a beautiful family and so very talented. May God richly bless your family and the ministry that you are involved in, both the Native American Ministry and your Blue Grass Music Ministry. We are looking forward to seeing you again sometime. Thank you for your faithfulness in serving the Lord. We both love the Lord and want you to know that He does make a difference in our lives. We trust Him daily and he has led us for the past 50 years, through hard and good times. We will pray for your family that many will come to know Christ Jesus through your witness in testimony and song.

    Reply

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