Friday, June 30, 2017

Elva Kauffman Pioneering the way to Pikangikum - March 14, 1955

Front from left to right: ?, Elva Kauffman, ?
Back ?, ?, ?, Lilly Burkholder
The following is written by Elva Burkholder who was Elva Kauffman at the time the piece was written. This is before her and Dave were married. She was pioneering and forging the way to Pikangikum.  Those with her were Willard Moyer, Lovina Miller (who eventually married Art Kauffman, Elva's brother). Please if you know these women in the picture would you let us know who they are -! Thank you.

"Our first Sunday Service was held in our home but it was too far for the older people to walk, and also those with little children, so the counsellor gave us permission to have it in their home each Sunday afternoon. We have an average attendance of eighty. We do more singing in church than you or I are used to but these people love to sing. We open our services by singing about eighteen selections after which we have a flannel-graph lesson. Brother Willard, who has conquered the language quite well, brings a message. The second Sunday, we bundled up and went to church through a snow storm. By wading through deep snow drifts, we found the trail. The snow was beating in our faces, driven by a strong gale and we could only see a short distance but we were soon home. We had just started a fire in our stove when there was a knock at the door. The counsellor had come to see if we had arrived home safely. After staying long enough to drink a cup of tea he hurried home again through the storm before it got dark. Our hearts were touched to think of the concern he had for us that he ventured through this storm to see if we found our trail home.

The Lord is answering your prayers on behalf of the souls at Pikangikum. Two of the young men who fell into sin have confessed their wrong doing to God and to us and want to make restitution. They had taken some articles from the mission home and now want to return them. The next time they came to visit us, they brought some other young men over and before the evening was over, three new souls were brought into the kingdom. We keenly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with us that evening. Sister Maggie has also found the Lord precious and although their health does not permit her to attend services, she is experiencing the joy of being a child of the King. Willard went over to visit her one day and over her bed hung a piece of paper with these words, "God give me a good heart. My heart is sinful." She needs your prayers that she may continue to live for Jesus."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How We Came - June 23, 2017

(This piece was published June 22, 1992 in Bits of News Articles)

Elva and my pilgrimages started in the States, hers in Intercourse, Pennsylvania and mine in Nappanee, Indiana. Obviously it has not yet ended, but at present we are stationed here in the Norseman Capital of the World, Red Lake, Ontario! (Elva has since passed away in March 2016)

From there to here has been to us an interesting, varied, and sometimes difficult, but rewarding pilgrimage. The exposure to and involvement  in three languages and cultures plus two countries has offered its own flavor to life. All that has affected our emotions of anxiety, embarrassment, anger, compassion, love and other less conscious feelings.

The statement I made as a young lad, that I will always be a farmer and not a public speaker, was an unfulfilled prophecy. That attitude hindered me from preparing for what has since become a life ministry of sowing, cultivating, and investing in people's lives.

It has been good to be alive and walk with the Lord through all this. A look into the past encourages us for the future.

In my early 20's, after the realization of my desperate need for Jesus Christ as Lord of my life, I made that surrender to Him. Then for the first time, Winter Bible School was an option....then an experience, resulting in a vision beyond myself and our home church and community. That initiated a series of "steps ordered of the Lord."

In June 1953 my first 'hands-on' mission outreach began when I moved to Northern (Kitchi) Minnesota. I was assigned the Ojibway community for my contact people in the emerging church there.

The following year, also in June, I made my first journey north on the dusty, rough, six year old gravel road to Red Lake. During the following four months all NLGM staff (all 3!) lived in an old abandoned log and frame gold mine warehouse.  When Brother Irwin, the founder of NLGM, and Lorraine, the secretary went to Loman for business, I had to cook for the remaining staff ... I didn't mind my own cooking.

In September (1954) Irwin flew me into Poplar Hill to manage the construction of a school house. I had never even built a dog house! It got built. I had entered into a new world....of Indian people that all looked and talked alike. It was a world of language and culture learning, of dog teams, attempting to show and tell the love of Jesus to our new friends, and of nearly overturning our canoe in the middle of the Hallelujah Rapids on the Berens River. There were a few other interesting experiences.

The return of the Lord was too close to think of getting married, until Elva showed up at Loman Bible School in 1953. A correspondence-and-occasional-seeing-each-other courtship ensued. In February,1955, she started her pioneer missionary experience with two other mission personnel in an unfinished house at Pikangikum. Later she was involved in opening a new mission outpost on the Deer Lake Reserve.

Eventually we were engaged and set our wedding date which was to take place in Pennsylvania the following March. Irwin rejoiced with us and asked if we would consider moving to Pikangikum after we were married. He then looked on the calendar and asked if we would please plan to have the wedding a week earlier. There was a big pile of logs on the lake shore at Pikangikum that needed to be sawed before break-up. We consented.

Though it was our honeymoon, two people needed a ride to Red Lake, so since we were going there right after the wedding, we brought them. There were a few adjustments in marriage life and our new ministry immediately after moving into our little honeymoon house at Pikangikum...a fellow living with us....sawing the logs....language learning...attempting to have church services in with a bride (and husband) that couldn't get to see mom and dad etc.

A church  building was constructed, a Holy Spirit revival swept the Reserve, and a church was born.

Our son Lynn arrived in 1958, and his sister Wanita made her debut in 1962.

I read, interpreted, and wrote the Chief's (of Pikangikum) correspondence. We bought our first snowmobile. We built a house on the Reserve and eventually moved into it from across the lake.

The needs of the local church, by then under Native leadership, changed, and so did our family's needs and we moved to Red Lake in 1973. Responsibilities with the Mission and Church in Red Lake have varied since then and the Lord had a house called Beth-el (house of God) built for us on a lot entitled Canaan (the promised land) and we are living happily ever after...well, mostly so.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Call to Missions - Is This For Real?

The Call to Missions
Is This For Real

April 27,1990
First Home at Pikangikum and Northern Lights
Mission Plane on Lake Ice

Two days (April 25, 1990) ago I answer the phone at our house. The man calling speaks a language completely different than the language you are reading now. In fact he is not be able to speak a half dozen sentences in English. His voice seems to expose deep emotion. He appears to be thankful for the opportunity to share a burden he has, which he shares very personally and with confidence.

It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to listen to him and bear his burden. At one time I would not have been able to do so. 

After placing the phone on its hook I ask myself, "Is this for real? Am I conversing with Sam, a First Nations man, in his native Ojibwe language? Is he paying for a long distance phone call to tell me his problems? Am I giving him advice and assurance of my deep his language?"

You see, Sam was born and raised in a small log house beside a lake which is completely surrounded by pine, poplar and birch trees in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. He grew up on a First Nations Reserve, a village in the hinterlands, inaccessible by road. By experience, he became educated in hunting, fishing, hardships, isolation, survival, as well as First Nations' religion.

On the other hand I was born and raised in a foreign (to Sam) country, in the United States, on a farm in Indiana speaking both Pennsylvania Dutch and English. I eventually began to worship the God of the Bible. I did not know one First Nations person and I fully intended to be a farmer as a life-time vocation.

Why then am I so alarmed at this phone call two days ago? Did not my wife and I live in the north for years... and raise our family while living on Sam's isolated First Nations' Reserve? And did I not learn to speak his language many moons ago?

I am, rather I am amazed at God's mercy, His grace, His callings and His gifts to His people! Because of all this, my dreams of farming in Indiana were not fulfilled. Instead, Elva and I with our two children, were privileged to be friends with several hundred of Sam's people.We shared the Word of God with them in the Ojibwe language.We knelt with Sam, his wife Mary Ann and many others and heard them confess Christ as their Lord.We prayed with them and for them, as well as rejoiced and shed tears with them.We taught them.We learned from them.We saw them walking with the God of the Bible. Today Sam is an ordained minister to his people at Pikangikum. It is a privilege and a pleasure to be his personal friend and to share his problems.

I marvel at God and His grace!

The Beginning of a Congregation - September 2, 2017

Before Elva and I are married, we were individually at two different Reservations where we were both introduced to the Aboriginal people, r...