Monday, September 25, 2017

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, residents at several Native Reservations in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. We were impressed by the people.

After our marriage in 1956, we are flown by a small, single engine airplane to Pikangikum, a community of Ojibwe Indian people. We are there as Christian missionaries. Fortunately we are welcomed into the community. We are there to introduce to them the LORD Jesus Christ, and the salvation He offers to people. At the same time we are depending on them to teach us their language, their culture, and how to survive in the cold North country. We had much to learn.                             

Early in the spring of 1959 the Pikangikum Reserve witnesses a blessing from God, unknown to most people here. This blessing is salvation for their souls from the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are attempting to present the Scripture to over the 500 Native people here. An increasing number of them encourage us to instruct them the Bible. They show evidence of their growing faith in God. A building is constructed for a place to meet for fellowship and sharing the Gospel.

An interesting next step in God's plan for all of us is about to take place. Two of their own Ojibwe people from two other Native Communities offer to come to Pikangikum to present and teach the Gospel to the local people. We are glad for their offer.

The two men offer to present the Gospel to whoever wishes to hear it. Word is passed around announcing several meetings. Attendance takes place and the message is appreciated.

The messages the local people hear is meeting a need in their lives. There is an obvious expression in several people's response to what they hear.  They want to experience what they hear expressed from the Bible.

After the final evening meeting several people chose to commit their lives to God, and do so in prayer. Goodbyes are said to and by the guest speakers, because they are leaving for home by plane the next morning. The guest speakers are staying at our house.

The next morning we are getting lots of snow. All that day planes are unable to fly due to a typical winter day of snowfall in the north. So instead of the men flying home, during the entire day local people come walking the distance of over a mile across the frozen and snow-covered lake to our house to hear more about God from the guest speakers. From morning to evening it is a day of 'Bible study and prayers' for all that are seeking about knowing God.
(Note: The reason people were walking was because there were no vehicles of any kind at Pikangikum.)

Prior to the above time, the Gospel is being shared to anyone seeking to know it. But now there is the beginning of a congregation. It is a wonderful gift of God at Pikangikum. After the above mentioned people's experiences of making a commitment to God, we are reminded that salvation is not like a destination. It is a journey, like a process.

For a time, nearly every Sunday morning service someone acknowleges their need of a Savior and professing to accept Jesus as such. It is also true that some have chosen to return to the former way of life.

Yet with great rejoicing, the 51st Native to become a member of the young congregation here is baptized this summer. She is a very promising young girl. A few are just indifferent. This of course is not true of all, as many are real pillars in the Church.

When we see them worshipping God we remember how far they have already come

The following quotes and reports encourage us on:

"That was when I was still living in darkness."

" I had been a hypocrite then."

"Immediately after we prayed for my wife who had been sick, she became well and went about her work."

"If you Missionaries wouldn't have come here, we too would still be living bad lives."
                                                                  David Burkholder

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...