(Eabametoong First Nation) FORT HOPE, ONTARIO-One by one, lives are changing in Fort Hope.
This year pastor Jim and Judy Walters coordinated three ministry trips to Fort Hope: one with a team to minister specifically to the children and provide a marriage seminar, one with a team of pastoral leaders–including Resurrection Life Church senior pastor Duane Vander Klok–to teach adults and meet with area leaders, and another trip to take a team of Native Americans to minister among their Canadian cousins.
On the first trip, the emphasis was on marriages and children. A ministry team from RezKidz in Grandville organized ministry for children and drew crowds of more than 100 to the John C. Yesno Education Centre gym as they played games, sang songs and taught them about the love of God.
“The team is doing a lot of background work,” Jim Walters said. “They?re hugging kids. They?re talking with kids. They play with the kids. They?re making friends.”
The RezKidz team reported that five children responded to accept Christ as savior. During Vander Klok’s visit to the village the ministry team hosted a a five-hour long radio show and nine people accepted Christ.
As the Walters and others bring the practical message of God’s Word to Fort Hope, Chief O’Keese and other Ojibwe band leaders recognize that applying Christian principles to marriages will help families and the entire community grow stronger.
“When it was first brought to the attention of myself and my council, we had one hundred percent support,” O’Keese said of the plans for the marriage seminar. “We told our staff, ‘If you want to go to the seminar, you can go and take (the day) with pay.”‘
O’Keese said he and the band leaders recognize that the status of families are reflected in the community and that suffering families equal a suffering community.
He said stronger marriages are “part of the healing the community is looking for.”
In this village where live-in couples and single-parent families are the norm, individuals also recognize the need for help when it comes to marital commitment and faith.
“We need that marriage counseling,” said Barb Oskineegish, a single mother. “It’s helping us a lot.”
With the help of mission teams, prayer and support the Walters are taking practical Biblical teaching to the Ojibwe people as God touches Fort Hope one life at a time.
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