Fran Hartog

(from Issue #524)

introducing our missionaries...

Fran HartogI grew up on a farm in the Interlake area of Manitoba. My parents were Christians and took me and my siblings to church and Sunday school. My grandparents were also Christians, so I have a great Christian heritage.

I first attended Fisher Bay Bible Camp when I was nine years old. It was there at camp I realized that I needed to know Christ personally. I couldn’t get to heaven just because my parents were Christians. That’s when I made a decision to live for Christ.

Being a Christ follower has given my life meaning and purpose. I know that God is with me no matter what comes my way. Some of my favourite verses are found in Psalm 46:1-3, where it says: “God is our refuge and strength … Therefore we will not fear.”

My home church had a missions conference every fall when I was growing up, so I was aware of missions from a young age. The reports and stories the missionaries told always interested me.

During my Bible college years we often had visiting missionaries from around the world. As I sat in chapel and listened to these people, I always found myself wondering, “Who will tell the people here at home about God’s love and forgiveness?” Having grown up a few miles from the Peguis Cree Nation (the largest First Nations community in Manitoba), I found myself thinking about Canada’s First Peoples.

God used Romans 10:13-15 to lead me to missions. The mission organization I was most familiar with was Gospel Missionary Union (now Avant Ministries), as this was the mission that started my home church (Hodgson Bible Church). However, I found out that they didn’t do this kind of ministry in Canada anymore, and that’s when I contacted NCEM.

Missionary service usually includes some surprises, and I guess the biggest surprise is that I initially joined NCEM for a two-year term, and that was more than 25 years ago!
I spent my first two years serving in New Brunswick. While I know that there are needs and opportunities all over the world, it was while serving in the Maritimes that God impressed on me the need back in Manitoba in the area where I grew up.

It seems that I needed to go away to see the need in my home area.

I’m not sure what I expected missionary service to be exactly but, looking back, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I’m amazed at how God has brought me back to the place where my walk with Him began. I now live across the road from the Bible camp where I accepted the Lord. It’s where I spend my summers serving Him.

Fran’s ministry is connected to Riverbend Bible Church (Dallas, MB) and Fisher Bay Bible Camp. It includes Peguis, Fisher River and Jackhead Cree Nations, ministering to children, youth and their families.

(from Issue #524) Note: some of the locations and involvements of our missionaries may have changed since the original publishing of this article.