We recently welcomed Paul & Joanne Janzen as full-time missionaries. They have already served over 10 years in First Nations ministry in Ontario and Saskatchewan, and will keep their home in North Battleford as they walk alongside leaders, and participate in the Moosomin Native Fellowship. The Janzens have a desire to be involved with younger generation missionaries, and we are excited about their new role in member care and mentorship of our new candidates. Paul & Joanne have two young adult daughters.
We also welcomed Aurora Hernandez as a new associate missionary. Aurora lives in Pointe-Aux-Trembles, Quebec, and is employed as a mining engineer with Cree Nation Government. She grew up in El Salvador with a desire to serve in missions, and has been assisting NCEM’s Kwayakotage Native Bible Camp. She desires to become more equipped and involved in First Nations ministry in Quebec. One of her greatest joys has been fostering two children, and she has been finding many opportunities to be involved in First Nations communities.
“What a blessing to work together as a family as we help, encourage, and minister to believers and non-believers, while supporting Christian leadership on St. Mary’s Reserve, Fredericton, New Brunswick.”
The Strouts mention some of the many opportunities they have to live out “who we are in Christ,” quoting 1 John 2:6: “Whoever proclaims to live in Him must live as Jesus did” – like meeting people on the streets, through Bible studies, youth outreach, praying with people and working alongside them in everyday tasks.
A highlight from 2018 for Kevin was attending Warrior Leadership Summit held in the States with a group from St. Mary’s Reserve. “Over 900 Native teens and adults attended from over 80 tribes across Canada and USA. We heard life changing testimonies, and messages of how God can transform a life, and how to have a deeper and stronger walk with God. Lord willing, we are preparing and fundraising once again to take another group to this event this year.”
P R A Y : “It is a blessing to be able to work alongside First Nations believers who have a heart for reaching their own people,” say Kevin & Marcia. “Please pray for them and their families, that God would strengthen and encourage them.”
“The hope we have does not take away the pain we experience, especially as parents,” they say. Two and-a-half years ago their daughter Janessa passed away at age three from heart disease. As believers, they express much thankfulness for the solid hope of eternal life.
“As we go through the ups and downs of life, we are so grateful for God, who is faithful and good! We appreciate those who pray for us as we walk this journey of grief and hope.”
The Sieberts praise God for NCEM’s recent growth – 14 people joined our Mission between January 2018 and January 2019. As Candidate Coordinator, it is Andrew’s privilege to dialogue with those who are inquiring about joining, help compile their applications in conjunction with NCEM leadership, and support new missionaries in starting out well.
Melissa holds down the home front, and continues to be Andrew’s biggest supporter. They are excited about what God is doing in them as His children, and what He is doing through them as His ambassadors in life and ministry.
P R A Y : “The harvest is ripe,” says Andrew, “and I get to help facilitate new workers entering the harvest. I love my job! Please pray for God to bring many more new missionaries to the field. Pray, too, for wisdom as I interact with potential missionaries, get to know them, help them get to know NCEM, and help them start out well.”
Along with regular phone contact, Sue is happy for every opportunity to return to Oxford House for visits. Last June, for example, there was room in our Mission aircraft for her to be part of a three-day Bible conference hosted by the Niiyahk Bible Chapel, the NEFC associated fellowship the Hoffmans served.
“It was a quick trip,” says Sue, “but it was so good to visit my friends in their homes, at the store, and at the care home. I love these folks dearly. Even though we are separated by many miles, they are always close in my heart.”
In December Sue returned to Oxford House for her annual winter visit where she enjoys an open invitation to assist the elementary school Christmas concert. “I ended up playing keyboard for all 21 classes!” says Sue. “The concert went well, and the children did a terrific job, as always.”
As usual, Sue was also a part of the Chapel’s Sunday school Christmas program and other celebrations.
P R A Y : Sue appreciates prayer for her bookkeeping and other duties in NCEM’s Office. Besides visits to northern Manitoba, she has found opportunities to connect with Oxford House friends when traveling through Winnipeg on her home visits to Ohio.
“Please continue to pray for the Oxford House church fellowship as they continue to serve the Lord,” requests Sue. “Pray for the community, as well, with substance abuse causing serious problems.”
Last fall Tim & Ginny Gradin moved to the Shellbrook, Saskatchewan area. Tim has resumed working with Bobby Moberly (who along with his wife, Veronica, serve at Quilchena, BC) to translate the Bible into the Denesuline language.
They are currently working in the book of Exodus, and believe it is important that through this book the Dene see how God desires to have a relationship with the people He created.
The Denesuline language is very challenging for an English-speaker to master, Tim explains. It has 42 sounds (many of which are not used in the English language) and includes tones, clicks, and nasals.
Due to the complexity of the sounds, Bobby and Tim “meet” together on the internet via Skype, since it is essential for Tim to not only listen, but to watch Bobby’s mouth to ensure that he writes words down accurately.
Tim & Ginny miss their friends in northern Saskatchewan and hope to make periodic visits back there.
Over the years the Gradins have observed the way that spending time with horses can have a very positive effect on certain individuals, and they have a desire to use their horses as part of their ministry. Last fall God provided funding for them to become certified Equine Assisted Learning facilitators.
P R A Y : The Gradins appreciate prayer as they seek to develop this new aspect of their ministry involving horses. Pray also for good progress for Tim and Bobby as they work to put God’s Word into the hands of Denesuline speakers.
Last year our General Director and his wife, Walter & Cindy Selke, visited the Hanthorns during the month of May. They saw remaining patches of snow, and drove across the mighty Mackenzie River on ice. (The river ice was soft on top, but Paul assured the Selkes that it was still several feet thick.)
These spring things are now normal for the Hanthorns who have served there over 20 years. In May local people begin talking about upcoming ice crossing closings as “break-up” occurs. And this time of year some change the community name to Ft. “Mud” Pherson.
However, despite some still winter-like conditions in the Mackenzie River Delta, in May there are over 20 hours of daylight.
It’s all part of life in this community of about 800 where the Hanthorns serve, first working as professionals, then joining NCEM to minister full-time developing a local church.
“We loved the daylight hours and the warmth of those we met,” reported the Selkes, “and our hearts were full as we saw how God is at work among the people in this remote place.”
Weekly ministry for the Hanthorns includes much personal interaction, Sunday services, weekly Bible studies for grown-ups, and an AWANA Bible Club program. With the help of volunteers a spacious church building was constructed several years ago.
Paul & Lynn’s most recent report includes praise and a prayer request for a man in their church fellowship who has shown spiritual growth and has expressed publicly the desire to take on more leadership and help with Bible teaching. They appreciate prayer for his vision and for wisdom on how to best support him.
Besides raising six of their own children, the Hanthorns have fostered many others over the years, and have adopted three.
The Hanthorns’ children, most of them now grown and living elsewhere, have assisted with ministry over the years. For example, one of their daughters (who has since returned to ministry training in the States) started and led a ladies’ Bible study that continues to thrive.
P R A Y : The Hanthorns appreciate prayer for the children they have adopted and are still raising, along with their own children.
Pray also for the fellow mentioned who has a desire to begin teaching the Word in the Fellowship.
Ian and his wife, Shirley, live in Regina, Saskatchewan. He has practiced law for over 30 years, mainly as a legal advisor to various Saskatchewan governments. It was while at law school as a young man that Ian came to faith in Christ.
“I see NCEM playing a crucial role in evangelism and encouragement over the next years,” he says, “and I look forward to helping NCEM and its members in their work.”
The Browns have three grown children.
Congratulations to Timothy & Laura Block on the arrival of “Ezrah Susannah” on January 20, a little sister to Eleah, Asher, and Zion. The Blocks serve at Big River, Saskatchewan.
With the Lord
Though not officially missionary members of NCEM, Albert & Lucille Carter for many years were instrumental in the ministry of Big River Bible Camp. When no one else was available, they willingly took charge caring for facilities, recruiting summer staff, rounding up campers, and cooking. Lucille passed away in February at age 98, predeceased by Albert.