Faces & Places

News & Notes for Praise & Prayer …

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NEW in NCEM

We recently welcomed Karl & Ana Kruse as new full-time career missionaries. The Kruses, with their son, Isaiah, reside in Comox, BC. They have been involved in education in First Nations communities, and also leading a house church ministry.

Karl grew up in Alberta, and Ana in El Salvador. Their desire is to reach out to First Nations on Vancouver Island. They are launching into their new ministry this fall, while building their prayer/financial support team.

 

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LEARNING & SERVING through INTERNSHIP

We’re happy to have intern, Rita Limper, serving with us for six months. Rita is a Journalism student at a German university.

Rita found out about NCEM through a missionary publication mentioning German missionary, Jan Sassmannshausen, who serves in our Tribal Trails TV ministry. She excitedly applied to come to Canada for her internship.

“I wanted to visit Canada since I was a girl,” says Rita. “I found out that I could combine my Journalism internship … with serving God, which is exactly what I was hoping to do!”

Rita is enjoying working on media projects with our missionaries. “I’m getting practical experience, getting better at what I am passionate about, and working with a team where we strive for one big goal … doing everything for the glory of God.”

Rita will return to her studies in Germany in the fall. Another highlight for Rita has been visits to Prince Albert National Park. She’s found our Canadian vehicles amazing, too … “They’re huge!” she says.

Look for a short video produced by Rita on NCEM’s Facebook page.

 

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COLLEGE OUTREACH TEAM CONNECTS

Peter & Charlene Constant, who serve with NCEM at The Pas, MB, led a Millar College of the Bible (Pambrun campus) student team on a three-week ministry tour in May.

Using music, testimonies, puppets, drama and preaching, the team presented programs in schools and Native churches in eight First Nations communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

“Right from the start we knew God was leading,” say the Constants. “We traveled over 6,000 km, and God provided required financial support for each of the team. We ministered to 20 groups of children, as well as many teens, adults and seniors.

“Our team also visited NCEM’s Headquarters where a wide variety of ministries were presented. This is the third time we’ve led a team like this. Our purpose is to raise awareness of the need for missionaries in First Nations communities, to share the Gospel, and to encourage and learn from believers and Christian leaders.

“At the beginning of our outreach, God was impressing on our hearts the importance of speaking the Gospel boldly and clearly in each opportunity. Each of the team took this to heart.”

The team concluded their tour by serving at Native Youth Conference (NYC), near Edmonton. They connected with youth during the daily activities and each night in cabin devotions. A highlight for Peter was leading two teen guys there to Christ.

P R A Y : The Constants include these prayer requests: “Pray for the Gospel shared to bear fruit; for college students who are prayerfully considering missions; for “C” & “Q” (the two fellows who Eric led to Christ) to be discipled and grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.”

At least one of the Millar students is spending the summer in Native Bible Camps, and used his time up till Camp working alongside a Native pastor.

 

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CHANGES while SERVING the CHANGELESS ONE

For Blaine Witherow, who deals with technical matters in producing NCEM’s Tribal Trails TV program, change is normal.

It does cause stress, Blaine admits. A new computer and software is a good thing, he says, but can add extra pressure when making the changes while trying to meet broadcast deadlines. And, after many years of mailing videotapes to TV stations, now having them distributed via the internet has been another adjustment.

However, looking back on this past year, Blaine & Rachel Witherow say that their biggest adjustment was saying goodbye to Rachel’s mom who recently passed away. “Her life of faith and generosity will always be a great example to us.”

The Tribal Trails spiritual help-line phone ministry continues to connect the Witherows with those needing encouragement and spiritual support.

One excited viewer recently called to report how God had answered her prayer. For the first time she was able to talk to her father about spiritual things. He opened up and asked many questions about Jesus’ parables and about heaven.

This summer the Witherows will travel to Yukon and work with Tribal Trails host, Rita Anderson, as she interviews program guests.

P R A Y : The Witherows have several requests: While thankful for two young interns at Tribal Trails over the past year, Blaine & Rachel ask prayer for younger staff to join full-time.

Pray that each viewer calling or writing will respond to the Lord and receive His help. Pray also for our Tribal Trails guests. Some of them receive opposition because of their public testimony for Christ.

Finally, pray that younger generations will be drawn to watch Tribal Trails. A few short but powerful video clips have been produced for younger online viewers.

 

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YUKON ADVANTAGES & OPPORTUNITIES

“I’m 100% now!” This was an elder’s response to a nurse in Pelly Crossing who heard her scream just outside the Health Centre.

It was actually a scream of delight! – Janet Ens had surprised this elder by dropping in without notice.

Tony & Janet Ens, now serving in Whitehorse, previously served in the Yukon village of Pelly Crossing from 1992-98. They keep in touch with friends in Pelly, and Janet has a weekly Bible study over the phone with two ladies there (one of them the surprised lady).

The Enses have heard local Pelly residents express their need for a church in their community, a place to gather for prayer and services. Though now involved in church planting in Whitehorse, Tony & Janet also aim to support communities that have no active local church.

When it comes to serving in an area long-term, the Enses mention advantages and opportunities, but heartaches, too. Tony’s visits to the Whitehorse Correction Centre often include meeting up with fellows who attended their childrens and youth outreaches 20 years ago in Pelly Crossing.

There are joys, too, like seeing a young lady 15 years later, now as a young wife and mother, following the Lord in baptism. “Her story is more one of God’s work and the ministry of others in her life than ‘our’ story, and we rejoice!” The Enses meet others, too, who have allowed the Lord to work in their lives in intervening years.

“Oh, do you work at Whitehorse Correction Centre?” That was a question for Tony recently when he went straight from leading chapel at WCC to a baseball diamond across the street. Being new to the team, Tony explained his volunteer Christian ministry at the jail. The young man seemed a little surprised. It seemed contradictory to him that a Christian minister would also enjoy playing baseball!

P R A Y : The Enses request prayer that in all these situations they will represent the Lord well and have opportunity to share the hope they have in Christ. Pray for growth of their fellowship in Whitehorse, and for effective outreach to Pelly Crossing.

Also, the Enses are NCEM Member Care Coordinators, and appreciate prayer for this role.

 

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CALLS from the NORTH (MONTANA, that is)

Kit & Debbie Elford manage NCEM’s US office in Billings, Montana. Tasks there may seem pretty routine, but the Elfords’ efficiency in processing donations is appreciated by many. They also mail NCEM publications and duplicate Tribal Trails program DVDs.

Calls from Reservations in northern Montana also come, requesting that Kit & Debbie visit family members hospitalized in Billings.

Last fall they visited a young lady who they were told had only a short time to live. She was up for a visit, and they were able to share the Gospel with her and leave her with a Bible and literature. She recovered quickly and was released before they could visit her again, but a nurse told them how excited she was to receive this literature. The Elfords are not sure if she made a commitment to Christ.

Last fall Kit was privileged to return to the northern Manitoba settlement where he had lived as an “MK.” He enjoyed meeting with childhood friends. One said, “We were just wondering what happened to Kit Elford.” There was much visiting in homes, and opportunity for ministry.

There have been many changes and the village was almost unrecognizable to Kit. Unfortunately, he says, the spiritual climate had not changed much in 50 years – still spiritually dark.

P R A Y : Pray for accuracy and efficiency as the Elfords manage the NCEM US Office. Pray for their hospital visitation ministry, and phone calls to friends on Montana Reservations.

 

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WHAT FIELD MINISTRY COORDINATORS DO

“Where are you now?” … often the first question that Jon & Evelyn Siebert hear when they’re on the phone with their adult children.

In 2017 Jon & Evelyn’s title and role was changed from “Central-Field Directors” to “Field Ministry Coordinators.” They now oversee all NCEM full- and part-time field missionaries coast to coast to coast. Consequently they are often on the road or flying to visit missionaries.

From Ft. McPherson, NWT, to southern BC, to almost the northern tip of Quebec, to Labrador and New Brunswick, the Sieberts seek to visit each of the missionaries annually, and then be in touch in other ways throughout the year.

Each community where our missionaries serve is unique, as is each missionary, say Jon & Evelyn. They visit with a purpose to build relationship, understand the missionary, their family situation, their ministry gifts, and the calling God has placed on their hearts.

Sometimes it works out to help with practical tasks, or share a family event. Their goal is to come alongside the missionaries to encourage, pray, share ideas/suggestions, admonish where needed, and provide accountability.

They also seek to understand the local community, people, and church (where there is one). The Sieberts like to get out to meet people, attend local functions, and get a sense of the situation and atmosphere. This helps to understand better what and who the missionary is relating to.

When they can fit it in, the Sieberts also try to visit retired missionaries, former Key-Way-Tin Bible Institute students, NCEM supporters, and First Nations friends. They also represent NCEM at missions conferences, churches, and schools.

Though they are gone from home a lot, Jon & Evelyn are blessed to see “grass roots” mission work across the country. God is at work in the hearts of First Nations people and in the churches, they say. To sit in on a Bible study or church service and see the desire of people for truth, and to hear the missionary teaching, they find so refreshing.

P R A Y : The Sieberts are encouraged by the faithful service of our missionaries and their love for the people they minister to. Some have been in a community many years, where they are much loved.

Jon & Evelyn appreciate prayer for safe travels and sensitivity to the Lord’s leading as they plan itineraries. They desire God’s wisdom and sensitivity to His Spirit in all their visits.

 

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With the Lord

Honorary member Evie Everett passed away April 14 at age 84 in Saskatoon.

The Everetts joined NCEM in 1982 and initially served as Mission representatives, visiting churches and Bible colleges across the Prairies, including a year of Native church ministry at Weagamow Lake, northwestern Ontario.

Taking on a leadership role, the Everetts served as NCEM Central-Field Directors for a number of years, which included Bible camp-related administration and summer ministry.

Evie whole-heartedly supported Harvey in these leadership roles, and was a gracious host to many in their home in Prince Albert, and later in Saskatoon. Evie is survived by Harvey, their four children and their families.

 

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With the Lord

Bill Friesen, former NCEM missionary, passed away June 2 in Vanderhoof, BC, at age 80.

Bill and his first wife, Mary, served from 1963-85, primarily in Bible school teaching and administration.

Many First Nations believers were discipled and trained for ministry under Bill’s leadership in our schools at Island Lake, MB, La Ronge, SK, & Lac La Biche, AB.

Mary passed away in 2011.