ON A MULTI-MINISTRY MISSIONARY JOURNEY
Jon & Evelyn Siebert first served as church planting missionaries in northern Alberta, then at Key-Way-Tin Bible Institute. When they took on directorship of NCEM’s Central-Field they knew there would be a lot of travel involved – primarily visiting missionaries.
They probably didn’t know, though, how many purposes one tour from their home in Shellbrook, SK could include … nor how enriched they would be through the many people they would meet.
In late January Jon began three weeks and 4400 kms on the road, with Vancouver the furthest destination. (Actually many more kms were traveled because, in the middle of this trip, Jon flew back from BC to Alberta for Evelyn’s stepmother’s funeral.)
NCEM’s Central-Field covers Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. “One purpose of this ‘southwest’ trip was to visit missionaries who are presently without a Western-Field Director,” explains Jon. “My goal was to encourage, listen to concerns, and answer questions.
“Another purpose for the tour was to remind God’s people in a number of places to pray ‘The Lord of the harvest that He would send forth labourers into His harvest’ (Luke 10:2).
“Seniors, especially, have more time to pray, and I was privileged to do presentations in two seniors homes, showing photos from my trips in the North. These seniors meet regularly to pray for NCEM, and they seemed to soak in everything about every ministry detail I shared.
“I was also able to challenge other folks to missions, right in their own homes,” adds Jon. “In the future I’d like to visit more Christian schools. Children also need to be challenged to become full-time missionaries. It seems that, for many, by college age they’ve made other plans.
“I was able to visit two Bible colleges. I had opportunity to spend time with a college president, and to speak in one college chapel.”
The timing of Jon’s trip was because of Missions Fest Vancouver. There he was joined by veteran missionary, Noriko Suzuki, and associate Rita Anderson, who serves with Tribal Trails TV.
“Missions Fest is always a great place to connect with people,” says Jon. “I noticed people excited to meet Noriko and Rita. They had read about them, and could now meet them in person.
“What a joy when a First Nations lady approached our booth and said, ‘I know that God has called me to work with your organization!’ (And what a surprise to discover that I knew her grandfather in Alberta 35 years ago!)
“One man told us that Dorothy Wellwood (an early missionary) had led him to the Lord in the Yukon and discipled him. He commented, ‘If there ever was anybody that lived like Jesus, it was her!’
“So many opportunities to minister on one trip!” exclaims Jon. “Though it was primarily to represent our Mission, I also got to visit the ailing mother of one of our missionaries. No pastor had visited her, and together we had communion in her assisted living residence. Three weeks later she passed away. I value that visit so much.”
After returning home from the tour, Jon says he is still receiving blessings from a previous trip. He received this hand written note from a 16 year-old:
“I want to thank you again for all you shared. If it is the Lord’s will for me, I want to be a missionary. Hearing what you had to share really made me even more excited for that day He may call me. It also gave me a desire to learn more about the Bible and other missionaries!”
“Though we do not live for encouragements,” says Jon, “things like this do encourage us in our missionary journeys!”
FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST
Not long after his BC trip, Jon headed for Oxford House, northeastern Manitoba, where he supervised three Steinbach Bible College students on their short-term outreach.
NCEM missionaries have served in Oxford House over the years and three years ago the resulting church became an official member of Native Evangelical Fellowship (NEFC). With the community accessible only by air and winter road, the believers there greatly appreciate visits from the outside. NCEM associate pilot, Gary Brown, flew the team in.
“We ministered from ‘house to house’ as in Acts 20:20, and also went to the high school to minister,” says Jon. “After praying for the principal, she said, ‘I really needed that.’ Later she said, ‘You can come here anytime.’ “
There were live radio ministry opportunities for music, testimonies, teaching and preaching. Jon was asked to preach Sunday morning. The students taught Sunday school, then more ministry with 30-plus children the next day.
Jon tells of ministering to a man dying of cancer. “He was so grateful and said that no one from his church (a different church) comes to visit him.”