Never the Same

A youth team leader tells of summer ministry in Canada's subArctic (from Issue #509)

A youth team leader tells of summer ministry in Canada’s Sub-Arctic

by Wally Bidwell

We’re back! After a 14-hour journey by air and road, we arrived back from Kuujjuaraapik last night at 11:30. Our one-week mission trip was filled with many personal surprises and blessings for all of us. All 12 of us grew spiritually during this adventure into Canada’s sub-Arctic along the coast of Hudson Bay.

We learned about the Inuit people, especially the children and youth. We also learned a great deal about ourselves and, most importantly, we learned a great deal about our Lord Jesus Christ and His power to do wonderful things in the lives of His people!

On the way back, Sally and I were talking about being humbled through this experience. We’ve been changed, and I know that the lives of our accompanying youth have changed as well. Missions is a real opportunity for individuals to grow spiritually! A couple of our youth told me that they think God sent them on this trip so that He could work on them.
What impressed me the most about this trip was seeing our youth connecting with the local children, hugging them, showing them love, working with them one-on-one.

The Inuit children loved them back and took every opportunity to be with them. Besides our VBS — held every afternoon — our youth also took it upon themselves to go to the local gym to play hockey and volleyball with the Inuit teens, and made some good friends. After presenting a very effective drama to them at the gym (their own idea!) about Christ’s love, they were able to talk to some of these youth about their faith. The response was positive and very encouraging for our youth. For some of them, this was their first experience in evangelism.

Our youth have become closer and more enthusiastic about their faith. To hear them pray during this trip was totally amazing — the sincerity and the love expressed in their words. They want to stay connected and work on their faith within our youth group this fall and winter and — if God wills it — return to Kuujjuaraapik.

We had two wonderful host families, David & Joanna Bouck, the sponsoring missionaries, and Alain & Minnie Girard. Their hospitality was beyond what we could have imagined and they really welcomed us into their lives. David is a gifted teacher and, in our daily devotions from Ephesians 6, really opened up to our youth about how to guard themselves from attacks on their faith.

Alain, a relatively new Christian who came from a very troublesome background, spent every opportunity to talk to our youth about the power of God in changing lives, and the power of the devil in destroying them. Both were very honest in opening our eyes to the reality of life in the North, and what goes on in the lives of the children that we were ministering to.

Our other experiences included eating caribou, goose, and freshly caught lake trout; swimming in Hudson Bay (yes, swimming with ice floating out in the distance!); traveling up rocky terrain to a remote camp on four-wheelers; firing a rifle … and experiencing how bad black flies can be in the sub-Arctic when you get away from the protection of the wind!

We appreciated very much the prayers and support we received during the preparation and carrying out of this short-term mission trip. Without those prayers, it would not have happened. Our youth have seen the power of the Holy Spirit in keeping away the evil one during this trip.

We learned that Kuujjuaraapik is a community that, at this time, is open to evil influence. The Boucks were impressed by how resistance to our work was kept at bay during our time there. There were attempts to resist what we were doing, but they were met with failure. We believe that it was the prayers of God’s people that made this so!
Now back home, we plan to have a special presentation of our trip at the Youth Centre this fall. We will show pictures, perform drama, and our youth will talk about their experiences and how God has changed their lives as a result of this trip. Also, our youth bulletin board at BFA will be filled with pictures about our mission trip. And I’m sure our youths’ (internet) Facebook pages are filled with photos. I don’t think our youth meetings will ever be the same.

Missionaries David & Joanna Bouck (pictured here) hosted this team from Bible Fellowship Assembly, South Porcupine (Timmins), ON. The Boucks themselves have been hosted by families from this same church while waiting for flying weather on their way to Kuujjuaraapik, QC.

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Adapted from our Northern Lights magazine (Issue #509). Note: some of the locations and involvements of our missionaries may have changed since the original publishing of this article.