First Peoples Voices Update from Saskatchewan
September 5, 2017/in Relief + Development Stories, relief+development /by Crossroads
by Bev Hadland, Ambassador to the First Peoples
On September 7th, I visited the First Nations University of Regina to witness first hand their Pow Wow week festivities. It was wonderful to see dancers of all ages in full regalia moving to the beat of the drums. Marshall Thompson, pictured, proudly showed me the beautiful beading that he created for his ceremonial outfit. Clearly, he invested near countless hours in his effort.
The next day I drove to Saskatoon and joined with eighteen Ontario volunteers from various ministries already on the ground. What followed was a high energy weekend for Indigenous youth from twenty-two northern Saskatchewan communities. There was drama, dance, testimonials, worship, workshops and sports, plus lots of food. I really felt blessed to present the Empowering Women workshop that was attended by about seventy women and older teens.
At the close of the weekend we presented a full resource, anti-suicide package to each community. All 340 attendees received Crossroads key chains that included our twenty-four-hour prayer line number.
One of the true highlights was Friday evenings alter call. Somewhat to the amazement of everyone, over half the room came forward. The fields are truly ripe unto harvest!
Crossroads own Maggie John, who was taping interviews for First Peoples Voices, took to the stage Saturday night and asked anyone who was thinking of, or had attempted suicide, to come forward. Again, over half the assembled stepped up for prayer. The prayer teams immediately began praying for each soul who came forward. That evening 250 Gospel of John books were handed out courtesy of the Gideons.
Sunday morning began with a huge group breakfast followed by worship and testimony. Naturally, the inevitable departure time arrived and everyone headed home with lots of hugs.
It is now Monday morning and the mission continues. Our group, now consisting of Crystal Lavallee, Pastor Marvin Netmaker, me and seven others, began an eight-hour drive north to Southend Cree Nation. Reindeer K-12 school Principal, Karen Bird, was expecting us. I AM COMPELLED and GOSPEL CHANGES had been invited to do four school presentations. Praise God. We were kept busy.
It is important here to note Reindeer is a public school where open demonstrations of Christian faith are not typically encouraged. Nonetheless, Karen invited us to share about Jesus, and even do an altar call if it felt right. Our assemblies included grades six to twelve. Almost every hand went up with the younger students and 40% of the seniors.
To illustrate how quickly things can change, I was originally expecting to speak to adults Tuesday evening. But, when ninety-five young people showed up, the program immediately became a youth rally.
Things changed on a dime.
Rap with Veshone, drama presentations (I got to play the role of Grim Reaper) and energetic dance were, within mere minutes, called upon to meet the different demographic. And it worked! The young people ‘felt the vibe’, as they say and engaged in worship while learning more about Jesus.
Dozens of youth showed up 30 minutes early excited to see what God was going to do. They even joined us in the prayer time. After a time of games, prizes and over the top energetic youth having a blast, came worship. What a blessing to see young children kneeling, hands raised to heaven, singing their hearts out.
The Holy Spirit was so present one could hardly stand. Some of the older teens came forward as well. Then, something shifted in the atmosphere. Children started weeping and I mean crying heavily. The team simply went to each child and held them until we felt God had done HIS work. I recall looking around the room to see if any child needed attention. I didn’t have to look far. A little girl literally sat herself in my lap and put her tear stained face into my shoulder. I held her and whispered God sourced words into her spirit.
Literally everyone on the team was hugging and praying for someone. The youth were eagerly lining up to get hugs from their favorite youth leader. Parents, coming to pick up their children, were in awe at what God was doing in their midst. Something had changed and the parents saw it.
Southend House of Prayer hasn’t had a pastor in 14 months and has never had a youth worker. It is obvious to me that the youth are the future of Southend and need discipleship and direction. Please pray for His guidance and His will for how the body of Christ can serve this community in ALL areas of life.
Lord willing, I am hoping to go back with a team in November. Thank you again for your prayers and support for this vital ministry.
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