Wednesday, July 15, 2015

One Week Down...

Last week marked the first week of Vacation Bible Schools at LAMP for 2015.  Six teams taught VBS in seven different communities and for the most part things went really well.

VBS was held in Wollaston Lake in Saskatchewan, Brochet, Lynn Lake, Black Sturgeon Falls, Leaf Rapids, and Thompson in Manitoba, as well as Kispiox in British Columbia.

I had the privilege of travelling with LAMP pastor, Ron Shellhamer, to Wollaston Lake, Brochet, Lynn Lake, Black Sturgeon Falls, and Leaf Rapids, to check in on the teams and make sure there were no issues.  A couple of months ago, we traveled to most of those communities to make sure the teams would have a place to stay and somewhere to hold the VBS when they arrived.  It was good to see that those preparations had paid off and there were no issues with accommodations in any of those communities.

Pastor Ron hard at work, helping with some crafts

The week started off last Sunday with a trip to Leaf Rapids, where Pastor Ron was invited to speak at a memorial service for a little girl who had passed away one year ago after a tragic bicycle accident.  The church was packed out for the memorial with friends and family from the community.

The next day we flew to Wollaston Lake and had a chance to hang around and help out with their first day of VBS, where things went great.  They had 175 kids that first day, and about 240 different children and youth attend by the end of the week, the best turnout they've ever had in Wollaston.

Having fun playing games in Wollaston Lake

That's not to say that we didn't have some issues this week.  Saskatchewan has been battling it's worst forest fires ever, with many fires burning in the north.  In fact, La Ronge (the major hub of northern Saskatchewan) and many of the surrounding communities have been evacuated.  The smoke from these fires was thick and covered just about all of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  Visibilities were greatly reduced all over the north and the smoke could be seen as far south as Missouri courtesy of some strong winds from the north.

A smaller fire we came across while flying.  This year has been one of the worst years for wild fires ever.
The commercial flight carrying the team to Brochet couldn't land because the smoke was so thick, and had to turn back to Thompson.  Luckily a little rain helped to disperse the smoke for a few hours the next day, and they were able to get in, albeit a day late.  We were able to fly into Brochet a little later in the week to check in on the team, who were doing great.

The smoke and weather kept us from flying to Lynn Lake, so we drove instead.  The team going to Lynn Lake has been going for a number of years, but this year decided to take on a second community as well.  They ran a VBS in Lynn Lake in the morning, and in the evening drove to Black Sturgeon Falls, a new reserve that was established only 3 years ago or so, and did a VBS there for three evenings.  Although there's only 14 houses in this new reserve, they still had between 25 and 30 children each night.  While we were there, the Chief of Black Sturgeon Falls came out to the VBS to thank us for coming to teach the children about the Gospel and even sang us a couple of songs he had written. 

The team from Lynn Lake & Black Sturgeon Falls.  Chief Andrew, the chief for Black Sturgeon Falls, (Fourth from the left in the back row) came out to greet us.

With one week completed, we have 7 more to go.  It was a good and successful start to the summer.  Even though the teams have gone, please continue to pray for the communities of Wollaston Lake, Brochet, Lynn Lake and Black Sturgeon Falls.  Also please pray for the vacation Bible schools occurring right now in Big Trout Lake, ON, and Grand Rapids and Easterville in Manitoba.

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