|This Article is from the Spring 2007 edition of good idea!, also available here in a fully formatted PDF file.|
Missions are not only a blessing for those on the receiving end: they also have a profound effect on those who are part of the visiting team.
I was blessed to participate in four missions while I was a student at Wycliffe College. Each mission held its own specific need and focus, but for me our trip to Wemindji, Quebec, a Northern Cree reserve, was special because it was interesting to see the language difference between my people, the Plains Cree, and theirs.
It was also interesting to note that reserves are similar in many ways, and to see the continued challenges for faith, such as the developing gap between the people and the church, evidenced by the contrast between the numbers on the reserve and Sunday attendance. The fallout from residential schools continues to be a factor, and acknowledgement and healing are crucial.
In Wemindji, it was amazing to see the kids, and their joy of sharing in the faith games of the group. Music was always joyous, especially to hear the Cree Ladies Choir singing, and all the events were well attended by the community. It was also fun to have interpreters work alongside the speakers, and the laughter and the challenge of getting the words just right. Wemindji for me will always hold a special place in my heart.
Our mission to St. Faith’s in Edmonton was also memorable, because the mission focus was outreach, so we connected more with the community outside the church. We were blessed to share in many home visits and special programs for the community and the streets. I remember particularly the impromptu guitar solo, given as an offering, by a street visitor at one of the events.
On these trips, it was good for students to see our professors and classmates outside of the college setting, and to see them unfurl their wings of faith and witness. Missions are fun and the relationships that grow from the experience can last a lifetime.
In my present ministry, I have found my mission experience useful as a great resource, enriching speaking and teaching ideas, youth ministry, home visitations, and community and church evangelism. Those experiences have become a pool of blessing that I have dipped into many a time.