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We have been especially blessed this last month with the help of a short term missions helper from Switzerland. Michel, pronounced Michelle, got six weeks off from his job to come and have a special missions experience.. Michel has been a great help working with the ever present youth of our neighborhood that find the mission the only place to go, in their lives. Some of these youth are here, often, 24 hours a day. They sleep here, eat here, ride the snowmobile, use the computer...etc., this is a very big part of their lives. Michel was shocked by the work load of it all and often wondered how we do it when just one day would wipe him out. I guess part of the answer to it is that when you experience the suffering and need first hand in your daily life there is nothing else one can do. When you hear them crying in their sleep, night after night, and know what they actually feel, then what we do seems so small compared to their need. We do buy fresh food for good, nourishing meals for them, and lots of it which is expensive. When we watch these young people having a good time and experiencing a normal life while they're here, I 'often' think of you who support this and make it possible. I so wish you could see a little of what we see and know what your support is making possible. I truly believe you have a reward waiting in heaven and maybe then will realize what a blessing you have been.
The teams continue to come from the college at Three Hills, which is a six hour round trip, and help us. I never cease to be amazed at how these teams come so faithfully and the work they do here.
Two of our mission vans croaked in the last few weeks, leaving us without a mission van. We are running a special project to raise funds to replace them. We run our vehicles to get the very last miles out of them...literally run them to 'death'. The mission doesn't have funds for this and Karen and I have to use our personal resources to get the mission vehicles. Tonight one church called and said they were sending $1,500 to help with that.
Two large teams of about a dozen workers in each team are scheduled to come from Pennsylvania in July for VBS's and building projects. We need funds for materials to keep them busy as well. These teams are always the highlight of our year here.
Some things we've learned not to talk about because people in other parts of the country just can't believe some of the things that happen here. We've learned that when God works, He does things very differently than what people think. Anyway, I'll share what is happening now with one of the ladies in the church. Josephine is our first, baptised believer here on the O'Chiese Reserve. She has a clear Christian testimony and shares it freely. She is on the mission board and training to be the chairman, also called president. Last Friday at 3:00 AM (in the middle of the night) her daughter phoned here and gave the news that Josephine died at 4:00 in the afternoon. She wasn't sick at all, but suddenly had a massive heart attack and the doctor gave word to the family that she was dead. A very strange thought came to my mind before I went back to sleep. What if she didn't die, or like, came back? Yes, that was a very strange thought, but I couldn't get it out of my mind for some reason. So the next day we had discussions about the funeral and etc., when we got another call saying that evidently, although the doctors said she was dead, for some reason they had left the life support connected because the family hadn't given permission to remove it. Then after 12 hours she woke up! Then she was taken to the big city hospital in Edmonton where she is now. We don't know her condition right now. I'm sure there will be much more to the story as it develops. UPDATE: We got word today Josephine is setting up and talking, and her mind is normal.
Now with Michel gone, we really need help with the kids. Anyone that likes to work with young people would be happy here, and it would take a load off Karen & I. We also need a violin teacher. Anyone who can play would be able to do it, even if just to supervise practice sessions.
Tomorrow night is supposed to hit 40 below again. It's been several weeks since it's been that cold, so the Arctic air will be heading down your way. Just don't blame us for sending it.
In His Service, Rodger & Karen Rinker
Now, here is Michels letter...Michel came from Switzerland.
I came from the January 2014 to the Sunchild mission. It was a great time. Sadly it was way too warm and so it became slippery. The work was mostly not heavy. I had actually a lot of time for myself, between the different tasks. But on weekends it was always busy and there are 24 hours kids around, so if You are not used to kids, it might be a hard time. In the reserves, the kids often raised in families with alcohol or drug problems. Kids also get not disciplined and I could feel that here. But it was awesome to see how God can work in People. I heard a lot of stories how people were and saw them now and they were changed.
Rinkers are a very nice couple. And I am very impressed that they have this big love and energie to keep working in that mission and helping this people for such a long time. Also I think there is still a lot of work that has to be done, so people are needed to help.
For me it was optimal. I was here, far away from everything and had time for the mission and also for myself. And the kids went into my heart.
Below is Michel Kempher
Below is last Sunday's team of teachers.
Below is the team of Koreans who were here at Christmas time.
The Bible has always been a precious book to myself and to the ladies of the church, but recently it has become more alive to them than ever before. First of all they studied about all the times Jesus spent alone talking to His Father and how important it is for them to follow Jesus' example. Then we studied about how Jesus wants us all to be fisher's of men or harvesters for His Kingdom. How thrilled they were when they were able to lead some people to the Lord.
Yes, the church is growing! Josephine Thomas has been rejoicing and telling everyone this and suddenly she has been struck by an attack physically that has her laying in the Edmonton Hospital. Please, please, please, pray for her. There is so much more to tell about this, but right now we need spiritual warfare fought for her.
The month of January we had a guest from Switzerland here. Michel became the official church janitor and we were able to clean every room in the church and make it clean from the squirrels that had been making big messes. Michel even caught a squirrel in a trap and Rodger let it go somewhere far away. I hope it doesn't find its way back here. But besides janitor, he gave guitar lessons, played the guitar for services, built close relationships with a couple of the young men here, taught a Sunday School class, shoveled snow off the roof of the house, and a lot other things I kept him busy with. One thing that was really special for him was first just the chance to ride a skidoo and then he actually was allowed to drive it without a license like they have to have in his country.
Another new thing for 2014 is the ladies doing bake sales to raise money to get a vehicle for Sunday School use. All the other Sunday School vehicles just started breaking down and being unsafe to haul children. Yes, you can pray about this too. The little church here feels like they can step up and get a vehicle – I believe they can too!
Oh yes! Many of you have been praying for a men's Bible study to get started. We have now had 4 weeks of a men's Bible study in this one man 's home. We have just one more week to finish this study. Pray God will direct about the next study and what other men should join.
January has also given us a surprise in Sunday School. A new little boy who is not connected with Sunday School at all saw us pick up his Auntie many times – finally asked if he could come. At first the answers from home were No, but he didn't give up and now he has come two times and is so alert and attentive.
The harvest field truly is ripe, but the labors are few. For over a month (during the Christmas holiday break) only one young man came to volunteer, but now a full team has been back. God has been so faithful to this mission. But I want to give recognition to the First Nation people who stepped in to meet the need when the teams weren't able to come. One lady had been so faithful we actually had to put here on stress leave for four weeks. It just got too much for her handling the kids. Another prayer request we have is for a youth leader. Right now a young mother with three small kids is trying to show up and open the church for Friday night activities. The school gym has not been open to us yet this winter. I am sure with the right couple again we could use the gym. We just need to keep praying about this. Some children have returned from foster homes in nearby cities and are coming back to Sunday School and this is adding a new dimension to the social atmosphere.
All these new changes need more wisdom and that is my prayer. Josephine Thomas & I got a verse as we started taking more leadership here- it what Mary said when the Angel came to her -Luke 1:37 -”I am your servant”. I guess my greatest joy this month has been to share the “Heart Lessons” on Holiness, a study that came out of Kentucky Mt. Bible School, and to have spent time with my children and grandchild in person or by phone. God bless all of you as you pray for the mission & our family. Karen Rinker
This is the Korean childrens choir that sang at Christmas time.
The Rocky Nazarene Church sent their 'Kidztown' group to do their drama in preparation for their missions trip to Peru, South America. That's why the banner is in Spanish.
Below are several pictures of our different Sunday School classes last Sunday.
Michel is shoveling snow off our house roof. He actually did a backflip off the roof into the snowbank, just for the fun of it!
The twins with their 'Moose'.
I always forget to take pictures when I should. This is a small group riding the skidoo. When Michel was here there was so many in the sleds they had to get started and jump in because it wouldn't pull them all starting out.
This is a picture of our old log barn a few days ago.