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Sunchild News - November 2008

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In July we sent out an email concerning the accident involving a two year old child. We haven't sent a newsletter because I've taken time off from writing. I know it is impossible to write what I should, but I'll try my best. It has been another chapter in the ongoing spectacle of events associated with us being where we are and doing what we're doing.

It was the second day of VBS in July. I stopped at a home and picked up three children who needed a ride to VBS. As I started to pull out we felt the van run over something. I was puzzled because nothing was on the road when I pulled up, I had just walked completely around the van, and we all were watching outside. All I could think was that a dog must have come unseen, and that it would be seriously crushed because we could feel the tire lift the van up off the ground as it crushed whatever it was. I reluctantly got out and looked under the van and was shocked to see a small child underneath. I'm not writing everything I experienced because that would be beyond the scope of this letter. I crawled under and pulled out the child which seemed completely lifeless, the tire had run squarely over her head, and a dark fluid was coming out her ear. People were crying and wailing as it seemed clear she would die. To me it's clear from what I saw, that she was dead when I pulled her out and God brought her back.

It's impossible to describe this scene, because we work with these children every day and they are very dear to us. In all that has ever happened we've never experienced hurting anyone. The last time I saw and held our own two year old Jesse, he was this same size and it's been hard to see a two year old ever since, and now I'm holding her to my heart in this tragic scene. When the ambulance came the medics seemed overcome. All they did was open her eyelids and whatever they saw, they did absolutely nothing. She was taken to the Rocky hospital and then flown in a medivac helicopter to Edmonton where she was admitted in critical condition, according to the Edmonton Sun newspaper. The police came and took me away. He called in on the radio and was told that it was very bad. After going through questioning I was released and they brought me home.

For several days there was mass confusion. At one point we got a call saying it was on the tv news that the child was dead, and we found it was true that this was reported. It really makes us wonder what happened after they left here. But we also got a call from the family at the hospital saying that when they did a CAT scan of her head in Edmonton the next day they could find 'nothing wrong'! We were getting totally opposite messages and didn't know what was true and the medical people were under orders not to say a word. She was kept for a week for observation and to treat the large abrasion over the side of her head and she was released and by another week her face was completely healed. The distortion around her crushed eye was gone and even her severe trauma was gone and she seemed to have completely forgotten it all. For myself it was all the feelings, sounds, sights, the complete experience of having killed a small child, and when all this is imprinted on the mind and feelings, it's there.

When the accident happened the family was planning the funeral for a family member that committed suicide. They have an explanation involving native beliefs that explain how the accident happened. So this turned out to be a triumph of Christ over spirit forces. Words don't impact these people, such as in teaching and preaching, but what dramatically impacts the Reserve is a demonstration of God's power such as an event like this.

Page 2 – November Sunchild News

There are many wonderful reports concerning the ministry here to share. The college students from the Three Hills Bible College came to teach S.S. Classes every week this summer all on their own. We have a wonderful group of students who have signed up for their ministry assignments this school year and already have proven themselves to be a great blessing. A van was donated to the mission which we keep at Three Hills for the students to use for transportation to the Reserve, and individuals at Three Hills have been paying the van expenses so we don't have that burden. Churches and individuals have stepped in to meet the financial expenses this summer so finances have not been burdensome to us.

Karen & I counted all the young people we could remember who have been in Sunday School in the past 12 months and we counted 175 names. That is just our Sunday School. We also have youth meetings during the week, and adult services, Bible studies, and of course our VBS.

The biggest event this summer was the Eagle Wings event. 'On Eagle's Wings' is an American organization that trains Indian youth to conduct ministry events all over North America. Their director came here last spring at our invitation, visited the Reserve and met with the pastors in Rocky Mt. House to organize prayer and planning for an event here on Sunchild-O'Chiese. They brought 30 young people, ages 17 to 30, along with staff to do an outdoor evangelistic event involving sports, music, etc. The first night about 200 attended, the vast majority of whom never go to any church event of any kind and we got a large stack of response cards filled out for follow up. We have had follow up events every week with as many as 75 attending. A family from Rocky has been so faithful to help us with this.

An organization from Pennsylvania has already committed to bring a team to lead our VBS next summer! We will need lots of support staff to work with them, but they are responsible to plan and lead. This is a real blessing not to have this load on our shoulders.

Because of the isolation and nature of the community here, the workers who come seem to always develop close relationship with the people. One of our VBS workers, who is from Austria, was leaving after Bible School, and as he got into the van I heard a little girl say quietly to herself, "Goodbye Daddy". Child Evangelism Fellowship sent a team to lead VBS this summer, and we had lots of others who came to work with them. I want to emphasize that if you know any individuals or people in your churches that would like to have a missions experience for any length of time, we need all the help we can get, right now. Any age or any experience, there is important work they can do, primarily working with people.

We still have a crucial need for prayer involving the facilities here. We have to work to keep the numbers down to a manageable level because of our lack of space and recently had to send a number of teens home, who came for a youth event, because we didn't have room for them. However, space is not the most important issue as we can live with that, but we need to have the use of all the former mission property for the work here. As always, we covet your prayers.

In His Service, Rodger & Karen Rinker

November Photos - Two pages containing 12 pictures.

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