https//arcticoutreach.org --- e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org --- phone 403-989-3715
On February 10th we are getting a volunteer from Germany who will be helping here at the mission for five months! Her name is Zofia. She will be Karen's assistant, helping with most everything. She can teach piano, so we are planning on activating our music program. We already have about six students lined up for that. Please pray she will be able to adjust quickly to the challenges she will be facing. Today we had a Skype call with her, and everyone is so excited about her coming.
We changed our Sunday worship service from morning to the afternoon, and this is working a lot better since it is much more convenient for the families here. The Ladies have begun a new Bible study written by a First Nations lady specifically for women. Karen writes: "Although all this is positive, our hearts are broken for the many families who are suffering from many, many, many suicides through this past year. Your prayers are coveted for these dear people. It is much too challenging to write about the difficulties people face here. We must emphasize the blessings and victories. We especially thank those of you who have been praying for us as we go through this most difficult time of year. There are overwhelming times when God just carries us through."
In 1986 our mission got into the Accelerated Christian Education program and I went to Texas for the principals training. We got staff help and ran a demonstration trial for the Reserve to show them how well the Christian programed learning curriculum works. We had 17 students crowded into our small chapel, and the school was so successful that the head of the board of education told me half of parents on the Reserve wanted to put their kids in our school, and meetings were held to discuss putting the public Reserve school on ACE.
Over time political choices were made resulting in basically sacrificing what was best for education in favor of politics. We didn't have suficient funding and staffing to continue our school, but we were involved in tutoring students for families connected with the mission. No one ever forgot the success of our school on ACE curriculumm, and from time to time we would have a request to help out a family. We recently held a workshop and three ladies took training on Christian education. Karen is working with two ladies to upgrade and learn how to use ACE for their own family. This past week we took in a Junior High student and are now teaching 3 full days a week, in our chapel.
Both Karen & I have been asked to assist the Government child welfare department, on a volunteer basis, to help them with some of their case work here, since we live here and have worked with these families all their lives.
Well, now I've saved the most important part of this newsletter for a special request. It takes some explanation first. This Reserve follows the traditional Native religion of their ancestors. There is no simple way of explaining this in a practical sense, other than to explain one particular aspect of the funerals and graves. In 2011, one of our Sunday School girls was killed, and at the request of the family I made a Christian cross for her grave, and it was the 'first' cross to be displayed in the community grave yard. This last year a family had two deaths and they had a beautiful, large cross made for these two graves. Now, in this last year I have had many requests to make crosses for families to put on graves for recent deaths. I haven't been able to get this done and I'm asking for help with it. I'm asking for a few folks with some wood working skills, that each person will make a cross or two that we can put on the grave fences. I only want them about two feet long, (give or take) but I'd like them to be well made. The lettering would be optional, as in some cases it would be best if we did the lettering here. Maybe some one with a scroll saw could volunteer to just cut out a bunch of letters out of some special wood.
To my knowledge, no one is opposing a cross being put on a grave, so we have a wonderful opportunity to help see this incredible change take place, of the symbol of Christ's atonement and ressurection become prevalent in the grave yard...for the first time here. We can assist these families display their love, and honor their lost loved ones, all the while leaving a Christian testimony! It truly is an exception opportunity. A couple folks out there could help lift our load by using their skills to lovingly craft a nice cross and mail it to us. The people here will be extremely grateful that someone cared enough to do this. If you want more information you can phone me at 403-989-3715. Below is a picture of the first cross I refered to above. The edges are routed and the lettering is made with a scroll saw. It's finished with a good, UV and moisture resistant finish. But I know there are many out there who can do a much better, creative job than I can. Please take a minute when you can, and really think about what an opportunity this is...what it really means, and what it has taken to get to this... here!
God Bless you and your churches...please remember to pray for us. Rodger & Karen Rinker
The is the first cross for the graveyard described in the article above.