Thursday, May 30, 2013

Travis Update - Week Three

Travis Harms (a young adult from my church) is doing his internship in northern Manitoba this summer.  He is asking for people to pray for him.  Here is an update:
This week we have heard nothing about the suicide pact. It has not been brought up as of yet. I will take no news as good news.

I spent a few mornings at the soup kitchen and met a fellow from Pukatawagon who apparently I was able to comfort and to put at ease. He mentioned that he was really anxious about getting a job; we discussed residential schools and the harm done in the name of Christianity and we talked about faith also. Good guy, glad to have met him.

A theological issue that is very prevalent in The Pas is the working of the Holy Spirit. There are several churches that are promoting the “second filling” of the Holy Spirit and there are many new believers in this church. A fellow here, Peter Constant who is also a KBI student has been sharing with some of these young believers about what he has learned and he is concerned that they are not deceived or led astray. As Mennonites, the natural tendency has been to exclude the working of the Holy Spirit and we need to admit and repent of our guilt in that area. However, we also need to seek a biblical position of the Spirit; such a position likely includes speaking in tongues but likely also includes quiet promptings and workings within our hearts.

I have been learning that people here somewhat can seem aloof in general life. For example, at a gospel jamboree I sat next to a fellow that I had met at the soup kitchen, we both recognized each other but we did not chat between songs. However, the next time that I saw him he greeted me with a smile. People generally do not make eye contact or face each other when talking. This has taken some getting used to.

Prayer for Steeprock Bay Bible Camp registration in Moose Lake and Cormorant would be appreciated. Also keep a lady Louise who recently lost a son in your prayers. His body was just found in the river and his funeral will be soon.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Update from Travis

Week Two

During this week, three days were spent at the NCEM Central Field Conference in Lumsden, SK. It was a good time to meet others that have spent their lives in Northern ministries and to learn from their experiences and wisdom. It was a blessing to see some of what NCEM is doing and how they are doing it. There was an emphasis on personal holiness and godliness that I really appreciated and inspired me to walk closer with my Lord. After I thanked the gentlemen who shared about holiness he said two very important words, “Apply it”. Holiness means nothing if it is not applied. Godliness is very important for mission work.

Another emphasis from the conference was shared by Florence Flett. She said that methods and programs are all secondary in trying to reach her people. Love is what mattered. Holding the door for someone or smiling and saying hello is what really count. This brings it all back to 1 Cor. 13:1-3; we can do anything but if we do not have love we will get nowhere.

After the conference I met a man in the mall here that was involved in traditional religion. He shared with me many things that I had not known about the historical Cree way of life and what certain things mean. He also said that all religions have the same God. I shared that I was interning as a missionary and he could see that I was not a local, (blond hair). However, he said that openness was the best policy for me to learn. Listening to people’s stories is a good policy; many are willing to share about their lives and what they are going through.

This week we also made it to Cormorant for the first time and I am learning about visitation culture and how they are conducted in the North. I may be going in again on Saturday. I have learned about the history of some who have ministered in Cormorant in the past. I really hope that I can get a Bible study going there. It is very overwhelming because I know very few people there and most people ask, “What is a guy like you doing here?” But God is faithful and He is opening doors to share about camp this summer in the school there and a connection with the recreation director. 

Pray that God would continue to open doors for connections in Cormorant and for getting a Bible study going. Pray also for health; many well known people from the area are sick with cancer and this is a strain on the people here. Pray also for the youth of Opaswayak Cree Nation, there were suicide attempts last week and there still is a suicide pact and people are concerned.

-Travis Harms

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Update - Travis Harms

Travis Harms (a young adult from my church) is doing his internship in northern Manitoba this summer.  He is asking for people to pray for him.  Here is an update:

This is my first week in the Pas; on Tuesday I could hardly believe what I was doing in driving myself up to live somewhere I had never been to before with people I did not know and not really knowing all that specifically what I would be doing. This week has consisted of orientation to a new area and a different culture.

During this week I attended a lecture series by Bill Jackson from Thursday night to Sunday morning on the topic of native spirituality and attended the Wednesday night Bible study here at the Riverside Bible Church. I have been blessed to get to know many of the people that live here. Many people came out and I was able to meet some folks from Cormorant, the town I will be visiting during summer, and the regulars of the church.

I was bit by a dog on Thursday when we were doing door to door invitations to the Bill Jackson meetings in our neighborhood. One lady from the church commented to me about the spiritual battle that we are in and I was reminded to “put on the full armor of God”. Taking ground from the enemy will always result in kick back.

I have learned about the importance of building trust and building relationships. It can take a long time to build trust in a reserve. It can take years of community presence to build that trust. The Anderson’s have been serving here since the 1980’s and they have the trust of the people. Relational influence is closely linked to trust. I was able to have some good conversation with a local fellow that has earned the trust of people close to him and how that is lived out in this culture. Integrity is very important, if trust is ever broken it will likely never be recovered in these communities.

Time is required for trust to be built and most people here are not overly friendly or talkative as we would consider in a western culture. However, as Bill Jackson and Amanda have both said “the gospel transcends cultures”. Knowing the people is important but you can always share the gospel and it still is effective. This is good encouragement for me.

I have also learned some about the spiritual realm here. Many houses on Opaskwayak Cree Nation have eagles painted on the outside of their houses. The eagle is a sign of good fortune in this culture.

Next week we are going to the NCEM Central field conference in Lumsden, SK and preparing for Steeprock Bay Bible Camp registration. Pray for open doors in Cormorant and continued building relationships with those in the church and community. 

Monday, May 06, 2013

Introduction to Ephesians

The book of Ephesians emphasizes several things.  One is that as believers in Jesus we are united.  Regardless of our cultural, racial or economic background we are all brought together under Christ.  A second emphasis is that we are saved by grace.  We do not earn our salvation; it is a gift that God freely gives to his people.  Thirdly the book of Ephesians encourages us to live out our faith.  Paul is very practical (even giving advice on marriage and resisting the attacks of Satan).


  • Paul the apostle
    • Paul had a radical conversation experience (Acts 9:1-19)
    • Before following Jesus he persecuted the church
  • After conversion became an apostle and missionary
  • Paul wrote several books in the New Testament (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon)
  • He was beheaded for his faith by emperor Nero
  • Paul suffered many different things for following Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23-33)

Date of writing:
Paul wrote this letter from prison in Rome (around 62 AD)

Written to:  
Paul wrote this book to the church in Ephesus from prison.  Ephesus was a major city Asia Minor (what is now Turkey).  The city was the home of the temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis (one of the wonders of the ancient world).  The city of Ephesus was a place of trade and a center of paganism.  Paul ministered in Ephesus for a couple of years (Acts 19).

Key verses:
Ephesians 1:3
Ephesians 2:8-10
Ephesians 3:20-21
Ephesians 4:2
Ephesians 5:21
Ephesians 6:10-17

Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible, edited by David Alexander and Pat Alexander.  Lion Publishing, England, 1983.
Douglas, JD.  Who’s Who in Christian History, “James, Brother of Jesus” page 351-352.  Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Wheaton Illinois, 1992.
Beers Gilbert V.  The Victor Handbook of Bible Knowledge. Victor books, USA, 1981.