“One of the biggest mistakes that North American churches make – by far – is applying relief in situations in which rehabilitation or development is the appropriate intervention.”
When Helping Hurts; How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself by S. Corbett, B. Fikkert
Vivian and I have been working in the inner city of Regina now for over 25 years. Much of that outreach ministry has been with Indigenous men and their families.
Vivian and I believe strongly that God’s redemptive plans for Indigenous people are centred on restoring the family as being man as the head in marriage partnership with a woman raising children according to and within the boundaries of Biblical teachings. In the climate of today’s mainstream culture, holding Biblical teachings as being the Standard for successful living is challenging and requires a very long term relational commitment.
The quote above comes from a book that explains a foundational principle of how we assess the approach we take in any given situation with the men that we work with. In other words, not everyone is in the same place, not everyone is moving forward, and not everyone is someone whom we can help.
The journey can be very taxing, but sometimes a day comes along where it is truly a joy and privilege to be asked for help. Such is the case with Tyrone. Emerging from the highest echelons of notorious street gangs almost 20 years ago, Tyrone today is a hard working dedicated father, building a home and future for his family while actively destroying an unholy heritage.
But there is a battle to be foughts. This week we got a call asking to take him to the hospital. It seems that during the night while he is asleep, he stops breathing. The following day he phones with the diagnosis: central sleep apnea and requires a positive airway pressure therapy. In other words, a machine to help regulate his breathing at night. It is expensive and furthermore, Indigenous Affairs will not pay for the machine. This is where we are asked for help
One option is to buy the machine for him. Another option is to help him acquire the funding or get a loan. These are obvious options, but there may be others that he does not know about.
The first thing we did was to encourage him to pray. As said, today he us a hardworking, dedicated father and Christian. He expects us to encourage him to pray. Most times nowadays, he simply wants us to pray with him.
So we pray with him as he leads, or as the Spirit leads. We pray expectantly. And God opens a door. The next day, he needs a ride, and some distilled water. He borrows the van, we pick up some water on our way to visit him and that is the extent of out role. What a joy! What a privilege! What a testimony!
The fruit of 20 years of relational ministry. A road of many ups and downs and celebrations and disappointments. A path paved with much prayer, tears, hard choices, and desperate times. But today we praise God for this faithful man who is willing and able to give back, takes responsibility and fully participates in his own spiritual life. We praise God as we pray for him. And we also ask for prayer for Nigel, Murray, rodney, Peterm Derek, Joshua, Terrance, Lyndsay, Roy and others.
May God give us wisdom to meet these men where they are at and to discern how best to help while being Jesus with skin on them.
We praise God for providing a new van for ministry.
We are praying that God would provide new kitchen cupboards this year.
We praise God that we all got through Covid with hardly any distress.
We pray for God to keep Amanda healthy.
We pray for all of our children to be safe, happy and healthy.
We praise God to be surrounded by so many close friends as yourselves.
We look forward to continuing to watch God open doors, heal the sick, open the eyes of the blind and setting the captives free!
If you are interested in following along, I post a Bible reading daily on our ministry FaceBook page here.
Thank you and God Bless,
Nick and Vivian Helliwell