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Helliwell’s May 2021 Missions Update

Nick and Vivian Helliwell

A Tough Season

I forget the context, but recently Vivian and I read a teaching about the difference between loads and burdens from Galatians 6:2 and 5. There are differences in the meaning of the two words. A burden is something that is not a responsibility to carry but something that weighs a person down. A load on the other hand, is something that is a person’s responsibility to carry. Thus Paul says in in the first paragraph of Galatians 6, that each person should carry their own load, but that the Christian family should share one another’s burdens.

Healing Hearts Ministry

It seems that today was an object lesson in burdens and loads. Healing Hearts Ministry Inc. as a mission organization is going through a transitional phase, as Walter has recently stepped down as ED.  Last Sunday, Bob Lydiate announced that he will be retiring from Healing Hearts Ministry Regina as lead pastor effective June 30th. Now these are loads. We at Healing Hearts Ministry Regina and Healing Hearts Ministry Inc. need to carry these loads, relying on God to lead us forward, and we very much need prayer that we would be attentive and obedient to God’s leading.

Family Troubles

When I got home however, I got some news about two of our sons. Murray (in hospital since early April) was having trouble breathing this morning and has been put on oxygen. When we talked to him last night, he seemed ok. He was to start physiotherapy today, but has had a setback. We don’t know how serious it is, nor the cause, but for Vivian and I, it felt so much like what we saw Eva go through just as her fourth memorial approaches. Another son, Faron, has been arrested, is in custody, and is facing a number of serious charges. The last number of times we talked with him, it was apparent to us that he was walking in rebellion, and so we made the hard decision to break fellowship with him, even though he is our son. Now, a week later, we find out through the news what has happened.

Please Pray

Vivian and I are already burdened with three recent deaths that have deeply affected our children, and family that have battled or are battling Covid. I need to make some significant shifts in my ministry over the next two months. We will be engaged in intensive prayer in that period and are humbly asking for people to share the burdens with us. Life has seasons. We never expect seasons of peace and ease to last, but when the storm clouds gather, knowing that the light shines above the dark clouds does not prevent us from being buffeted by the wind and getting soaked by the rain. Right now, we are burdened and thankful that we have friends such as yourself that we can turn to for prayer and encouragement.

 

Update on Murray from May 3rd

Murray had a CT scan done and they found a blood clot in his lung.  He has been put on a stronger blood thinner.  He is sounding very weak, but seems to be recovering. Also, we are sad to announce that Leon Lonechild of Whitebear FN passed away this weekend.

 

Update from May 10

Vivian and I have been up late praying for quite some time this evening, and she is still feeling quite anxious.  Anxious enough to request that I send a prayer request out to you even this late.
Vivian’s brother Bernie Shepherd came into the city this evening very sick.  He did not come by ambulance, but drove in from Whitebear (almost 3 hrs away) and is going to the hospital tonight.
He received the covid vaccination and this sickness is a result of getting vaccinated – we don’t know which vaccine he received.
You will remember that last week we were asking for prayer for Leon Lonechild.  Leon is the brother of Bernie’s wife, Lila.  Bernie has never driven himself to the hospital ‘because he felt sick’.  He is just not the type of man to go to the hospital if he was ‘just sick’, so we are quite concerned about this situation with him and for his wife, Lila’s sake, given that she just lost her brother as well.  We don’t know how he died, just that he was flown to Saskatoon hospital in an ‘unresponsive condition’ and passed away.
Our son Murray is still in hospital, and while he is recovering, it is a long recovery.  Our son Faron is in jail, and this may affect my being able to go back to my job as Chaplain there.
So as I have said, we have been praying quite a bit this evening, both with the children as a family and Vivian and I together as well.
We would appreciate it very much if you would remember us in your prayers as well and stand with us in prayer over these things.  Vivian is very worried about both Murray, and Bernie, as well as Lila and Faron as well as how things will turn out with my job at the jail.
Thank you for your faithful support.
You are such a blessing at times like these.

Update on Murray from May 26th

I have an urgent prayer request. Murray has taken a turn for the worse. The doctors told us today that he needs a heart transplant. Vivian and Murray’s daughter are at the hospital right now and are both allowed to see him. I am also on my way there and my understanding is that I, too will be allowed to see him. This is a very serious situation and we are very worried about him. This is all I know at this time. We are desperate for your prayers for Murray at this time. Thank you for your support and prayers.

Update from May 27

This was supposed to be a ministry update, but I am struggling to concentrate today. I am working on several writing projects. I am organizing notes in PowerPoint form for Saturday’s Journey Through the Bible Discipleship group. I am preparing study notes for Tuesday’s Brother’s In the Hood discipleship study. I am also working on notes for the Healing Hearts Ministry Board on Cultural Contextualization in addition to writing articles for Father’s Day, as well as the men at the Jail.

Vivian has spent most of the day at the hospital while I immerse myself in work in order to keep from dwelling on the fact that my firstborn son, Murray has been there for over 5 weeks and just yesterday we were told that he needs a heart transplant. Another son of my heart is in jail.

Not a few times today, my fingers just stopped, refusing to reach for any more keys until I had finished weeping. For all the Bible study I am doing, there are probably a thousand verses that have filtered through my mind but where I find the most comfort is John 11:35, “Jesus wept.”

Imagine the Son of God, the creator of the heavens and the earth – speechless. For that moment, there were no words. Nothing to say. Jesus wept.

At the intersection of one son in jail and the other in the hospital, words fail me. My sons are not innocent. There is a lot I could say to each one about their lives and choices – and part of me wants to. A paternal reprove – I told you so – would be so easy. And harsh. On the other hand, I want to scoop them up in my arms as I did so, so, long ago. I can’t make it better for either one of them. I can’t even be there for them. All I can hope for is that today they will each remember me telling them that I love them – one more time. As my fingers grind to a halt once again.

Today, that’s all I’ve got.