Journey Through the Bible: A Discipleship Course
Last week, I received back my Journey Through the Bible: A Discipleship Course from the publisher meaning I can now pack and deliver it. For $100.00, a package includes the Leader’s Guide with ten participant workbooks. The course is designed to lead a group reading through the entire Bible in 42 weeks. I have led this Bible study at Healing Hearts Ministry for about twenty years with various groups from new believers to seasoned Christians. During my time at home this past year, I finally organized all my handouts and research into a workbook format and delivered it to be printed by NCEM. Special thanks to Ralph Dyck at NCEM for his amazing editing and cover design help.
So how has this pandemic affected my family?
Today I am at home self-monitoring and awaiting the results of my Coronavirus test that I am expecting will be negative. Because I woke up with a cold on Sunday, erring on the side of caution, I decided not to go to work this week. I am, however, feeling fine today.
We’ve always had a large busy family with sons, daughters and grandchildren going all sorts of directions into the community every day. This became one of the biggest considerations for us this past year. As a family, we talked about our exposure in the community and made changes.
We enrolled our children in online learning this year. Because our home computer network now rivals many small to medium sized businesses, this was no simple task. Jordan, Jayden, Serenity, Alexah, Joshua and Adrienne all take classes online while Kristian (grade 12) goes to school. Kienan works online and Keesha decided to move out. Amanda and I still work in the community, but otherwise, everyone in the family is doing their best to limit their community exposure.
One would think that with such a large household and with the pandemic going on that our ministry would also be greatly affected. It has; but not in the ways one might expect.
Vivian and I still minister to the vulnerable poor. The poor are those who, through no fault of their own, lack, lost or cannot access the resources to care for their own or their family’s needs. Throughout this pandemic we have had the joy of helping numerous such people in many ways, including allowing them to stay for short periods in our home!
P & R stayed with us for a short time this summer when they had to come to Regina to take care of matters with Child and Family Services. TJ and his daughter needed a place to stay due to family hardship, and MJ with his children needed an interim place to stay while he re-established his family in a new home.
One thing I am acutely aware of, even more so during this time, is the lack of community resources available to men as parents, and the systemic prejudices that exist creating huge roadblocks for these men.
Difficulties of Rebuilding a Life
A man who gets released from jail can lose everything including his job, home, wife, family, and even his ID. Emerging repentant, having made a commitment to Christ, and desperate to get on the right path, he now needs help.
Co-dependency is born when the helper is more interested or invested in the situation than the one who needs help. Therefore, instead of telling him what he needs and how to define the problem, it is necessary to listen to how they define the problem. Discern what their priorities are, what resources they have, where those resources can be accessed, and what resources they feel they lack.
The problem is theirs. Let them solve it. I can assist by helping them make a list of priorities and determining what they can do right now. Something as simple as letting them borrow my cell phone to make a call is a good start.
Before I let them stay with my family (even only for a night or two), they need to demonstrate commitment to the process. They have to take ownership of their life, problems and situation. They need to be able to tell me what their problem is, why it exists, what they intend to do to solve the problem and how long it will take. In other words, how long will they need to stay?
Why do so many people come to Vivian and I? Because they have gotten to know us in some context. For many years in the Urban Indigenous community, we have become recognized as spiritual elders. An ‘elder’ is someone who can answer questions in the context of your life. We don’t assume that we have the right to help you just because we have greater resources. To the indigenous mind, that is the epitome of arrogance.
The cornerstone principle of our family is “Tatawa”. Although normally translated as ‘welcome’, the literal meaning is, ‘come in, there is room’. However, even this carries with it an assumption: that because you are coming in, we have to adjust for you. We have to re-arrange ourselves, our things, perhaps even our lives to make room for you. Your coming is not necessarily free. We as your host will bare the cost that you may not even be aware of; nevertheless, you are welcome to come in.
So I find myself at home, awaiting the results of my Covid test. However, even as I wait there is ministry to be done. People to drive to appointments, children to look after, letters of support to write, hampers to pack and deliver, families to visit, men to engage, people to listen to, and the list goes on and on.
But this is what it means to be in ministry. It is who we are. Pandemic or not.