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Report: Big Stone Trip Jan. 20-22

              This past weekend Jen and I (Kurt), once again traveled up north to Big Stone reserve, located right next to La Ronge.  This was our 3rd trip to this reserve, as we have been alternating back and forth between this reserve and Sucker River.

Leading up to this weekends trip, Jen and I both had a growing desire on our hearts.  We began longing for our trips up north to be spent solely in Sucker River as we have much deeper connections and, it seems as though, the Lord is really blessing our efforts there.  Yet we recognize that sometimes our desires are not always the Lord’s desire and we really wanted to use this weekend as a means of discerning this.  We could see pros and cons either way but needed God to make it clear to us what He would have us do.  Thank you to those who prayed specifically for our discernment in this.

Being that we are both coming off Christmas and trying to build up a bigger team for our week long trip in February to Sucker River, we had decided that the two of us would go alone this time.  This allowed us to really take time to be with some of the believers, rather than trying to organize kids bible school and worship services.  We had no fixed agenda, we just went waiting to see where God would lead us.

We arrived Friday evening at the house of a couple, Caleb and Katha, which we had only briefly met before.  They graciously let us stay at their home and even feed us for a few of the meals that we were around the house for.   We settled in, ate supper, and had a short visit with Katha and their 6 month old son and then headed out to Big Stone for the rest of the evening.

There is an older lady who is a believer that we have connected with in past trips.  We headed to her house to see who was home.  Part of the difficulty with our connections in Big Stone is that a lot of them don’t have phones and the one that does, lives about 10 minutes away from the reserve.  Thankfully we caught our friend at home and had a great visit with her.  Also at the house was her grandson, who is in grade 4, and her son who is in his late 40’s or 50’s.  It was such a blessing to just sit with them and visit.  We heard more about the church history in Big Stone and even some personal struggles.  We were able to encourage the son in his faith and the forgiveness that Jesus gives when we confess our sins!  He had been one that would seek to uphold the word of God against those who are twisting it or flat out lying about scripture, such as the JWs.  He would give a defense for why we should worship Jesus and why He is God.  After these conversations, he would get hit with internal condemnation and guilt.  It was so wonderful to be able to encourage him that even if he had done something wrong that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9.  However, in his case, it seemed as though this guilt and condemnation was not warranted.  We read Matthew 11:28-29 together.  “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  He was encouraged that regardless whether the burden He was carrying was undeserved or deserved, that he could carry it to Jesus and find rest for his weary soul!  We prayed with him and he seemed to be greatly encouraged!  Praise the Lord!  It was once again affirmation to me that we must always carry our burdens to the Lord.  If we do not, they will eventually wear us down and erode our faith!

The next morning we had breakfast with Katha and her son again, Caleb had a funeral in Saskatoon to go to so we didn’t see much of him.   We visited a little bit in the morning as we waited for people on the reserve to wake up.  Often, people are sleeping till 10 so things don’t get going till a bit after that.  We went over and again visited with our believing friends.  They also live next to the church building.  The son that we had been visiting with was over at the church getting the wood stove going and starting the slow process of warming up the building.  We sat around and joined him in that.  At 2:30 a couple from the Alliance church in town came out for a time of prayer to pray for the community, for wisdom on what to pursue, and that God would raise leaders from within this community to lead a church there.  We had briefly met this couple last time up.  They have been going out there just about every Saturday.  The time of prayer was good.  Afterwards, this couple invited us out for coffee in order for us to get to know each other and discern where things are at with regards to Big Stone.  This was extremely helpful for us as we tried to piece together the confusing, and sometimes messy, history of the Big Stone church.  I believe God really used this to help bring clarity to us regarding our prayers about future trips.  The couple even encouraged us to pursue Sucker river as much as we can.  It was also reassuring to us that if we were to leave Big Stone, they are not left without someone reaching out to them.  We again returned to the reserve and visited more with same believers there.

Sunday morning came around and we still had been unable to connect with a couple of the teens and a few of the other believers that we know up there.  With no sign of being able to see the others and the snow coming down pretty heavy Saturday and still on Sunday, we decided we would head back for Saskatoon.  We went and said a quick good bye and prayer for the believers we had seen and then headed home.

There were some real special moments with the few that we saw, as well as disappointments with not being able to see many of those that we had wanted to.  Overall, we did feel that the Lord answered our prayer, and yours, about future trips up north.  We felt the Lord confirm to us that the desire on our heart is also His desire for these northern trips.  Going forward we will be only pursuing Sucker River Reserve, with only the odd visit to Big Stone to see our friends as we are able.  There were many reasons that we felt that this was the way the Lord was leading us.  Jen and I both have peace about that decision.  Probably the greatest comfort with leaving Big Stone is knowing the Lord is reaching Big Stone through the other couple that goes for prayer and that they have a far greater opportunity, due to distance, to connect then we do.  We are both very excited to be able to pour ourselves more into Sucker River.  The Lord continues to impress on us the need for consistency and we are extremely excited how the Lord can use trips there once a month!  Thanks again for your prayers and support in so many ways!

To God be the Glory!