After 30+ hours of travelling via bus and boat, you often expect to find yourself in an entirely different place of the world when you arrive at your destination. For our YC Missions team all of this travelling just brought us to another part of the province – but it felt like another part of the world.
On Monday night, eight of our ten team members arrived in North West River/Sheshatshui, Labrador. It’s difficult to believe that you’re still in Newfoundland & Labrador when you drive through Sheshatshui. Amongst state of the art government buildings, brand new homes and a beautiful school, you see brokenness all around. Wherever you look you can see children playing on old rusted metal, houses with windows smashed and boarded, packs of dog’s roaming about, trash piled high outside of homes and teenagers drinking on patios. Sheshatshui feels nothing like most communities in our province, but just across the river, North West River looks like any other outport community.
Since our arrival, we have been staying with Pastor Clyde and Judy Penney in North West River, and partnering with them in ministry through Calvary Pentecostal Church. Upon first meeting the Penney’s it was evident that their hearts are burdened for the people of North West River & Sheshatshui. Their hospitality toward us has been humbling and serving alongside them has been an absolute pleasure.
Our team consists of Samantha Loveless, Noah Bartlett, Adrian Hudson, Ryan Loveless, Vickie Gosse, Jordan Seward, Bethany Porter, Ashley Bonnell, Pastor Tiffany Canning and Pastor Owen Roberts. Each member of our team offer unique gifts and abilities that shape our team, and continuously empower our ministry here in Labrador.
On Tuesday we spent the day preparing and decorating the church for the VBS that started Wednesday morning, and ran until Sunday Morning. Throughout the week about 30 kids from North West River and Sheshatshui arrived to spend time with us as we taught them about God’s mighty power through music, Bible stories, videos, science experiments and games.
Thursday evening saw members of our team travelled to Goose Bay to minister in the local prison. We spent the evening worshipping with the inmates and teaching them from the Word of God. They were very appreciative of our visit and loved singing with us!
Friday night we held an outdoor gospel concert and barbeque at the local community center. People listened to the music from their cars, while the team served food and drinks. The Gideon’s donated Gospel of John books and some of our team members had a chance to hand those out and share God’s love with a number of people that came out to hear the concert. We also had an opportunity to connect with some of the youth of the area and those connections lead us to host a youth sports night at the community centre. This provided us with a great opportunity to present Gospel of John books to local teenagers.
Saturday was one of the most interesting days thus far. We had our final full day of VBS, and then spent the afternoon playing basketball, volleyball and ball hockey with a large group of the community youth and children. Afterwards, they brought us to their favorite hangouts, and told us a lot about the hardships of life growing up in North West River and Sheshatshui. Through this, God gave us opportunities to share His message of love. Again that night we had the opportunity to connect with the youth of the area. About 30 young people came out to our sports night. It was incredible to be able to build relationships with these young people.
On Sunday, during the morning service, we conducted a VBS highlight service. Many of the kids that came to VBS came out for the church service and again learned that God loved them and that God’s desire was to have a relationship with them. We ended the service by giving the kids the Gospel of John. The kids had a blast throughout the week and it was a wonderful closing to an awesome week with the kids. Sunday Night we came together with the church and spent time worshipping together, praying together and hearing from God’s Word. Many of the youth that we met on the weekend attended the church service and for many it was their first time in the church. They got to hear the Gospel message, some for the first time! It was certainly something to celebrate. We ended the night with a time of fellowship downstairs, where we got to mingle with the congregation as well as the youth that came out. It was a wonderful day of ministry here in North West River and Sheshatshui.
Our time here so far in Labrador has been incredible and the team is looking forward to what this next week will bring. We are praying that God will give us opportunities to share His love with the people of this wonderful area! Our desire is to see lives transformed by the power and love of God.