Last February, LAMP (Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots) members from Trinity and two LAMP pastors were able to travel to Shamattawa, Manitoba to visit children in their classrooms at school, sharing a devotion, singing songs, doing crafts, and visiting with our Bible school children. Although school was canceled a day and ½ due to the cold, we were still able to spend quality time with the teachers, who had questions about our beliefs and asked spiritual questions of the pastors with us.
Of course, with the border closed due to the pandemic, our LAMP summer Bible school became a recorded virtual Bible school called the Rocky Railroad. In July, costumed volunteers from Shamattawa and Norway House recorded five days of Bible lessons, songs, and object lessons in one day, had it all edited, and sent it to LAMP. They posted it to their website for Norway House and for Shamattawa, and the children were able to access the lessons at home.
We are not sure what this summer will hold for Vacation Bible School for our LAMP volunteers, but it may likely again be a virtual setting. We are trusting that God will guide us in the direction we should go to share His word with His children of the North.
How have our communities of Norway House and Shamattawa fared during the pandemic?
Shamattawa First Nation: As of February 12, there have been 440 positive cases in the community (out of a population of 1,200 residents), with 435 recovered, 4 active cases quarantined in the community, 1 hospitalized out of the community, and 0 deaths. With active cases skyrocketing in early December, the Canadian Red Cross and the military were flown into the community to bring needed medical supplies, establish the school gym as a quarantine location, monitor the stay-at-home order, and assist with the testing at the nursing station. The first vaccines arrived in mid-January, but precautions are still required to contain the spread in multi-generational homes. The LAMP plane flew in supplies, devotional material and children’s activity books. The community requests prayers for their residents, specifically, for their elders. We praise God that of all the active cases in the community, so far, there have been no deaths.
Norway House Cree Nation: As of February 5, there have been 49 positive cases in the community with 46 recovered and 3 active cases. The community established a community-based COVID-19 testing site which opened on December 9, 2020 and the first vaccines arrived in Norway House on January 7. There is a roadblock on the road into Norway House, only essential travelers are allowed into the community, and quarantine/safety protocols are implemented within the community.
Please remember to keep these communities and their people in your prayers, as the cold, dark, winter days are long and take their toll. Pray especially that the Word, faith and hope of Christ, whose light permeates the darkness, is heard clearly!