Friday 7:00 am
It’s already time to go home. I have had a tremendous 5 days in Neskantaga. The people in the community are reserved 😉 but gracious hosts. Brian and Bonnie have been great at introducing me to people and explaining things that didn’t make sense.
The kids are more delightful than anyone could have prepared me for. (At right, Shania at summer festival a few days after Day camp this year) They are so playfull and active and so trusting once they figure you out. I am glad that they will still be sleeping when I leave today; no one will be hanging off the bus when I go. I would surely be a blubblering wreck if they did.
My week has been enlightening, encouraging, heartbreaking, and sorrowful all at once. In this community are a group of children who are amazed to hear you say that they are wonderful. In a very short time you love them dearly and want to see them have the very best.
One of our helpers returned from the Youth feast on Wednesday and found her 13 year old son ‘huffing’ solvents. He was acting bizzare so she called the police and he was in a holding cell for most of the night ‘drying out’. The police called his mom at 3:00 am to come and get him. The good news is that he went to school the next day. The bad news is his mom hardly slept.
Bonnie was talking to one of the ladies that works at the medical centre yesterday about the Youth Feast Wednesday night and everyone agreed that it was a great success. One woman said, “It’s too bad we don’t have a church building.” Bonnie was a little take back by the comment, but then figured out what she meant.
The last time that building was used was at Bruce’s funeral and First Nations people find the thought of a dead body very disturbing. If a person commits suicide in one of the community homes no one will live there until the interior walls are moved around and the flooring and carpets are replaced. One of the more sobering things I saw Wednesday was Bruce’s father clearing out his son’s home.
Community members were wigged out that we had our feast in a building where a dead body had been. If there was a church in the community they could have the funeral in that building and then wouldn’t have to eat a feast where a dead body had been. Dead bodies for Churches and Feasts for Community Centres.
Another sobering thought is that no matter what way I wish to serve this community, I will never be a member of the community. I am a welcome guest, but not a member. I am an outsider. Brian and Bonnie have been here for more than two years and are just now beginning to be accepted as part of the community, but different.
I have never seen a group before that I could not be a part of, no matter how hard I tried. How can I witness to a people I can never be part of? Missionary work in First Nation Communities has been done so very badly in the past. It is no wonder there is great skepticism of my intentions but how do we proceed?
We face seemingly insurmountable obstacles in sharing Jesus in Neskantaga. I don’t know what to do so I guess I’ll pray.
Day Camp Kids at Summer Festival.