People taking their own lives is one of the most serious social problems in Canada’s North—one that seems to defy solutions.
“I don’t know why the suicides occur,” says Silas Arngna’naaq, lay leader at St Aidan’s Anglican Church in Baker Lake, Nunavut. Baker Lake is about 1,600 kilometres north of Winnipeg. “But from what I’ve read in God’s Word, there’s a spiritual war going on, and I think to some degree, we have become complacent.”
Silas’s church is one of three—with the Roman Catholic and Glad Tidings—in Baker Lake that is joining in the spiritual war by inviting the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada (BGEAC) to organize a Celebration of Hope in their isolated community.
The Celebration is an eight-month ministry of evangelism training, worship, and prayer leading up to two nights of Christian music on Oct. 26-27 by popular Christian performers, plus powerful Gospel messages from Will Graham.
“Having a [spiritual] revival like this will give many young people hope that there is something they can look forward to,” Silas said.
Although he was repeatedly exposed to the Gospel as a child, Silas strayed from the church in early adulthood. However, when he experienced an uncertainty about the purpose of his life, he returned to the church about 20 years ago. There, he was reminded of the hope to be found in a relationship with Jesus.
“I prayed for that opportunity, and God assured me that a time will come when I will be able to talk to Jesus myself,” Silas recalled.
He and other church leaders are praying the Celebration of Hope will be a catalyst for spiritual and social change in Baker Lake, especially among young people. Because their community is so isolated, many young people struggle to see a future for themselves. That can lead to many problems including alcohol, illegal drugs, and broken relationships.
“To be given the sense [through the Celebration] that there is hope for something better will encourage them to come to Jesus Christ,” Silas said. “If we–not just us, but the Holy Spirit–convince their hearts that there is something to look forward to, that will give them hope.”
The Baker Lake Celebration of Hope is the second that BGEAC and our donors have organized in Canada’s Arctic. At last year’s Celebration in Rankin Inlet, about 320 kilometres southeast of Baker Lake, almost 700 of the hamlet’s 2,000 residents gathered to hear Will Graham’s message of hope in Christ.
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