“I Have a Burden in my Heart to Preach the Gospel”

God worked through volunteer Celebration of Hope counselors to transform the lives of hundreds of Baker Lake residents in 2019.
God worked through volunteer Celebration of Hope counselors to transform the lives of hundreds of Baker Lake residents in 2019.

Hailey Armoogan sees a lot of what she calls “cultural Christianity” in the Northwest Territories community of Fort Smith. The kind of Christianity where people might acknowledge God and His Son, but never declare Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.

Hailey, the interim pastor of Fort Smith Pentecostal Church, is praying that God will change many lives as Will Graham has an opportunity to preach the Gospel on a Northern Canada evangelistic tour. It starts Nov. 30 in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, then travels to the Northwest Territories communities of Fort Smith on Dec. 2 and Hay River on Dec. 4.

“I don’t think a lot of northerners who have a concept of cultural Christianity have really been given an opportunity to not only encounter Jesus, but become a follower and accept the Gospel,” Haily said.

“What I trust about Will Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is their commitment to authentic Gospel witness.”

The tour is a continuation of the mission God put on Will’s heart to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in Canada’s North. So far, that calling—made possible by generous partners like you—has included evangelistic outreaches in the Nunavut communities of Rankin Inlet (2018) and Baker Lake (2019).

“I have a burden in my heart to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Will said. “If that’s to an arena full of people or one person on the street, I will do whatever God is calling me to do.”

Fort Smith was Northwest Territories’ capital until 1967, when it was moved to Yellowknife.

Hailey says it’s still a government town with many affluent residents, but most have “a poverty of spirit.

People have all this money and toys. It doesn’t satisfy them; they have no sense of purpose or identity.”

Fort Smith has both well-off government employees (along with a large college campus) and a significant number of people struggling to make ends meet. The middle class is very small, Hailey explained. “You have the wealthy and the poor, all with lifestyle issues, from alcohol and drugs to risky behavior and a cycle of abuse. So, it’s a bit of a paradox.”

She’s confident the Gospel can address that paradox with the lifegiving truth of forgiveness and new life in Christ.

“God’s calling the prodigals home and wants to reveal His true self to a people who have been presented with a false identity,” Hailey said. “He wants them to step into who they were created to be: God’s image bearers.”