The cry of 10-year-old Isis and her 12-year-old sister Zinia was heart-wrenching: “Pray our mom and dad stop drinking alcohol so we don’t have to be scared.”
The girls wrote down their request, and it was eventually passed along to the prayer team assembled from three churches in their hometown of Baker Lake, Nunavut, in Canada’s far north.
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Members of the prayer team, who were volunteering for the upcoming Baker Lake Celebration of Hope, had invited local churches to share their prayer requests. Immediately, they began to pray that the girls’ parents, Dody and Scott Qiyuk, would find their way to the Oct. 27 Celebration, but more important, to Jesus.
Dody’s heart broke when she learned about her daughters’ plea for help.
“I just cried and cried, knowing that my girls were hurting,” she said.
She and Scott tried desperately to stop drinking. But it wasn’t long before Scott underwent a barrage of tests amid concerns he had stomach cancer. All of the related stress sent them back to the bottle.
“My father was in the residential school system,” Dody explained, referring to a dark part of Canada’s history when Indigenous children were taken from their parents and forced to abandon their language and culture. “All the hurt that was put on him—he dealt with it by drinking and by taking it out on my mom and my brother and me.”
“I never wanted to follow in his footsteps by drinking, but I did,” she confessed.
Week after week, the Celebration’s prayer team asked God to give Dody and Scott the strength to abandon alcohol—and the conviction to embrace Christ.
Oct. 27 arrived, ice-cold as expected. But the -20C temperatures couldn’t prevent the warmth of the Gospel from gaining ground in people’s hearts during the Celebration of Hope.
Dody, Scott, Isis, and Zinia were among more than 300 packed parkato-parka inside Baker Lake’s community center that evening. Will Graham shared powerfully from the Word of God, describing how blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10 called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Moments later, when Will invited people to come forward and receive Christ’s mercy, Scott responded much like Bartimaeus: “he sprang up and came to Jesus” (ESV).
Dody remembers that miraculous moment vividly. “I was thinking, ‘I’m not going to be in this sinking ship alone,’ so I went up there, too.” Despite learning a few days earlier that Scott was cancer-free, Dody still called their alcohol-plagued life a “sinking ship.”
They were soon joined by dozens of other Baker Lake residents who were also eager to repent and commit their lives to Jesus.
“I remember looking into Scott’s eyes,” Dody said. “They were filled with a look of so much happiness.” Nearby, she could see their daughters quietly wiping away tears of joy—this was the beginning of their answered prayers.
Dody and Scott were among 780 people—more than one-third of Baker Lake’s total population—who participated in the Oct. 26-27 Celebration, and among 324 who responded to the Good News of Jesus
Christ. Each of them received counselling and prayer, and was connected to local churches for ongoing discipleship.
Since the Celebration, Dody and Scott have fought victoriously to loosen alcohol’s grip on their family. “We have so much more strength,” Dody said, strength that comes from being in relationship with Christ—and from living by His Word, including these treasured passages:
“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm” (Exodus 14:14).
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you’” (Jeremiah 29:11-14).
“Those words are giving me hope,” shared a transformed Dody. “I know God is fighting for us.”
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation.