Trisha* was on her way to work in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, when she came across a party.
She took in the music, bouncy castles, field games, face painting, as well as hot dog, snow cone, and cotton candy stands spreading across the field just outside the community arena. It was a community party to launch the Northern Canada Christmas Tour with Will Graham, scheduled for December.
This August launch was a partnership between the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the local churches, and Home Church in Red Deer, AB, which drove an 18-person team nearly 1,500 km to set up the community party.
“It’s such a great opportunity to do this on a nice summer day today as a prelude to the Northern Christmas Tour with Will Graham, George Canyon, and Brooke Nicholls,” said Pastor Hailey, who leads Fort Smith Pentecostal Church.
Seventeen-year-old Trisha, a member of the local First Nation, was drawn to the fun and activity—events like this so rarely happened in Fort Smith. While she explored the activities, Trisha met Emma from the Home Church team. As the two began to talk, Emma felt the Holy Spirit prompting her to pray. “Can I pray for you?” she asked.
“Yes,” came Trisha’s reply. She asked Emma to pray for her family, who were making a long journey to Yellowknife. And as prayed, tears started to roll down Trisha’s cheeks.
“Are they good tears or bad?” Emma asked.
“Good,” responded Trisha. “No one has ever done that for me before.”
Beauty and Loneliness
Fort Smith and Canada’s North is a place of stunning natural beauty—pristine landscapes, mighty rivers, and dazzling northern lights. It’s a place of people from around the world. “About 50 percent of the people are First Nations, indigenous, and 50 percent everyone else,” said Pastor Hailey. In a town of around 2,500 people, “We have about 17 nationalities,” she said.
But it can also be a place of remoteness and loneliness.
“There is an element of isolation, especially in the winter,” said Pastor Hailey. “During the long winter months, there can be a sense of extreme hopelessness and separation from the rest of the world. We can access the same things on the internet that anyone in the world can access, but that’s not the same as relational connectivity.”
And it’s into these communities, so often overlooked by the rest of Canada, that generous Canadians like you help share the life-changing hope and relationship in Jesus Christ.
Sharing the Hope of Jesus Christ
Through your prayers and support, Will Graham is planning to travel to Fort Smith to preach the Gospel, alongside music artists George Canyon and Brooke Nicholls. Will’s one-night outreach is scheduled for Dec. 2, in the middle of those long and isolating winter months. He intends to share the hope of Christ in Fort Chipewyan, northern Alberta, Nov. 30, and Hay River, NWT, on Dec. 4.
>>Learn about the upcoming Northern Canada Christmas Tour with Will Graham
“They’re going to come to Fort Smith, which is a huge, huge thing because people tend to bypass Fort Smith,” said Pastor Hailey.
“I think in northern communities, [sharing that God wants relationship] is huge because outside of a whole and a reconciled relationship to God, we really have no purpose and we have no true identity. So imagine being in a distant place from God and a broken relationship to God with no sense to who you really are.
“One of the greatest challenges [in the North] is helping people understand that God wants to have a relationship, a real personal relationship with them,” she continued.
This is the opportunity we have this winter in partnership with the churches in Canada’s north—to proclaim that “this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3, NKJV).
After the launch events in Fort Smith, Hay River, and Fort Chipewyan this summer, hundreds have been invited and excitement is building, but your prayers and support are vital.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for the Gospel to be shared and the true meaning of Christmas to be made known to people who perhaps haven’t thought about it, or really understood it,” said Hailey. “My hope and prayer is that there would be an unveiling of people’s hearts, an opening of their minds, and a restoring of their spirits to the reality of Jesus.”
Will you join Pastor Hailey and the other believers in Canada’s north for this powerful Gospel opportunity at Christmas? “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10, NKJV).
*Names changed to protect privacy
Northern Canada Tour
|Nov. 30||Fort Chipewyan, AB|
|Dec. 2||Fort Smith, NWT|
|Dec. 4||Hay River, NWT|
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