When I flew into Fort Hope, I hit the ground running. With just enough time to change my shirt, we were out the door and setting up for a women’s event that would run for the rest of the day and part of the next.
Two plane rides and 1000 kilometers separates my home from Fort Hope. There are no permanent roads into the community, and the only way in by “land” is the winter road, which is actually a road across the frozen lake during the colder months. Fort Hope is still in the same province that I live in, the same country, the same Prime Minister.
But I don’t think I realized just how different it was until the first night.
We were doing crafts with the kids while their moms enjoyed the women’s activities in the other room. I held up a blank doorknob hanger and showed one little girl the markers and stickers she could use to decorate it. She asked me again what it was. I said “It’s a doorknob hanger — to hang on your door at home.”
She said “I don’t have a door.” And that’s when it hit me: I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
While the children were hesitant at first, they warmed up quickly, throwing themselves into our arms and listening intently whenever we spoke. They completed every craft and drawing meticulously, and always wanted more. Their focus surprised me, and only once or twice through the week did we need to redirect one or two to sit back down. Not like our kids here at all.
They would touch my arm and ask what was all over it. I explained what freckles were and how sunlight would make them darker.
And then at the end of the event or gathering for the evening, many would go with adults or older siblings, but some would stay and hang around, watching us while we tidied up. They would only leave when we had to, sometimes very late at night.
It was a very different place, right here in my own province. I learned to ask “Do you go to school?” instead of “What grade are you in?”, and “Who do you live with? They would love to see your beautiful artwork.” instead of “Your mom will love this craft!”.
And it reinforced to me that while God calls some to serve others on the other side of the world, there are also very different communities right here in Canada where we can serve alongside other brothers and sisters in Christ. Being called to cross-cultural ministry doesn’t necessarily require exotic vaccinations and a passport – God can use each of us right here in our own country.
Sometimes God calls us to serve our friends and neighbours, and sometimes He calls us to take a plane ride. Sometimes He calls us to a different timezone and language, and sometimes He calls us to a different lifestyle. Sometimes He calls us to our own community.
Whatever God calls us to, may we step up and step out and serve in that area with our whole hearts!