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Just a few weeks ago, eight members of Plum Creek Baptist Church took off on an adventure to Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada. The goal was to help a ministry called Eagles Cove to reach out to the Native American population in the Ontario Province.
Eagles Cove is associated with a Canadian ministry called the Shantyman’s Christian Association or SCA. They were founded about 100 years ago to reach the native population and the men working in the rough logging and fishing camps in the Canadian north.
In recent years SCA has established several ministry centers to provide for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of the Native American population. Eagles Cove is the newest of these centers and is still under development by Missionaries Bera and Bonita Ledua.
Plum Creek went to Eagles Cove to build a much needed boat shed for the ministry center. The finished shed has over 200 square feet of storage space inside and room to hang 6 canoes outside under the eaves. Team members worked from sunrise to sunset every day in order to complete the project on time.
Pastor Jon Rohr said the team learned a lot about itself and about the ministry at Thunder Bay.
The team had worked all summer at yard sales and car washes raising the money to buy the supplies and travel to Thunder Bay.
Eagles Cove is the only Christian ministry in the area attempting to work with Native Americans. They mainly work with the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, about 49 communities representing about 45,000 people. Basically, there is one ministry focused on reaching a population 3 times as large as Spencer County.
One of the issues shared with the team is the problem of teen suicide. Bera and Bonita, shared that one teenager a week commits suicide in the tribal community. That would be as if 17 teens a year committed suicide in our county. That is truly an appalling statistic. Team member Tommy Lyon said, “My heart goes out to them.”
One of the problems is that many teens are separated from their families. “First Nation’s families (What we call native Americans) send their kids to the city of Thunder Bay for high school, up to 3 hours away from their homes,” said team member Dwight Martin. Many of these young people only see their families once or twice during the school year.
Eagles Cove is set up to provide a family friendly alternative to the despair many of these young people feel. Through week long camps, family weekend events and even day camps, families are introduced to Christ centered teaching and values for perhaps the very first time. Carla Martin, another team member said, “There is a real need for the gospel in that area.”
As the team started planning the trip, they found an interesting connection to Plum Creek.
Mrs. Noreen Day, who has been a part of Plum Creek since 1935, grew up in Ontario Province and has family in Thunder Bay even now.
Noreen herself was saved from a blizzard by a First Nation’s family when she was just a teenager.
Isn’t it amazing that a Church from Spencer County has connections and can make a difference to young people and families thousands of miles away? “We live in a day and time when every church can have a far- reaching impact,” said Pastor Rohr.
The members of Plum Creek are already planning a return trip next year. According to Tommy Lyon, “If we put ourselves out there, God will use us.”
For more information about SCA and Eagle’s Cove, you can go to scainternational.org.
For more information about Plum Creek and their missions program, visit plumcreekbaptist.com.
—Submitted by Plum Creek Baptist Church Pastor Jon Rohr