Cadets David and Lorenda Dale | Winter Assignment | Yellowknife, NWT
When we stepped out of the plane in Yellowknife, the frigid -40 temperature greeted us. Anxious to find some warmth, we soon learned that the fire of the Holy Spirit was burning brightly in the Yellowknife Corps of The Salvation Army. Our Christmas assignment brought us into the thick of the challenges of ministry in a northern climate.
We immersed ourselves in the efforts of The Army to bring the incarnational love of Jesus to people who are facing serious crises in their lives. We worked with a remarkable ministry team in several programs that are impacting lives every day. The Corps Officers, Ian and Ruth Gillingham have the tremendous responsibility of overseeing multiple ministries, including: withdrawal management services, community services, a shelter, a soup kitchen, a transition house, a corps and several other ministries.
Our days were tightly scheduled with many opportunities to reach out to people in various settings. Weekdays provided us the chance to serve soup and to offer friendship and prayers to many people seeking refuge from the cold. Lorenda cheerfully worked with clients filling out hamper applications, answering and directing phone calls and assisting clients with services. Both of us had the pleasure of leading devotionals with people who are going through tough life experiences and dealing with recovery issues. I also had an opportunity to lead a devotional with residents at the transition house.
The most rewarding experiences were when we connected with people. Lorenda and I had many opportunities for one-on-one ministry. We felt humbled by the presence of God’s love in the conversations and devotionals we shared with people who are facing overwhelming challenges. Seeing the look in the eyes of people when you share God’s love with them, pray with them, then promise to continue praying for them had a profound effect on both of us. We realize that all people need to hear this more often. They need to know that God loves them, and we, at the Salvation Army also love them.
An emotional experience was sharing with prisoners at the correctional centre in two separate meals, while listening to their concerns and challenges. We then distributed sunshine bags which included the book Boundless in addition to other goodies.
We had many other opportunities, including a meeting with the homeless coalition, kettle shifts, drop-offs, pick-ups, and counting kettle money. One of the most touching displays of love was seen when an appeal was made to the community for toys, resulting in an overwhelming response from the caring citizens of Yellowknife. Many people will experience Christmas blessings as a result of the love of God shown through faithful people.