Ministry addresses crisis in Attawapiskat
ATTAWAPISKAT, ON. (INS)—Attawapiskat, on the edge of James Bay in northern Ontario, has been getting much attention recently because of a sad epidemic of suicides among its youth. But Intercede International has partnered with the Western Ontario Division of the Pentecostal Assembles of Canada (PAOC) and with local PAOC Pastor Stephen Stoney of the Attawapiskat Native Ministry there to meet the spiritual needs of the youth in that community.
Recently with help from the PAOC and Intercede International partners, the youth centre add-on portion to the church building was completed.
“There are a lot of front-line (social) workers visiting in the community and also the ones within the community are at the forefront trying to help the youth,” reports Stephen Stoney, a local Cree Pastor in Attawapiskat.
“They are having meetings with government leaders and native leaders. The traditional people are saying youth are in a crisis because of the loss of identity as native people and is a result of the residential school system and harm inflicted on those that went through that system and future generations are also impacted by that. They are saying that the return of traditional teachings and ceremonies and practices is what is going to help them. And almost every day they are doing stuff to guide them to these practises such as smudging and sweat lodges and shaking tent ceremonies. But we are currently praying and raising awareness for the need of the Gospel to be proclaimed to address this crisis, and plans are in place for us to reach out to the youth and community by having a ministry team of youth and leaders to come and hold special services,” explained Stoney in a recent report sent to Intercede. “We plan for more of such events to be held and to have the momentum going once we start.”
Recently, Pastor Robert William Linklater of Aboriginal Ministries was in Attawapiskat to minister at Stoney’s church services.
“We have been receiving a lot of enquiries and questions on what would be needed at this time,” explains Stoney. “Prayers—specific prayers are needed to strengthen the believers that are there at present and to come against the spiritual attack that is happening to the children, youth and community. It is only the Gospel of Jesus Christ that offers salvation, deliverance and healing–and most of all forgiveness–and gives hope and peace. I have personally experienced the saving power of Jesus Christ from the things I suffered as a child and trauma following me into adulthood manifesting in the strongholds of rage, anger, depression, drug addiction, alcoholism and suicidal thoughts and attempts. Jesus has set me free from these things and all those who have experienced His salvation who are members of the Attawapiskat Community Pentecostal Church shall continue to proclaim and stand upon the Word of God in prayer and witnessing and sharing."
“We need support in prayer and finances to be able to get more ministries to come and encourage people to turn to Jesus Christ for salvation for He is the only Saviour,” Stoney asserts.
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