Update from NorthWind, a New Venture partnership in Northern Ontario
New Ventures has partnered with NorthWind Family Ministries in their effort to reach out in the name of Jesus to Indigenous people in Northern Ontario, namely the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. This group is made up of 49 communities, 35 of which are fly-in.
A few years ago, leaders Bera and Bonita Ledua began to make connections with people who had migrated into the city of Thunder Bay. They established play days and family events to provide a connection point for those living in low-income complexes and this soon evolved into a regular weekly program including a meal, programs for kids and youth, and a Bible study. Today, NorthWind provides sacred places that are designed to help disciple those who have been left vulnerable by the impact of Indigenous residential schools and other traumatic experiences.
Over the past couple of years NorthWind has been developing various creative ministries. For example, they recently partnered with a like-minded organization to start an initiative called the NorthWind Learning Centre. The Learning Centre allows people, no matter their reading or schooling level, to be able to learn about the Bible and apply it to their lives. For many individuals at the Learning Centre, their traumatic past has impacted their capacities to learn so the Centre incorporates trauma-informed learning strategies. The Centre also promotes accessibility by keeping the fees low. For some students, NorthWind’s Learning Centre becomes a first step to additional learning.
With much growth, NorthWind was also excited to share a move of the Spirit that has enabled them to access more space to facilitate their growing programs.
Just over a year ago, a “for sale” sign appeared on the building across the street from where they are currently housing their ministry programs. The City of Thunder Bay owned the building and had consolidated their staff so that they no longer needed the building. After seeking the Lord, leaders at NorthWind approached the city to purchase the building. After a year of waiting, and three separate offers, one was accepted. Not only that but along the way, two separate parties who were also deeply moved by the needs in Thunder Bay approached them, allowing NorthWind to pay cash for the 9,500 square foot area.
This new building allows NorthWind to increase the capacity of the counselling program and family programs. Due to the previous size of the office and social distancing requirements, many were having to wait a long time to access these services. The new building also frees up space for the Learning Centre, a program called Warm Reprieve, Sunday gatherings, Bible studies, and a cooking program. The building is in good shape and has required little other than a cleaning and fresh coat of paint. The one outstanding problem is the electric heating which is causing high energy bills. They are scheduled to repair this in early summer.
Rejoice with them for what God is doing!
Please continue to pray for this New Venture.
- Wisdom as the plight of the homeless population seems to be getting worse in the midst of the pandemic. NorthWind’s buildings sit right at the heart of the struggles.
- For more professional counsellors to join the team.
- For families in crisis in northern Indigenous communities.
- For clean water for these communities, who are struggling with basic needs.
If you would like to support NorthWind’s work, please visit their profile on the New Ventures site.