Hi! I’m still alive, in case you’ve been wondering. So that’s a good thing.
It’s been a bit busy around here this past week, which is why I haven’t got around to writing a blog post until today. I’ve been… yeah. Very busy.
We spent the last week visiting the Anishinabe at the Roseau River Reserve. They were very hospitable and open to having us in their community and they were eager to share their way of life with us. We heard from many community members, who spoke on topics from the Anishinabe creation story, to traditional drumming and powwow regalia, to experiences with the residential schools. We even heard from a young girl of seventeen who answered any questions we could have about life on the reserve for teenagers, and gave us a lot of insight into the difficulties of growing up there.
For me, it was fascinating to see the many similarities in their stories to what we believe. They have a concept similar to our Imago Dei, and according to what they believed, everyone, regardless of their religion, worshipped the same God.
Many of us would have long talks in the evenings about what we were learning, what we agreed with, where Christianity differed plainly from their teachings, and what to do in the situations we were facing. We often found ourselves turning to passages like 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 in order to figure out how to act in relation to the people around us. There was a lot of learning involved: not only learning about their culture, but learning how to discern truth and, sometimes, how to politely refuse an experience.
This was an especially important thing for us to master as we were invited to join them in a sweat tent ceremony on Thursday. Traditionally, a sweat tent ceremony is a purification ceremony, where those participating crawl into a small tent that is heated by hot rocks, and pray to different spirits about whatever is troubling them. We had been discussing their perceptions of spirits all week, and so when we came to this ceremony, I was among those who sat out. Many people did participate, though I haven’t talked to anyone who claims to have had a supernatural experience inside. Those of us on the outside spent the time in prayer.
The other things that I really enjoyed during our time with the Anishinabe were getting to help out at the community centre one morning, preparing food for a community lunch, and getting to play with a few little girls who were often around when we were learning.
Besides visiting the Reserve, we’ve formed our Small Groups for the year -these are the groups we’ll be sharing our testimonies with, and doing devotionals and studying God’s word in depth with. ‘A family within a family’. I’m looking forward to studying and discussing with these people, and I think the leaders did well in grouping people, as my group has started with discussing Apologetics.
This Tuesday we will be moving on from Roseau River Bible Camp, to do our Urban Plunge in Winnipeg, and we’ll be staying in a church basement for a few nights, then we’re off home (or to the homes of people in the area) for the Thanksgiving weekend! I’m super excited for this week and also to see my family again on Friday or Saturday.