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Warming the Hearts of the North
Warming the Hearts of the North

As Tony Froese landed in Arviat, Nunavut, a wave of Arctic wind greeted him, marking the beginning of an unforgettable journey.

Raised in Manitoba, Tony knew the challenges of sharing the gospel in tight-knit communities. But when his experience as a Regional Manager at ShareWord Global brought him to Nunavut for an Ignite training event, it opened his eyes to a whole new world.

“We have a lot of small towns in the Prairies, so I understand that context of 1,000 or 2,000 people,” Tony told me recently. “You can drive 10, 20, 30 minutes down the road and find another small town. In Arviat, you’re confined in that small town. And if you want to go to another community, you're flying.”

But it wasn’t just the isolation that stood out to him. The sense of community was a unique experience for him. “Everyone knows everybody. You only have each other, so you figure out your differences. To see the depth of love and the depth of relationship that can be formed within a smaller community, it was nice to witness.

“What was encouraging to me specifically were the people who said, ‘I don't know if I’ve ever shared why Jesus is so important to me with my grandson. I don't know that I've actually communicated the gospel to my neighbour, even though they know I’m a Christian. I don't know that I’ve ever actually intentionally spoken about it.’”

So when they were given the chance to do some gospel outreach after the Ignite event, it was a unanimous yes! And everyone the group spoke to was open and willing to engage in a gospel conversation.

Can you imagine?

Can you imagine approaching five, six people in a row on the street, striking up a conversation and not getting turned away at the mention of Jesus’ name? How incredible would that be if it happened like that everywhere!  

One conversation Tony had was with a woman walking down the street. It was a short conversation, but it ended with him praying with her. Although it had been a quick conversation, it stuck with him. After he returned home, he reached out to the pastor partner and asked about the woman.

He was happy to hear that she had, in fact, attended a church service that week. But she hadn’t been alone. She brought her mother to church, too. Tony saw that there was a relationship built just from that short encounter on the street – a relationship not just between the woman and the church, but between her and God.

When I asked Tony what he would remember most about his time in Arviat, he said, “The thing I took away from [my visit] was how much of their relationship with Christ seemed to be between them and God. A lot of their walk with Christ was just a result of prayer and Bible reading. They weren't steeped so much in cultural Christianity. I was able to identify the sovereignty of God and how when we have a relationship with Jesus, there are certain things that the Holy Spirit will communicate to us.”

Whether in bustling cities, or remote towns like Arviat, we all have a part to play in strengthening each other's faith and continuing to spread the message of Jesus. The true challenge, especially in the North, lies not only in bringing the lost to Christ but also in nurturing those who have already found Him.

If you feel discouraged, or even overwhelmed in your journey of sharing the gospel, remember the community of Arviat. And the love, resilience, and faith that they embody. Let their example motivate you to continue bringing the message of hope and salvation to those around you. We are all part of a bigger story, connected through our shared faith in Jesus.

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