I immigrated to this wonderful country, Canada, more than 44 years ago, from Belgium. Five years after we arrived my wife and I decided to take on the Canadian nationality and we always have been humbled and honored that Canada accepted us. However, with becoming Canadian, it also meant that we would become actively involved in positively building this country and to make it even better as it was when we arrived. This is truly the legacy of so many immigrants that made Canada what it is today.
Becoming actively involved meant becoming involved politically and socially both at the community level, but also at the national and international level. It is interesting to note that besides becoming Canadian in 1978, that same year we also became “born again” - so we needed to become involved at that level too. After all, becoming “born again” means becoming obedient to the call of Jesus on our lives. We took this very serious and in late 1989, my wife and I accepted a call to become full-time ministers and God sent us to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Prince Albert is a small city of about 40,000 people (about 35% indigenous) surrounded by quite a number of First Nations and Metis communities.
The move to this Northern city in the Province of Saskatchewan was like God telling us, “John and Hannelore, you need to serve Me among the native peoples of Canada”. And interestingly up until today, He has not given us any indication to leave this city or this part of the country, Canada, that has been so good to us.
Getting involved as a Christian locally we truly needed to get to know the indigenous people God had sent us to. And that is exactly what we did and we learned a lot. We picked up the good and the not so good. We learned, for instance, that Christians in general could learn a lot from First Nations people. One such thing was their inner spirit of sharing and giving without pre-conditions. It is inherent to all the First Nations people we have dealt with across the world. It is almost like Jesus talked to them and really placed it into their hearts. Maybe He did..... But if Christians really want to know what it means to give, First Nations can surely show them. And there are many more “things” I learned from my First Nations friends.