Tuesday, 10 March 2015
Does God Answer Prayer? Are You Kidding?
In preparation for an upcoming trip to Grande Prairie and the Peace Country. I fired off a letter last week to both new and experienced Alpha churches in those areas and enroute, offering to pay a visit and chat about Alpha. One of them was to a teacher in a First Nations school where she was running the Youth Film Series for her junior high kids. Here initial reply was, "Yes!!!!!!!!!," with a promise to fill in details with a longer reply later.
It turns out that my e-mail may have been one of those wonderful, "God coincidences," (coincidence #8970). She really felt the need for a conversation. Her community was really hurting and she was finding things really challenging. Three of her kids, just in grade 7, had lost family members to suicide since Christmas! She needed help.
This was last week, before my trip to the Youth conference in Calgary, so imagine my completely pleasant surprise when she came up to my Alpha booth and introduced herself there in Calgary (#8971). She had spoken to the principal of her school and pleaded for permission to attend this conference. In fact, both she and her principal came. I was so blessed and encouraged to see her there. I have had a real heart for our First Nations people since I ran Alpha in the Fort Saskatchewan jail and saw the challenges they have had, both in the environments of their growing up and in the difficulties they face upon release.
I introduced her to both Amy Croy, our wonderful Alpha for Youth coach in Alberta and to Ben Woodman, co-star, if you like, of the Youth Film Series itself. Ben is the centre of attention wherever he goes, with hoards of kids wanting selfies and conversatiions with him. (You can find both Ben and Jason Ballard, his other half on the Film Series here, as part of our Alpha team.)
I thank this young teacher and I thank God for her, for her heart for her kids and her willingness to step out of her comfort zone to help them. She said, in her original note, that she felt so inadequate to present the course, but it would be even more awful not to. Bless her heart! We parted with prayer and the idea that Amy herself would go to the school and help with their Alpha, which was tonight (Tuesday)
Please pray for her and for these kids. I realize I have given few specific details, but God knows who she is and He knows them.
John (composed at 8:30 PM, March 10, 2015)
Update, 11:00 PM, March 10, 2015 (Coincidence #8972)
I began this post sitting in a McDonald's, on my laptop. (Just to clarify, I composed it on my laptop, seated at a table - I wasn't sitting on my laptop.) I was waiting for my wife who was attending a church board meeting, scheduled to be over at 9. At about 8:40 I fired off e-mails to both Amy and this young teacher asking if Amy was there at their Alpha tonight and how it went. She replied that she and Amy were in Edmonton having a coffee together and debriefing regarding the Alpha, which Amy did indeed attend. I answered, asking where. She replied. They were a couple of blocks away from where I was, at a Starbucks. I hopped in my car and was there before they had received their order.
We chatted for a bit, then I got a text from my wife to come and pick her up. When I did, I asked if she would like to come and meet Amy and the teacher, so we did, and shared a bit of conversation and prayer time there in Starbucks, until closing time at 10.
She has given me permission to share this, so that is why I included the picture above, of her, the school principal, Ben, Amy, Me (with the cross growing out of my head). We heard tonight what a blessing we have been to her, and that, plus her love for her school kids, has been an amazing blessing to me.
How did their Alpha go? Apparently, chaotic, but well in the end, but they still need prayer.
So please don't stop.
PS: She showed the picture to her kids and, mistaking me for Jason Ballard, they said, "He looks way older."