By Dan DeGaris
In November of 2016, an indigenous couple from a remote community in northern Ontario accepted an invitation to be flown down to attend the Weekend Getaway at Blue Mountain. Unknown to us at the time, they thought their marriage was over. But the weekend put them on the road to reconciliation, so much so that by the following spring they were already speaking at a marriage retreat in Geraldton, ON. They’ve gone on to become effective speakers, adapting our materials to better fit their culture.
Fast forward to May 2019 when they were one of the speaker couples at a Together for Good workshop in Pikangikum, a First Nation community so devastated by suicides that it was labelled the suicide capital of the world in 2012, as reported by Maclean’s Magazine.
As they spoke, I saw them immediately capture the couples’ attention with their raw and personal stories. And to think that just a few years ago they were thinking of giving up on their marriage.
Later that evening at their date night dinner, a local missionary of 22 years mentioned how good it was to hear couples laughing again. Laughter was something she hadn’t heard in Pikangikum for a long time. What a beautiful picture of what we want to see happen across the nation!
This past August, a Cree Weekend Getaway was held in Val-d’or, Quebec, with forty-nine couples. The facilitators and speakers were all Cree couples who we were able to train and serve through the generosity of our supporters.
God is doing a powerful work to restore marriages and heal families in First Nation communities.