Partnering with Remote First Nations Villages

Fellowship International has missionaries serving around the world, but this month, we are focusing on a national mission field. In Prince Rupert, Pastor Alex Hogendoorn has been uniquely positioned to partner with “local” First Nations villages in northwest British Columbia. “Local” still means a two to four-hour ferry ride, but Pastor Alex and his church have been making the trip to Hartley Bay and Kitkatla (Gitxaala) for several years. 

Years ago, God planted a desire in Pastor Alex’s heart to start doing children’s ministry in the nearby villages. They prayed for a person of peace to invite his church into their community. A woman who was fairly new to his congregation at the time asked one Sunday if they could do vacation Bible school (VBS) in her village in Hartley Bay; Pastor Alex said yes on the spot. God answered their prayers and opened the door for their church into Hartley Bay. Additionally, when another church that originally went to Kitkatla to provide a VBS was no longer able to continue, Pastor Alex’s church received the baton and has been going faithfully ever since. 

When asked about his God-sized vision for these villages, Pastor Alex said, “I’m hoping to see a new work established in this generation. There’s a really terrible narrative out there that tries to tell us that Christianity was forced upon the First Nations people. (There is some truth to that for sure.) But someone of great influence and authority in one of the First Nations communities said to me, ‘Our ancestors chose Christianity… because they saw something better. Not all did. But a great number chose Christianity because they saw the Light of the Gospel.’ I want to see a new generation raised up again. I believe our church may have been given this specific vision and opportunity.”

In Kitkatla, there is a history and tradition of Christianity. In one of the corners of their crest, they even have a dove, Bible, and cross. The elders maintain that Christianity is a core belief which makes them strong. Many of the elders are Christian, but the majority of the young people today are not. Pastor Alex hopes their partnership with the local churches in the villages will help to change that.

“We’re going to places where there are local churches, and we want to be a source of encouragement to them,” shares Pastor Alex. “The ultimate desire is that the kids know that Jesus loves them. Another goal is to see the local churches in these villages thriving. We hope our partnership strengthens them and can lead to more awesome relationships.” 

Please keep Pastor Alex and the churches in Hartley Bay and Kitkatla in your prayers.

As Pastor Alex will be starting Discovery Bible studies in the villages this fall, pray that there would be good attendance resulting in deep conversations.

Because of COVID, they have been unable to visit the villages the past few years. Pastor Alex remarked, “We’re feeling the strain of the absence. We’re looking forward to resuming relationships. The ministry of presence is so important.” Pray for Pastor Alex and his team as they prepare to return to Hartley Bay and Kitkatla next summer.

We can’t wait to hear how God will continue to use Pastor Alex and his congregation to impact these communities for Christ.