“They had no doubt they would complete their job and wanted the team to know that God would supply this need through them, as it was He who had given them this mission to fulfil.”
Have you ever wondered where you will sleep at night? The men of Mistissini did. A number of times the men of Mistissini, a Cree Nation in northern Quebec, listened and heard how teams from women’s ministries prayed, organized, fundraised and responded to the call God was placing in their hearts and on their lives.
These teams, which included Helen Petawabano and Charlotte Blacksmith, left the beautiful North and travelled thousands of miles to live out the opportunities God placed before them. They ministered in deaf schools, blind schools, nursery schools, and all the way up to high school. They sang, they prayed, they shared, they rejoiced, they cried, they laughed, and they loved the beautiful people where God had called them to go—LIBERIA! They scraped off old war-torn paint, they scrubbed stained floors, and they rehabilitated Bible college rooms to become special places for students where they could be taught and learn more about the God they love so dearly.
Teams travelled upcountry on roads that could barely be called roads, and through rain that seemed like it would never stop falling. They travelled into the evening, that same road lit only by the lightning that was striking from the sky. At times they had no air conditioning, very unique washroom situations, and very limited access to water. They came from a cool, fresh climate and went to a place with extremely high humidity that certainly made them think at times their bodies were showering all on their own!
They ate food that was quite different to what they were used to—but they enjoyed every meal that was provided. They shared and were blessed over and over by these beautiful people who so loved God and so appreciated that God would send these special teams to them in Liberia to encourage them and to work alongside them—and to show lovein everything they did.
When these teams returned, God had changed them—as He always does—and they took every opportunity to share what missions in Liberia meant to them. The men of Mistissini listened and were always encouragers and supporters of teams that would go, especially Sandy Matoush, a man with a heart for missions.
Then the Lord stirred within the men a question: what part was God calling the men of Mistissini to do? Surely they, too, wanted to be part of everything that was happening in Liberia. So the men’s group prayed and worked at what they could do.
Seeing many pictures and hearing reports, they asked and prayed and came up with their own project—the men of Mistissini. They worried about where the children and church planters and upcountry workers slept at night. Were they in clean and safe locations? Were they dry? Did they have a spot to call their own as they lay down each evening at the end of the day? If their parents had been taken by Ebola, or if they were upcountry and walking miles and miles between villages so they could share the good news with those who had yet to hear, or if they were bringing clean water opportunities into villages and remote locations, the question was: did they have a dry, clean spot in which to lay down at the end of the day?
The men of Mistissini felt very strongly that they should work to fundraise for camping mats for the next team to take to Liberia. The men did their research and started on their journey of raising funds to buy and send these mats, now in memory of Sandy Matoush.
They approached the next team that was headed for Liberia in April 2017 and asked: if they could raise funds and have these mats bought, would the team carry them? Absolutely was the answer! The women had seen children sleeping on dirt floors with little more than a small piece of cloth, or using an old piece of a mattress, or many times a piece of cardboard. What a gift this would be! The men started sharing details about their project with everyone. The team wondered if the men could actually do this—how many mats might they have opportunity to carry, and how would they pack them and get them to Liberia?
The project went through a challenging time when their leader, Harry Meskino, was called home to be with the Lord. But another man stepped in to head up the group, and they were determined to carry on, saying that nothing would stop them from doing what they knew God was calling them to do, and now it would honour their brothers, Sandy and Harry. As the Liberia team was preparing to go, the men said they would be able to buy and deliver 50 lightweight, water- and mould-resistant mats with carrying handles for portability and storage. They had no doubt they would complete their job and wanted the team to know that God would supply this need through them, as it was He who had given them this mission to fulfil.
Challenges came, but they would not give up. When the travelling team was wondering how they would get these mats to Liberia, the men replied, “Don’t worry. We will raise enough funds not only to purchase these mats, but to cover the cost of shipping them.”
By the time the team was ready to pack for Liberia, a call came from the local store. The mats had been delivered—100 mats, when their goal had been only 50. This was a wonderful surprise for the team and such a special gift for Liberia.
One of the local pastors in Liberia said, “My heart is so full when I see our children coming to classes, happy to have had a good night’s sleep and proudly carrying their mat.” What a difference the men of Mistissini have made in the lives of so many!
Dan and Donna Daviesbegan serving as full-time PAOC global workers to Liberia in 2012. They have since returned to live in Canada but are still actively engaged as global volunteers with the ministry there.
This article appeared in the May/June 2018 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.