Monday, November 2, 2009
Where to start? By my last post I suppose it's obvious that there were some different options for us and decisions we had to make. It took awhile, but once we started moving and asked God to show us if it was the right path, things started coming together pretty quickly! For one, we were looking at various missions organizations to join and when to do so. Usually the process literally takes months or years, filling out all the paper work and then raising support and being placed in a ministry. Or at least we thought so. One Sunday after a particularly convicting sermon on decisions, we decided that the option we felt was best to more forward on and where God could really use us was to join the Center for Indian Ministries, CIM, under Oak Hills Fellowship. We had been praying about going in this direction for quite some time and were confident in moving forward, so we asked God that if this was the right next step that He would make that clear and open the doors. Well, after filling out the paperwork we found ourselves fully accepted within a few weeks!
Okay, now on the the slow and steady process of raising support and getting set in various ministries. Actually, within months we were moved out to Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation on the newly reopened campus of the Mokahum Ministry Center. Mokahum is a school to train and disciple Native American believers with biblical and minsitry training and life skills. It is for any age post-high school and offers one year and three year programs. This isn't actually a new idea; it was once open under C&MA (Christian & Missionary Alliance) 30 years ago and had been sitting vacant. Until the property was offered to CIM under the stipulation that it be used once agin for Native ministry.
This wasn't something we had planned to be directly a part of, but someone to live on site and be in charge of facilities was really needed before it opened and we asked to consider filling that role. After a lot of prayer and thinking, we decided to take that offer. The ministry of Mokahum is something we support wholeheartedly, and although it isn't quite what we had in mind initially, it is an honor and a blessing to be a part of.
So now we live here and Corey is the Facilities Director. Right now we have one guy student, and Corey spends time with him and works with him on carpentry etc. skills. As more students come on board, we will have more of a role as Resident Staff.
We have also gotten involved with a little chapel here in Cass Lake, also called Mokahum, and teach the children's ministry half-time. Working with children is still our heart and delight and it is great to be a part of it. We have also really enjoyed the change to a little chapel with a small congregation, no building or fancy equipment, nothing besides voices more music on Sunday mornings--just a gathering of people who truly love Jesus and each other.
The CIM team: what a wonderful and godly group to be a part of!
And of course, our other big news: we are expecting!! Yes, along with all those changes I am pregnant with our first child. And just a little bit excited about it! :) What a blessing! We just found out that we are having a baby boy and are excited to welcome him sometime around March 4.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Funny, reality looks much different. I don't think many 18 year olds have much of a clue what they want to do with their lives. There are things like college loans which mean that moving from A to B takes a while and some things can't happen in the order you pictured. The perfect job just doesn't appear. There is waiting and then there are decisions. In fact, there are multiple options that all look good and you have to pick one.
While we were in Italy, Jim told Corey "multiple doors will be opening soon and you will have to pick one to go through; make this choice carefully." How true this is! It's kind of scary, but exciting. Exciting to see how God is working and knowing that He will be faithful, and wanting to serve Him the best that we can.
It may not be as neat and easy as that first picture, but I much prefer reality. I am enjoying this time in my life and love being on this adventure with my husband and trusting in God together.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Merry Christmas! With a trip to Italy and a college graduation included our year, we decided we should send out our first Christmas letter!
We still call Bemidji home, and even have a house to call “home” for now. An unexpected blessing and change in our plans happened while we were in Italy over the summer. We had planned to live in Oak Hills campus housing for the year and then look for something else, but a house not too far from Oak Hills opened up for rent and we’ve moved in. It has been so much fun!
I (Ellie) returned to my job as a special education paraprofessional at the Early Intervention Center working in a classroom with four-year olds. That age group and those kids in particular have become so dear to my heart; I didn’t expect to love my job so much—another wonderful example of God’s provision and leading. Corey returned to Oak Hills Christian College in the fall and by the time you read this letter he will be done with his coursework and have a B.A. in Biblical Studies and Intercultural Studies! He has worked so hard and I am a very proud wife! (The official ceremony will still be in May.) He has also been working part-time in the maintenance department at Oak Hills and will continue through the spring.
Ministry in Red Lake continues to be a very important part of our lives as well. After returning from Italy in August, we were able to be a part of Camp Dellwater and again see God work through the week. Great memories were made for all. One that sticks out in our minds was hearing a teen from Red Lake who has attended and helped at camp share her hope story of how God has worked in her life with the entire camp. We have never seen the kids that quiet or focused. Please pray for her and that God will continue to use her story! Another time that we thought was significant was when a man from Red Lake came and shared about the power that this generation can have for change in their community through Christ, and that they don’t have to stop being Native American to do it. These are things that we know are important to them and want them to fully grasp onto. Along with working part time at Oak Hills, the plan is for Corey to become more officially involved with Youth for Christ and be able to dedicate consistent time throughout the week to ministry in Red Lake.
As for our summer in Italy, it was a great experience for us and a profitable internship for Corey. We worked closely with the pastor of the Milan Bible Church, Jim Kutnow, and his wife, Lynda. They really helped us to get a look into what ministry is going on in Italy with CrossWorld and a taste of the culture and land of Italy (figuratively and literally J).
We got a chance to visit five different churches in northern Italy and meet the missionaries who are working there and some of the national believers. We feel that we gained valuable insight about ministering and living overseas in a different culture. It was a real joy to be able to meet and spend time with some people from the churches, and even though we couldn’t communicate very well, to have a special connection with them because of our shared love of the Lord. Church growth in Italy is slow and there are many challenges to be faced. This is felt by both the missionaries and the national believers, and it was neat to be used by God to encourage some of these wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord.
One example was in a small church in Bergamo. Corey preached there with a translator and the people were so gracious and appreciating and told Corey he could preach any time. This church has faced many challenges, but has grown in spite of them and in fact has outgrown their meeting space. Right now they only have one elder, who carries a lot of responsibility with not a lot of support, and also works full time in a factory. He and his wife invited us into their home and we had a wonderful time.
It was a real blessing to be a part of the Milan Bible Church for our entire time there. This church is different, because it is mainly for the large international community and the service is done in English. We got to attend there almost every week, as the services are held in the evening, and were also part of a Bible Study. We met some wonderful people and it was truly a joy to be a part of that fellowship. Corey also preached there, as well as played guitar each week with the music team. The last week of June a team of six from the USA came to lead a Vacation Bible School and we had so much fun being a part of that. There was one group for adults and one for kids, and both were very well attended. The theme for the kids was “Avalanche Ranch” and there was a story and songs, a craft, games, and a snack each night. We had a wide range of ages of kids show up, and it kind of threw us for a loop when most of them were teenagers. Some adjustments had to be made and we didn’t know quite what to expect, but they kept coming back each night and participating in all the activities and genuinely having a good time. Jim said he had never seen some of the smile like he did that week, and that it was the best VBS they have had in 10 years. In later weeks we also had the opportunity to share our testimonies with the youth and encourage them in their faith.
We went to Venice on the east coast and Genoa on the west, and many places in between. It was on our list to go to the “lake district” and we definitely accomplished that; we got to go to all four lakes, including spending our first wedding anniversary on beautiful Lake Como! Two of the churches we visited were in the mountains, which was very different from the big city of Milan and very beautiful. Being in a very big (and very hot) city of 4 million was pretty different for these country kids! There are some great sights to see in Milan, including the Duomo, which is the third largest cathedral in the world. We got opportunities to see many cathedrals, castles, and museums with amazing works of art and architecture throughout our time. Overall it was a valuable time for us where we learned a lot about God, ourselves, and ministry, as well as a new appreciation for home and family.
This is a special time of year to appreciate those things as well, and we truly do. And whether it is in Bemidji, Red Lake, or Italy, the message of Christmas is for everyone and full of hope and joy. Luke 2:18 tells of this message that “all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them.” (NASB) May we never stop wondering at the truth held in the beautiful story that we celebrate.
With love and wonder,
Corey & Ellie St. Peter
Putting up the tree...
I am the queen of Christmas lights; we quit counting at 6, but I think there is 8 strings of lights on our tree. What can I say, it's that Shuka blood.
Corey helps with the ornaments.
Isn't it beautiful? I love having room for a big tree! Thank you Grandpa and Grandma Reierson!
Yes, she is adorable and loves the tree too...
loves to knock off all the ornaments within her reach and try to get inside the tree. :)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Tomorrow we head to Camp Dellwater! The kids from the Red Lake Indian Reservation come on Tuesday and will be there until Friday. We are very excited to be a part of it again and are so thankful it continues to be such a strong ministry. The kids really look forward to it all summer and it has become an important part of some of their lives. Some are coming back for the third, fourth, or fifth time. And there is just nothing like actually living in a cabin together and doing all kinds of fun activities to build those relationships and memories.
One very exciting this is that Valerie is going to share her hope story with all the campers! Valerie went to camp for as many years as she could as a camper and then started coming as an LIT (leader in training) We also keep in close contact throughout the year. It has been a kind of tough year for Val, but she has really taken some time to think about her faith and what God means to her, and now she really wants to share that with others. It is such an encouragement to me and I am so proud of her!
The girls that were we saw on Sundays for most of the year are also going to be there and be in my cabin and I am excited to have this time with them and really want to challenge and encourage them.
Corey will also have an LIT in his cabin, and we are hoping some guys will be more interested in keeping in contact throughout the school year.
Please keep this camp in your prayers!!