O CANADA! What a blessing to be able to sing O Canada in our Sacrament meeting this month to show our thankfulness for the freedom to worship as we choose, and as we remember those who gave up their lives for our freedom.
NOTE: words in the last verse
Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our dominion within thy loving care;
Help us to find, O God, in thee
A lasting, rich reward,
As waiting for the Better Day,
We ever stand on guard.
Elder and Sister McCollum, as directed by their mission president, began wearing “poppies” on November 1st, as a symbol of those who serve and have given their lives to preserve freedom in our country. On the 11th day of the 11th month at 11am, we attended an indoor Remembrance Service (at Lloydminster Comprehensive High School) since outdoor temperatures dipped to a day time high of -18 Celsius. YIPES!
Yes, it was a great Remembrance Service. We enjoyed hearing “The Last Post”, singing the hymns and anthems, hearing the prayers and lastly “Amazing Grace”.
FYI: “In Flanders Fields” is the most famous war memorial poem and it was composed by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae, was a Canadian physician from Guelph Ontario and a poet whose poetry focused on death and the peace that followed. At the age of 41, McCrae enrolled with the Cdn. Expeditionary Force following the start of WWI. He had the option of joining the medical corps because of his training and older age but he volunteered instead to join a fighting unit as a gunner and medical officer. He considered himself a soldier first; his father was a military leader in Guelph and McCrae grew up believing in the duty of fighting for his country and empire.
McCrae fought in the Second Battle of Ypres, the Flanders region of Belgium, where the German army launched one of the first chemical attacks in the history of war. The German army attacked French positions north of the Canadians with chlorine gas on April 22, 1915 but were unable to break through the Canadian line, which held for over two weeks. In a letter written to his mother, McCrae described the battle as a “nightmare”.
McCrae wrote, “For seventeen days and seventeen nights none of us have had our clothes off, nor our boots even, except occasionally. In all that time while I was awake, gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for sixty seconds…. And behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the line should give way.”
A close friend of John McCrae, Alexis Helmer was killed during the battle on May 2. McCrae performed the burial service himself, at which time he saw how poppies grew around the graves of those who died at Ypres. The next day, he composed the poem, Flanders Fields while sitting in the back of an ambulance at an Advanced Dressing Station outside Ypres. Today, the location is known as the John McCrae Memorial Site.
POPPIES In 1918 Moina Michael, inspired by McCrae’s poem vowed to always wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who fought and helped in the war. In 1918 at the YWCA Overseas War Secretaries’ conference, she appeared with a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed 25 more to those attending. At this conference, Frenchwoman Anna E. Guérin was inspired to introduce the artificial poppies commonly used today. In 1921 she sent her poppy sellers to London, where the symbol was adopted by FIELD Marshal Haig, a founder of the British Legion. The demand for poppies in England was so high that few were reaching Scotland. Earl Haig’s wife established the ‘Lady Haig Poppy Factory’ in Edinburgh in 1926 to produce poppies exclusively for Scotland. The poppy was also adopted by veterans’ groups in Canada, Australia and NZ.
CANADA EDMONTON MISSION – Sister Pattison
Malcolm M. McKay is a great uncle of Sister Pattison, our Mission President’s wife. Malcoln died at age 19 in France during WWI. Below is a portion of one of the letters that Sister Pattison’s family treasures, which she shared in our recent Mission Newsletter.
Written October 19, 1915: “French life is certainly great, especially when Fritz sends over whizz-bangs and shrapanel. A whizz-bang hit the sand bags about two feet away from me but it didn’t explode or I wouldn’t be writing to you now.
Did you ever imagine that rats could be almost as thick as flies are in the summer? They are almost as thick as that in the trenches and bigger than any rat I ever saw before. There are a few cats around the trenches, most of them haven’t tails and you can hardly tell a cat from a rat for they are all about the same size. We never pay any attention to mice. When they crawl over us we just brush them off as if they were flies or mosqitoes.
I cannot tell you all about trench life but it could be worse than we have it. I haven’t anymore to write this time, as the mail is going out in a few minutes. So-long, #69710 Malcolm M. McKay”
EAGLE VIEW HIGH SCHOOL
We continue to be blessed to have the opportunity to spend time in the high school out on the ONION LAKE CREE NATION. Sam and Jeannine, and Ralph and Brenda Kunkel began presenting FIRST FLIGHT, a eight week Challenge/Action presentation. School administration wants the entire school to participate in the program and had us begin with Adult Grade Twelves, ages 18-21 years. At Eagleview HS, under the Saskatchewan school system, young adults are encouraged to return/complete high school and graduate.
The students were divided into two groups; we meet in the library on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the “SUPPORT PERIOD” from 1:30 – 2:15 pm. During this time, students are given the opportunity to work on homework, receive tutoring support as needed, attend school assemblies or attend “First Flight‘ as assigned.
TRUTH & RECONCILIATION SPEAKER – LAKELAND COLLEGE(LLC), LLOYDMINSTER, ALBERTA
Harold R. Johnson, from the Woodland Cree Nation in Northern Saskatchewan, near La Ronge spoke at LLC to a packed amphitheatre classroom. In 2016, through the University of Regina Press, Harold published “FIREWATER” , ‘How alcohol is killing my people (and yours)”.
A few years ago, Harold wrote an article, “When He’s Sober, He’s a Good Guy.” Then he came across a study that showed the leading cause of death in Northern SK was injury. He began to wonder, ‘How does alcohol contribute to the death rate?”. Research only made Harold more frustrated. He could find no direct statistics for alcohol and its damaging effects in his area. He felt the Justice System had a role to play in looking more closely at alcohol. He wrote “FIREWATER” to directly speak to his own people, the Woodland Cree, but, “if these words help you, then take them and use them in a good way.”
FYI: In the Cree language, the word for alcohol means ‘fire” with a suffix meaning ‘liquid”. This term comes from the time with fur traders bartered with alcohol and were notorious for watering down the liquor. To make sure they (the Indians) were not being cheated, the men would take a mouthful of whiskey, then spit it into a fire. If the fire flared up, the whiskey was pure.
In his book, HR Johnson goes on to say, “We are still being sold firewater and we are still being ripped off, only today it’s not for animal pelts – we pay for it with our lives and our health and our children’s lives and futures.”
At the beginning of his lecture, Johnson talked of his childhood when at age eight his father, a fisherman and trapper, died of heart disease. His mother took over the task of raising the family and worked as a trapper. Johnson recalls at age fifteen, being out on the trapline with his mother on a warm day in March when she told him, “Learn to trap and fish in case you have to leave the other world and come back here to live off the land.” He said, “To this day, I still load my car with a tent and camping and hunting gear when I set out on the road.”
At age seventeen, Johnson joined the Canadian navy. He followed the ‘story’ of the other sailors, working hard and drinking when in port. He came back to northern SK and logged with his uncles and brothers, following their ‘story” of hard work and drinking. He began working in the mines and followed the ‘story’ of the miners, working and drinking. During this time, he married and began raising a family. Twenty-five years ago he decided to change his story. He earned a law degree from U of SK and a Masters of Law from Harvard. He is currently a Crown prosecutor in Saskatchewan.
Johnson explains that throughout his life, he followed the stories (example) told to him by the sailors, the loggers and trappers and the minders. Stories are powerful! Yet many stories are “made-up” and we believe them like the story he heard and believed as a teen, that he must drink to be a real indian. He said, “Stories can kill! Yes, like the stories that are told that Indians are lazy, dirty and drunken. My people have internalized this story. ” He points out that there are many First Nations people who are in professions: doctors, engineers, teachers, justice system etc. He fears the untrue story continues to be shared!
The following stats relate to native and non-native. The leading cause of death in Saskatchewan is ‘injury’ then heart disease (often brought on by binge drinking.) Most of the injuries are alcohol related. Every 1 out of 2 diseases are affected by alcohol. Stats he obtained show 75% of the police work deals with “babysitting” drunks. The costs of alcohol are great. Did you know: our highways have to be over designed to deal with drunk drivers? Most sexual assault cases involve alcohol. Of the thousands of cases heard in the court system, 85% deal with alcohol. HR Johnson, said that of the many many cases he has dealt with, only one guy returned to him and said, “Thank you for sending me to jail to de-tox.”
Current “Models” in dealing with the Alcohol Issue
#1 Justice Model – 85% of those in court got drunk, did something stupid and then got arrested.
#2 Medical Model
-Detox: Most programs to treat alcoholism are 28 day programs because most insurance companies will only cover a client for 28 days. These programs have 2-3% success rate.
– Low Risk Drinking
– Paliative care for chronic alcoholics who are near death: 7oz liquor in am, 5 oz in the afternoon. Just keep them safe and happy.
– THE ONLY SURE AND SAFE TEATMENT IS ABSTINENCE
#3 Victim Model
“I drink because ….I am: poor/have no job, attended residential school, etc.
I drink because of …..colonization,…. the community where I live.
#4 Trauma Model
— A study of 1995-97 showed that adverse childhood experiences among first nations children usually leads to alcoholism
– Trauma is extreme amongst the First Nations people.
– There is a definite relationship between trauma and alcohol.
Story Example: An intoxicated and troubled Man and Woman who are alcoholics are standing on a bridge. She jumps in front of a semi-truck and kills herself. The Man goes and asks for advice from his Aunt. She says, “Go get drunk and forget your problems.” The Man follows the advice, gets behind the wheel of a car and kills one of his cousins who was walking on the side of the road.
– It is a cycle: trauma – drinking – grief – trauma etc.
“#5 Abstinence – the only safe sure model!” – QUOTE OF HAROLD JOHNSON.
“Has it been proven that First Nations people are genetically less tolerant to alcohol than those of Euorpean descent?”
- Johnson’s ANSWER: There is no proof of this reasoning and it would be hard to prove in our day because there are very few full-blooded Indians.”
-The First Nations Signers of Treaty Six asked to have a Ban on Alcohol written into the treaty. In 1960 the ban was lifted when the First Nations people were also given the right to vote.
-No Kid on a reservation wants to grow up to be a drunken adult.
**We are grateful to have attended the lecture and appreciate Harold’s book. It will help us as we present First Flight Challenge #4, ‘Fly Away From Addictions’ which we are currently sharing in the high schools with First Nation students.
TRANSFERS – YOUNG MISSIONARIES COME AND GO!
In young missionary terminology, Lloydminster has been “whitewashed”. This means that both young men, the Elders were transferred and two new Elders are now in our area. Elders Roberts and Vernon cover the areas of Lloydminster and Wainwright. They have an apartment in both towns since the distance between towns in 103 km.
On Halloween the snow began falling and winter has been with us here in Lloydminster ever since. We had hoped to put off having winter tires installed until late November, but that hope quickly changed with the early snow fall.
We found this “labelled” photo on Facebook. Yes, we are now in winter driving mode! We are thankful NOT to be our Mission President. Imagine the concern he has for all the 18+ year-old Canada Edmonton Missionaries who drive long distances on winter roads! For the recent missionary zone conference he sent out an email: “Remember that I never want our missionaries doing a long trip entirely or mostly in the dark, if we can help it in the winter months. Winter conditions are much harder to predict at night. Spend the night in another missionary apartment along your route. Plan and pack accordingly. Have winter gear in your car in case you have a breakdown and are stranded. Leave with a full tank of gas and keep it more than 1/2 full. ‘O be wise, what can I say more?’ ”
We pray that Heavenly Father protects all of us in our winter travels. We pray that President Pattison is able to sleep when he know his young missionaries are on the wintery roads!
OILFIELD TRUCK OPERATORS: OTO – A CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAM AT LAKELAND COLLEGE
Last spring, Sam and Jeannine helped students who were enrolled in OTO as they prepared to write the exam to obtain their LEARNERS: Class 1 Professional Driver License and Air Brake Endorsement. This fall, senior missionaries Elder Ralph and Sister Brenda Kunkel are enjoying this opportunity and enjoy getting to know adults from Onion Lake Cree Nation as they prepare to take their Learners Permit so they can take the OTO program at LLC. Here are some of the students out at the Warehouse where the LLC trucks are stored.
MISSIONARY ZONE CONFERENCE in EDMONTON & ATTENDANCE at TEMPLE
The McCollums and Kunkels drove to Edmonton for Zone Conference, held from 1-6 pm, followed by a dinner. The visiting general authority was Elder Switzer and his wife. It was very interesting to learn that Sister Switzer is a Canadian who grew up in Calgary AB. Her parents, Rosthorns were both originally from Taber, Alberta. Jeannine remembers her parents talking of and being pleased to have a local Taberite be head to RCMP in Calgary.
AMERICAN THANKSGIVING IN CANADA
Elder & Sister Kunkel, & Elder & Sister McCollum prepared a feast for young missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who are away from their homeland- USA.
Meanwhile, in Kaysville Utah, our son and his family enjoy their Thanksgiving Feast.
PRESENTING EIGHT WEEKS OF “FIRST FLIGHT” IN THE UPGRADING CLASSROOM, OLCN
We enjoyed spending time together once a week and discussing Challenges with adults who have decided to make changes in their lives and complete high school courses. We find with this group (where we have volunteered since we began serving at Onion Lake Cree Nation back in January 2017) that mainly women decide they want to further their education with the further goal of gaining a post secondary education. It seems that men in the age group, just want to get any job and earn money.
FIELDS CEO (Foundation for Indigenous Education, Leadership Development & Sustainability) & LDS CHURCH NORTH AMERICAN INITIATIVE PROGRAM DIRECTOR – VISIT LLOYDMINSTER Alberta
Volunteers with the FIELDS program here in Lloydminster were very pleased to have Rick Foster (director of the North America Initiative for the LDS Church) and Doyle Anderson (CEO of FIELDS) both visit at the same time to hear about our service in the area and meet with us and local leaders in the area.
LLOYDMINSTER COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOL
FIELDS volunteers continue to work with First Nations mentors and new students once a week during lunch hour in a SOAR Mentoring program. We enjoy getting to know the students and we discuss various topics to help the mentees feel support from their mentors.
FIELDS Volunteers have also begun teaching a reading program to six, First Nation Students who have extreme difficulties with reading. Sam and Jeannine are using a training book for a reading program (introduced to them by their son Robb) and turned it in a Power Post Presentation that instructors are able to follow. We are excited to see how these struggling high school students will learn to read with this program. It starts with the basics, teaches the alphabet divided into letter groups each with a vowel, methods to help readers learn most common words, punctuation, pronunciation etc.
LCHS has a time table with a block of time called “I-Time”. This is one period a day, for students to get tutoring and support with the subjects where they struggle. (ECHS at Onion Lake has also adopted such a time table with a once a day, “Support Period”.) Students really appreciate the assistance. Below is a chart of the First Nations drop-in room showing the scheduling for I-Time. FIELDS Reading Program is being held on Tuesday and Friday each week. Sam and Jeannine are BUSY getting ahead with the Power Point training/program that is used at LCHS. It is our hope that if it goes well and we see success in the students at LCHS attending the Reading Program, that we can get ECHS to let us offer the same program out at ECHS with high school students that struggle with reading.
LLOYD MINSTER BRANCH of LDS CHURCH
This was the day Henry Hudy (age 83y) was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Two priesthood holders entered the baptismal font with Brother Hudy to support him. After he was immersed in the water and brought up out of the water, Henry asked, “Well, did all of me get buried in the water?” Elder and Sister McCollum have been blessed to be a part of a few of Brother Hudy’s discussions/teachings that prepared him for baptism. He was taught by the Sister Missionaries. McCollums enjoy visiting the Hudys at their home NE of the city in a lovely little village, Paradise Hill, SK. Sister June Hudy has been praying and waiting for her husband of 30+ years to take the “plunge” and join The Church. Lesson: Keep praying. Don’t Give-up.
The Sister Missionaries continue to visit with Brother and Sister Hudy and teach Henry, “The New Member Lessons”.
Elder and Sister McCollum continue to enjoy teaching the three and four year olds during their lesson time each Sunday.
THE LLOYDMINSTER WINTER FESTIVAL was held in the Science and Cultural Centre and the outdoor activities on the grounds at the back of the Centre. The decorations began with this lovely display to celebrate Canada’s 150th.
There were trees decorated to represent Canada from the West to the East and the North.
Unfortunately, like most events of the season, there was no mention of the real reason to be celebrating Christmas! Not even a nativity display. Yet, there was a four-piece brass ensemble that entertained us while we enjoyed cranberry tea and molasses cookies AND …they played beautiful hymns: Joy to the World, O, Come All Ye Faithful, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night etc. So the Birth of Jesus was celebrated and felt in our hearts with the lovely music.
FAMILY EVENTS AND FUN – that we are missing!
CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS IN OUR MISSIONARY APARTMENT!
DECEMBER – FOREVER
November was a time to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. Now, as we enter the month of December, a time to celebrate the coming to Earth of Jesus Christ, whose example, teachings and atonement are blessings to all who have lived, now live and will live on the Earth. We are forever grateful to our Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ.