While marketers and advertising companies entice us to focus on chocolates and roses in this “month of love”, people right here in our own communities across Saskatchewan are struggling with heart-breaking loneliness, despair, and depression.
This silent epidemic found a voice last fall when news rang out across our province and nation about a string of teen suicides in northern Saskatchewan. One news article had this to say: “Aboriginal leaders and the prime minister say a crisis is unfolding in northern Saskatchewan after three young girls took their own lives and there are fears more young people are at risk. Two girls from Stanley Mission committed suicide last week, and a third girl from La Ronge, who had been in hospital after an attempt to kill herself, died in recent days. All were between the ages of 12 and 14. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the issue of youth suicides on reserves has gone on for far too long. ‘We are working together with the government of Saskatchewan and others to ensure we can put an end to the tragedy of young people taking their lives. It’s something that has to stop’, Trudeau said. (http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/10/14/lac-la-ronge-sask-suicide_n_12495674.html)
Young lives….created for a purpose, part of the Master’s Plan….taken far too soon. While response plans are being formulated and resources are being re-directed to help, I began to wonder what resources would be made available to better equip pastors and ministry leaders in these isolated northern communities to be a voice of hope among those they live with, work alongside, and minister to every day.
After several heart-to-heart conversations with pastors and ministry workers in La Ronge, my thoughts were confirmed – there is a significant gap in resources being offered to them in response to this crisis. God stirred my heart to be part of the solution and fill this gap.
Would you like to join me? Here’s how you can put LOVE into ACTION:
Christian Counselling Services will be hosting a two day ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Training – https://www.livingworks.net/programs/asist/) on May 25 & 26 in Saskatoon. We plan to offer SIX seats free-of-charge to pastors and ministry leaders from La Ronge and area.
We believe this is our opportunity to demonstrate love and solidarity with our friends in the North, letting them know we are WITH them, not only in spirit, but in action. Join us in praying for this event, the trainers who will be providing this workshop, the spiritual leaders who will attend, and the many young lives that are being affected by loneliness, depression, and suicide in our communities.
If you are compelled to put love into action, you can also make a difference by giving a financial gift. The total funds needed to cover the registration costs for these pastors will be $1,200. For more information on giving, click here (please specify that your gift is towards: “Training for Pastors”).
“Let us not love merely in theory with word or with tongue (giving lip service to compassion), but in action and truth (in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words)” – I John 3:18 (AMP)
Executive Director and Registered Psychologist