LAMP calls for prayer for First Nation community rocked by youth suicide epidemic
CROSS LAKE, MANITOBA – Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots (LAMP) is encouraging Lutherans to pray for Cross Lake (Pimicikamak Cree Nation) as they struggle with a recent outbreak of youth suicides. From mid-December 2016 to mid-March 2016, six suicides (most of them youth) have taken place and dozens of suicide attempts have taken place. In a school of 1,200 more than 150 of the students are on a suicide-watch list. The crisis has led the community to declare a state of emergency.
“What do we do when receive this terrible news and a cry for help? We do what we believe Jesus would have us to do,” says LAMP Executive Director Ron Ludke in a recent statement. “We pray and we ask friends like you to pray with us. We go to show support by our presence. We share words of assurance and comfort from Scripture. We proclaim the Gospel of Jesus which is our only true source of comfort and hope.”
Executive Director Ludke notes that LAMP has been involved in Cross Lake for many years. Each summer, a LAMP Vacation Bible School team from Billing, Montana serves in Cross Lake, and LAMP’s Pastor-Pilot Dennis Ouellette provides ongoing pastoral support to spiritual and community leaders. In light of recent events, LAMP has again extended its support to the community, with Rev. Ouellette and LAMP team members from Billing, Montana preparing to visit Cross Lake during Holy Week to pray with and for youth and community leaders.
Executive Director Ludke drew attention to the needs of First Nations peoples in a recent article for The Canadian Lutheran, and the importance of seeking reconciliation. In that article, he noted the grim statistic that suicide is the leading cause of death for First Nations people between the ages of 10-25.
LAMP staff and missions teams serve year-round responding to the needs of northern Canadian communities, and the “prayers of our northern friends together with your prayers are being answered,” Executive Director Ludke encourages. Recently Rev. Ouellette was able to provide a parenting workshop and LAMP board member Harry Huff offered to provide a bereavement workshop. The Women of Worth conference planned for May 2016 will bring spiritual enrichment to more than 100 women from northern communities. And volunteer missionaries drive winter roads across frozen lakes to offer year round support.
“People in northern Canada in desperation are asking for our help,” Executive Director Ludke writes. “They are praying for God’s help. God’s answer to their prayers may be you and me.” He encourages LCC members to pray for the work of LAMP, consider joining a mission team with the organization, and offer financial support as they are able for LAMP’s vital work among First Nations peoples.
LAMP is a listed service organization of Lutheran Church–Canada.