I didn’t ask how much education you have, I only asked if you’d be willing to go.”
Apparently, God wasn’t interested in John’s current excuse of finishing school at only eighth grade. For nearly a year since his full surrender to Christ in 1974, he’d been avoiding Gods’ prompting to go to the mission field. But if God didn’t care about his lack of education, then he was out of exemptions.
At age thirteen, John Giesbrecht had sensed God asking him,
“Are you going to speak for me some day?” John in his youth, replied “Yes.”
Now a man of thirty-two years, he’d found his niche in northern Canada as a successful farmer, which he greatly enjoyed and didn’t relish giving up.
Yet John didn’t waiver long in answering God’s call. Two years later he was on the field as a missionary pilot.
Over the next fifteen years he had the opportunity to fly into remote and otherwise inaccessible oil drilling camps and First Nations reserves, to share the Gospel in whatever way he could. John’s heart was most drawn to First Nations peoples. Not only were they more isolated than most, but few organizations made the effort to reach out to the Natives of Canada. The need of those close-knit communities to experience the transforming power of the gospel was great.
John soon discovered that First Nations Tribes want long-lasting, consistent relationship, which took about three to four years to develop with trust. Once established, they also welcomed John and his wife Anne into their children’s lives.
In 1978, John began flying Native children from reserves to Bible camps. Anne’s expertise in the camp kitchen with cooking and baking, quickly won the kids over. She also served as camp nurse and general organizer.
One session she sent a new helper with the camp truck to a nearby Reserve. He was to bring children back for camp that day, but returned with only two in tow. With furrowed brow, Anne barked, “Where’s the kids?” The flustered helper quickly explained that his expected passengers refused to come with him. Anne promptly jumped into the cab of the pickup, rode 35 miles to the reserve and returned to camp – the entire truck loaded to capacity with kids!
Knowing and trusting Anne was the key to their attendance at camp.
In 1990 a series of changes brought John and Anne into the family of InterAct Ministries as volunteer, “tent-making” missionaries.
For forty-years, they have continued serving First Nations people in Northern Canada through relationship, Bible study, discipling, church planting, and pastoring in Native churches and Reserves.
In addition, John has worked in the logging, concrete, trucking and oil industries to support his family.
Yet, John and Anne’s early love of farming has most been reflected in their work for the kingdom.
In Scripture, when Jesus refers to believers as “salt” He was speaking primarily of salt used for agricultural reasons, as opposed to household purposes. Salt was, and in some cases still is, used for fertilizer. So Matthew 5:13 might also be understood as,
“You are the fertilizer of the earth.”
As InterAct missionary Morgan Serger recently wrote,
“Fertilizer does no good in a bag or piled up somewhere. Once the raw materials have cured and are useful, they need to be spread out so that the fields can be ripe for harvest. Fertilizer may not be the most flattering title, but to be able to help people grow in Christ and bear the good fruit of the Spirit is.”
John and Anne Giesbecht most certainly have been spread out as fertilizer, covering and nourishing seeds of the gospel planted among the least reached peoples of northern Canada!
They are welcomed at any time onto the Reserves and have often seen how Native kids flounder there in summer if Bible camp is not available to them.
So, when John sensed God nudging him to start a new Bible camp four years ago, he began to move ahead looking for confirmation of God’s leading along the way.
…to be continued.
Ordinary People. Extraordinary God.
It never fails to amaze me how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. The best part of being used, despite our ordinariness, is that God receives the glory when great things are accomplished. Even though our sinful pride encourages us to take the credit, God makes sure our weakness is clear, so his greatness is obvious. He excels at taking the weak and foolish things of this world and accomplishes amazing things through them when they are fully submitted to him.
Though John and Anne Giesbrecht came from humble beginnings, they have been used powerfully by God to impact lives across northern British Columbia. InterAct is an organization full of ordinary people who continue to be used in extraordinary ways. Faithfulness and dependence on His enablement are the critical elements we bring to ministry. God provides the power to make an eternal impact to the least-reached people groups of Siberia, Alaska, and western Canada! Is God calling you to be a part of His work? There’s always room for more ordinary people who desire to be used by our extraordinary God.
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