By Neil and Sharol Josephson
“We want to rewrite history with FamilyLife. We want to do what the residential schools didn’t do… teach couples to be a husband and a wife, a father and a mother.” –Kirby James, a First Nations speaker for FamilyLife Canada.
This might be the most inspiring and exciting thing we’ve heard in a long time! What a privilege it is to hear Kirby’s heart—to know that his mission, along with FamilyLife Canada, is to help heal the generational brokenness caused, in large part, by the historic injustices committed against First Nations Peoples.
Earlier this year in Red Deer, we teamed up with Kirby James and his wife Bernadette, as well as Allen and Marlene Matoush, to teach the first ever Indigenous Couples’ Getaway in Alberta!
The weekend was an answer to prayer. Allen and Marlene have been part of a team leading retreats for Indigenous couples in Quebec for about twenty years, and they’ve been praying for this kind of ministry to spread from coast to coast.
“It’s been our dream to encourage Indigenous people on the east side of Canada and right across Canada,” said Allen and Marlene. “[We] hope that the Indigenous in the West will share the same treasure and will help the next generations learn about togetherness and family because we know God wants to heal families, to strengthen families, and to strengthen marriages.”
Kirby and Bernadette James, who live “in the West,” have caught the vision! They were one of seven Indigenous couples receiving speaker training in early April. Two months later, they were teaching at the Getaway in Red Deer, and they were great!
The decades-long prayer of our FamilyLife team is coming true, with three more Indigenous Getaways in the works, expanding into Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Ottawa area.
We see that God is doing a beautiful, restorative work in opening doors for First Nations families to find healing and hope for their relationships. Imagine hundreds of Indigenous Christ-followers actively engaged in bringing hope and healing to marriages in their communities. That’s our dream and our prayer!
So many families were torn apart through historic injustices committed against Indigenous families. This ministry is one way the good work of restoration has begun and will continue.