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TOW -Indigenous Community

Breaking The Spirits of Entitlement & Poverty through A Practical Application of Theology of Work

A story about Canadian Ministries reaching out to their own indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples around the world

I immigrated to this wonderful country, Canada, more than 44 years ago, from Belgium. Five years after we arrived my wife and I decided to take on the Canadian nationality and we always have been humbled and honored that Canada accepted us.  However, with becoming Canadian, it also meant that we would become actively involved in positively building this country and to make it even better as it was when we arrived.  This is truly the legacy of so many immigrants that made Canada what it is today.

Becoming actively involved meant becoming involved politically and socially both at the community level, but also at the national and international level.  It is interesting to note that besides becoming Canadian in 1978, that same year we also became “born again” - so we needed to become involved at that level too.  After all, becoming “born again” means becoming obedient to the call of Jesus on our lives.  We took this very serious and in late 1989, my wife and I accepted a call to become full-time ministers and God sent us to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  Prince Albert is a small city of about 40,000 people (about 35% indigenous) surrounded by quite a number of First Nations and Metis communities.

The move to this Northern city in the Province of Saskatchewan was like God telling us, “John and Hannelore, you need to serve Me among the native peoples of Canada”.  And interestingly up until today, He has not given us any indication to leave this city or this part of the country, Canada, that has been so good to us.

Getting involved as a Christian locally we truly needed to get to know the indigenous people God had sent us to.  And that is exactly what we did and we learned a lot.  We picked up the good and the not so good.  We learned, for instance, that Christians in general could learn a lot from First Nations people.  One such thing was their inner spirit of sharing and giving without pre-conditions.  It is inherent to all the First Nations people we have dealt with across the world.  It is almost like Jesus talked to them and really placed it into their hearts.  Maybe He did.....   But if Christians really want to know what it means to give, First Nations can surely show them.   And there are many more “things” I learned from my First Nations friends.

Dissertation Profile

Ruperto Bustamante III is a committed follower of Jesus who is a land rights lawyer in Manila, Philippines.  His dissertation addressed injustices that impacted the Indigenous People of the Philippines who lost much of their land and economic and cultural future during World War II through government action of taking their land so military bases could be built. 
Dr. Bustamante writes:
“The Philippines is home to a significant number of rural indigenous people groups. Their number, according to an unofficial survey, could be anywhere between 12-twelve to fifteen million. About 15 percent of the Philippine population is IPs composed of 110 ethno linguistic groups.1 They are found in sixty-five of the seventy-eight provinces of the country2 and found in all the three major island groups in the Philippines. The majority of the IPs, 61 percent, is found in Mindanao, followed by 36 percent in Luzon, and 3 percent in the Visayas.3 Although the GDP and economic growth of the Philippines for the past several years has been quite remarkable4 the indigenous people groups remain the poorest and most marginalized sector of the Philippine society. Their general welfare is below the national average and they experience chronic food shortage.”
Ruperto marshalled his entire network of friends in churches, the legal field and peers who attended schools with him including his law school to address the injustice caused by the lack of enforcement of laws. His goal was to holistically turn around the lives of these Indigenous Peoples by bringing Shalom into their world.  Enjoy his remarkable study.

Featured Video

Watch TOW Teaching to Indigenous Group in Attaraya, Peru by Dr. John Fryters

Featured Book

God and Work - Theology of Work - Marketplace Ministry 101

God and Work – Theology of Work – Marketplace Ministry 101” is a Theology of Work curriculum developed by Dr. John Fryters to teach Theology of Work principles to indigenous groups around the world. The curriculum is divided into level I, II, and III (each level being 2 to 3 day workshop/seminar)

Featured Article

While taking Theology of Work course, Dr. Dean Johnson, a principal of a local school in Esperanza, British Columbia, Canada, went through a transformation that birthed "COMMUNITY CONSULT - THEOLOGY OF COMMUNITY LIFE "

He wrote: "If there was one thing I read that perhaps affected me the most it was Novak's comment "Business is, bar none, the best hope of the poor. And is one of the noblest callings inherent in business activities: to raise up the poor." The best hope isn't prayer, bible study, personal salvation, rehabilitation programs, mercy or grace. Business.  Whether I agree with this comment or not it is hard to argue that productive employment can have a redemptive purpose in the kingdom of God."

Download and read more of his paper: "Theology of Communityand his dissertation "Addressing The Chasm"