I was born in a Cree community in Quebec. My mother, the community ‘doctor,’ used traditional medicines to heal the sick.

She taught me as much as she could before I was forcefully taken to a residential school hundreds of miles away. Years later, she heard the Gospel message and accepted our Lord Jesus as her Saviour. In my adolescence I lived a wayward life of sin, but my mother unconditionally loved and accepted me. Through her I became convicted of my sin. I knew she had something real in her personal relationship with Jesus. I loved and respected my mother so much and longed for what she had.

After my marriage my wife and I discussed Christianity and we gave our hearts to the Lord within a few months of each other.

In the fall of 1977, my mother, stepfather and niece flew out to the bush to spend the year hunting, trapping and fishing, for this was the way of our people. The day before they left my mother came to our house and blessed our children. She then turned to me, telling me to love and honour my wife and take care of our children. Reaching into her old purse she gave me all her money, advising me to spend it wisely. A few days later, I bought my first Bible.

It was to be the last time we would see my mother; two days after they were in their camp she and my niece drowned in a boating accident. I was devastated, and asked the Lord, “Why?” many times. Hadn’t I prayed and lived as He wanted me to? I decided that living a Christian life was not worth it, since God didn’t hear our prayers.

For several months my personal battle with God ensued. One sunny winter day, while out on the trap-line, I stopped in view of a river to have lunch. As I rested, my eyes took in the beauty of the freshly fallen snow and the sparkling water. I was mesmerized by the indescribable beauty of creation, but once again anger began to swell up in me as I wondered how God could create the water to look so beautiful, yet it was this very substance that took the life of my beautiful mother!

Then God spoke softly and powerfully into my life and said, “Were you there when I created the heavens, earth, and all of creation? Do you know how much I love you, your mother and all people?” He then told me that everything happens because He alone knows His times, plans and purposes. I realized I needed to come back to my heavenly Father and asked God to forgive me for all my anger.

Since then He has shown me over and over His incredible love, grace and mercy. My wife and I have committed ourselves to serve Him for the rest of our lives, and trust Him with our future, whatever it may hold.

Kenny Blacksmith