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Adventist Mission

Sakhile Sibanda Kamera

Soccer, Soup, and God

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, August 21.

By Patience Chimhanda

Ask two people to present this interview during the mission-story time.

Narrator: Nunavut is the newest, biggest, and most northerly territory of Canada. Nunavut, which was created in 1999, is an immense, sparsely populated territory with tundra, rugged mountains and remote villages that are only accessible by boat or airplane. It also is the home of a small group of Seventh-day Adventists. Today we will meet one of those Adventists. [Turn to the interviewee.] Would you please introduce yourself?

Sakhile: My name is Sakhile. I am a wife and the mother of two children, a boy and a girl. I work as a nurse in the capital city of Nunavut, Iqaluit, which has about 8,000 people. We moved here a year ago from Pond Inlet, a small community of 1,800 people way up north in Nunavut.

Narrator: The territory of Nunavut faces challenges with high levels of homelessness and domestic violence. What can Adventists do?

Sakhile: When we arrived in Pond Inlet, an Adventist family from Jamaica lived there. After they left, we were the only Adventists, and we lived in the heart of the community. My husband worked for the municipal government, and I was the only nurse in town. If we had not been doing our jobs, things would not have happened in the community. As a result, you could say that we held positions of influence. That made it difficult to witness. Some people were willing accept anything that we said as fact, and we did not want to take advantage of their trust. We also did not want to be seen as using our positions to impose our beliefs on others. So we were very careful. But there were certain things that we did. We started a soccer club for 9- to 12-year-old girls. Pond Inlet didn’t have any girls’ soccer clubs, and our club had a good influence on the community. Adults started noticing that young girls were no longer roaming the streets aimlessly. The girls had a purpose. They came to the soccer club for training, snacks, and friendship. We also taught the girls to fundraise for the club. It wasn’t just me baking a cake to sell. It was mentoring. We taught the girls to take ownership for the club so they could continue without us.

Another way that we had an impact on the community was through my children’s friends. Their friends asked to come over to our house to play on Friday evenings and Saturdays. We had our Sabbath worship at those times, and we invited the children to join us.

Narrator: How does Iqaluit compare to Pond Inlet?

Sakhile: Several Adventist families live in Iqaluit, and the fellowship has really helped us to grow spiritually. I can call other church members and ask them to pray for us. I feel that there is a safety net.

In Iqaluit, I teach the Junior PowerPoints Sabbath School class, and I am making plans for the children to get involved in helping the elderly and doing other acts of kindness.

Narrator: What is your dream for the Adventist Church here?

Sakhile: We need our own church building. Our witnessing initiatives are really limited by our inability to have a place that we can call home. When I first visited Iqaluit several years ago, we had a dedicated place for Sabbath worship where we served soup to the homeless during the week. Although we did not operate the soup kitchen on Sabbath, homeless people knew that they could come to the building on Sabbath for a fellowship meal. The smaller space that we now rent is not big enough for meals. My Sabbath School class meets in the living room of my house. The Primary class meets in someone else’s living room, and a third children’s class meets in another home. The adults meet in our rented church building. It would be wonderful if we could worship and have other gatherings in one place.

Narrator: Thank you for providing a glimpse of the remote Canadian territory of Nunavut. [Turn to the congregation.] Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open a new church and community services center to witness for God in one of Nunavut’s communities. Thank you for planning a generous offering for Thirteenth Sabbath.