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Dear Friends at Pacific,

Merry Christmas!  Below are some highlights from 2019...
I am particularly thankful celebrating 30 years being married to Lana Raedene.  Beloved wife, mother and friend…a blessing to so many…this beautiful woman from the North Country.  We met in our mid-teens but she didn’t see the light until a bit later.  “A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds” -Proverbs.  
Adult Children Update - Jordan lives nearby and works at GLC Solutions.  GLC is a company providing technical solutions for businesses and organizations. Madison lives at home and is halfway through a six month program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Graphic Design.  Brooke lives on Vancouver Island and works for a child psychologist helping youth with educational and mental health support.
(I’m thankful for elders who have been part of my life this year (clockwise from top left).  In July the Lord called home one of His most faithful, passionate and persevering warriors, Bill Lottis, NAIM’s beloved General Director and Director Emeritus of many years.  Words fall short of conveying the magnitude of how God used Bill Lottis in the kingdom work of Jesus in North America.  Bill’s voice is part of the soundtrack of my life.  Bob & Jolene Green live in Mt. Currie, BC and it’s been a blessing stopping in and seeing them these past three summers.  The Greens worked with NAIM when it was Marine Medical Mission on Thetis Island way back in the day.  Bob, in his early 90s, is in a challenging place with his health but continues to persevere.  When we dropped in, he had just finished walking over a mile on a treadmill (note the sweatpants).  More voices and laugher that are part of the soundtrack of my life.  When my youngest daughter, Madison, was around 9 years old she said I had a phone call from “Robbie Hart.”  I had no clue who it was.  It was Don DeHart.  Don and Mary DeHart (bottom right) spent their lives ministering and loving the First Nations people of Mt. Currie.  They are now retired from NAIM but continue to pass the baton of the Red Soul Rising Camp which will be in its twenty-second year this summer.  They are well loved by locals and the many groups that partner with NAIM to help make this camp happen.  This past summer, Lana and I were able to visit my aunt Betty Higginbotham at a care home in Tallahassee, Florida.  It was great to see her.
NAIM's Staff Conference took place this past August and it was inspiring hearing stories and wisdom.  Linda Saucy (bottom right), a local counsellor, helped us in the area of resiliency and "keeping it real."
Canada's Indigenous population is growing four times faster than the rest of the country.  Youth are obviously a large part of this.  Youth camps run mainly during the summer but increasingly at other points during the year.  We are thankful for friends and churches partnering with us to make these events happen (from professional cooks to youth groups).
In leadership with NAIM I’m encouraged by stories I hear from staff in the different communities.  Some are humorous.  A friend told me the story of a young man who wants to find a suitable mate from the rez and get married…his only two conditions?  “She has to love Jesus and can’t be my cousin!”  Another staff member told about a friend who was kicked out of AA for ‘dropping the J bomb’ too often.  Yes, the name of Christ came up too much but it wasn’t being used in vain…apparently, too preachy.
 
Recently, this story from staff on the Canadian prairie, “The parable of the prodigal son has never hit me so hard as it did this past girl’s group.  We watched a very poorly made movie about the story and then read Luke 15:11-31.  There is a young lady who attends our group almost regularly.  At the young age of 15 she has completed an addictions rehab program 3 times and still continues to struggle because of her living situation at home.  We discussed the horrible things that the son had done, he demanded his inheritance, he gambled, bought prostitutes, and drank all the money away.  I just sat there and watched her stare into her hands.  It was obvious she was feeling like the prodigal son.  She has given her life to God but continues to struggle.  There is a point in the parable where the son has nothing left and decides to go back to his father to be his slave but the father is so happy and overjoyed that his son came home.  I made a simple statement ‘All you need to do is just go back!  God is always there... just go back!’  As the words came out of my mouth, I watched a tear roll down her cheek.  I love that God’s word is living and that it speaks into our lives today.  Please pray for this young lady that she will just continue to turn back to God.”