Seventeen members of Northside Baptist Church knows the meaning of Acts 1: 8, which encourages Christians to "…be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Following this commission, these members of Northside drove some 2,400 miles (round trip) to the English River 21 Indian Reservation in Ontario, Canada. There, they ministered to the Indian people of Grassy Narrows First Nation.
Located on Keys Lake, the church building is on one side of the lake and the parsonage and other buildings are on the other side. The drive from the parsonage to the church is about 10 minutes.
The pastor of this small church on the reservation is Korean-born, Paul Lee. He and his wife, Esther, and their three children, have served the reservation church for six years.
Some of the Neosho crew had been to the reservation before. On a mission in 2011, they built a cabin near the parsonage where this year's missionaries slept.
The reservation has a population of 951 and there is much need on among the residents. Mary Jean Barker, a member of the mission team, said she had never seen such property before.
The group from Neosho ranged in age from 10 months old (Luke Simpson) to some in their 80s. All had a role in the mission, with some conducting Vacation Bible School teaching Bible stories, music, crafts and games. An average attendance at Bible School was 20.
Several members also did maintenance on the parsonage and a nearby fishing dock. Phil Camerer, a Neosho roofer and member of Northside, led the workers as they did the carpentry and roofing work.
The entire group participated in a 6 a.m. prayer meeting for the adults in the church and also provided a breakfast each morning before the day's work began.
Kent Wilson, leader of the group, said the place was very remote but was set in beautiful surroundings with abundant wildlife, such as bears, moose and bald eagles.
Besides enjoying the natural beauty, the Neosho crew had plenty of time for swimming and fishing in the lake. It was reported that Bret Camerer was the best fisherman in the group, having caught the most fish and the biggest walleye. He also braved the most mosquitoes to get his fish.
Wilson said, "As on most mission trips, I believe those conducting the trips receive a blessing from God, sometimes more than what we can see in the children to whom we are witnessing."
For their belief and for their service to others, the 17 members of Northside Baptist Church are this week's good neighbors.