On The Road Again

Tags: Canada, SEND North

You will recall that many of our communities are off the road system and connected only by boat or plane.  So you might assume that the other communities which have a road would be like your town.  Well…not so much.  One of our teammates doing ministry in Canada has a unique take on this.  May his words broaden your perspective and sharpen your prayers for our teams.

“Hi everyone

I want to tell you about the villages on the road system. I know not every village is as far away as mine, but still, it is NOT just a hop, skip, or a jump to get somewhere else.

Yes, it is true we can bring in truckloads of goods.  While this is very convenient, it is still not a short ride.

Our next village on the road system is a 45-minute drive away.  We have a river to the north of us and another to the south without a bridge to cross either one.  In the summer we have access to this village with a ferry.  If I miss this ferry, I have to wait up to 45 minutes to get on the next ferry. In winter it is easier since we have ice roads.  However, we have one month a year, during the spring river break up, that we have no access to the road system.

The biggest town in our area is a 3 hour trip with the same problem of the ferry in the summer.  When using the ferry, you need to closely watch the schedule otherwise one might spend the night in your car.  This town has the closest church outside our community.  Since their stores have more expensive products than in our village, there is no reason to go there for shopping. The next closest village to the north is a seven hour drive.  Right now it is only accessible in the winter on the ice roads, but they are building a permanent road.

If you travel south, the next community is an 8-10 hour drive.  All those roads are gravel, and you can easily find yourself stranded since the road can closed for days at a time.   You also have to keep in mind that there is only one gas station on the way to this community.  We have to time our travels just right to be at the gas station before it closes in the evening.  Then you have other small things like no cell phone access anywhere outside the villages or winds that can blow an 18-Wheeler off the road.  The big city of Whitehorse is a simple 13-hour drive if all goes well. I usually take two days to make this trip.

My big trip each year is going to Anchorage for our annual conference.  I split the journey into four days of travel.  I remember the time, on my trip back from a conference, that I got stuck on a closed road for an additional two days.  That year it took ten days of travel to attend a 3-day conference, but it was well worth it.  If I made this trip in the summer, there is a road that opens up and I can shorten the trip by one day each way.  However, if I take this shortcut then I don’t go through Whitehourse which means not being able to stock up on groceries.   It is a decision to save time or get groceries.

I don't want to it to sound like I am complaining about the travelling, because the trips are always exiting. Along the way, I see the beautiful country side, scenery I never got tired of. And there are chances to see wildlife, just like in an animal documentary.

So there you have it.  Don’t let the knowledge that a village is on the road system lead you to the wrong perception. Not every village is right around the corner from a big town.”


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