Six members of Pure Witness Ministries, a Catholic youth oriented evangelical mission based in Saskatoon spent 11 days, February 6 to February 16 in the Peace River region.
The group put on retreats and performed at Holy Family Catholic Regional Division (HFCRD) schools in Grimshaw, Manning, Peace River, McLennan, Vallyview and High Prairie. Although the ministry is based in Saskatoon, the six participants who visited the region, who are in their late teens to early twenties, are primarily from western Canada with two members Christa Taylor and Michael Salamida being from Ontario and Pensacola, Florida respectively.
Along with spiritual retreats, the youth group played interactive games and performed music all geared to inspire an awareness of Christ in the students. On the recent visit, the group engaged with Grades 1 to six and is scheduled to return at the end of March, offering a slightly different repertoire to Grade 7 and 8 students.
“We go on the road for about two weeks at a time and then we go back to Saskatoon to our home base for about a week or so because we run a youth group there and put on local retreats,” says Jeremiah Bojda from Sylvan Lake.
The young participants go through a vetting process and when accepted, commit to ten months as volunteers, working in schools or wherever they are invited to offer a retreat and perform.
“We do skits, we play music, do plays and we give talks. Some of the stuff we do is just for fun to break down barriers with the kids,” says Calgarian, Daniel Pashula. “Then we give them the message, so it’s a good evangeli- zation tool and we get really great results. “
Pure Witness is a Canadian non-profit charity so the participants don’t get paid. Everything they do is through the support of donations from individuals, communities, and family.
The group works mainly with Catholic schools but will go any where they are invited regardless of denomination.
“Our mission is to go out and tell people, youth and other people that a relationship with God is important and that we are all called to share God’s love with each other. Igniting our faith and being more engaged Catholics,” says the groups lead member Nicolas Gerwing.
Prior to coming to the Peace River region, the Pure Witness members visited Kamloops, Fort St. John and were also in the St. Paul – Cold Lake area of Alberta.
“We got an amazing response here in Peace River region,” says Pashula. “In the last school we were at in the town of Peace River the kids all wrote us Valentines Cards. It is amazing just seeing the kids how accepting they are. All the schools have really welcomed us into their family.”