Louise Blacksmith

louise1I am of the East James Bay Cree Nation of Quebec, Canada. My community is Mistissini, which in English is translated ‘Big Rock’. I was born in the month of October on my grandparents trapline. According to my mother I was so tiny they thought I might not live. This caused great anxiety in my parents since they had already lost two babies who had been born before me, both were boys.The only way to keep me warm and cozy was to put me in a rabbit pelt . A rabbit would be skinned as one piece, dried and softened with the skin side out. I was placed inside with the fur touching my skin. My mother was unable to breastfeed me and the milk that I was being fed was running out so it was inevitable that my father go to the village. He walked twenty-five miles on snowshoes to our village to get what I needed to keep me alive. By the grace of God I survived and live to tell my story. There were many more children born into our family, ten living to this day and I am the oldest.
From birth to the age of five, I was surrounded by family members who loved and cared for me. At an early age I learned to honour and respect my parents and elders. My mother was a perfect example for me as I watched how she would take care of other people even when she had so many children of her own to look after. At that time there was no running water or electricity in our village. All the wood had to be cut by hand and water carried in pails from the lake. Food was cooked on a woodstove or outdoors over a fire. My mother would wash clothes with a tub and washboard. I have memories of her washing clothes for a woman who just had a baby or for an elderly couple. She took old folks into our home while their families were on their traplines. There was no end to reaching out to others. One day my mother was the one who needed help and many people came to her aid as she had been there for them in their time of need. My childhood up until I was five was full of learning and experiences and great fun, life was peaceful and I felt loved and important.
One fall day when I was almost six years old, I was suddenly taken away from my family. This was the policy of the government at the time and our parents had no say nor were they given any choice. Their children were simply taken from them so that ‘one day they would return to help their families and their people’. Hence, I was thrust into the hands of strangers and introduced to the ‘whiteman’s’ world. Needless to say I felt abandoned, lonely, insecure, an alien in a strange land. There was so much to learn about these people and their ways, not only that I had to learn their language in order to survive. So, as time passed on I became like them in so many ways, but I did not forget my people. Somehow God would not let me forget who I was and where I came from.
One summer at the age of eleven I heard about Jesus for the first time through a missionary lady who was living on our reserve. She loved my people so much that she lived like us and studied our language and ate the foods we ate. It was at her meetings that a seed was planted in my heart. In the late 60′s some of my people were getting saved and soon there was a revival. As teenagers my friends and I would go to these revival meetings which took place in different homes and we would listen, but mostly we went because we thought they were really weird people. I had never seen anyone cry or dance in church, nor had I ever heard anyone speak in tongues. People laying hands on people as they prayed for them was strange and sometimes the ones prayed for fell down. It was all weird to us yet strangely this is what I wanted also.
Without my knowing it, God was working on my heart because he had a plan and purpose for my life. The seed which had been planted was being watered.
A few years later, Kenny and I met and married. Many of our friends and family members were saved and telling us we needed Jesus too. Soon after our first child was born conviction was so strong that we finally gave in and decided that we would like to become born-again Christians. It was while on the trapline that God spoke to us so powerfully of His love for us.
And so on Easter Sunday March, 1977 back on the reserve I gave my heart to Jesus. My husband Kenny got saved almost right after me, and in July we were baptized together. At that time I was eight months pregnant with our second daughter. Since that first moment of my conversion my life was totally transformed. I will never forget the awesome feeling of peace knowing that Jesus was now mine and I was His! I was set free from all my sins, my name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! Kenny and I made a promise to God to serve Him for the rest of our lives, to be totally committed to doing His will, to love him and bring glory to His name, and to be lights shining in this dark world.
So much happened over the years, we encountered many trials, temptations and testings which brought us closer to God and taught us to trust in Him alone. There were also many personal encounters with God, dreams and visions and blessings in abundance. Shortly after we got saved God gave me a dream and spoke to me through an angel who told me that I had been chosen to help translate His word into the language of my people. God opened the way and the work began with Wycliffe Bible Translators which took over twenty years to complete. Now my people hear God speak to them in their own language. When they read it they are overwelmed and their hearts are moved. Many are being saved, transformed, renewed, healed and delivered by the power of the Living Word of God.
We lived in Mistissini and raised our five children there until 1991 when we moved to Ottawa, Ontario. In Mistissini, our home was always open to strangers who would come to Mistissini. We always enjoyed feeding them and sharing our traditional way of life with them. Sometimes they would stay in our home and we would tell them our testimony. God was preparing us for what was to come. In 1997 we founded Gathering Nations International which fulfilled another dream the Lord gave us. This ministry takes us to many different nations and countries to serve and bless people with the love of God.
In May, 2005 I spoke at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, Toronto, Ontario, and it was then God brought to clarity the full meaning of our being commissioned, and being set free to truly serve Him, and to serve all others in the love of Christ. Redeemed by the blood of Jesus, we are worthy to be the sons and daughters of the Holy One of Israel!
We are made in the image of God and we are carriers of the glory of God enabling us to do exceedingly above and beyond our imagination or expectation all that is needed to advance the kingdom of God!