Blog Faculty

Dr. Kent Kaiser shares Jesus with the First Nations People

By Melissa Brookman on Friday, August 31, 2018

dr. kent kaiser

This summer was Dr. Kent Kaiser’s 12th mission trip to the far north. He has traveled nine times with a ministry called LAMP (Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots) bringing God’s good news to the aboriginal people in Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba.

The people there are known as First Nations people or “Anishinaabe.” They share their ancestry with other North American tribes like the Ojibwe.

The mission area is so remote that Dr. Kaiser and his team had to drive to Winnipeg, Canada and then use a small floatplane to fly into the community because there are no navigable roads. There is only one ice road available in the winter (similar to the popular TV show Ice Road Truckers).

On this trip, Dr. Kaiser’s mission was to teach the local children about God’s love through vacation Bible school.

According to the organization, “LAMP has been providing spiritual witness and nurturing faith in communities in remote areas of northern Canada since 1970 through the ministry of pastor/missionary/pilots, and short and long-term volunteers-in-mission. Each year over 5,000 children, youth, and adults are impacted by the ministry of LAMP.”

Dr. Kaiser was first introduced to the ministry when he was originally supposed to travel to Africa for a different mission trip. At the last minute the trip was cancelled, but he still wanted to travel. He had heard about LAMP from his church and called them up to see if they had any room for volunteers for the next year. The ministry staff offered him a spot on their next trip and he was instantly hooked on the experience.

During his time there, the children participated in worship songs, Bible lessons, outdoor activities, and crafts. He enjoyed teaching the children how to make “God’s eye” crafts with sticks and yarn. He said he even overheard a teenage girl talking to her friends while she was making a craft project and she mentioned, “This is the best week of my life. I wish it would never end.”

One day, Dr. Kaiser asked all the children to pick blueberries as an outdoor activity. After that, he baked them blueberry muffins to enjoy as a group.

However, this mission trip isn’t all fun and games. Dr. Kaiser admits that he sees a lot of hardship when he travels to the small community of indigenous people.

“It is exasperating to deal with the child abuse, incest, domestic abuse, and young girls getting pregnant in their teens. It’s like a whole different world,” said Dr. Kaiser.

The community is extremely impoverished and drugs and alcohol play a huge role in the lives of the people. Often, parents are too inebriated to care for their children, but they look forward to their children attending the vacation Bible school. Many of the parents attended the event when they were young as well.

He said that none of the people in the community have ever gotten married. They all have common-law marriages from living together for years and the Catholic priest in the community struggles with the fact that nobody intends to ever get married in the future.

Dr. Kaiser knows he has prevented at least one person from committing suicide. In fact, the suicide rate in this community is 7 times higher than the Canadian national average.

Dr. Kaiser is an important male role model in the community and he is always greeted with smiles and he stays connected with a few of the children on Facebook despite the community having limited internet access.

He admits that his favorite part of the trip is when he goes back each year and he sees that what he has taught the children has actually stuck with them.

“This may be the only church experience the kids get, since their parents usually don’t take them to church due to drugs and alcohol,” said Dr. Kaiser.

Anyone interested in volunteering with LAMP can visit them online at Volunteers will need a recommendation from their pastor and are expected to adhere to the Apostle’s Creed.