Faithfully Yours - Pick your fights carefully

By Neil Strohschein

As I write these words, Canadians are still dealing with the shock we all felt over the sudden senseless deaths of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Their deaths left all Canadians asking how this could happen on our soil and why.

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Faithfully Yours - Who are our neighbours?

By Neil Strohschein

Those who choose to study Canadian law quickly learn that Canada’s legal code is constantly evolving. As it evolves, it becomes more difficult to understand and interpret.

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Faithfully Yours - Helping neighbours in need

By Neil Strohschein

Last week, I shared some facts and figures on Canada’s involvement in World War I and the D-Day invasions that lead to Germany’s defeat and the end of World War II.

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Faithfully Yours - Fragile world - faithful God

By Neil Strohschein

The Neepawa Banner

In a few days, at exactly the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians will observe a period of silence as we pay our respects to Canadian soldiers, sailors, air force personnel and merchant mariners whose lives were lost in the service of this country during times of war.

This year, we commemorate two important events in world history—the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I (August 4, 1914) and the 70th anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1944), when Canadian, American and British forces stormed the beaches of Normandy beginning an 11 month campaign that would result in Germany’s surrender and the end of hostilities in Europe.

In each of these major conflicts and in many since, members of Canada’s armed forces have served with courage, dignity and distinction. In WWI, nearly 620,000 Canadian men and women served in uniform. Of those who fought in uniform, more than one in 10 (66,655) lost their lives. Many were buried on European soil.

Canada’s involvement in WWII was no less significant. By 1942 (roughly two years into the conflict), Canada had 500,000 soldiers in Britain—not bad for a country whose total population was 11.5 million.

Fourteen thousand five hundred Canadians were part of a 133,000 man force—one of five that hit the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Their mission was to capture and secure Juno Beach. In the six days that followed, 1,017 Canadian soldiers were killed and an additional 1,814 were injured. But by June 12, 1944, Juno Beach was secure. Over 300,000 soldiers, their equipment and supplies had landed and were moving inland.

World War II ended in 1945. In the years since, members of Canada’s armed forces have been deployed on dozens of missions—often as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force. As in two world wars and in Korea, Canadian soldiers have displayed the highest possible degree of courage and commitment. All Canadians can and should be justifiably proud of the work our armed forces have done in creating and keeping the peace.

But we are right to wonder just how long the peace we fought so hard to produce will last; especially in light of two significant developments—both of which have happened in the last 12 months.

The first and most obvious is the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. These radicals control land that is rich in resources. They have money; which they are using to purchase weapons and recruit members. They have clearly defined goals. Nothing short of all-out war appears to be able to keep them in line.

The second development was Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula; giving it instant access to several modern sea ports on the Black Sea. One wonders what other expansion plans Russia might have and how long it may be before NATO forces have to be deployed to defend the states of Eastern Europe.

As people of faith, we need to be aware of what is happening in our world—but we must never allow ourselves to be gripped by fear. This is not our world—it is God’s world! He sees the end from the beginning. He is in charge. As King Solomon put it: “The king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord, and like the rivers of water, he turns it wherever he chooses.” (Prov. 21:1) We watch with interest as nations jockey for position and power—but we do so knowing that whatever happens, God will preserve and protect those who trust in Him.

The sound of courage

By Rev. Glenna Beauchamp

      Rivers and Oak River United Churches

Hatred, cowardice and brutality make a lot of noise. They make as much noise as possible in order to get our attention.

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