Jewels for Jesus Esther Club
Club Name: Jewels for Jesus Esther Club
Church: Northern Lighthouse Ministries
TCG Director: Theresa Rodrigue
Note: Getting there – the nearest Big City is Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
How long is the flight from Toronto?
- First you would have to fly to Ottawa, which is an hour. Another plane takes you from Ottawa to Iqaluit which is another three hours. An interesting fact, if you got on the same plane in Ottawa and flew three hours south you would arrive in Miami, Florida. If you fly north and you are at the Arctic Circle.
What is the best mode of transit to Iqaluit?
- The only way to get to Iqaluit is by plane. Iqaluit is on an island called Baffin Island.
How long have you and your husband been ministering in Iqaluit?
- We began holding services in our home in 2000.
What was the reason you felt to start a youth club?
- The young girls are the most vulnerable group. The peer pressure and social issues pull them into a pit that slowly destroys their self-esteem. Drugs, alcohol, suicide and teen pregnancy are major problems. The dropout rate from school is extremely high. It’s a vicious cycle which is hard to break but I wanted to show them that there is another way. They do have a choice and they can have a brighter future.
What are the ages you are dealing with?
- Children’s church is for ages five and up. The girls that come to the youth club are 11-15.
How is ministering to them in a club setting (or a group setting with just girls) different than in a church setting.
- I introduced the club setting as a safe place to discuss issues that are relevant to them. Questions raised during our table talk often leads to topics discussed in future sessions. They have input into the subjects and can submit questions anonymously. Issues are discussed as a group and we use Biblical principles to guide them. It is more relaxed and casual. We want to instill a sense of value and ownership, where we protect and look out one another. Bi- monthly we want to plan something special, such as a theme night or skills night.
How do you feel you have made a difference in their lives?
- Since our club is just being started, it’s really too early to tell if we are making a difference. We are providing them the tools they need to mold and shape their future. We want to encourage them to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus as well as becoming productive citizens.
Any comments girls have made concerning your investment in them?
- They are excited about the club and look forward to coming. They don’t comment directly but they are never in a hurry to leave. They continue to hang around the entrance and talking, which I think is a good sign.
How do the issues the girls in your remote area compare to what girls are facing today – such as in big cities?
- Being in a remote area there are less resources available which would help young people make good choices for their future. There are few safe places to go and no organized activities such as sports. There are no shopping malls, no multi-purpose rec centres, and very few wholesome places to hang out with friends. There is nothing to motivate the girls to make a difference in their life, in their school, or in their community. The social issues surround these girls with dark clouds that often blocks out all hope.