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Making disciples among the unreached
     

Suicide Story

Tags: SEND North, Story

Daryl Carlson here.  I am going to step out from behind the SEND North media desk to share something personal that must accompany these statistics. 

On Monday morning, October 5th, 2015, I eagerly opened the weekly email from our Area Director.  It is normally filled with lighthearted updates and encouragement, but not this week.  Again, one of our communities is in fear of a suicide spree.  A little community of 1,000 people is reeling from the 2nd young person to take his life in the last two weeks. 

The graph above indicates that we experience this up to 7 times as often as the rest of the nation. 

For me, this is more than numbers on a graph.  I lost two of my siblings to suicide. It was a complete shock when my oldest sister took her life 15 years ago.  It was harder to process than I can describe even though we had tons of resources and people outside of our situation to give us perspective. I am indebted to my suicide support group.  We took concrete steps to help all of us heal so this would never happen to us again.  However, several years later my younger brother took his life.  As we put the pieces together, we saw that he was "inspired" by my sister's decision, despite our best efforts to prevent it. 

When I hear about suicides in the 60/70 Window it strikes a deep chord because I know their pain is greater than what I've experienced; they have compounded grief.  Sudden and tragic deaths happen too often in these small communities not only from suicide but also from overdoses and alcohol-related accidents.  Can you imagine barely getting through the grief from the loss of one family member or friend when another dies?  What happens when two or more die within two weeks?  How do you cope when this happens again and again and again?   

There is no cookie cutter response which is why we focus on placing strong Christians in small communities to be a friend and resource in times like these.  Each number in the above graph is connected to a person and a family with a story to tell.  God has called us to be a part of those stories.

I can tell you from my personal story, those of us "left behind" all ask the same question, "Why?"  There is no simple answer, but there are many contributing factors.  A big piece for the Native American/First Nations people is a loss of culture and trying to live between two worlds.  However, make no mistake; suicide in the Far North doesn't discriminate.  It is an issue that impacts every ethnic group above the 60th Parallel.  Harsh living conditions, isolation, trying to cope with emotional wounds, substance abuse, lack of meaningful work, and peer pressure are just a few factors that play into this dead-end choice. 

We know Jesus is the answer, but to deliver this Good News takes joining people in their pain right where they live.I pray for God's wisdom, grace, and strength for our teammates.  They are the front line resource to those who are hurting. 

Will you please join me in praying for SEND North?  Will you battle against our enemy who is seeking to devour those we love?   Please remember that suicide is more than a statistic. When you read those stats or see a news report, please use it as a reminder to pray for those who are "left behind."  Specifically, pray that others will NOT be "inspired" to take the same path! I encourage you to learn more.  Please watch this two-minute video and download the free report; God's Extreme Love.  

God bless, Daryl Carlson SEND North Communication Specialist.

P.S.   As of October 15th 2015, four young adults have taken their lives!  Keep praying!!

P.P.S. Here is the November 10, 2015 update from our teammate.  This has been very hard on the village and tiring to those ministering in the midst of all the hopelessness and chaos.  Thankfully, our family of believers here has worked together well during these dif?cult weeks.  There have been so many opportunities to share Jesus in the midst of all this, so for that we are thankful.  The community continues to try to come up with solutions, but they are worldly at best.  We know that Jesus is the only Hope in such darkness

Final P.S.  By the spring of 2016 the immediate threat has passed, even though a spree like this could spring up at any time.  This community is still putting the peices together.  Pray for our team on the ground.  Pray for the small church that is struggling to move past the hang ups found in religion to find the deep power of a relationship with Jesus.  Pray for true healing.

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