Tippy did her very best, painting a beautiful picture in vivid primary colours, of a crouching wolf with other creatures within its flowing frame. The colours and creatures were each chosen for their symbolism.
I was worried about it's fragility and wrapped it carefully in two soft pillowcases, surrounded by generous layers of bubble wrap. Over our three day journey I made sure that the picture was safe as luggage went in and out of the vehicle. I could not wait for Chief Connie to see it.
When we arrived though, Chief Connie was away, and not expected back until later in the week. After all of my anticipation, it felt anticlimactic to have to wait longer, and we weren't even sure if we would be able to see her then!
One of our team, Sharon, had been working on a beaded scarf for Chief Connie, finishing it on the journey. Sharon is a Metis, and for her the trip had deep personal importance. She too, was hoping to give her gift in person.
On Friday, after we got back from the beach, we decided to drive after supper to the nearby village of Ten Houses, where Chief Connie lives; Paul, Joyce (the leader of our churches' Missions Committee,) Sharon, and myself. We thought we would take a chance that might find her at home. To our delight, her car was in the driveway. We knocked on the door, and it was opened by Chief Connie!
She and a handsome young man, whom she introduced as Apollo, one of six children, were just back from shopping for groceries, which they were still unpacking and putting away; but she welcomed us and invited us in warmly.
It felt so exciting to place the package that had traveled 2,000 kilometers, into Chief Connie's hands at last.
I only wished that Tippy could have been there to see her delight as she opened it and saw the painting.
"Is this for my office?" she asked.
"No, this is a personal gift for you!" said Paul.
Chief Connie then took the painting straight to her bedroom, took down a picture that was hanging on the wall and replaced it with our gift.
Sharon presented her scarf to the chief and that gift too, was received with deep appreciation.
Sharon had sewn 1400 beads into the scarf, each one representing a member of Mishkeegogamang Ojibway First Nation. (Today about 900 live on its two reserves, while 500 live off the reserve.)
Joyce gave greetings from our Missions Committee to the chief, a woman of deep personal faith who has worked hard to better the lives of the people she serves; battling the social problems that plague this community, as they do so many other remote communities. Under her leadership there is so much progress, obvious to repeat visitors. The visits of various teams from our church over the years, have been meant to be a support and encouragement to Chief Connie. We left her home thrilled that another part of our mission had been successfully accomplished!