My name is Wayne Barton. I grew up going to Sunday school, drifted away as a teenager, and returned to faith through my wife and children. My faith and my confidence to make a difference is strengthened as I get older. What is happening in our First Nations communities is troubling to many of us. My faith, my interest in people and my need for greater understanding led me to Heart 2 Heart, and to Fort Hope. I met a couple (Robert & Wanda) from Fort Hope prior to our trip, and discovered they were both runners. I love to run, and find it connects people, so I hoped it would help me build connections in Fort Hope.
I think men, including me, are too often silent in our society. We met with a local men’s bible study during our stay where we discovered a group of men committed to meeting together, every 8 days, to support each other in their faith. It has inspired me to join a men’s group here in Uxbridge.
Somewhere along the way in the Heart to Heart journey, I discovered that Fort Hope had recently started a farm (about 14 acres). I grew up milking cows, studied agriculture at the University of Guelph and have worked in Agriculture research for about 30 years. The farm in Fort Hope is working closely with a grower/ greenhouse operator in Thunder Bay. Their 3 employees are working to grow potatoes, tomatoes, onions, carrots, peppers and this year will plant high bush blueberries (which will attract even more bears to their fully fenced farm). I spent a day planting tomatoes with them. From the time we settled Canada as farmers, to today, farmers have relied on their neighbours. I’ve met farmers from all across Canada, and every one of them has a neighbor that has helped them, challenged them, inspired them, and competed with them for the best crop. In Fort Hope the nearest farmer is at least 300 km away by plane.
Jesus says in Mathew 22, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. One thing we can do is be good neighbors, to this community and to these farmers in Fort Hope.