Recognition of the amazing volunteer efforts of Manitobans and efforts to share hope in the midst of the pandemic top our list of good news this week.

Honour150: Junel Malapad being recognized for charity efforts

A runner known for going the extra mile for charities, including Siloam Mission, says it is an honour to be recognized.

Junel Malapad is one of the people being recognized for their work as part of Manitoba150's delayed celebrations with and Honour150 award. 

"Seeing myself amongst 150 amazing individuals from Manitoba, well it is really wonderful, I am beside myself."

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A surge of Bibles into Iran

Christian leaders discipling new believers in Iran say that house churches are growing so fast they've needed to begin smuggling in tens of thousands of Bibles.

The Christians began training Iranian Christians to help them grow in their own faith and to be able to form churches on their own, Voice of the Martyrs (VOTM) South Africa reports.

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A colourful labour of love

A Winnipeg woman says she wasn't going to let windchill values of -40 get in her way of bringing some colour to the Manitoba winter.

Lydia Gloria says that she saw a picture of an igloo made out of coloured ice blocks and suddenly couldn't shake the idea until she tried it herself. "I just thought that looks kind of fun to do, I don't know, I just had this urge to do it," she says.

The task took nearly two weeks to complete, and she chose the coldest part of this winter to do it.

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Students learning cool lessons in snow classroom

A Winnipeg school is showing the voyageur spirit with a massive outdoor classroom on its front lawn. 

Standing twice as tall as the average École Marie-Anne-Gaboury student, a classroom made of snow and ice is the hot spot for students and community members.

"We have worked hard as a school. The students are very excited about their projects and to see the community even just come out. On the weekend there was a bunch of people driving by and going in it, enjoying the hard work that students put into it," Joel Bohemier, a physical education teacher at École Marie-Anne-Gaboury says.

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Honour150: Diane Dwarka dedicating life to church ministries

A woman with a long list of volunteer experience and expertise says she was surprised to learn she would receive an award for her dedication. 

Diane Dwarka is a recipient of Honour150, an award given to volunteers to celebrate Manitoba150. Dwarka humbly thought she would not be considered for the award despite her long list of volunteer work.

"It was exciting because when I was asked to let my name stand for a nomination I said 'I don't think so! There are lots of people who have been doing a lot of different things and I am not sure if I would make the cut," Dwarka says. 

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Northern community affected by woman's prayers and action

A prayer warrior from Split Lake is rejoicing as over 800 children in her community are receiving their very own Bibles.

"We had a lady from Arborg contact us and just said she had a friend named Nancy up in Split Lake who has a huge heart for the children in her community. Nancy and a couple of other women pray regularly for the kids there," says Ryan Rempel at Give the Word

There are roughly 860 children in the community of Split Lake, Manitoba. 

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Matthew McConaughey helps home state of Texas after severe winter storm

After Texas was recently devastated by a huge snowstorm, Hollywood actor and fellow Texan Matthew McConaughey is announcing his aid to those in need.

"As most of you know my home state of Texas was just hit with the worst winter storm it's had in the last 70 years. It left a whole lot of people without power, water, and a whole lot of basic necessities," says McConaughey on his Instagram feed on February 21. 

He says that most of the power has been restored since the winter storm hit the state on February 13, 2021, but there are broken water pipes and lines still in need of repair. 

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11-year-old building Kingdom with Lego and Bible stories

A young boy with Manitoba connections just got back from L.A. where he shot a series of videos using Lego to bring the Bible to life.

While some kids think of starting up lemonade stands for their first business venture, Ryland Dixon decided to go online with two of his favourite things, the Bible and Lego, and it paid off.

Ryland, along with his mom, dad, and two siblings live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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'Keep praying': 6-year-old continues to recover following brain surgery

A Portage la Prairie family that received a devastating diagnosis for their six-year-old daughter has since been provided with some good news.

Elizabeth Willson had been feeling dizzy and nauseous for a couple of months before her family took her to a doctor. It was through a series of tests and appointments they located a tumour the size of a lemon, just above her cerebellum.

Elizabeth went for a roughly eight-hour surgery earlier this month and her mother Katharina says she's doing "considerably well."

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TobyMac's new song first time he 'could express hope' since son's passing

After TobyMac's eldest son Truett passed away in 2019, the singer found it hard to write hope-filled songs until God gave him a new word this year. 

Truett McKeehan passed away from an accidental drug overdose in October 2019 at the age of 21-years-old. He was an aspiring artist himself. 

During an exclusive interview with Reel Faith, TobyMac admitted after his son's death, he "didn’t do anything for a few months." When he finally got back into songwriting, the only thing that came out was "sad, teary-eyed ballad-y songs."

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Locals finding 'Shared Hope' talking through pandemic fatigue

As COVID-19 fatigue and loneliness sets in, a pair of Manitobans are hoping to bring light to a time of darkness.

"I think we all have been feeling it, and we all have been feeling different things at different points throughout the last year or so," Trevor Lehmann, co-founder of Shared Hope says.  "We have seen a sense of solidarity among people. While we are physically isolating and physical distancing, we certainly do not want emotional isolation."

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Canada Post giving people 13.5 million ways to say 'I care'

All of Canada will be receiving a postcard in their mailbox as Canada Post is running a campaign called 'Write Here, Write Now'. 

It's the companies way and encouraging people to reconnect with their loved ones, by sending a handwritten postcard.

Over the next few weeks, Canada Post will deliver approximately 13.5 million free postcards to residents in Canada in six different versions. 

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Local musician releasing video humanizing disciples in mini drama

A Winnipeg musician is releasing a short video drama that highlights the comedic human element of the disciples who followed Jesus.

D. Bruce Moore is a musician and voice teacher in Winnipeg. He also writes and sings to his own songs, including this short drama being released called 'Ye of Little Faith.'

"I felt like it was time to write another song and I could feel some creative juices flowing. The Psalms, the Bibles songbook, are predominately laments. I don't think I've written a lament before."

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'It happened pretty quickly': duo recounts Disraeli Bridge rescue

Two men are humbly recounting their involvement in saving a young man in serious distress.

Vlad Lebedev and Sergii Kovianzin were heading home from work on Tuesday afternoon when they came across an emergency situation. They happened upon a crisis situation with emergency crews holding onto a man dangling from the Disraeli Bridge at Higgins Avenue, 35 feet in the air.

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Phil Wickham feels 'chosen' as extra on Bible TV series

Phil Wickham is releasing a video about his time on the set of the hit TV series about the Bible called The Chosen

Wickham played a role as an extra during the shooting of 'The Sermon on the Mount' episode. 

"There were thousands of people there on set in costume ready to film. The director [Dallas Jenkins] could have used CGI to pull it off, but he had a vision of inviting people from all over the country that had actually invested in the creation of the show through their crowdfunding campaign," says Wickham. 

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Downtown streets met with kindness from stranger

Putting away his camera and pulling out lunch bags, a Winnipeg photographer cannot draw his eyes, or his heart, away from make-shift shelters and crowded bus shelters.

While photographing fat bikes downtown, Ross Penner noticed something many Winnipeggers have been seeing: shelters and alleys packed with people sleeping on the streets.

"You can't just do nothing. I don't know what it is about this year but there seems to be way more homeless down there than there has ever been before. So basically then it's "what is there to do? What can you do?"

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Jets rally for comeback victory over Habs

The Winnipeg Jets scored five unanswered goals and defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-3 Thursday night at Bell MTS Place.

Kyle Connor had a pair of goals for the Jets who extended their winning streak to three games.

Blake Wheeler, Nate Thompson, Pierre Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele also scored for Winnipeg.

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Israel's National Library gifted one of oldest Esther scrolls

The Old Testament book of Esther, originally written on a scroll, is being gifted to the National Library in Israel. 

According to scholars, the Esther scroll dates back to 1465 to the Iberian Peninsula. This was right before Jewish people were expelled from Spain and Portugal.

The gift of this scroll is timely presented as the Jewish holiday of Purim is February 25-28. During the Purim holiday, Jewish people around the world reportedly read the Book of Esther, which they call "Megillah."


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LISTEN: Lauren Daigle releases new soulful song

'Hold on to Me' is the newest song being released by two-time Grammy-award winner Lauren Daigle.

The last album she released was Look Up Child in 2018, three years ago. The album received the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album in 2019. 

Daigle released the new tune at midnight on February 26, 2021, and within 11 hours the video was viewed over 40,000 times. 

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