Calls for unity around the province, stories of redemption and a good dose of early Christmas cheer are just some of the good news themes on our website this week.

Local anesthesiologist calls for Manitobans to unite against COVID-19

A Manitoba anesthesiologist is asking for people to resist blame and simply stay home to bring down COVID-19 transmission numbers in the province.

"My heart is literally breaking for our community," Renate Singh writes in his post made on Facebook earlier this month.

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More than 20 Steinbach churches declare united support for public health officials

A group of 23 pastors and churches from Steinbach and the surrounding area have written an open letter to residents declaring their support of public health measures set by the province.

"We believe that Manitoba’s current public health orders in no way contravene our ability to obey and worship God," the letter says. "They are not anti-faith; they are pro-life."

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Bieber using platforms in real life and online to share faith

Justin Bieber says he wants to use his platform to lead people to Christ.

The 26-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter used an opportunity to perform at the recent People's Choice Awards to do just that.

"My intention is to inspire, uplift, empower and lead people to know and see the love of God," Bieber wrote in a post to social media. "To remind people of the joy and wonder that is all around us."

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Manitoba pastor releases new Christmas song, reminds believers of spirit of giving

A Manitoba pastor is releasing a new Christmas song to lift spirits that may have been dampened during 2020.

Jake Fretz, pastor of Prairie Alliance Church in Portage la Prairie, says his new song "Emmanuel God With Us" is about the call Christmas puts on the lives of Christians.

"Every year we celebrate how Jesus came to earth and shared God's power and love with us, but recently, I've been reminded that through God's spirit, Jesus is still and always will be Emmanuel God with us," Fretz says.

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Steve Bell finds gospel, imitating Christ throughout pandemic

With Winnipeg in lockdown, Bell offered his ever-growing fan base an online concert on the night of his birthday that incorporated his brand new songs from the release.

Bell just finished releasing his new album, Wouldn't You Love to Know, and it comes with a 147-page full-colour book that includes explanations and musings of each song. 

"With the COVD shutdown, normally I'd be out on the road and doing concerts and telling my stories. That's not going to happen obviously. We thought, how could we do that? Then thought, why not write some reflections of each song, the kinds of things I'd be saying at concerts."

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Museum hoping to heal old wounds from rubble of demolished church building

Nearly 40 years after a decision to demolish a church building nearly split a community, a local museum is hoping to help heal the old wounds.

St Pierre-Jolys Museum Curator Sol Desharnais says that in 1981 the decision was made to demolish a church built at the turn of the century in St Pierre-Jolys.

“It was an extremely divisive thing in the town,” says Desharnais, “it even made national news.”

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Manitoba school division asembles new team to fight mental illness and addiction among students

The Hanover School Division has added the final member to a new team dedicated to combatting addiction and mental illness among students.

"By having a team specifically designated to that vulnerable population, we are hoping to address the need earlier," explains Assistant Superintendant Geri Robson. "We know that people show signs of mental illness early on in life, and the sooner you intervene, the better the outcome for both the student and their family."

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New Mennonite hymnal ready for December launch

After over a decade of planning, a brand new Mennonite hymnal is ready for its launch.

Lifting our voices in song is a long-running Mennonite tradition. And hymnals have been a big part of that tradition, teaching and encouraging us to sing in four (sometimes five) part harmony, with organ and piano.

"All the favourites are there, and more," he says about the new hymnal. It even includes favourites that were somehow left out of the previous hymanl, such as 'How Great Thou Art.'"

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Collection week is over but Canadians can still pack a shoebox

National collection week for Operation Christmas Child (OCC) shoeboxes has come and gone, but it’s not too late to make a global impact.

Collection week ran from November 16-22, 2020. While churches and organizations are no longer accepting physically packed shoeboxes, anyone interested can still pack a box online.

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Lauren Daigle wins an American Music Award

Lauren Daigle is the favourite artist in the Contemporary Inspirational category for the AMA's that took place this past weekend.

"I am SO grateful ... Thank you all so much for this honor and for your votes!!" Daigle posted to her Facebook after receiving the award. 

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Crokinole boards just like Jesus would have made

Board gamers around the world are huddled around tabletops, knipsing on Manitoba-made, hand-crafted crokinole boards that are helping people with intellectual disabilities find training and work.

The game boards are just one of several wood products manufactured by Blue Sky Opportunities' woodworking department since the late 1980s.

Blue Sky is a non-profit organization located in Altona committed to maximizing the independence of adults with intellectual disabilities, through employment and residential opportunities.

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Man goes from addict to lawyer to ministry leader

A ministry leader says a car crash helped him discover his life's purpose, ministering at the same place that helped him recover from addictions.

Steven Keesic, once an addict, graduated from the Adult & Teen Challenge program in 2007. He is now the ministry manager for ATC in Southern Manitoba, based out of Winkler.

"I was almost done with my first University degree and my life had really taken a turn for the worse. That's when my addiction took over and got out of control."

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Living Christmas trees still available during the pandemic

Real Christmas trees are in higher demand this year, being offered to families at curbside pickup.

"Since lockdown, we've had to adjust and adapt to a lot of different measures. We've really focused a lot of people on social media to let them know Christmas is still here," says Carla Hrycyna, the President and co-owner of St. Mary's Nursery.

St. Mary's Nursery and Garden Centre on 2901 St Mary's Rd is offering customers curbside pick-up for real Christmas trees. They have set up a few trees for people to see the different types and sizes when they pull up.

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10-year-old bringing joy with warm feet

A young boy from Winnipeg is creating funky socks while giving back to the community at the same time.

Treyton Walcott recently started his own business at just 10-years-old called Super Socks. He sells socks covered in interesting designs, and then with each pair sold, he gives back to those in need.

"I always wanted to be an entrepreneur like my mom. I actually started thinking about this before COVID was a thing," he says. 

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WATCH: COVID patient unable to talk thanks nurses with gift of music

A Utah man fighting COVID wanted to thank his nurses, but couldn't speak because he was intubated at the time. So he found another way to show his appreciation.

Grover Wilhelmsen asked if he could play his violin for his nurses while in the ICU to help lift their spirits, Intermountain Health says in a Facebook post.

“He was intubated and unable to talk, but I knew from the other nurses that he’s a retired orchestra teacher. He’s been playing and teaching his entire life,” nurse Ciara Sase, says.

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School takes class outside into winter months

Cold days are in store for the province but a Winnipeg school is warming up their students with musical and physical education.

In the fall, several schools with Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) have been propping up tents to make way for additional classroom spaces. The large white tents standing in school fields are similar to ones at weddings or Festival du Voyageur.

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YFC's dance marathon brings movement and faith together

Youth for Christ is helping kids enjoy dance while bringing the community together with their virtual dance marathon.

"God drew me there. I first started working at Masterworks as a dance teacher," says Tielman who just stepped into her role as Assistant Director this August.

Tielman grew up dancing and it's been a passion of hers for almost her whole life, however, she didn't have a medium that combined dance with faith, until YFC.

"It was very refreshing to dance and teach dance and do it at a place that embraces Jesus and faith, and to teach kids for God's glory," she says.

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Local author wishes to bring hope to readers this Christmas

A Winnipeg woman is sharing miracles in the midst of a Christmas celebrated in Winnipeg during the pandemic. 

Jackie Vanderdonckt just released her latest eBook called A Night Before Christmas.  

"My book is about a young, childless couple who are struggling in their Christian faith and get an unexpected knock at their door."

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Salvation found in a coffee shop

During the most difficult season of his life, the now Executive Director of Adult & Teen Challenge, found God in a coffee shop of all places.

Daniel Emond's testimony is one of battling addictions along with spending time in jail just to get out and sell and do drugs once more. But it doesn't end there. 

"In my first year of University, my father was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. I wanted to become a medical doctor. I was reading a textbook and ended up basically reading my father's death sentence."

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WATCH: 'Adapt and overcome': How this Winnipeg ministry has faced the challenges of 2020

2020 has brought with it a number of challenges, and one Winnipeg ministry says they're up for the challenge.

Kent Dueck is the Executive Director and founder of Inner City Youth Alive (ICYA), a community outreach ministry in Winnipeg's North End. He says they've clung to the phrase "adapt and overcome" throughout the year.

"2020 has been like 10 years in one year kind of thing," Dueck says. "It's been a super-busy and stressful year. I'm glad that we've been able to be nimble because things come up and then it's forced us to respond."

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Lecrae helping plant seeds of hope at juvenile detention centre

Lecrae is using his talents as a speaker, author, and rapper to make an impact for God's kingdom in the lives of youth in detention centres. 

On Nov. 18, the Christian rapper shared his testimony with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) youth during a visit to the Rockdale Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC). 

While many people know Lecrae for his Grammy-winning songs over the past decade, he is also a New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, speaker, and philanthropist.

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Woman creating Winnipeg Christmas lights map

Carol Cassell says so far, 460 houses in Winnipeg have been added to her Christmas light map.

Cassell previously mapped Christmas decorations in Transcona. Now, she is taking on all of Winnipeg.

"I had already decided that I would make a Christmas map to just bring a little extra joy into people's lives," she says.

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WATCH: This quartet of 20-somethings is reaching millions with the Gospel

Two sets of brothers have found themselves with an accidental music ministry that's been reaching millions of people.

The Christian Post spoke with the Redeemed Quartet, made up of Ben Duncan, 25, his brother Nate, 23, and brothers Caleb, 25, and Josh Koble, 23. The young men are from rural Indiana and perform hymns and southern gospel songs that most would think appeal to older generations.

“We grew up listening to that style of singing,” Caleb Koble says. Ben Duncan adds, “gospel or country quartet is pretty much where you’re going to hear four-part male harmony the most, and that’s something we specialize in.”

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Faith like a child

A young Winnipegger says she's just following the promptings of God, and hopes others will do the same.

"We were walking. I don't know, I just felt led to start praying for everybody in the care home," says Carmela Hijazi-Figueroa.

As Carmela and her mother, Rindalah, were taking a walk Sunday evening, the 10-year-old ran ahead and faced the wall of the Simken Centre Personal Care Home. 

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Parents offering hope to others who have children battling addiction

"Towards the end, we were basically watching our son kill himself with drugs and alcohol,' says one father of a son whose life radically changed when he met Jesus at Adult & Teen Challenge.

Dennis and Jodi Ginter had been praying for years when their son finally said he would go through the Adult & Teen Challenge one year program. 

"Sam's story starts back in 2008 when Sam had an accident which caused a brain injury," says Jodi.

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Staying active and healthy during the lockdown

Erick Oland From City Park Runners Shares His Tips to Help You Get Outside This Winter.

Earlier this week Chief Public Health officer Brent Roussin said in regards to the pandemic, "You need to find ways to stay active. It is very important to stay active, both when you are at home finding ways to stay active and also when you are out and about enjoying some of the winter."

One of the best and simplest ways to get outside is to put on a pair of shoes and go for a walk.

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