Anna Riddle, 18, has a heart for kids, developed in a missional and outreach-practicing family. Her parents are Brent and Abbie. Brent pastors Moosehorn Baptist Church. When my wife and I visited last summer, two neighbour kids were introduced along with the Riddle clan. They just happened to be there.
Anna’s interest in music and sign language has been encouraged from a young age. Before the Riddles moved to Manitoba from Texas, Anna had already organized an outreach to the children of the community.
In October 2018 Anna organized her first concert event in the nearby town of Ashern, Manitoba. A Christian band, The Color, and guest speaker Tim Hague, Jr. shared with 175 people.
Because of the positive community feedback, Anna organized a bigger event, Interlake Youth Fest 2019, held June 8 in Ashern. More bands, more speakers. The attendance was a little less (150+), but Anna shares, “The people were relaxed and open to hearing the message. Several talked with the band members, asking about their own testimonies.”
Anna’s organization did not happen in a vacuum. The Manitoba Baptist Association gave funds for the 2018 event and offered even more money than was needed for the 2019 outreach. Moosehorn Baptist gave. Former churches that Brent pastored in Texas also joined the effort through giving and praying.
The encouragement of MBA pastors and others helps motivate Anna. Brad Muller and the Ochre River youth group, along with Lowell Friesen and the Minitonas/Swan River youth group helped set up for the June 8 event. Kevin Klassen and the Whyte Ridge worship team not only led those attending in worship, but also provided equipment for the concert.
Abbie Riddle, Anna’s mom, comments, “The effect of this event is felt in the community in a sense of renewed hope. Throughout the event even those outside of the church showed great enthusiasm and excitement at the thought of an event that focuses on giving hope and direction to youth. One member of the community brought her family from a reserve north of Ashern to come saying, ‘This is just the message he needs to hear, this is what this entire area needs.’ A family attending the event later sent a picture of their young seven year old son with a home-made guitar and a pick signed by Scott Mason of Sky Terminal, saying, ‘Look how excited he is after the concert.'”
Abbie continues, “Band members, speakers, and attendees alike were affected as the Holy Spirit moved during the event. It would be hard to say that anyone who attended left without fully feeling the power of God’s hand at work. Ryan with Give the Word provided Bibles for those who attended and band members, performers and speakers were interactive with attendees.”
Anna’s heart remains the same, “I’ve come across so many broken and hurting kids….no matter what the world tells them, I want them to know they matter to God, that there are people who love and care about them.” She’s in the planning phase for another event next year.
Anna expresses her thanks to the MBA people “who pray for and work for missions and outreach of the lost and hurting in the word, without which this kind of kingdom work would not happen.”
Abbie writes, “Each individual member, every Pastor or leader and those who are leaders within the Association play an important and vital role to the ministry of the Manitoba Baptist Association and each one is making an impact in this province.”
Randy Jaspers, Northern Plains Regional Minister