In the spring of 1999, Inuit Jackie Koneak, who works for the government of northern Quebec, was repairing a snowmobile in the village of Kuujjuaq, which sits above the Arctic Circle. He heard an announcement on his radio about a Christian renewal conference being held at an arena nearby, and hoping to reconnect with old friends whom he thought might be there, he decided to stop in. He left the snowmobile parts lying on the floor, and with hands still blackened with motor oil, stepped into the arena for a short respite from work.He stayed the whole day at what turned out to be a charismatic conference. When the speaker asked for people to come forward for prayer, Koneak went. "Something was pulling me," he recalls. "I wanted to experience what others did." He kept going back each day, and by the end of the week, he was a newly baptized believer.A church-based charismatic renewal in Canada's remote Arctic region has deeply touched the lives of thousands of people like Jackie Koneak. But revival hasn't come without controversy, and northern Canadian Christians are striving to harmonize this new wave of Christianity with their native culture and their historic ties to older, established churches.

Don't be a dead caribou

Inuit people in northern Quebec (an area called Nunavik) and the new territory of Nunavut (formerly part of the Northwest Territories) are spread out across Canada's eastern Arctic—a massive and inaccessible area with only 35,000 people. Life in a small village of fewer than 2,000 people is all that many Arctic residents may know.Some villages claim 40 to 60 percent of their people are born again because of the recent revival meetings. "Many of these communities have been completely transformed, right up to the ...

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Canada: Fire and Ice
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October 23, 2000

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