I once had a summer job as a bank route driver. Every week from Monday to Friday I got up at about 4:30 each morning and went to the airport to pick up all of the bank bags for my particular route. Their contents had been processed the night before at a clearing centre in Alberta. I then brought those bags to 12 banks in towns like Southey, Dysart, Lipton, Fort Qu’Appelle, Abernethy, Neudorf, Grayson, etc. I drove to each bank and put the bag in the appropriate slot; the one that’s locked and usually located right beside the night deposit drop box. When I got to my last bank, a CIBC branch located on the Cowessess First Nation Reserve beside Crooked Lake, I dropped off the bag and began my five hour layover. After my layover I made the return trip, picking up all the bags on my way back to the city.

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This was a great summer job. The money was decent and though they were long days all I really did was drive from town to town. It didn’t take long for me to develop a routine and the first thing I did when I got to my layover point, after the CIBC drop, was head to the clubhouse at the golf course and order bacon & eggs, which probably didn’t help at all when it came to controlling my cholesterol. Then I’d go park in the shade under a big tree beside the lake, lock the car doors, set my alarm clock, and read my bible till I fell asleep. No stress with this job!

One of my towns on the route was Abernethy Saskatchewan. I’m an avid fisherman and the thing I noticed the first time I entered the village, my drop in Abernethy was a Credit Union, was a great big sign that read: “Welcome to Abernethy; the home of Len Thompson”, and the sign had a great big red and yellow five of diamonds fishing lure on it. Now… you’d be hard pressed to find a fisherman who hasn’t used that hook, or doesn’t have a ‘five of diamonds’ or a ‘red & white’ spoon in their tackle box. I was excited. This was the home of Len Thompson! For that entire summer, every day as I entered the town of Abernethy, I found inspiration from that sign. Such humble roots and small beginnings had produced a legend of a man, and a fishing hook that was known world-wide!

Len Thompson began tinkering with his lures as early as 1929. He believed that the slow wobbling action which antagonized game fish into striking could be created with a more intricate combination of shape and weight. Always looking for better results, he carried a file and ball peen hammer in his tackle box to perfect his already very successful prototypes. He perfected his product by fishing in the Fort Qu’Appelle chain of lakes close to home, and he began ‘producing’ the lures in smaller quantities in his house in 1945. Everything was done by hand. Small beginnings!

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Today Len is an icon to many fisherman, and his name is on every lure the company makes. His spoons have held world records for Lake Trout and Arctic Grayling as well as numerous provincial records in Walleye, Trout and other game fish. Now the fishing lures are manufactured in a large 14,000 square foot manufacturing plant in Lacombe, AB., by about 20 employees. And it all began with a very simple start in the tiny village of Abernethy, Saskatchewan!

When I think of Len, and I think of Souls Harbour Rescue Mission, or any dream for that matter, this verse comes to mind: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10.

Souls Harbour Rescue Mission was born out of small beginnings! Gerri Carroll began to serve the poor on the street, with a milk crate as a stool and a coffee pot in hand. Ken & Michelle Porter began a recovery program in a dilapidated ‘crack shack’. Small beginnings! , yet today Souls Harbour Rescue Mission has served more than 1,500,000 meals, given away more than 300,000 pieces of clothing and provided in excess of 55,000 nights of emergency shelter! In addition to this, those participating in our addiction programs have received more than 50,000 hours of class time and over 1,800 counselling sessions!

Sometimes we just need to step out in faith.  Maybe follow a hunch or a gut instinct. Often a simple start can lead to big things. Now… I’m not telling you to move forward blindly or anything crazy like that. Taking the time to think things through can go a long way. It’s important to do one’s homework, but did Len or Gerri ever imagine what their actions could produce? Sometimes you just need to get started.  Small beginnings!

So… what’s your idea? What’s the dream you’ve put on the shelf. What do you fear? My point in all of this is to encourage you in pursuing those things. And I know it’s become somewhat cliché today, but it’s true, you can’t walk on water till you get out of the boat. If you do that, well… who knows what you can accomplish!

And ya, I had to use the walking on water comment, I mean, the fishing analogy and all! Get it? And that would be my dry sense of humour coming out now.

Be blessed in what you do,

Joe.


Joe Miller – Executive Director

Joe Miller is the Executive Director for Souls Harbour Rescue Mission. After working in the manufacturing industry for many years, he felt called to move from 'building things' to 'building people.' He has a passion to see the people that walk through the Mission's doors, get the help they need; whatever their situation may be. He enjoys fishing and the outdoors and often finds God in the stillness of nature. He writes here his thoughts on poverty, society, faith, and his reflections on life.