Above Photo: Sheila and Trevor Braun with their eight children at the Landmark Fire Department.
by Sheila Braun, Providence Alumna
The missions bulletin board at Providence University College always intrigued me with its latest postings of volunteer and mission opportunities. I loved the idea of travelling overseas to do God’s work, and although I made inquiries, my feet remained on prairie soil.
After receiving my TESOL Certificate from Providence, I continued my education at Brandon University and began a teaching career in Steinbach, MB. My dream of working oversees was thwarted when I married a dairy farmer and was blessed with eight children. Making a difference in the world seemed confined to ministering to my children at home.
Having a heart for infants, my husband and I were saddened to hear in June 2022 of a newborn’s body found in a back lane garbage bin in Winnipeg. Shortly following this event, Life Culture Canada posted on Instagram that no fire station in Manitoba was willing to install a safe surrender box.
Since my husband is a volunteer firefighter with the Rural Municipality of Tache at the Landmark Fire Department, I contacted him, and he brought forward the idea to his superiors. The municipality approved our request for a safe surrender box and we were so excited when we learned that Landmark Fire Department would become the second fire hall in Canada to house a Hope’s Cradle for the safe surrender of infants. Landmark is an ideal location since it’s centrally situated between Winnipeg, Steinbach, and other surrounding communities.
Our vision for Hope’s Cradle came to fruition in January 2023 when the box was installed. It is a temperature-controlled and self-locking box with a bassinet (or cradle) inside. When the exterior door is closed, it cannot be reopened. The person who surrenders the baby has 30 seconds before an alarm sounds to alert and notify emergency workers who come to care for the infants and transport them to the hospital. (In the case of a change-of-mind, there is a period of time when a biological parent can come forward and claim the baby as their own.)
I am reminded that, even though I am not working and living abroad, my mission field is right before me in my own neighborhood. The eternal value of a human soul motivates missionaries to go overseas and minister to unreached people groups around the world; however, it is this same value that lives inside of me as I do my part to care for families in my community.
Providence taught me that I may not be able to do EVERYTHING yet I can do something.
To learn more about this story, read this article published on steinbachonline.com.