A road winds towards the mountains, illustrating how Chris Schuman was undaunted by rural ministry and followed God's path wherever it led.

Writing the Unfolding Story of VM Canada

This post concludes our "As the Lord Leads" series--the story of how Chris Schuman and Village Missions helped rural churches without a pastor in Canada. If you're new to this series, we invite you to start with the first installment, "A Single Woman Undaunted by Rural Ministry".

We see the hands of an older woman holding a pencil as she writes the story of VM Canada.For thirteen years, Chris Schuman traveled thousands of kilometers around Canada as she looked for potential VM fields and potential Village Missionaries. She spoke to many strangers, presenting the ministry of Village Missions. And wherever she was – at her mother’s home in Saskatoon or on the road – she wrote letters that told the unfolding story of VM Canada.

Chris kept up a regular correspondence with Rev. Walter Duff and his wife, Edith. She typed letters to churches and typed reports about her visits to them. She wrote to friends she made on her travels, people who hosted her and became ministry partners, Friendship Bible Coffee groups and Stonecroft Women’s Clubs. She wrote to her mother and sister. Her typewriter must have been her constant traveling companion!

When Chris retired in 1982, she had boxes filled with copies of all her letters and reports as well as letters she had received. The boxes were a treasure trove of her experiences, her observations on rural Canada, prayers and answers to prayer, and stories of God’s work.

A History of VM Canada

In later life, Chris married (pictured here) and wrote the story of VM Canada.Chris settled in Saskatoon. A few years later, she married Herb Shauf, a man she had met at one of the Bible colleges she regularly visited. “I stayed in Herb and Chris’s home many times,” Roy Adrian said. “Their relationship was beautiful.”

In 1992 Roy and Lennie became District Representatives. On one of their visits to Chris, she told them about a writing course she was taking. “I’d like to record the history of VM Canada,” she said.

But Chris’s eyesight was weak. She struggled to read her reports and type them into a computer. She asked Roy to help her. After all, Roy and Lennie were among the early Village Missionaries in Canada (read here to learn about their first field, Middle Lake, SK). They understood the VM lingo and were familiar with places and people she wrote about.

The process was long and slow. Chris sent reports and letters to Roy. He typed them into the computer and sent a printed document back to her. Then Chris marked what she wanted to include in the history and changes to make.

When Chris died in 2009, everything was on the computer, but the manuscript was very rough. A few years later, Roy resumed work on it following the instructions Chris had given him.

The Leading of the Lord: A History of VM Canada 1968-2000 is about Village Missions, yes, but it also provides a glimpse into the personality and life of a tenacious, courageous woman.


Chris’s Closing Thoughts

We will end this blog series with some of Chris’s closing thoughts in The Leading of the Lord.

I was sent to Canada, to go as the Lord leads, and find areas to send a missionary pastor and his family. My work was made difficult because the Work was new in Canada, and people were cautious.

…Obtaining housing was a real problem. Rural people often thought of missionaries as rugged individuals who could and should do without. Often too, the small groups were not able to afford the cost of more adequate housing. The missionaries, by and large, appreciated the situation and pioneered the way for better future facilities. This wasn't easy and made their work more difficult, but as the Lord blessed, they saw it as their part of blazing the trail.

It was a time of learning for all of us. I found that the time I had spent in nursing activities across Canada was particularly helpful, and realized more and more that the preparation for our work often begins before we have even committed our lives to Him. How important to take each opportunity for learning and getting the most out of it for some future time. Hindsight is so much easier than foresight, isn't it!

The Lord’s promise was for direction and provision. I often stood in amazement at His timing only to find out later that someone had been praying specifically at that time for my guidance.

…After some years, I did a mental calculation and decided I must have stayed in 1600 different homes, sleeping in that many different beds, being hosted by many wonderful people, stuck in countless mud holes, and had endless miraculous escapes when visibility was poor. Is it worth it? One person’s reaction could tell the story when this person said to me, "Chris, don't ever give up on them. Remember if you had, I wouldn't be a Christian today!"

…We do and must "Thank our God for His Good Hand on the Work” and remember that He says, "For without me you can do nothing."

Chris (Schuman) Shauf

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