MARITIMES – Venus Cote grew up with her grandparents on the Cote Reserve in east-central Saskatchewan after her mother passed away. She remembers, right from the start, being surrounded by alcoholism. “It was the only life I knew,” she recalls. “It was how my family dealt with hurts and losses.”
In spite of all this, Venus doesn’t regret her childhood. “My grandmother did the best she could … there were many good times, too.” Venus is thankful for the values taught at home, and that, because her grandmother never spoke English, she learned her Native Saulteaux language.
Venus first heard the Gospel at age 14 and in the following years the Lord brought several Christians into her life. Unfortunately, she was most often turning to alcohol to deal with her inner struggles. In fact, she drank very heavily; and she recalls the occasion when, after checking into a hospital, the doctor told her that he was surprised she didn’t have liver damage from alcohol poisoning.
“I lay in that hospital bed thinking about my life,” recalls Venus. “Twenty-four years old and nothing to show for it … The Lord brought back to my memory everyone who shared the Gospel with me.”
All by herself she prayed to receive Christ. That was January 1985 and there’s been no turning back.
It was while attending Key-Way-Tin Bible Institute that Venus not only became better grounded in God’s Word, but she got excited about her many opportunities to minister. She assisted missionaries and shared her testimony in prisons, churches, and schools. Most significant, she says, was her summer spent on the East Coast with the Northern Missionary Training Course missions program.
In her final year at KBI Venus felt called to serve the Lord full-time among her own people. In 1989 she applied and was accepted by two missions. As she prayed for direction, she chose Northern Canada Evangelical Mission, but remembers it as “a tough decision.” The other option would have enabled her to work solely with children and young people, something she had wanted to do.
Her intentions were to serve somewhere in the West, and she thought she had specified “Central-Field” on her NCEM application form. So, she was surprised to be assigned to the East. “But because of respect for authority and obedience to God, I didn’t say a thing,” reveals Venus.
“But this is home now,” she says. “This is where my heart is … I’m a transplanted Maritimer! The Lord has given me a genuine love for the Maliseet people of New Brunswick,” says Venus. “I have found great opportunities to serve among them. I would give my all for them … do whatever I can to help them. I’ve made some good friends [and] they have adopted me into their families. They even call to check up on me.”
Venus Cote (RFC, Sioux Valley) lives in New Brunswick. This article first appeared in issue 474 of Northern Lights, the periodical of NCEM. It is used with the permission of Venus and NCEM.