It takes tragedy to find true life and peace in Sandy Bay
Last updated 1/9/2017 at 5:18pm
My name is Skyler Roulette and I am a German-Canadian Treaty Cree. How so, you ask?
My mom was German and came to Manitoba where she found a job working at a restaurant in Gladstone, Manitoba. That's where she met my father, a Treaty First Nation person from the Sandy Bay First Nation. He started working at the restaurant.
They returned to Germany where they got married and that's where I was born. When I was two, my parents returned to Manitoba where we stayed until my mom's visa ran out. They decided to go back to Germany when I was about four and I spent a total of about 12 years there.
I grew up speaking German and attending schools there. The German people I grew up around, my classmates and friends, didn't really know I was Indigenous. They just thought I was from Morocco or a Middle Eastern country. The people didn't really know about Aboriginal culture and customs. So while there is a lot of prejudice, I didn't experience it personally.
I didn't have a great life growing up. My father was an alcoholic and quite abusive to my mom and me and my siblings. It got so bad Mom finally took us and left. From then on there were boyfriends coming and going; they were also abusive to us.
My dad died in his fifties and not too long after, my mom also passed on. I was placed in an orphanage in Germany for five years until my family members back on the Sandy Bay First Nation worked with German authorities to allow me to come to Canada and back to Sandy Bay.
I used to dance a lot and so I liked the dance tunes, but it wasn't until my mom passed that I really started getting into music especially rap. I never really was good at sitting down with someone and expressing my thoughts and how I was really feeling but through music, I can express myself with so much more ease than just the spoken word.
I never really knew anything about who Jesus is or what He did for me, while I was growing up in Germany. I knew who God was but now I know that back then, I didn't have a relationship with Him the way I have now.
The first time I heard about the good news of Jesus, was when I went to the good news center in Sandy Bay First Nation for the first time and the lady who runs the center asked if I knew that Jesus died for me. I was just like: "uhmmmmm...what?!"
So she started to talk about it and the gospel-the good news about the cross and the Son of God. I just started to listen even though I wanted to play ping pong with my friends. It was kind of interesting and a little boring at first.
The same day Becky Kew-that's the lady's name-asked if I would like to come for a sleepover and a volleyball tournament with some youth from Ebb'n'Flow First Nation, at her home the next day. Somehow, someway, I ended up going.
I can't really remember who won the volleyball match but what I do remember is the movie we all watched together after supper. It was about a young soldier, an ex-athlete who came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior after battling with a lot of things in his life. The story was so powerful and a really good movie with a message.
The next morning we all went to church together and I'm not lying when I say that this was the first time that I experienced the real definition of "friendliness". I had no idea why everyone was so nice to me.
"How are you?" "How are you doing?" "How's your day so far?" All questions like that and a lot of shaking hands with people that Sunday morning. It really bothered me that I kept forgetting their names right after they introduced themselves to me. Ha! Ha!
We heard two sermons, had lunch together and then had Sunday school, and after that, church was over.
To me it was just another day but something about the people and the church made me wonder "why was everyone so happy and not tired or in a bad mood or something? I mean it was like 10 o'clock in the morning. Ha! That's way too early for me!
I kept going to church with Becky and the crew. I liked the people there and the food.
One of the crew members was Jake Beaulieu, a nice dude. When I first saw him, he didn't talk much. I don't know but over time, he opened up more and more and we started talking and hanging out more with Becky.
A couple weeks after that Jake asked if I would like to have a Bible study at Becky's place. I wasn't sure if I should go or not but then again I ended up going and that was the official start of Bible studies at Becky's and then for awhile at the Good News Centre when more people started joining. The Bible study helped me a lot because I had no confidence at all to ask questions at church but in this little Bible study group it was easy to talk.
I kept hearing about the good news about Jesus over and over again and I thought to myself, "it would be nice to have Jesus but I didn't know how and I ended up telling myself "naaaahhh I can still 'get saved' when I'm like 70 or 80 years old." I said that because I wasn't ready to give up my other lifestyle-dating girl after girl and drinking, recording music and swearing. I called it my Monday to Saturday lifestyle. It got worse and worse but I kept getting better and better in hiding the spiritual emptiness in my life.
It was just so hard to understand how I could receive peace in my life so easily. After what I had been through growing up in Germany and for a short time in Canada, peace was really what I needed.
I kept asking myself: "What do I have to do to be able to go to heaven when I die and receive eternal peace? Do I gotta go to church more? Learn some of those verses in my Bible or maybe record a song about it? "I just couldn't figure it out for days, weeks and months.
One night in December, my good friend Josiah asked if I would know how to receive salvation and I tried to avoid this conversation again like I did plenty of times before but this time he didn't let me go. He grabbed his Bible and showed me two stories about two men who both wanted to be saved but only one got saved and received salvation just by believing in Jesus Christ. The other man kept asking what kind of work he should do to receive salvation but that's not how it works. That man ended up not receiving Jesus.
So now I knew how to receive salvation but I still wasn't ready to give up my old lifestyle. Not until that one day-January 1st 2016.
The night before, my friend Jake and I were hanging out and had a couple drinks together. We decided to check out some parties on the reserve. At one party Jake fell asleep and some other friends and I told him to relax and that we would be back in the morning to pick him up. For some reason we went on to check out another party where eventually a fight got out of control and minutes later I looked out of the window and saw this huge black smoke rising up in the air. I asked my friend Kenny if he knew what was happening there and, out of nowhere, I heard someone screaming for Jake a bunch of times until I realized that that girl was screaming that Jake was in that burning building.
A bunch of other people and I started running all the way to the trailer but it was already in flames. I thought to myself "please God, don't let Jake be in that building...please, please, please!"
It was a weird feeling being worried about Jake and seeing all those flames going up in the air. Everyone was screaming for Jake and crying. Tears were coming out of my eyes- it was just weird and scary at the same time even though it was only about five minutes, it felt like hours standing in front of that burning trailer.
I got a ride home and went straight to my room and wanted to sleep but I couldn't because I didn't know what had happened to Jake. The same morning a lot of people started messaging me asking where Jake was but I couldn't answer because I didn't know at that time so I just turned my phone off and laid in my bed until my Auntie came in my room and told me that Jake was in that trailer. I started crying so hard, my whole body was shaking. I can't remember crying like that before.
I grabbed my Bible and kept it in my hands and just walked around in my house.
Becky came right over and prayed with me and my family and a couple hours after my dear friend Josiah came to my place and he sat down with me and talked and talked for quite awhile.
We read a couple Bible verses and came across John 10:28-29 "...and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."
I realized that I needed Jesus so badly because that morning I learned that life could end at any time, anywhere. I looked down and said "I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and I accept Him as my Lord and Savior."
At that very moment, I asked Jesus to take control of my life and I felt that things were going to be different from then on. And with my new life I was willing to go that way because I got help now and a Father who will always keep His promise and in whom I can always trust.
Jesus forgave me and I accepted Him that morning into my life on January 1, 2016.
Jake Beaulieu was and will always be a part of my testimony and I know that I will see him some day again when I see my Savior Jesus in heaven.
Skyler Roulette is an up-and-coming rap artist who has just released his new album Colourful, a project he worked on in conjunction with Grammy-nominated rapper Fresh IE. Skyler lives in Winnipeg but is gearing up for a tour across Canada taking his music and message to reserves and schools, sharing the story of his changed life.
You can listen to his newest single from his Colourful album @ https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/colourful-single/id1141491914
You can also check out his videos on YouTube.