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Henry Steinhauer's missionary work began in 1840 when he was assigned to Lac La Pluie to assist the Reverend William Mason in translating, teaching and  interpreting. He moved to Sunday BookNorway House in 1842, where he met James Evans, a colleague with like interests. Both were linguists and equally proficient in Greek, English, Ojibway and Cree. Evans had devised a syllabic script for the Ojibway language and prepared a similar system for Cree. Using these resources, Steinhauer translated bible verses and hymns and copied them into "Sunday books" to be used for worship. By 1846 he was the chief translator at Norway House and translated significant portions of the bible into Cree. In 1851 he was directed to open a Methodist mission at Oxford House, 200 miles (321.9 kilometres) northeast.

In 1855 Steinhauer was ordained and posted to Lac La Biche. Officially, he worked under the direction of Thomas Woolsey, but in reality functioned independently. He remained at Lac La Biche from 1855 to 1857 and, with the help of Benjamin Sinclair, opened a school, the Temple of Academe. The Lac La Biche Mission did not have much potential for growth, however, because of its distance from buffalo herds (and thus the Aboriginal communities), and contentious relations with the  First Service - Whitefish Lakealready established Roman Catholic missionaries. Steinhauer consequently moved his mission and his school to Whitefish Lake, a much more suitable location and where he created a bustling agricultural and Christian Aboriginal community. In 1864 he opened the first Protestant church in the region. Steinhauer remained at Whitefish Lake for more than 20 years, with a brief interruption in 1873-74 when he was posted to Pigeon Lake.

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