Making a difference
by Jack Taylor
A recent poll from the Angus Reid Institute in their partnership with Faith in Canada 150 showed Canadians are split on whether religion is good or bad for the country… 21% think religion is very good and 19% think it is very bad, 60% are split on whether it is partially good or bad.
Religion seems to be the talk of the town in Ottawa. In November and then through the nation during the last month of various holidays, two parliamentary committees held hearings on religious freedom issues involved in bills M-103 (Islamophobia) and C-51 (religious disturbances); Governor-General Julie Payette questioned God’s role in creation; and the Supreme Court wrestled with issues involving Jehovah Witnesses, First Nations Spiritual Rights and Trinity Western’s ‘Christian’ Law School.
Over the next few months I’d like to share some stories of a few quiet saints which give us reason to think that more people ought to be choosing the good option when it comes to religion (Christian faith in particular) and its benefit for Canada.
Joy Manuel was born in Peshawar, Pakistan to two Christian doctors. Her mother experienced a miraculous healing and worked not only in medicine but also in evangelism. She came to Canada with her husband and mother in 1974 where she worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
In the 1980’s Joy’s faith in Jesus became deeply personal as she helped found an Indo-Canadian ministry at South Abbotsford MB Church with David Manuel.
Encouraged by a Japanese workmate, Joy pursued her dreams and finished her Early Childhood Education training. She has now worked 35 years in childcare – the past 15 years with New Hope Childcare (a non-profit ministry), which she helped start in Vancouver.
In 2009, Joy was awarded the Cultural Harmony Award by Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson for her work with refugees and the children of new Canadians.
Joy and her staff have now cared for over 300 children and their parents through New Hope – demonstrating and teaching values that will build character and hope in a changing world. Parent training and daycare staff training reinforce the practices of the centre.
Joy is nearing retirement but continues to invest in staff and parents. She recounts a single parent who was escaping an abusive marriage. Joy helped her by picking up the four children from home so the mom could finish her teaching degree at UBC which enabled her to eventually buy a home and successfully raise her children. She has much gratitude for Joy.
When asked about what advice she had for parents in these changing times, Joy says “Stay strong. If times are difficult God promises to be with you. We live with hope and we don’t believe in vain. With forgiven sins and resurrection hope we realize this isn’t our final home – we have better things ahead. Children need to be taught how to deal with loss, rejection and pain – it’s a part of life. We have to build strong relationships to help them last.”
Joy’s huge investment in the hearts of children is a reason to believe that our Christian charities are striving for the health of our communities. We don’t need legislation from the Supreme Court to verify this.
Perhaps you know of a believer making a difference in your community. Take the time at the start of this year to acknowledge them. Perhaps a short note to the Light Magazine could be included in future articles. firstname.lastname@example.org