Engage: A spotlight on Christian Mission and Ministry – Fall 2019
Check out the profiles on various Missions and Ministries. Click here.
by Rev. David Hearn, President, The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada
On a park bench at Dalhousie University sits an international student reading a book wrapped in beautifully-coloured paper. It has become a treasure that she carries everywhere. For the first time, she can read the Bible in her heart language.
What she doesn’t realize is a man named Cal Cheng dreamt this a few months earlier. Cal, together with his wife Sharon, were unpacking boxes in their new home in Halifax when they noticed many international students. Moved to pray for them, Cal had a dream these students would own their own Bibles wrapped in colourful wallpaper. Today, this dream has become a new venture of faith. Cal and Sharon are leading a new community ministering to the unreached international students of Halifax through The Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada.
We live in an era of unique opportunity as the church in Canada. Throughout the world, we are noticing a global awakening. God is creating new openness within people to receive the gospel. Like this international student, unaware that a free book was about to become her greatest treasure, people are asking new questions and exploring faith in new ways. In this time of amazing opportunity, the heart cries for Christians across our country to arise and respond!
Part of our unique response to the wealth of new opportunities around the globe is the Jaffray Project. Introduced in 2016, the project brings awareness and raises funds to send and support workers to least-reached people groups both in Canada and internationally. Through the support of our Christian community, we have raised up approximately 250 International Workers (IWs), with more than 40 percent established in countries that closed their doors to traditional missionaries long ago.
Like the international students in Halifax, people across the globe have little or no opportunity to respond to Jesus. Now through this project, hundreds of people are responding to the gospel in their heart language. God is faithful to build His Church!
Through the Jaffray Project, Yazidis in northern Iraq are responding to the good news of Jesus. God is healing deep wounds and bringing hope to families in need. Young Rohingya men who have fled out of desperate circumstances are finding a safe space of learning and belonging in English classes. Waves of Syrian people are coming to Christ in cities where war has left death and devastation. Hope is rising!
In our own Canadian context, many other initiatives remind us that God is delivering to those who believe. Envision Canada is working to identify and develop future missional leaders who innovate, establish, and strengthen communities of faith in key urban environments. Defend Dignity is doing critical work to end sexual exploitation in Canada through awareness, advocacy, and aid. New Ventures is changing the Canadian landscape through seed ministries that eventually become church plants. In Quebec, seven New Ventures are being launched in 2020 among Francophones, Chinese, and Arabic peoples.
We believe it is time for Christians across Canada to rise to their feet and embrace the gift of ministry from the margins.
Join us in supporting God’s kingdom through a movement of Christ-centred, Spirit-empowered, Mission-focused people. The early days of the Christian movement can be repeated in our time among people groups where few or none have heard the word of God.
November is upon us. Before you know it, the holiday season will be here. Dining choices are plentiful in Metro Vancouver, but not this epicurean experience that captivates your palate – explores connection between food, faith and the story of humanity. Theo’s Feast is the first of its kind in Canada.
On December 1, Theo’s Feast founder and chef, Gary Stevenson and his team will take diners on a culinary journey through the story of Christmas at the Cariboo Road Christian Fellowship in Burnaby. The fundraising dinner is organized by Mission Central and Missions Fest Vancouver.
For Stevenson, creating palate-pleasing cuisine is as much his passion as sharing the truth. Hence the birth of Theo’s Feast – a unique dining experience where gourmet dishes developed with an edible metaphor would convey the gospel truth from a visual and taste perspective.
No ordinary Christmas dishes
One thing that is striking about the five-course Christmas Chef’s Tasting Menu is an intriguing fusion of the old, with its biblical connections, blended with innovative modern recipes with surprising flavours.
Parson Brown, roasted chestnut and fennel soup. Fennel is a rich antioxidant herb used in biblical times. Mr. Grinch with its east and west mix will tickle your taste buds with sweet peas cooked in green curry and mint, garnished with wasabi peas and pork crackling.
Tasting the Shepherd’s Ragout will awaken one’s imagination of shepherds’ cooking in the open fields while tending their flocks on the night Christ was born. The rich and flavourful lamb and fig ragout is served over a bed of potato kugel with goat cheese topping. From ancient to modern, Clark Griswold’s Christmas Feast features Turkey Wellington with sweet potato and silky French-style mashed potatoes.
The meal ends with a delectable O Tannenbaum dessert, a Christmas tree crafted with white and dark chocolate and winter wassail (hot, spiced mulled cider often associated with Yuletide) with lemon on the side. Before nibbling on the tree, you get to savour a miracle berry experience, where your taste buds detect the sour lemon is actually sweet.
“The miracle berry,” says Stevenson, “is used to illustrate a taste of grace. People have a perception that the Christian faith is just a moralistic religion. Upon discovering the truth, their perceptions change. Grace is a transformation of the heart when you encounter Jesus,” explains Stevenson.
“The feast is designed to enliven your senses and inspire Gospel-centred conversations around the dinner table with your friends,” adds Stevenson. It’s an inspirational evening of hope, flavourful delights, music, movies and stories created for the adult palate.
Delicious and fun feast
On Theo’s Feast website, a diner is quoted saying “I really enjoyed the connection of food, science, and theology – very fun, thoughtful and delicious.”
Special dietary needs may be accommodated if sufficient notice is given. Theo’s Feast has hosted over 2,000 dinner guests in Canada and the United States since its inception in 2014.
Ticket price is $60 per person. Invite your friends. To help support Mission Central and Missions Fest Vancouver, whose passion is to help believers in Christ to be more missional, diners are encouraged to consider donating $50 or more per person above the ticket cost.
Donations are eligible for a tax receipt, but not the ticket cost. Reservations at www.missioncentral.ca/events/a-christmas-feast-fundraiser.
Theo’s Feast (theosfeast.com), a ministry of Power to Change, is looking for community groups to host small feasts – potluck style in their own homes – as a way to build community and reach out to their neighbours. They are also looking for volunteers for December 1 and other upcoming events.
From her earliest days, 11-year-old Salem Keogh remembers her mother packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for children in need. Now, she’s leading the way for her Calgary family to provide gift-filled boxes for 10,000 children.
“You should help as many kids as you can because God loves everyone,” said Salem, explaining the impetus for a family project called Salem’s Dream.
“I’m not more important [than children in the developing world] just because my family has some money and lives in a richer country,” she continued. “God wants as many kids in His kingdom as possible, and that’s important.”
By the time Salem was six, her family was filling shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items and school supplies for about 250 children each year. Michelle, her mother, asked Salem how many she thought they should be packing. “I told her I wanted us to do 100 x 100 boxes,” recalled Salem, who makes shoebox items, does speaking engagements, packs boxes and oversees quality control. “Mom asked if I knew how many that was, and I said 10,000.”
‘Nothing is impossible with God.’
At this point, Michelle takes up the amazing story. “I said ‘that’s impossible’ and Salem said ‘nothing is impossible with God’, and I said ‘ouch!’ In my head, I believe nothing is impossible with God but, at the same time, I knew how much work 10,000 shoeboxes would be, and I wondered where we would put all the contents and all the boxes.”
Practicalities aside, Michelle said, “I just felt in my spirit I had to encourage this dream, because what would I be telling Salem if I didn’t support her?”
Fortunately for the family, Salem’s goal of 10,000 boxes is not meant to happen in one year. Working together, the family increased its shoebox total the first year to about 800. Each year since then, the Keoghs have packed between 600 to 900 annually. Michelle estimates they’ve done 3,000 shoeboxes, about 30 percent of their goal.
Moments of thanks to God
Along the way, there have been challenges and moments of thanks to God. The thanks comes from volunteers, as many as 15 each year who make shoebox contents (such as clothes and barrettes) and come to the Keogh home to pack boxes. “We turn part of our house into a giant packing operation with different gender and age groups,” Michelle explained.
Volunteers also helped them collect items for an annual Salem’s Dream garage sale, which raised money for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Friends and family members donated items, while Michelle monitored social media and Kijiji for free items. Each garage sale raises between $1,000 and $2,500.
The Greatest Journey transforming lives
Salem and her mother thank God that whenever possible, children who receive Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are invited to attend The Greatest Journey, Samaritan’s Purse’s 12-lesson evangelism and discipleship program.
Since 2009, the Lord has used The Greatest Journey to bring more than ten million children and their families to faith in His Son. Praise God! The Keoghs’ challenge? It’s a big one: as of September, Salem’s dad, Patrick, has been without full-time work for two years. But that hasn’t affected the family’s commitment to helping children in the developing world through Operation Christmas Child. “It has stretched us,” Michelle admitted. “(But) we trust God, and we’ll keep doing what we’re asked to do, and God will provide in His season or time. We’d never wish this on anyone, but it’s brought so much good for us to really depend on God.”
Visit SamaritansPurse.ca/OCC for more information on Operation Christmas Child, including how you can transform lives through this vital ministry and help more children learn about Christ through The Greatest Journey.
HOW TO PACK SHOEBOXES
Giving children in need hope through Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts is easy!
1. Find shoeboxes: you can start with average size cardboard or plastic shoeboxes. You can decorate your boxes, too.
2. Decide who you’re packing for: Pick your gender and age range (2-4, 5-9 or 10-14).
3. Fill your boxes with gifts: select quality toys such as dolls, deflated soccer balls with pumps, or stuffed animals. Then add other toys, hygiene items and school supplies. You can also include a personal note and photo with each box.
4. Pray for the children who will receive your shoeboxes, that God will use the gifts to change their lives for all eternity.
We want a revolution in the church.
We have been discerning that God is stirring up people’s hearts to follow him more passionately, but before that can happen, there needs to be surrender to Him. As mentioned in last month’s article, we need to know God and His holiness, hear God, and obey God. If you have an interest in mission, then consecration is something you need to invest in, because mission isn’t about what we do, it’s about Christ living through us.
Consecration can often be misunderstood. Joshua says to the Israelites in Joshua 3:5, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Another meaning of consecration would be complete dedication. When we think of complete dedication, it’s easy to think about what we have to give up. If I’m going to be completely dedicated to training for a marathon (so I’m told), I have to examine the food I eat, my relationships, use of free time, sleep – the list goes on. If I’m going to be completely dedicated to God, I’ll also have to look at all aspects of my life, and consider what adjustments have to be made to put God first.
Julian of Norwich was a 14th century anchoress, that’s someone who lived a solitary life in a small cell attached to a church. Hidden away, she devoted herself to a spiritual life. What emerged from her experience was a book entitled, Showings. In it, Julian recounts sixteen revelations she received from God. Together, these revelations paint — with incredible depth and beauty — the love of God for Julian and for us. Her consecration, or devotion and dedication to pursuing God, opened the door for her experience of God.
While we may not be ready to live in a cell attached to a church, consecration is as much for us as it was for Julian. At the end of Chapter IV in the shorter version of Showings,
“God wishes to be known, and it pleases him that we should rest in him; for all things which are beneath him are not sufficient for us. And this is the reason why no soul has rest until it has despised as nothing all which is created. When the soul has become nothing for love, so as to have him who is all that is good, then it is able to receive spiritual rest.”
Consecration is much more about the “goal”, than the giving up. For Julian, giving up everything of earthly value was worth it because she gained everything she truly needed and desired – Jesus!
Another way the “goal” has been described is with the analogy of the “pearl of great price”. In Matthew 13: 45 it says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” The thing we’re looking for is our deepest desire; attaining it isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a joy.
Consecration is the groundwork needed to receive a fuller revelation of Jesus. In the process, we’ll discover what needs to be surrendered.
Undoubtedly, people will read this article and ask, “Is consecration really necessary? I’ve already given my life to Christ. I already go to church and small group. What more is there?”
In return, I’d say that we should be discontent with where we’re at until our lives resemble the biblical narrative a lot more. Colossians 2:9,10 says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”
So, where are the salvations, the healings, the freedom, the sacrificial living, reconciliation and social transformation? At a personal level, where is the fruit of the Spirit? Where is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, purity, holiness? The fullness of Christ should be self-evident in his people. If it’s not, then we need to ask whether Jesus is our greatest desire. Do we want him? If the answer is “yes”, then take the time to consecrate yourself. The promise to us is simple: God will meet us because he has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Eph 1:3)
Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology, talks about how all our actions should be done in Christ. He says, “To become a Christian is to enter the newness of the age to come, and to experience to some degree the new powers of the kingdom of God affecting every part of our lives. To be ‘in Christ’ is to be in that new realm that Christ controls.” (p 843) Are you hungry for a revolution?
In the lead-up to Missions Fest Vancouver, we are inviting followers of Jesus in the region to enter a season of consecration. Starting on November 25, Mission Central will be posting weekly devotionals written by local pastors to help us reflect on what it means to live the surrendered life and its connection to mission. Our view is that there is no mission without the surrendered life. Since we’re all called to participate in Christ’s mission, that means that the surrendered life is essential for all of us. If we’ve entered “the newness of the age to come”, we should anticipate both the power and presence of Christ in our day-to-day lives.
Consecrated – On November 14 we’ll be hosting a ministry time for pastors with Darrell Johnson. Tickets required.
Tuesday Prayer Time – Join us on Zoom at 12 pm to pray for God to transform our churches. Link is at Mission Central.
Devotionals – Visit Mission Central starting November 25 for weekly devotionals.
Mission Central and Missions Fest Vancouver exist to foster collaboration and networking of people who are passionate about serving Christ in his mission. For more information visit www.missioncentral.ca
Fighting against enough personal challenges to make a small army crumble, Susan Janetti returns every year to the impoverished country of Zimbabwe where she grew up – so she can help starving orphans, widows, and whole communities to survive hunger, disease, and poverty. This is the same place where a soldier once struck her Dad so hard, he was left a quadriplegic. Her story is one of unwavering perseverance.
Janetti and her family moved to Canada virtually penniless, but from this new beginning, she persevered, and established the Zimbabwe Gecko Society in 2009 to feed, heal and care for the hurting people left behind in her homeland. She runs an innovative ministry to bring containers of supplies to Zimbabwe, build health and wellness centres and libraries, to name a few projects. She also inspired an annual medical team of B.C. doctors and nurses to bring their gifts of healing to the impoverished country!
“All of the Canadian doctors, headed up by Dr. Ray Markham, make a huge difference, running medical clinics and giving First Aid instruction,” says Janetti, noting the huge challenge of delivering medical supplies from Canada to different hospitals and clinics in Africa. She also works with Dr. Paul Thistle at the Karunda Mission Hospital.
“I am now officially Dr. Suess!” jokes Janetti, with a play of words on her name. “What can I do to help you?” is a phrase that is never far from her lips.
She is excited about a recent meeting that took place with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health, a team of University of B.C. [UBC] health providers, local doctors and citizens and community groups to plan for medical stability in Zimbabwe.
It is truly a breakthrough, a first-of-a-kind initiative! The “Zim-Can Health Initiative” is a new UBC medical elective that focuses on relationship building and capacity-building in Zimbabwe. Dr. Raymond Markham and Dr. Gurdeep Parhar, UBC Clinical Professor, Department of Family Practice, recently coordinated medical efforts at the Karanda Hospital, the Hope Centre, and many of the Gecko Society clinics. “The people we trained in First Aid and Midwifery worked with the doctors, side by side, and gained many skills. The Canadian doctors benefitted as well, building their knowledge about the struggles of third world countries and tropical illnesses,” says Janetti. “Each year we meet the Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe and share ideas and improvements we can make. This benefits the relationship that Canada is building with the Government of Zimbabwe.”
What do preschoolers, widows, goats, computers, gardens and a spiritual centre have in common? They are all part of Janetti’s master plan for healing!
She and her team recently converted an old dilapidated barn into a holistic community centre to bring hope and healing: mind, body and soul. In the middle of the Rasper Community Center is a church to heal the soul, surrounded by facilities to give people practical self-sustaining skills for a better life.
The church is at the hub with facilities built around it, almost like a shopping mall but without the materialistic stores of the West. The Community Wellness Centre, for example, is equipped with hospital beds, cribs, wheelchairs, blood pressure cuffs, and medicine.
Meanwhile, men and women are invited to go to the Garden Centre to borrow wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels and all kinds of tools, as they are taught, “Farming God’s Way.” The garden is already flourishing! Janetti and her team love to teach the people how to grow and sell produce so they can become self-sufficient.
She created the Innovative Goat Sharing Program to generate milk and cheese as food for families. It started with 100 goats. Two pregnant goats were then given to each widow and were not allowed to sell them for three years. By the end of this time, the number of goats grew to 1,000. Goats typically have twins, so when a woman has six goats, she is taught to be generous and to give one goat away. Another widow is taught the same methodology. One widow shares a goat with another widow and so the multiplication effect blesses everyone. The plan allows for each woman to have enough food to feed the orphan children in her care as well as their own family and also to teach them the gifts of entrepreneurship and acts of kindness. An Innovative Chicken Sharing Program is based on a similar model. These animal sharing concepts have been going for 10 years and are now replicated in many villages.
Meanwhile, in the Carpentry Centre, complete with bolts, screws and nails, people are trained to use the routers, hand saws and hand drills, and other equipment. It’s a happy mix of activities. The Zimbabwean people build beehives, for example, and sell the honey to generate income, and, of course, to eat. They also build window frames, beds, desks, etc. to earn an income and to reinvest in the community.
“The entrepreneurship model, coupled with the virtue of generosity is highly unusual for Africa,” said Janetti. “We stress the idea that if you build up your community, everybody will be better off!”
The Early Childhood Development Centre, where children loudly sing, laugh, and play is the best equipped in Zimbabwe, featuring brain games, puzzles, toys, cars, dolls, and books. Janetti hopes to build a school there in the future. The Community Centre also features a store selling items such as second-hand clothing, pots and pans as well as food. The proceeds help to pay for electricity and water to run the facility. Without the store, it is a 10 kilometer walk to try to buy anything.
She makes her ministry work sound easy, but in fact, she has moved mountains, trying to save children who were dying, and later stood around their graves in tears. She has faced the wrath of local witch-doctors who set traps for her, and overcame their superstitions with prayer and God’s strength.
Her ministry is run under the auspices of the Evangelical Free Church of Canada, which provides tax receipts for donations.
To contact Janetti, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Throughout her 39 years, Chit and her family have farmed near their remote village in Myanmar, raising a few cows and meagre crops. They were poor — too poor to even visit the big city of Bangkok in Thailand where opportunities lie. In fact, Chit was only able to attend up to grade four in school. She was married at nineteen and had four children before she was thirty. Her husband, a carpenter, got some occasional work but never anything secure. The family depended on themselves, selling some crops for income, but their farm was small, and there was never enough. They were often malnourished and sick.
Despite leaving school so early, Chit says, “I am always interested in learning, especially when I know that the training will benefit my children and the children of the village.” So last year, when she heard about the EMBRACE project, she joined immediately.
EMBRACE is a four-year project funded by the Government of Canada to improve the lives of approximately 100,000 people in Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Rwanda, especially women and children.
The program trains community volunteers in better nutrition, healthcare and household agriculture and more. The program is facilitated by ADRA, a Canadian Christian charity, part of a global network of offices working to alleviate poverty.
Chit joined for the training in nutrition and gardening. But she was soon delighted to discover EMBRACE included much more, from maternal and child health and development, to vital aspects of cleanliness, to new ways of thinking about family.
Some were simple concepts that we take for granted in Canada, like creating a clean environment to keep water clean, or washing hands and food when preparing meals.
The impact on their lives was immediate and profound. “We were provided high quality seeds, some tools and supplies to help us get our garden going.” The farming lessons taught Chit to maximize what they have. For instance, how to make natural pesticides and use their cows’ dung to fertilize crops. They learned how to start seeds in small nursery beds in a protected area, sheltered from the hot sun.
Once the seedlings are robust enough, Chit transplants them into a properly spaced garden. “We have also learned how to raise chickens”, a potential health hazard itself, if not done right.
One lesson tied into another. That’s how it went with the cultural lessons, which boldly question accepted gender roles. “We learned that whatever women can do, men can also do … we should share household tasks and help each other. Even though my husband did not attend the EMBRACE training … he has started helping me a lot around the house … cooking meals and cleaning.” Groups frankly discussed the many levels of abuse. “I used to only know about sexual abuse.” EMBRACE taught them about physical, emotional, oral, economic, partner abuse and even cyber-bullying.
Today, Chit and her family cultivate carrots, pumpkins, squash, cabbage, tomatoes, long beans, egg plants and watercress. Some were new tastes for my family” which they love! Her kids also noticed how much better their own organic vegetables taste than those they used to purchase in the market.
The ADRA EMBRACE training has transformed life in Chit’s village. “We have learned so many things that have improved our lives. We hardly ever get sick anymore and are so much healthier.” She thanks all of Canada.
Learn more about EMBRACE at HeartForMaternalHealth.ca.
Some people think it is only “missionaries” who carry out the mission of God in the nations of the world. Truth is, those who remain behind can be equally involved.
By reading this publication, you are already engaging in mission – you are learning about what is happening in Canada and around the world.
You can expand that learning by obtaining a copy of Operation World and reading about all the countries in the world. Operation World will give you an overview of each country, including population size, political structure, religions practiced and challenges for prayer.
Another learning option is to read biographies of missionaries – those who have served and those who are still serving. Start with Canadians like Isobel Kuhn, who was from British Columbia, or Jonathon and Rosalind Goforth, who were from Ontario.
Taking Perspectives or Kairos courses will also give you a deeper understanding of the mission of God. Both courses are offered locally, generally through churches.
Another way to be involved in mission is by praying. R.A. Torrey said: The man or woman at home who prays often has as much to do with the effectiveness of the missionary on the field, and consequently with the results of his or her labours, as the missionary.
One of the greatest needs that mission agencies have is for more people to serve. The workers have always been few but Jesus said there is an answer for this problem: “Pray to the Lord of the Harvest.” How do you know what to pray? Use mission publications like this one as a guide and pray through what you read. Pray also in response to news stories you hear.
Oswald Smith, founder of The Peoples Church in Toronto, wanted to be a missionary but was considered too frail to serve. He said: “If I can’t go myself, I will send someone else.” As a result, Peoples Church, has given millions of dollars away in support of missionaries and their work.
By giving financially, people help mission organizations carry out the work God has called them to do. One small donation combined with others makes it possible for people to serve. One small donation combined with others makes it possible for a mission office to function.
But giving isn’t just about donations. You can also give of yourself:
• Use your professional expertise and volunteer to help in a mission office.
• Write letters or emails of encouragement to missionaries. Connect with them through your church, through friends or through a mission agency.
• Share a meal, loan a car or offer accommodation to missionaries who have returned home on furlough.
There is a fourth way to become involved in the mission of God. Whenever you can, encourage others to help advance God’s work in the world. You can start by giving someone a copy of this magazine!
– Linda Haist, Middle East Christian Outreach
Let’s say you are heading to Liberia and want to get a sense of the advancement of the Gospel there – where would you look? Or, God is asking your small group to pray for unreached people – do you have to develop your own prayer guide, or might there be one your group could use?
No matter how you’re called to participate in Christ’s mission, whether here at home, heading overseas for a vacation or leaving the country to live, there are resources you should become familiar with. They’ll help you participate in mission in a meaningful and informed way. Below are short descriptions of six great websites that will expand your knowledge and hopefully deepen your passion for following Christ into His world.
Centre for the Study of Global Christianity
The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary is best known for the World Christian Encyclopedia but has lots of great online resources for everyone. Their “Quick Facts” are interesting to peruse. If you’re looking for accessible statistics, check out their Infographics and Maps.
World Christian Encyclopedia
Dr. David B. Barrett was the originator of The World Christian Encyclopedia (WCE). He arrived as an Anglican missionary to Kenya in 1957. It was out of his work on church affiliations that the idea for this globe encompassing encyclopedia was born. The first edition of the WCE took over ten years to complete and included information on 22,000 denominations worldwide. The third edition of this publication will be out in early 2020. Passionate missiologists find it helpful to explore the demographic profiles of Christians in 234 countries and the quick reference tables with “country by country” statistics. A great resource for a church but a bit pricey for most people.
In 1974, at the Congress for World Evangelization in Lausanne Switzerland, Ralph Winters changed the strategic direction of Christian mission by suggesting that mission agencies needed to target people groups and not operate according to political boundaries. In 1976, Ralph Winters went on to start the U.S. Centre for World Missions in Pasadena, California. In 2015, the Centre for World Missions changed its name to become Frontier Ventures. Frontier Ventures is known for risk taking innovation and collaboration. Their website hosts a great blog, podcasts and links to affiliated organizations who have noteworthy resources in their own right.
The Joshua Project, an affiliated organization with Frontier Ventures, has an incredible variety of resources focussed on, “Bringing definition to the unfinished task.” Their people group profiles, and Vision Resources are particularly helpful for those who want to pray and invest strategically. They even have children’s resources so that the whole family can be involved in developing their missional IQ.
Every Christian should be aware of the Lausanne Movement. This movement was a seed planted in the heart of Billy Graham and showed its first sprouting leaves in the 1974 Congress on World Evangelization. The first documents produced by the movement, the Lausanne Covenant, were drafted by a committee chaired by John Stott. The meeting format that produced the Lausanne Covenant has been improved on and has resulted in several ground-breaking documents including the Manila Manifesto and the Cape Town Commitment, as well as dozens of occasional papers that are essential resources for missiologists around the globe. Visit www.lausanne.org and enjoy the huge gift this represents to Christians around the globe.
Linking Global Voices
It has been said that the future of mission is in networks. Networks are great platforms for joining together people, organizations and churches around common causes. Linking Global Voices provides access to hundreds of networks from around the world. Using their search engine allows you to search the world for networks where your passions are shared. If you or your church are interested in finding ways that you can contribute to Christ’s mission in the world, this is a great way to begin.
Almost every church supports missionaries, but few have a comprehensive program in place for their care while in the field, and maybe more importantly, after they return. Many missionaries struggle when they return to Canada. For children born overseas, the struggles can be even greater. That’s the beauty of the More Network. They have developed resources and programs to help your church support your missionaries at home and abroad. Over the last few years, they have even developed summer programs to help third culture kids process their move back to Canada and the loss that sometimes accompanies that transition.
This is just a sampling of some of the tools that can be a help as we follow Jesus. You can find links to these resources and more at www.missioncentral.ca. As Jesus said, “the fields are white.” I’d encourage you to dive in, explore and anticipate that God will nudge you to love a ‘neighbour’ you may never have been aware of.
As rich as these resources are, believe it or not more are needed. We could use long range studies on how effective we are at making new disciples; more information on shifting ways that Canadian’s are participating in Christ’s mission; more information on the impact of globalization and secularization on the church and mission here and abroad. If you’ve never supported a resource ministry before maybe, consider doing so in the coming year. Good data leads to good decisions and wise action.
by John Hall.
Mission Central and Missions Fest Vancouver exist to foster collaboration and networking of people who are passionate about serving Christ in his mission. For more information visit www.missioncentral.ca.
Burkina Faso is becoming a hotbed of extremist activity and violence, as Islamic extremists continue to move in from Mali. The Africa Center for Strategic Studies has reported that the total number of deaths as of the end of September 2019 by Islamic extremism is almost 400. This is more than double the number for the whole of 2018.
This vast increase in murder and violence is a terrible sign of the growing power and capability of extremist groups in the area.
These groups include the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, the Macina Liberation Front, and Ansarul al Islam. Their activities have led to mass displacement and need for aid. Over 289,000 people have had to flee their homes to other host communities since the beginning of the year. Another 1.5 million people are in need. Finally, over 330,000 children have been forced out of school because of the closure or destruction of over 2,000 schools.
The rise of extremism and jihad in the Sahel has caused mass migration and displacement of people from other countries as well, including Mali, Niger and Nigeria.
The world must help end this fighting, protect these children, and ensure that West Africa does not have a bloody and terror-filled future.
Please pray for all those living in Northern Burkina Faso, not only Christians. Though Christians have been threatened and executed, the country as a whole is suffering. Pray for safety and provision for these people in their time of need.
Pray for the people of West Africa who are suffering in great numbers at the hands of those who hate Christ.
Source: www.persecution.org (ICC)
Stillwood Camp & Conference Centre
Many know Stillwood for its excellent summer camp programs, but our programs and ministry are far more extensive than our July and August camps. At Stillwood, we host up to 50,000 guests each year. As thousands of guests come though our gates, we have the opportunity to develop relationships and share our love of Christ. As a camp and conference centre, we work hard to not just serve our guests, but show them the love of Christ. In this way, our ministry extends throughout the entire year.
As a Christian ministry aligned with the British Columbia Mennonite Brethren church, Stillwood’s goal is to engage everyone that comes though our gates to mature spiritually, mentally & physically. We hope that you will join us as our guest and in ministry. For more information on how we can serve you, contact our office at email@example.com.
More info: www.stillwood.ca.
This is your invitation to become involved in the work the Lord is doing through Insight for Living Canada, building His church in this country.
Isn’t it exciting to be invited by the Lord to participate in His work together?
Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 are a great reminder of what we’re working for, “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.”
We sow the seed of God’s Word and we can’t do that without you standing with us. It is God who mysteriously and miraculously causes it to grow and bear the fruit of changed lives.
You can RSVP your acceptance of Jesus’ invitation to work with Him through Insight for Living Canada by visiting insightforliving.ca/donate.
Spend a summer living out the gospel across Europe with the Ten2 Project! Our name comes from Luke 10:2, where Jesus says that “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” Ten2 is a unique, 11-week summer program that gives college students an insider opportunity to see God at work in Europe with European and Greater Europe Mission (GEM) Christian workers.
If you want to impact your world for Christ, keep your eyes on Europe because of the incredible opportunity it represents in global ministry. Europe is unreached, influential, and connected in a way that no other field is! Find out how you can make a difference and participate in this incredible, life-changing summer at ten2project.org, and see what others have to say on Instagram @ten2project and #ten2project.
One Bible transformed our family.
My name is Shawn. It’s because of Give the Word that my family now knows Jesus. I had received a Bible from them for free at a time in my life when I was searching. Our family was never religious but I had questions. This Bibles answered those questions and after reading that Bible, It was undeniable, I needed Jesus. My wife noticed that my life was changing and asked if she could borrow my Bible. I didn’t want to give it, I was underlining and reading every chance I had. So, we contacted Give the Word and they sent my wife another copy. About 3 months later, my wife also accepted Christ. She contacted Give the Word again to thank them for their ministry and how their willingness to make the Bible free and available had changed their family. They also sent two more Bibles for both our teenage children and they too accepted Jesus. Huge thank you to Give the Word. I encourage anyone out their to either continue to start supporting them.
Visit our website at www.givetheword.ca
To read more stories like this, follow our Facebook page @givetheword
Call us at 204-803-5773
Long before “beyond meat” became popular, people and animals had a vegetarian diet!
Genesis 1:29-30 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant….You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth… I have given every green plant for food.”
Adam and Eve (and the animals) enjoyed this abundance from God. But then Adam’s sin resulted in a cursed world, making food much more difficult to grow. Worse yet, sin brought both physical and spiritual death into the world. Sin’s curse also introduced death to the animal world.
Our planet was radically changed again when God judged the world with a globe-covering flood. After that judgement, He gave permission to expand our diet to also include meat:
Genesis 9:3 “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”
We don’t know precisely when animals transitioned to carnivory, perhaps shortly after the curse, or perhaps after the great flood when God gave the animals “fear and dread” of people. We have seen such carnivorous changes in modern times; farmers have witnessed sheep that began to eat chickens, and cows that started to eat sheep!
But just as in the pre-cursed creation, God will restore peace to animals. Isaiah twice described our harmonious future when the wolf and the lamb will live side-by-side (without eating each other) and the lion will graze like an ox. There even exists modern examples of reverted carnivores: a lion and a shark that both refuse to eat meat! (Google it!)
Thanks be to God, we can look forward to a future with restored access to the tree of life with its 12 crops of fruit (Revelation 22). And the last enemy “death” will be destroyed!
This past week I spent a part of each day at the ICU in St. Paul’s hospital. My adopted sister, a mother of three, is on life support. After a very difficult childhood, caused by trauma inflicted by residential schools in her family, drugs had become her pain medication. As we pray for God to heal and restore her family, the Inner Hope community is walking alongside them, providing a community of support and a place of stability.
Even as we experience this pain and brokenness, we celebrate how God’s power and healing touch restores lives. We remember that this fall has been truly remarkable. After many years of mentorship, discipleship and support, several of our young adults have entered post-secondary to develop their God-given talents! They are beating the odds. Only 9.8% of Indigenous adults in Canada hold a University degree. Learn more at: www.innerhope.ca.
Jenny Shantz, Executive Director, Inner Hope Youth Ministries
Seafarers come from many countries and, in order to provide for their families, they sacrifice time with them dealing with loneliness and isolation and in doing so bring us 90% of what we use to live.
That is why the Mission to Seafarers is a ministry to seafarers of presence and hospitality, going onboard ships, providing transportation and centres they can relax in ‘a home away from home’, offering a smile, a listening ear, being instruments of the good news.
It is a response to the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:35 “For I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you cared for me.”
You can find out more about MtS and how to support the seafarers at www.flyingangel.ca
Sharing our Abilities and Experiencing Life Together
Bethesda supports people with diverse abilities and their families through services such as staffed homes, shared living, community inclusion, assisting people who live independently, summer camps, employment services and services for families. As an organization committed to Jesus’ call for unity and diversity in the body, we esteem everyone’s value and contribution. It’s why we prefer to think of people having diverse abilities, rather than disabilities.
Staff talk about growth they receive from the relationships they build with the people they support. As Svetlana, a support worker in Abbotsford put it, ‘our work helps us discover part of what it means to be a human, made in the image of God. He designed the world so that our work benefits others.’
Bethesda is a nonprofit, Christian organization supporting about 300 people and their families in the lower mainland and Okanagan. We welcome people with a serving heart to apply at www.BethesdaBC.com.
There is an unhealthy trend in discipleship today that keeps Christians from maturing in their Christian growth: “Doing everything for them.”
There is an old saying, “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” The desire to make Christian growth easily available and easy to digest has contributed to a lack of Christian discernment and growth. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “In fact though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” There was the same lack of true growth at the time that Hebrews was written as there is today.
So what can be done? The purpose of Discipleship International’s ministry is to see Christians move from infancy, to adolescence and onto adulthood in spiritual maturity. We accomplish this by focusing on real transformation that can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ and equipping those being discipled with tools and disciplines to grow and learn from Christ on their own, followed by teaching and modeling for others to do the same. If you are at a place in your spiritual maturity where you desire to grow, then contact us and get started! “Equip To Serve” classes start every January and September!
The CSB club in Waldheim, Saskatchewan is starting their fifth year of Brigade. They are a community of about 3,000 people. The staff of CSB attended their Stockade Kick-Off Barbecue. They had 55 of their 57 registered boys in attendance. At the church, 29 Battalion teenage guys were having their second meeting. That’s a huge buy-in from the community, but it is a two-church effort.
They inspired a pastor in Fairview, AB to try the same thing. He’s working with five churches in his community. God established CSB to build men of today… and tomorrow. But it’s the man in the local church who God engages to make it happen. Every community needs CSB for their boys.
CSB builds Godly men of today and tomorrow through resources, training and certification.
Check out how you can partner with CSB at www.csbbc.org and start a Christ-centred midweek club in your community.
“At times while fetching [water], we would face bad men who would try to assault us. We are not free in this way,” Amina, a young Muslim student in Tanzania explains what life was like before a deep-capped water well was drilled in her village. In the past, she would have to walk a long distance to an old water point that put her safety at risk.
Amina is just one of six people whose stories will be shared in Global Aid Network’s (GAiN)’s first-ever documentary short film Beyond the Well. Visiting various villages in Togo, Tanzania and Benin, Toronto film crew Analog joined GAiN to capture powerful stories of individuals who experienced wholistic positive change after their village received a deep-capped water well from GAiN.
“I’m really excited about the upcoming documentary short film because it’s going to tell a story of what occurs in a village beyond the installation of a water well,” GAiN CEO and Executive Director, Ray Sawatsky shared. “We focus on water so much that we sometimes don’t take time to reflect on the amazing transformations that take place in a village, such as the spiritual, economic and social impact, which are benefits that follow the well.”
GAiN helps to reveal hope and restore life through relief and development initiatives for people living in crisis and injustice. Since 2004, over 2,000,000 people have been wholistically impacted by GAiN’s water and church mobilization strategy.
Beyond the Well will be shown at Metro Cinema in Edmonton on September 28. Patrice Lavagnon, GAiN’s country manager in Benin, will give a brief update on what’s happening in the field as well as an art exhibit featuring people and places GAiN serves internationally.
For more information, go to globalaid.net/events.
Harini, Aditi, and Saachi live in Bangalore, a city at the center of India’s high-tech industry. Awake at 4:30 am, they leave without breakfast to climb through dumpsters and walk the streets looking for bits of rags, paper and plastic they can turn into a few rupees. Known as “rag pickers,” they cover their faces with rags to protect them from the filth and stench – just to get a few cents every day so they can eat.
By mid-afternoon, they are begging, and by nightfall they may have to sell their bodies to make a few more rupees. When they finally get to rest, their little bones are too sore to turn over and their souls too wounded to dream. Tomorrow will be the same as the day before.
But because of child sponsorship, these sweet sisters have a brighter future. They are now enrolled at a Good Shepherd school where education unlocks their God-given potential. The girls walk to school – past the dump – with their heads held high, excited about the day ahead. They spend their day learning, laughing and playing, which heals their weary bodies and tired souls. They learn English and begin to dream about their future: they believe in tomorrow.
For 3,000 years, 250 million Dalits, just like these sisters, have lived under a caste system which has held them in such bondage and spiritual tyranny that there was never any hope – or any thought – of escaping.
Dalit Freedom Network’s mission is to bring hope and empowerment for India’s poor and low caste children, by proving access to quality Biblically based education in English, resulting in their spiritual and socio-economic freedom.
Join the movement today: dalitfreedom.ca.
Love is mostly an unknown word to the people of the Middle East. They are much more comfortable with the word, mercy, and most often attach those attributes to the word love. So how can they understand the love of God unless we show them what it looks like? In Gary Chapman’s assessment of the five love languages, which one do you believe is the one most likely to reach into their heart? We believe that it is “time.” Before deciding to reach those from the Middle East, may I suggest that we consider the cost first – can we give the time to make the difference? If so, we will have been able to show what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and that becomes our expression when we love our neighbour.
Let’s walk together – visit us at www.mecocanada.ca.
Satil is a bosun (deck foreman on a cargo ship) from India. From Bihar state, he appeared to be about thirty five years of age. A Lighthouse chaplain met him while visiting his ship in North Vancouver.
Satil asked the chaplain for a Hindi language Bible after recognizing that the ship visitor was sharing God’s Word on his ship. Not having the requested item, the pleasantly surprised chaplain offered the seafarer a Hindi Gospel of John which he accepted. But, Satil really wanted a Bible and, by God’s grace, received one the day after his initial request. At that time he told the chaplain that he was not a Christian but liked the words of Jesus very much.
Satil showed a great openness to Jesus’ words; God is drawing seafarers to the Lord. Might you consider volunteering your time to point seafarers, such as Satil, to Jesus?
Working in Community
Matt Dirks has been with Communitas Supportive Care Society for nearly four years, currently serving as a program director. Since 1974, Communitas has supported people from across BC who live with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, and acquired brain injury. Matt has a special connection to Communitas as his brother, Richard, lives in a Communitas home.
“Having an older brother with developmental disabilities has really impacted me,” Matt says. “I see God’s hand of blessing and his purpose in having Richard as my brother.”
Matt values the compassion of Richard’s caregivers and the genuine love they hold for his brother. As a staff person himself, he has come to love working in this field. When asked what he enjoys most about his work, he offered two things.
“One of the best parts of my job is being interrupted by the individuals we work with. I am so often encouraged and blessed by their enthusiasm and unconditional affection,” he says. “My second favourite part is working on spreadsheets.”
Being a program director gives him the opportunity to work alongside managers and support workers, ensuring that the individuals served by the organization receive the best person-centred care possible. It’s work that gives him great satisfaction.
“At Communitas, I have fun and work hard while engaging with significant issues facing society,” he says. “I enjoy coming to work as the culture is one which embodies the values of relationship, excellence, and community.”
For more information about careers at Communitas, visit CommunitasCare.com/careers
By: Darren Pries-Klassen, CEO
Some years ago, my wife’s great uncle and aunt were visiting from Germany and my family travelled to my in-law’s home to visit.
One morning, as I headed upstairs, I heard my great uncle offering a prayer. Hmm, I thought, breakfast is being served. I’ll just wait at the top of the steps where they can’t see me until they’re finished so I don’t interrupt them. I soon realized this was no ordinary, memorized table grace spoken out of obligation. This was a prayer from the heart. It was deep with gratitude – gratitude for the gift of family, food, and a chance to live in peace.
As I listened, I heard my great uncle’s voice falter as he offered heartfelt thanks to his Creator through tears. I was stunned. Until that day, I had never heard someone cry during a prayer offered before a meal and I have never heard it since. When he finished praying, a simple meal of porridge, juice and toast was served.
All four adults at the table that morning had lived through the evils of the second world war. And although too young to understand the hardship that shaped their relatives’ gratitude for the simple things, it made a lasting impression on my daughters. It made a lasting impression on me too.
Gratitude breeds generosity, and that deep appreciation for what we have frees us to give with open hearts and hands. One of the lessons we learned from sharing that time with my relatives is that, even if the gifts we give are of modest size, they can mean everything to the person who receives them.
Abundance Canada is a faith-based public foundation, registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). We help people realize their philanthropy and giving potential in their lifetime and beyond. Visit abundance.ca to learn more.