Engage: A spotlight on Christian Mission and Ministry
Check out the profiles on various Missions and Ministries. Click here.
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
MISSION FEST ALBERTA
It is hard to open your computer or read a Christian magazine these days without hearing about “the war on Christianity” and hear believers lamenting on how horribly they are being “persecuted.”
Persecution is not new. It’s been around since the Old Testament era. Persecution began early in the New Testament when King Herod attempted to kill Baby Jesus. As He later ministered, Jesus experienced it repeatedly. You only need to read the book of Acts to see the opposition and persecution that followed all those in the early church who shared the gospel message of hope in their broken and hurting world. We learn persecution is because of Jesus in us, as He said to Saul on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME?”
The Apostle Paul writing to Timothy made this incredible statement: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” (2 Timothy 3:12). This verse is in the context of what things will be like at the end of the age. People will love money, pleasure and themselves and not love God. In this cultural and amoral setting, anyone promoting the Jesus way, and living a godly lifestyle, can expect to be persecuted The culture of Western nations is moving further and further away from biblical morality. And it sometimes feels as though we’re powerless to do anything about it. The speed at which the sexual revolution has rewritten right and wrong is breath-taking.
The President of the well-known Moody Bible Institute and Theological Seminary, J. Paul Nyquist, warns in his book, PREPARE, “Get ready. An exciting yet terrifying era is beginning for believers. As cultural changes sweep our country, we’ll soon be challenged to live out what the Bible says about confronting and responding to persecution.”
On the other hand, the brilliant author and social critic, Os Guinness, in his new book Impossible People, believes that we have not yet reached the tipping point of no return. His assessment is that “the present stage of history and the character of the advanced modern world have combined to throw down a gauntlet before the church in the West that is as decisive as Rome’s demand that Christians offer incense to Caesar as lord…and it must be answered with a courageous no to everything that contradicts the call of our Lord — whatever the cost and whatever the outcome.”
On May 5, 2015, Joseph Callahan wrote a column in the Huffington Post titled “The American War on Christians.” In the article, he concluded with these words: Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer…” (John 16:33 KJV), and the Apostle Peter said, “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name,” (1 Peter 4:16 NIV). So, not only should Christians expect persecution, but they should embrace it as a way to glorify God and be more Christ-like. The last thing they should ever do is complain. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (1 Thess 5:18 ESV).
– Paul Estabrooks, Missions Fest Alberta Keynote Speaker 2018 & 2019
The beautiful Maldives archipelago, located in the Indian Ocean, is a popular holiday destination for sun-seekers and lovers of water sports. However, despite its external image as a luxury holiday destination, the Maldives is one of the most difficult places in the world to be a Christian. With a population of 450,000, less than 0.2% (less than 900) are Christian.
Islam is the only recognized religion and the tiny number of Maldivian Christians are ostracized, discriminated against and carefully watched. Non-Muslims are not permitted to hold public positions and many Muslim Maldivians harbour a negative image of Christianity, in part because of the perceived immorality of Western tourists.
In 1998, authorities initiated a brutal crackdown on Christianity. Police rounded up and arrested around 50 believers who were imprisoned and tortured. The constitution now states that “a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives.” Propagation of any religion other than Islam is a criminal offense. Maldivian Christians found with a Bible in their home also face potential imprisonment.
In 2016, the government passed a Defamation and Freedom of Speech Act, which criminalized comments against “any tenet of Islam.” Anyone convicted faces a fine as high as 5 million rufiyaa (about $320,000), and those unable to pay can be imprisoned for 3 to 6 months. Restrictions on religious freedom apply to both those living in the country and to tourists. According to Maldivian law, “non-Muslims living in or visiting the country are prohibited from openly expressing their religious beliefs, holding public congregations to conduct religious activities or involving Maldivians in such activities.” Visitors who break the law can be fined or deported.
In December 2017, President Abdulla Yameen publicly stated that there is “no room for any other religion” than Islam in the Maldives.
A small community bus driver wrote us asking for help. “Groups of mostly boys board our buses and cause disruptions. Drugs, alcohol, profanity, aggression etc. Security is stretched… This looks like a prime opportunity to invite these boys to Battalion.” CSB’s Battalion ministry is certainly for young men. Its practical adventure brings God’s Word into the real world without being preachy. But Battalion and CSB need the partnership of local men. Few are willing to step up to lead these lost boys, and fewer churches are willing to support them. What does the Lord want? For us to reach out to these normal young men right where they are. And, it starts with manly action in Christ.
CSB builds Godly men of today and tomorrow. We provide resources, training and certification. Check out how you can partner with CSB at www.csbbc.org/alberta 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.
Aftercare Ministries (ACM) Society is a not-for-profit Christian outreach ministry that exists for the purpose of faithfully and prayerfully proclaiming the good news of the cross of Jesus Christ to those incarcerated in prison. We are grateful when God allows us to witness as the seed of His word bears the fruit of a transformed heart. We work in the prisons to share this message of hope and assist in transition from prison to society.
Through involvement in the prison ministry following incarceration, ACM has become more familiar with the plight and special circumstances of offenders, ex-offenders, and their immediate and extended families. The aftercare needs are numerous and significant, and the opportunities for Christian service virtually unlimited. They include: pointing individuals to the transforming power of Christ, assisting the new believers in one-on-one ongoing long-term friendships, mentoring, connecting to a biblical community, and providing discipling and guidance through incarceration and the transition to freedom.
ACM works with other agencies and Christian ministries to access appropriate community resources for participants. This is the joy and privilege of this type of ministry and if you would like to volunteer or support our work, please contact us at 403-540-5736.
God’s Littlest Angels is a Haitian orphanage. It was founded by John and Dixie Bickel in 1994, when a nearly two-pound baby girl was born at the hospital in Fermathe. Because of her size, she was not given much of a chance of survival. However, through the efforts of the Bickels, Angel Noel went home to her parents after four months. Today, GLA offers short-term assistance to children needing a place to stay due to bad health or the death of a parent, but who are not up for adoption. These children will return to their families once their circumstances improve. Some cannot return to their families and are waiting for adoptive parents.
Sign up today for a “Donate your change round-up giving account”. When you make an everyday purchase using your chequing or PayPal account (credit/debit card), you will be giving your spare change to help GLA. It is rounded up to the nearest dollar.
Your donation of $1 per day will help GLA cover the basic expenses so we can focus on other supplemental services.
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.