Engage: A spotlight on Christian Mission and Ministry – Winter 2019/2020
Check out the profiles on various Missions and Ministries. – Click here
Is He Worthy?
by Pastor Syd Bergsma
It was a strange feeling, after 24 consecutive years of driving teens (and adults) to Mexico for our church’s annual mission’s awareness trip, I was sitting across from my successor asking, “How did it go?” The last trip I took in 2018 was 100,000 km. Yes, I am a little strange, 100,000 km of sitting in vans with teenagers listening, laughing and enjoying them, had been the highlight of my year for as long as I could remember.
Before this trip, we had had a few conversations…me, the old guy having just finished 27 years of youth ministry in the same church, encouraging my young successor, who had many more years to live before he would turn 27. He was looking for direction and struggling with inherited expectations of ongoing Mexico trips; I had encouraged him to find his voice. What was God telling him? What grabbed his heart and motivated him? Don’t be stuck feeling like you inherited something that wasn’t a fit, I had told him!
So here we sat just a few days after his return, his eyes were alive with energy, excitement, and life. He had initiated this coffee; it had sounded urgent that we meet ASAP. Before I could ask how the trip was, he blurts out “I’m going!” Going to where? I’m going to… He names a country where there was little to no witness for Christ. A country that holds a very different worldview and faith system. A country that many have never heard of and few can find on a map. Yet, somehow in the last two weeks, God had pounded a passion into his heart for this country as he had physically pounded nails into chipboard in the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico. He had been on these trips numerous times before, yet this time it was different.
Now here we sat, me once again blown away by God’s gracious and loving hand moving gently but firmly directing a willing heart towards his divine purposes…you purchased people for God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation (Rev. 5:9). God had done the heart work, now he was doing his homework… this was going to be a tough, long road just to get there. The cost has already been high. Degree number two will be starting soon, a mission agency has been engaged, an entry strategy is coming into focus, mentors have been talked to and put in place.
And here I sit, the same question I asked many years ago, “Is He Worthy?” is again being answered by another as they say with every fiber of their being, “Yes, He is worthy of my one and only life!”
So, let’s turn the tables for just a moment…here you sit reading this article…maybe this is the start of your day, maybe it’s the end of it…but the question is still the same… “Is He Worthy?” If the answer in your heart is “YES”, or even a small “yes,” stop and take a few moments to write down what you can do over the next week or month to move yourself and someone else forward in that journey. One tangible step is planning with a group to attend Missions Fest Alberta 2020, February 21-23. Take someone with you. I did last year; we wandered through the displays and chatted with people who have their fingers on the pulse of what God is doing in many parts of the world. This group I took had never heard of Missions Fest and it sparked some good and exciting interest and discussion. And a little thought ran across my mind, maybe in 10 years, I will be privilege – to revisit this article for a third time…because when all is said and done, He is worthy!
By Emily Montesano
Looking over his dusty field, Wolde remembered a time when his family’s 30-acre farm was lush and vibrant. But inheriting land split between his siblings meant that his farm was both limited and overworked. Six months a year were marked with hunger, with only one meal per day to sustain him and his family.
But this is not God’s heart. In John 10:10, Jesus tells us, “I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
We know that God is good, and is for His people. He created us in perfect relationship with Him, to enjoy His good gifts and abundant blessings. God is working to redeem the whole of creation. He is in the business of restoration. Fifty years ago, Wolde’s family farm in Ethiopia was vast and full of life, filled with trees and abundant harvests. But as the family grew, the land was split into smaller plots, and more land was needed. Trees were cut down to make space. The soil became overworked and sandy, and heavy rain washed a lot of it away.
Wolde inherited poor soil. With no other options, he was forced to try to make ends meet with what he had. But no matter how hard he tried, he could never grow enough to provide enough food for him and his family. For half of the year, they only ate one meal a day. His children became weak.
But then he heard that the local church was teaching farmers a new type of farming – called conservation agriculture – one that could increase his crop yields by 3 to 4 times! He couldn’t believe it was true, but had little to lose. While he was there, the trainers taught Wolde how to replenish the land with compost, mulch and minimum tilling. He also learned about God’s heart for restoration.
Wolde got to work. He replenished his dusty fields into healthy soil and began reaping higher yields! He soon had a harvest large enough not only to feed his family but to sell as well. The amount of time required to maintain his crop reduced, he experienced new community and received a new heart for God’s creation. “The soil is now improving, and it’s growing better yields. We are seeing the difference within months,” Wolde exclaimed joyfully.
Catching a glimpse of God’s heart for restoration in his own family and community, he decided he couldn’t wait to tell others and became an ambassador of this mission in Ethiopia. He shared, “The basic principle of conservation agriculture starts with our relationship with God, our neighbours, and the resources God has given us. In Ethiopia, we have destroyed the environment as the population has grown. This has affected the land, our communities, and our churches. We are now involved in a restoration movement.”
Poverty is a result of broken relationships; relationships with God and people, within ourselves, with each other, and with creation. Any attempts to address poverty must focus holistically, not only on the economic aspect of poverty – but the social, emotional, and spiritual aspects as well.
Thanks to God, Wolde’s field is now thriving and providing him and his family with what they need to live life to the fullest. He eagerly tithes to his church and builds relationships with his neighbours. He is always smiling.
The teaching Wolde received was part of the ministry work of Tearfund. Honouring God’s mission of restoration and inviting others into seeing His earth restored. Acting as Jesus’ hands and feet, giving people the resources they need to lift themselves out of economic, social, emotional and spiritual poverty.
Learn more at www.tearfund.ca.
edited by Al Coats
When American troops pulled out of Syria, and Turkish troops moved in to establish a “safe zone” in northeast Syria, there were understandable concerns about the safety of the people living in this area. Turkish authorities gave assurances that their forces would not persecute religious minorities, including a significant number of Christians. However, recent reports have indicated otherwise.
Troops were reportedly told to not physically harm any Christians. However, that has not stopped them from driving civilians who practice Christianity out of their homes and land. Armenians and Syriac Christians in the region have been intimidated and forbidden access to their land, keeping them from harvesting their crops. As a result of the takeover, combined with bombings of towns and villages in the area, many Christians have been forced to flee. Witnesses describe it as a “soft ethnic cleansing.”
Along with the danger posed by invading Turkish troops, Islamic extremist groups — including self-proclaimed ISIS terrorists — have been emboldened. On November 11th, an Armenian Catholic priest, Hovsep Bedoyan, was murdered by gunmen, along with his father. Two others in the vehicle were also injured. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist group has also been responsible for some bombings that took place on the same day near a Chaldean church in Qamishli, leaving six dead.
Please remember the family and friends of those killed in these recent attacks. Also, for the many displaced civilians who have lost their homes, land and livelihoods. May they be encouraged and strengthened as they sense the Lord’s tangible presence among them and witness His miraculous provision for each of their needs. As for the political unrest, pray that the ministry of the Holy Spirit will bring greatly-needed peace to this volatile region.
Source: http://www.persecution.net (VOM)
This year we extended an invitation to our listeners and readers. We invited you to partner with Insight for Living Canada as we plant the seed of God’s Word in the Lord’s ongoing work of building His church.
To those who have supported this ministry through prayers and finances, thank you.
Every week, our programs air 2,000 times across the country. On top of that, thousands of people stream Insight for Living online or on mobile devices, read our devotional emails, or purchase books and CDs. The Word of God is reaching Canadians. Jesus is building His church and lives are being changed.
We are continually reminded of by the phone calls, emails, and letters we receive that Insight for Living Canada is in a spiritual partnership with God and with people like you.
We cherish your friendship with Insight for Living Canada. Thank you for standing with us.
On a cold December night outside Chicago, young Joe Coughlin introduced his Sunday school class to a new idea: Christian Service Squad. He worried that though his boys lived like Christians on Sunday, they were anything but during the week.
That was 1937. Things have grown worse. Few boys attend church on Sunday; men even less. Most congregations do little for the boys or men in their churches or neighbourhoods. As a society, though we lament the loss of Christian values in our schools and government institutions, we hesitate to go into the community to change it.
Please pray that the Lord will raise up workers to go into the fields to win and train boys and young men for Christ. Become a volunteer yourself. Encourage your church to reap the harvest. If not you, then who? Who else will build your community for Christ?
Check out Christian Service Brigade: www.csbbc.org/alberta.
“I can feel my chest tighten as the living room door closes. My son is home. Did he go to school today? Has he got drugs in his bag? Will he even tell me the truth? I haven’t even seen him yet and already a thousand worries are flying through my mind. What can I do?”
“The reason we needed a place like Rock Solid Refuge was because of the years of abuse and neglect my grandson suffered. I got custody and tried every available resource I could find, and he only seemed to be going backward. When I found Rock Solid Refuge, I felt so guilty leaving him with complete strangers. Since graduating, he’s continued to grow spiritually and socially. I didn’t know if there was any hope, but he really has changed!”
These are common stories of pain, struggle, and hope renewed. If you’ve ever been in that place of desperation, you know that you would give anything to get your child or grandchild back. We provide Christian residential treatment and education to adolescents with life-controlling issues. Role modelling, relational influence, and authority is our primary means to see maturity, responsibility, and charity developed in teens.
Christmas is fast approaching and bringing with it excitement in the air. The Calgary Dream Centre is looking forward to the opportunity this season brings to make dreams a reality – Dreams of overcoming addiction, reuniting with family, and taking positive steps forward.
As Calgarians across the city celebrate family, hope, and community connection, it can make the most vulnerable among us feel increasingly isolated, broken, and alone. While community strengthens ties, homelessness and addiction can cause them to fray or even break.
This Christmas, the Dream Centre is looking for people to join them in providing recovery, connection, and hope, giving everyone the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
“I didn’t really have dreams when I was in addiction, didn’t really think of dreams,” says Vanessa Kerwin, graduate of the Dream Centre’s Women’s Recovery program.
“It might sound corny, but I feel like my dreams are now coming true.”
For those caught in cycles of homelessness and addiction, simply having a dream can seem impossible. Thankfully, recovery changes that.
By giving to the Dream Centre this holiday season, you can provide a holiday meal that nourishes, a home to keep someone warm and safe, and most importantly, the support necessary to help someone on their path to their dreams.
Joel Kingdon’s story is a testament of this. “Until I moved in with my dad at age eight, I grew up in a really abusive home. There was a lot of drugs. A lot of alcohol,” he says.
“I became a pretty violent kid. If you looked at me wrong in high school it would be a street fight for sure. I got into a lot of trouble and had a lot of anger. It all links back to the abuse in my childhood.”
This sent Kingdon into a blur of broken relationships, incarceration, and homelessness that lasted for years.
At his lowest point, Joel lost his daughter due to addiction. When they took her away it was his wake up call. He finally reached out for help and found the Dream Centre.
“I graduated on August 8, 2018 which means I’m over a year sober. This place works but you gotta want it. In my eyes, the Dream Centre saved my life.”
Kingdon is now reunited with his daughter, working full time, and happy.
“I never thought any of this would happen. It’s just slowly all coming together. Your Dreams absolutely do come true. I can finally be a good parent my daughter deserves. There is a purpose to me breathing right now,” says Kingdon.
By believing the dream this Christmas, you can support others like Kingdon. You can give at calgarydreamcentre.com/donate, by calling 403-243-5598 or in person at the Dream Centre on Macleod Trail S.
On average, two people die every day in Alberta as a result of suspected opioid overdoses. Since 1986, Teen Challenge Canada has offered hope and healing to addicted men at the Alberta Men’s Centre – a 12-bed addiction treatment centre in Priddis, just outside Calgary. In light of the growing demand for rehabilitation services, Teen Challenge is building a new, expanded 24-bed Alberta Men’s Centre.
“Our current 12-bed facility consists of an old farmhouse converted into a dormitory, plus several ATCO trailers used for offices and classrooms, which does not give us enough room to operate our faith-based program and provide dignity to the men,” says Centre Director, Greg Cornelsen. Instead of renovating these aging structures – and having to shut down their much-needed beds – Teen Challenge Canada is constructing a purpose-built facility on the property. “There has been a waiting list for the Alberta Men’s Centre for as long as I can remember,” says Teen Challenge Canada CEO, Glen Smeltzer. Adding more dorm rooms, bathrooms and classrooms will allow for flexibility in the program. Most importantly, there will be beds for 12 more men to get the help they so desperately need.
Teen Challenge Canada now has three centres in the Prairie provinces – a men’s centre in Allan, SK a new women’s centre in Hague, SK, plus the Alberta Men’s Centre. When the expanded centre in Alberta is complete, Teen Challenge will offer 87 recovery beds, serving men and women, in Western Canada.
Teen Challenge has already raised $4 million toward the project. “Donors have stepped up in a big way,” says David Tait, Senior Development Officer. There are sufficient donations to complete the external structure before winter. “We are trusting God for the remaining 1.5 million so we can complete the interior and open the new centre in 2020,” says Greg Cornelsen.
“This new facility enables us to expand our mandate to help men and women overcome substance addictions to lead full and productive lives in the Prairie Provinces,” says Glen Smeltzer.
For more information please visit www.teenchallenge.ca/alberta-centre-expansion.
I’m Joseph Newell, Founder & Managing Director of Castle Travel; our goal is to Bridge Travel & Missions, Vacations Too!
Come visit me at Mission Fest in Vancouver, Booth 902. I have over 30 years’ experience in the travel industry, owning and operating my own company.
I work with the Travel Agent Next Door. We together have the best brands, hotel chains, airlines, cruise companies, touring companies and more. I am passionate about travel and providing you with the Air Travel or Holiday of a lifetime that will fit your needs and budget.
Today your business support allows me to be a Global Volunteer Missionary.
On another travel-related note, Pastors, you and/or your congregation could help us by allowing us your air mile points; this would help missionary travel to and from our home countries. Hope to hear from you soon! www.castletravel.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-340-7718.
An affinity partner of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
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 are 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.
After a large-scale disaster, municipal services do not have the capacity to manage the over-whelming needs of entire communities. Networks of prepared individuals and local agencies that collaborate effectively, reduce dependence on municipal services, and mitigate resulting damage. During and after a catastrophic event people want to help!
Bridges of Love’s Community Emergency Response Team training, or CERT, assures a safe Neighbours helping Neighbours response. Teams of volunteers are Coordinated, Equipped, Ready, and Trained PRIOR to disaster. Safety for CERT volunteers and the safety for those they assist, is always a top priority. CERT is a grass roots strategy that is both practical and realistic, strengthening community safety and preparedness, through increased civic participation. CERTs save lives and protect property.
Bridges of Love Ministry promotes community resiliency; connecting people, churches, and networks; through coordination, resources, and training.
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. glacanada.donateyourchange.ca
Christianity Explored (CE) is an outreach ministry which was developed in a church in London, England, in the early 2000’s by evangelist Rico Tice, under the leadership of John Stott. It involves a seven week journey through the Gospel of Mark to look at Jesus from three perspectives: Identity (Who is he?), Mission (Why did he come?), and Call (invitation to follow him and what does it mean to do so.) It uses the format that has proven effective in communicating the Gospel message to todays, lesser-churched culture – invitation, food, talk, discussion – where guests are welcomed unconditionally and encouraged to ask any question or offer any opinion without ridicule or condemnation.
CE has resources not only for leading people to a first-time relationship with Jesus Christ, but for discipling and deepening the faith of those God has brought to that new relationship through other means.
2020 – The Year of New Visions, Great Change and Manifested Power
Prophecy delivered by Kenneth Copeland
What about 2020? Many things will be said about vision in 2020 because of the natural nature of 20/20 eyesight. But you and I, and those who seek the face of God and know the voice of God…will have vision, insight, ideas and concepts. And it will be a time of the fulfilling of the word that was spoken in My WORD that said, ‘The young men and the old men shall have visions and dreams’…
The LORD is revealing new visions this coming year that will be absolutely stunning. They will include insights, ideas and concepts that have never been heard of before. Joel 2:28-29 (and Acts 2:16-18) tells us, “It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”
2020 will be a year of great change. Wonderful and magnificent changes in the kingdom of God in the earth. Changes that will come because of insights, ideas and concepts directly from Jesus to His Church by His mighty Spirit. Glorious concepts of how His laws work; the laws governing increase and financial prosperity; the laws of the Spirit that release miracles and divine healings and manifestations of His Almighty power on the earth. New concepts of His love; His very person; for He is love. Insights into the true power and strength of His joy.
Stay focused in 2020. To help, we want to offer you a FREE 2020 Calendar. This beautifully-designed calendar includes a daily Bible reading plan and inspiring scriptures. Order yours today and let it be a reminder of God’s love for you!