"...I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne before the Lamb..." Revelations 7:9
Paul is our guest writer today. He had several decades of overseas ministry experience in a Muslim majority country. Now he writes from the homeland of how to make an impact on newcomers. These kinds of ministry opportunities would apply to other western nations where Muslims are settling. So, listen in on what Paul has to say.
"According to the 2011 Canadian census there are approximately 1,100,000 Muslims in Canada. If you live in an urban area of Canada, chances are that you have a Muslim neighbor, work colleague, client, or till operator at your local convenience store. Maybe you have a desire to reach out to these people with the love of Christ, but do not know quite how to go about it.
72% of Muslims in Canada are immigrants (born somewhere other than Canada). When these immigrants arrive in Canada they are faced with several difficulties.
- They lack Canadian work experience.
- They lack credentials for skilled and professional jobs.
- 26% of immigrants do not have enough English language skills to function in Canadian society.
70,000 immigrants enroll in English language classes within the first 6 months of arriving in Canada.
What are the implications of these facts for God’s people in Canada? The Church in Canada needs to see these immigrant “difficulties” as opportunities. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you or your church were the first to offer English classes or instruction on finding jobs to these people! As you mull over these possibilities you might think that you really are not qualified to help. There are several ways to feel more comfortable about getting involved. One is to join an existing program, such as a church English as a Second Language (ESL) program and learn from a mentor. Another way is to enroll in a training program of which there are many.
I would like to highlight just one. Vanguard Taylor Language Institute (VTLI) is a 15 college credit program that is offered at Vanguard College and Taylor Seminary in Edmonton. The credits can either go towards a degree in intercultural studies in either Taylor Seminary or Vanguard College, or it can just be a stand-alone certificate in teaching English accredited with TESL Canada. The advantage of this program is that it can be finished in just one month - offered during the month of May with four one-week modules back to back with a practicum to follow (http://www.vanguardcollege.com/programs-courses/swd/tesol/ ). Being TESL Canada approved it will open doors for many teaching opportunities both in Canada and overseas.
Many immigrants have come to Canada at great sacrifice. They have little resources, are facing an alien culture and language, perplexed by a new school system for their children, not knowing what to do in a medical crisis, etc. We have the opportunity to be a friend to them as they cope with all the issues of uprooting from the familiar and living amongst the unfamiliar."
Dear Lord, give us willing hearts to help newcomers coming to our nations for refuge or a fresh start in life. Show us the way. Our cry is that the nations would hear about you and that all would seek to become 'permanent residents of heaven'. Amen.