Saturday, August 19, 2017

Launching a Ministry Centre

 My friend Paul and his wife resettled in Canada after many years of ministry in a Muslim majority country. Even though his geographical location changed, Paul's concern for Muslims traveled with him. He prayed and explored what ministry he could pour his passion into. God opened the door to utilize Millbourne Community Life Centre 3 days a week. They teach 4 levels of English. 110 students are registered with an average attendance of about 40 students.

Students come from approximately 20 nations with about half from Latin American countries and the other half from the Middle East, Pakistan, India, China, Nepal, Korea, Philippines and Djibouti.  About a third of the students are Muslim.

They were hoping for more Muslims, but the ministry is in its inception and they are strategizing how to attract more South Asians.  They are also figuring out how to develop more relationships with Muslim men, as the student base is almost entirely female.

Paul writes: “Attached are some stories about our students." 

“In my home country I went to seminary and was a trained Catholic cleric, part of the Franciscan order.  I began to work with my people helping them understand their rights in an attempt to bring justice to my community.  One day I came home to find that it had been attacked by people who did not like what I was doing.  My wife was seriously injured and my young daughter murdered. My wife and I fled to Spain. Now I am here.   I ceased to believe in God and his goodness.”

“I came from Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, spent time in Djibouti, and ended up in Montreal.  I was in Montreal a few years and now I am here.  I speak five languages.  There was too much fighting and corruption in my country.  I am from Muslim background but don’t practice Islam here.   Here there is peace, security, and justice.”

“I came to discuss several problems with you.   My first problem is that I need to pass the CELPIP test for residency status in Canada.  I have failed the listening part of the test 2 times.  Every time I take the test I pay $300.  I need help with listening comprehension.  My second problem is that I would like to buy a house because the mortgage payments would be cheaper than paying rent.  What do I need to do to buy a house?  The third issue is that my high school-aged son has no community, no friends.  He is very lonely and wants to go back to our home country.  What can I do to help him?  And finally, I am from a Calvinistic (reformed) background and my wife is Catholic.  We have a new pastor in our church who is very political.  We would like to go to your church.  We have noticed that people are very friendly here.  What are the prerequisites for going to your church?”

These are a few stories from our students. Each one has a special journey and their journey has led them to us.  Pray that God would give us wisdom as we guide them into His story “Pray that we will proclaim the message as clearly as we should” (Col 4:4).”

Thank-you Paul for sharing these amazing stories of God at work even though you've just begun!