ONMB April Update
This weekend we join Christians around the world reflecting on the most significant days in the Christian calendar. The passion of Friday sets the stage for the celebration of Sunday. Emerging as we are from a global pandemic with unrelenting images of death and war on every screen, the transforming power of the Resurrection is needed more than ever. On a personal level we also feel the deep need for Christ’s peace and assurance. Possibly you can identify with Mary Magdalene who on that first Easter morning found herself to be confused, heartbroken and at a loss on where to turn. When the ‘gardener’ asked her why she was crying she blurted out, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Then the ‘gardener’ said, “MARY” (John 20:15,16). In a split second her world was put in order. I’m guessing that like her, we each need a deeply personal encounter with Jesus this weekend. May it be so!
On the Road Again
Over the past number of weeks, we as a team have been on the road again, and it has been rich. I had the privilege of being in BC at our National Faith & Life team meetings a week ago with Ryan Jantzi. It was so good to be in person for the intensive meetings. We were reminded again at how significant it is to meet in the flesh with each other. Something happens in those moments around meals and coffee that is just different than sharing time on a screen together. I had the added joy of having my wife Karin join me for an additional ‘holiday’ week with some of our family. I put ‘holiday’ in parenthesis because when most of that time is with 5 & 3 year old grandsons, ‘holiday’ is a misnomer. But the laughter and delight were refreshing and real.
Experiencing Our Scarborough Partners
This past Sunday, Ryan Jantzi had the opportunity to connect with three of our ONMB ministry partners in Scarborough. It was a joy to see the Good News of Jesus being shared and disciples being formed in these varied cultural settings. The Holy Spirit is moving! First was worship with Pastor Timothy Quek and New Life Christian Church in Scarborough, an ONMB member church that is multicultural.
Second, was the Urdu congregation of Grace Presbyterian Church, led by Pastor Samson Javed of our partner organization, The Jesus Network. Third, was The Afghan Church Toronto, led by Obed Rod of the Jesus Network.
An added highlight was meeting Sam Madell of NLCC, whose family met Jesus through the first MB missionaries to India over 100 years ago. Sam was quite excited to share this story!
We rejoice in the Gospel witness and faithfulness of these sisters and brothers in Christ. If you’re ever in Scarborough on a Sunday, be sure to drop in for a visit!
Multiply Ontario Youth Leader Day
Earlier in April, Kristi Lee had the opportunity to connect with Ontario youth pastors and leaders in a Youth Leader Day facilitated by Multiply. Approximately 20 youth leaders representing 8 of our MB churches gathered for fun, encouragement, worship and equipping through various workshops to prepare them for SOAR Ontario happening this July.
One leader said, “it was just awesome to have had the chance to gather with other youth leaders who all share the same passion and vision for kids. It was energizing to be around the great group that we had!” The group had a chance to experience a prayer walk in smaller groups around the neighbourhood. Another leader shared that she came away from the day “having learned more about what it means to live and love like Jesus. I’m pumped to collect youth & young adults to join our SOAR team this summer!”
It was very evident that having the chance to gather again as youth leaders was so valuable and very much needed. Leaders were able to talk about youth events and strategies to connect with teens who have been isolated over the last 2 years. “I’ve really missed that infusion of inspiration from days like this. I think that is a key part of SOAR too. We want our youth to see that we aren’t alone, there are other youth and youth groups that are working towards the same goals around the province.”
It is so encouraging to see and experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit moving in this group of youth pastors and leaders. Would you join us in prayer for them as they prepare to take their youth on SOAR Ontario this summer.
ONMB Family Update
I should also provide you with a brief update on the change in status of one of our churches in Niagara. At the end of March I informed our ONMB Pastors and key leaders that after an extended time of challenging interaction with New Hope Church Niagara, they have asked and been granted a separation from our ONMB family of Churches. This has been a pain-filled process spanning several years and was not the outcome we were praying for or seeking. I would ask for your prayers for NHCN and their leaders as they seek to follow Jesus as an independent ministry. If you have questions or concerns about this process please feel free to connect with me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, these are complex and challenging days. More than ever we seek the model of Jesus which is both sacrificial and triumphant. In the mix of so much upheaval, confusion, challenge and pain, may we all bear wholesome witness to the life transformational power of our Savior and Lord, Jesus.
On mission with you,