What is our new ministry role while in Canada?

What will our ministry role be now?

In fall, while sitting in church one morning God and I had a discussion.  Actually – God spoke and I listened.  How did He speak?  Through His Word.   That morning, I was sitting there, and I will be honest, I was angry inside.  I was angry that I was sitting here in Canada while over on the other side of the world, my colleagues, my friends and others were overwhelmed with the work that was needing to be done. Over there it is “all hands on deck” and I felt jealous, sad, frustrated and overall a bit “useless”.  So we go to church, and that morning was the launch of a building renovation project, purpose being to make the building more effective in ministry to the community and the congregation.

The theme verse is Jeremiah 29:7

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.  Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (NIV)

That verse was like a voice in my mind.  “…I have carried you into exile…..”  We knew that God had led us to leave Ukraine at the time that we did.  We knew that God was going before us, and that He was leading us.  I knew these things, but I was struggling with the “what now, why now etc” emotions of transition.

But that line – I have carried you into exile – that was us.  That was how I was feeling, that I had been exiled, put on the sidelines so to speak.  But God told the people of Israel that they weren’t supposed to sit there and stew in their misery, they were to pray and work for the prosperity of the place that He had put them.  Well, God had put us here in Canada, and that was what He was calling us to do.  To pray and work for the place where He had put us.  That moment was a game changer for me.  A month or so later I was having coffee with an old friend who is a pastor here in Calgary.  As we talked about the ministry that we had in Ukraine, and what was ahead of us now, he made a very good point.  “John, if you could do that there, why can’t you do that here?”  My main role in Ukraine was “facilitator”, helping others grow and go forward in what God had called them to do.  Good question, why can’t I do that here?  Why wouldn’t I use the gifts and abilities that God has given me wherever He places me, rather than only at certain times and locations?

So that became my prayer, “Lord, use me here in the time and place that You have placed me in whatever way You see fit.”

Soon after that we jumped on a plane to Spain for our SEND Ukraine field conference, and two days after our return I was back on a plane to London, ON for meetings at our Cdn head office and a seminar.  From those two trips a few things became clear of what God would have us (me – John – especially) to do as ministry role while helping our two oldest transition into this next phase of their lives.

Leanne wrote an update which explains very well what our new ministry role will be

“…Now we are into a new role for a minimum of the next two years.

 This entails John serving out of the Canadian office for SEND as part of the western Canada mobilization team.  What does that mean?  It means willing and active participation in being part of the answer to the prayer “Lord of the harvest, send out labourers into Your harvest field.”
John recently returned from meetings in Ontario at our Canadian office and a seminar near Toronto.  There he took part in brainstorming, sharing and learning what is needed in Canada to facilitate the raising up of more workers to go cross the barriers of different cultures and languages in order to share the Gospel.  John’s primary role in western Canada will be to work at connecting with churches, seeking to facilitate them as they seek to follow the Great Commission.  Helping them in the process of reaching out across cultures, languages etc, be that across the street or across the world.  This will take on a variety of formats – from spending time with pastors and  leaders one on one, preaching and speaking at various events and services, seminars, conferences etc.  It will included spending time at different campuses here in western Canada, spending time with students, building relationships with people who may be prompted at a later date by the Lord to answer the call “whom shall I send?” (Isaiah 6:8)
 
John & I know how we feel when we contemplate the harvest field in just one region of eastern Ukraine – Sumy region – where it is just less than 1% evangelical (similar stats as Japan).  We need more dedicated workers!  But that is the Lord’s doing to send them – and our job to pray to Him to send them and also to get the word out there about what the opportunities are, and what it looks like to be called and to be ready to go!
 
Well, here I get to the crux of the matter.  When John and I got back to Canada we were wondering “what would you have us to do Lord?”  While John was out in Ontario he learned that staff at SEND Canada have been praying for an experienced couple (in both Canadian and international ministries) to become part of the mobilization team, in order to be catalysts and to serve in a capacity of helping churches and individuals in following God’s call of missions.  One staff member told John, “God has answered our prayers through you and Leanne.  We are so thankful for you joining our team.”  It is humbling to see that we are part of God’s answer for this time period.  SEND Canada has a vision to partner with local churches and individuals in order to send out more workers to reach those who are the Lord’s but right now are still lost – be it across the world or across the street.  We as individuals and as an organization want to be part of what God is doing in this time period of history.  With this opportunity also comes opposition….”

So, things are getting very interesting.  We are looking forward to what God is going to do here in Canada through the Body of Christ, and how He is seeking to impact the world – both across the street and across the globe.

We’ll keep you posted on what we see….
Talk to you later,
John

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