“Although they have distanced themselves from religion, more and more are open to a creative, culturally sensitive, personal presentation of a message of faith.”
“Quebecers are more like the rest of Canada (71 per cent of characteristics) than we think,” stated Pastor Patti Miller, lead pastor of Evangel Pentecostal Church in Montreal. “But it’s the 29 per cent that’s different which makes all the difference in being effective at communicating the good news in Quebec.” This quote was part of a fall 2017 series at Evangel entitled “What if Jesus was a Quebecer?” (www.evangel.qc.ca).
Gary Connors, Mission Canada’s co-ordinator for the PAOC’s Quebec and Francophone Canada priority, will tell you that Quebecers are proud of their identity, culture, appearance and creativity. There are 8.3 million people in Quebec. Although they have distanced themselves from religion, more and more are open to a creative, culturally sensitive, personal presentation of a message of faith. Seeing this shift, Mission Canada is providing initiatives and working with unique and creative programs to bring hope in Quebec and French Canada.
PREPARING FOR MISSION WITH LANGUAGE TRAINING AND CULTURAL ADAPTATION
The PAOC’s FIT4M initiative provides language training and ministerial experience in Quebec for Bible college graduates wanting to follow a call to French ministry. This one-year scholarship funded program provides tuition and room and board. This year’s three participants are Matt Unger from Manitoba (graduate of Horizon College, 2014) and Mitchell and Carly Hancock (graduates of Master’s College, 2016). They are enrolled at UQAM (Montreal’s University) in language studies and Rosetta Stone online courses. On Mondays and Fridays, Matt, Mitchell and Carly are in school, and the rest of the week they serve on separate pastoral staffs of PAOC churches in Montreal and Laval. You can partner with FIT4M to get more workers prepared for effective ministry in our French mission field.
To contribute to the Robert Argue Scholarship Fund, visit https://paoc.org/donate/fit4m.
To apply for fall 2018, visit http://fit4m.ca and speak with Gary Connors.
REACHING FRANCOPHONE CHILDREN IN QUEBEC
In May 2016, Evelyne Supple answered the call of God on her life and is working toward becoming a full-time Mission Canada worker positioned with Viva-Cité, a ministry that reaches francophone children and builds a bridge between local churches and their communities.
Camps are offered to francophone children aged seven to 17, with a focus on ESL immersion. Viva-Cité gives anglophone churches across Canada the opportunity to join evangelical Quebecers on their mission to transform and reshape the spiritual landscape in Quebec. If you are looking for a mission experience in summer 2018 and English is your first language, this opportunity is within reach.
Last summer one of the incoming teams asked to host a family event in the park, complete with balloons, face painting and games. Evelyne and her Quebec-based leadership team agreed but were unsure what kind of turnout there would be. To their surprise, almost all of the camp registrants and their families showed up on that rainy Saturday morning. During the fun and games, one mom approached Evelyne, asking to speak with her privately. Evelyne’s mind began to whirl. What was she going to say? Did her child get hurt? Did he not learn enough English? Did she not like the buddy we paired him with? Quietly that mother turned to Evelyne, leaned in close and whispered, “Yesterday … at the banquet, the videos and the pictures you showed of my sons …” She stopped mid-sentence and stared at Evelyne. Evelyne meekly nodded but wondered, Were they inappropriate? Did she not like them?
Continuing, the mother said, “I have not seen my children smile in so long. They look so happy in those pictures!” She paused, then continued. “I feel bad. We have been having financial troubles for many years and could barely pay for camp this week. I wish they could come again.” Evelyne knew that Viva-Cité had no excess. Yet words sprang forth quickly and as naturally as could be: “You can just sign them up again. We will not charge you.” With that, the mother burst into tears! Evelyne drew closer, allowing the woman to sob on her shoulder. Evelyne had peace that somehow God would provide. The mother expressed that she had never in her life been on the receiving end of such generosity. Evelyne’s response was simply, “It’s OK. We are Viva-Cité. Our bottom line is people.”
The testimonies from summer 2017 are numerous. Evelyne and her team simply call it “the summer of breakthroughs.” Jesus is softening hearts where soil has been hard for many years. Love is being continuously poured out. Parents and campers are willingly picking up Bibles and biblical literature. Something has changed in the atmosphere as steps of faith have been taken.
Consider taking a mission team to Quebec this summer. Contact Evelyne Supple at (438) 496-VIVA or at email@example.com.
TAKING THE MISSION ONLINE TO FRANCOPHONES
With 3.5 billion people now connected to the Internet, it’s no surprise that many are searching for hope and answers online. Carole Amico is an online Mission Canada worker reaching Canada’s francophone population. She spends her days in online connections, sharing life and faith, leading people to Jesus, and seeing them discipled in the Word of God and connected to a local assembly. The Life Project is the online platform that makes this all possible.
Recently, Carole received a message from a pastor who had searched online and found her ministry website: connaitredieu.ca. He was getting ready to plant a church in Matane, Quebec, a town of 14,462 on the Gaspé Peninsula, and told her they would welcome those she connects with online from their area. Carole and her husband, Antoine, had been praying for Christians in the Gaspésie who often feel isolated and lacking in resources.
Being on a mission trip in the Gaspé when the email came in, Carole felt she would hold off and respond to this church planter when she returned home and had more time. As Carole went to shut down, suddenly another email popped into her inbox. Attempting to read it quickly, tears began to flow down her cheeks. She knew a quick, single response would not be enough. The email was from a young man expressing his loneliness and a desire to end his life. He had been a Christian in his home country, but had immigrated to Canada and was living for the past two years in Matane, a community with no church or pastor. His discouragement was overwhelming.
Carole knew in that very moment that her followup with the church planter could not wait until she returned home, and that her response to the young man in Matane must be immediate, giving him hope for a new tomorrow! That day Carole made two very significant online connections: one with a desperate young man and the other with a zealous shepherd who found his very first sheep—and a really hungry one at that!
Visits to the www.connaitredieu.ca over three months: 12,502
Visitors who navigate through the site: 9,834
Salvation decisions: 326 +1 hungry sheep from Matane!
Direct your francophone friends to www.connaitredieu.ca. Jesus can meet them there. We are thankful for new Mission Canada workers like Carole Amico who listen to the Spirit’s voice and respond with the good news of the gospel. Carole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (514) 946-9496. Natalie Rogge is the strategic manager for Mission Canada.
Image ©istockphoto.com. This article appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.