Mission Canada, our national mission agency, was designed to identify and place workers who would take the gospel into those beautiful yet hard-to-reach places.
Canada is beautiful. If you have travelled our nation’s vast expanse, you know its distinct geography. Snow-covered majestic mountain peaks drop off and flow into prairie fields with endless horizon lines and breathtaking sunsets. Lakes, rivers and streams also flow freely. Waterfalls, voluminous in nature, provide powerful rushing water, a major source of hydroelectric power. Our Canadian Arctic is known for its seemingly endless permafrost and a treeline that separates forests from tundra. Our nation is one of such uniqueness. As our national anthem declares, it is our home and native land. Such beauty. And such beautiful diversity.
In many ways it seems like yesterday that our PAOC leadership made way for the formation of Mission Canada. As a Fellowship, our mission has always been reaching our nation. We are a missional family that seeks to bring glory to God by making disciples everywhere as we proclaim and practise the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our everywhere focuses on our mission at home as well as around the globe. Mission Canada, our national mission agency, was designed to identify and place workers who would take the gospel into those beautiful yet hard-to-reach places. It’s also our networking arm, linking leaders and churches from one side of the country to the other for greater kingdom effectiveness.
Each summer, one of the exercises our Mission Canada workers embark on is creating their strategic plan for the coming year. This allows for reflection on the past year’s work, evaluating effectiveness while asking God to confirm and clarify future direction. The stories that surface not only in this strategic process, but around leadership tables, during face-to-face conversations, in emails, phone calls, and even here and now … well, they are beautiful. They reflect God at work. In these stories, hope is found. The Word is shared, questions are comfortable, peace is experienced, and Jesus is revealed for who He truly is—the One who can transform the heart.
Here’s a window into four short segments of much larger stories, as shared by some of our Mission Canada workers, so you can picture with us a nation being transformed, one life at a time:
At our university campus fair, a young Muslim woman came up to me and asked to talk. She was full of questions about Jesus, His divinity, the Trinity, and the gospel. She was so curious, wanting to know more. Being on this campus with a recognized student group, I was able to provide answers to her questions, sharing the whole gospel story and why I love Jesus passionately. John 1:1-5 came alive that day on campus. He was, and is, the Word made flesh that dwells among us. Yes, even today. And yes, even on our university campuses! (Thoughts from a Mission Canada Campus worker)
How beautiful to see spiritual growthin the lives of millennial hip-hop artists. A year ago we planted Cypher Church. Instead of designing church as we knew it to be, we designed it around what this creative community was already doing and how they respond. There are no rows of chairs or pews. They communicate in a circle, on their feet, creatively rapping and expressing their innermost thoughts, one after another. The beauty of this Cypher gathering is that the presence of Jesus is invited in, to be present in the centre of the circle. That alone guides every word. Many are experiencing the light and life of Christ, and freedom from things that have bound them. His presence makes all the difference. (Thoughts from a Mission Canada Urban Centre worker)
I am struck by the number of Muslim newcomers settling in my local community. After a season of prayer, I knew God was directing me to develop specific friendships—welcoming those who have been refugees elsewhere, now trying to find their way in a new country. They would agree with me that Canada is diverse, beautiful and peace-filled, but not without challenges for the newcomer. As I make myself available, God gives opportunities to befriend and serve my fellow neighbours, and to be a kingdom ambassador in a land they must now call home. He directs every conversation. This is why I am here, and for this purpose I am grateful. (A Mission Canada worker, Neighbours and Newcomers Network)
It was my week to lead in the detention centre.The chapel was packed. Video worship music set the environment I was looking to create, and the dialogue style of message allowed God’s Word to go forward with heart-piercing clarity, bringing with it understanding and life transformation. The warmth of God’s love filled that cold, unemotional room that day. It was Vince’s week! And now, seven years later, Vince still reflects on the beauty that the God of all creation died and rose again, giving His life just for him. (A Mission Canada Urban Centre worker)
Canada. It’s beautiful in so many ways. But the beauty of the gospel shared, understood and received is more powerful than any waterfall, majestic mountain peak, or glistening horizon line. The beauty of a life transformed is eternal. Let’s continue to picture a nation transformed, one beautiful story at a time.
Natalie Rogge serves at the PAOC International Office as the director of communications and strategic initiatives, and as the strategic manager for Mission Canada.
This article appeared in the May/June 2018 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.