Dear friends of the re-build,
A life cut short – I just came from a funeral of a 25 year old who overdosed a few days ago. She came to our church. She actually grew up going to church and lived in privilege. She turned away from all that though, choosing a life on the streets, getting caught then in addiction as well as other significant troubles. Of late, she was turning back to God and away from the darkness that had overtaken her. One miscalculation took her down – just when she was finding her way up. So very sad. Her death is a shock to her peers who tend to portray a fairly tough image, impervious to weakness; it shook their world. I am grateful for the conversations I had with some of these friends and am praying for more. Join me in praying for truth to come to these lives. The brevity of life, the uncertainty of tomorrow – these are such significant themes for all to consider.
25 years old – We just celebrated our church’s 25th anniversary. Highlights were hearing from:
· Some who have come out of addiction and now live for Christ.
· Many who found family here in loving Christian community.
· Those who came to us seeking training in urban ministry and now serve elsewhere in the world.
· Church leaders whose congregations have been impacted through partnership with us.
· Many in the congregation who described how God has impacted them here.
God has done it. But we have only begun. Great opportunities, innumerable obstacles, the presence of God – all are ours. The future is bright.
Jane and Finch – Dan tells stories of young, largely fatherless men, often coming out of gangs, whom he gathers together for mentoring and Bible study. He took Carlos into his home, a young man who is now awaiting a verdict from the refugee board so he can accept an apprenticeship program in college for diesel mechanics. In the meantime, Carlos is witnessing to local teens about the Lord. He has developed a passion for reading deep theological books and feels the call upon his life for future ministry. Before his conversion in Grade 11, the school wanted to expel for terrible attitude and skipping 75% of the class days. He graduated though with the Ontario Scholar’s award for high marks! Please pray for Dan and the outreach at Jane and Finch.
Youth without moorings – On Thursdays, Leslie leads a discipleship group for kids grades 6-8. Recently she did a series called ’13 Reasons Why You Matter’. It is a take off on a popular Netflix show ’13 Reasons Why’ which describes the various reasons why a girl committed suicide. The intent of the show was to raise awareness of bullying but the outcome was not so favourable. The show actually triggered desires in youth for suicide or self harm. One 13 year old boy told Leslie that when he watched the girl in the show slit her wrists, he thought, “That would be so satisfying.” As they are walking through this series, kids admit they consider suicide every day and some have tried. It is difficult for youth to grasp that their life is valuable. Pray for these youth; may God reveal his great love to them. May God open their hearts to the reality of Christ.
Need for discernment – Sometimes it feels like there is a great multitude coming toward us in this ministry. They cry out and their needs are very great; the addicted, the mentally challenged, those who have been treated unjustly, the refugee… Their cry is loud and sometimes strident. It can feel as if their needs will never be satisfied. The constant reminders of massive human need can wear people out or numb them. Some become bitter and turn away altogether. Discernment is needed along with compassion. It is doubtful that God is calling us into every situation that presents itself on the one hand but likely that he is calling us into greater effectiveness with certain people and certain areas of ministry on the other. Pray that we would have such discernment and an enabling from above to bring the finger of God into bondage such that people are truly freed. Pray that we might know exactly where God is working.
A building – Our conversations with one church over the sale of their building broke down because they could not find agreement at their end. As this conversation wound down, another began with a different church over the sale of their building. Though we have a growing need for a larger base of operations in the heart of the city, we wait for God’s timing. Pray that He would give good agreement and a clear sense of His leading to all involved. Pray that He would lead us to the place He has for us. Pray for breakthrough.
Bill Dyck, pastor
July 31, 2017