The night was the last one for Gathering 2014, and the celebration program reflected Jesus in many aspects of life.
Rob Dyck, pastor of Abbotsford’s Arnold Community Church, told of a family who was materially comfortable, but felt “there must be more”. He said they have “started to process it with MB Mission, looking to serve God in ways bigger and broader.” He said, simply, “We walk with them.
Dyck also spoke of celebration as several women in the congregation realized it was not Christ, not his ways, to be living in sexual sin. One couple came forward. Dyck said, “As they start to repent, the spirit of God continues to be at work” in their lives.
He said a new family started to come to church and congregation members embraced them. The man, who had not known Christ, made a decision. Dyck said the man “sold out and bought into who Jesus is and his life has totally changed.”
And all within a year. Dyck said, God is at work, and if we yield to him he will go about, making disciples.
The story was different for the pastor of BC’s newest MB church, Beacon Communities Church in Victoria. Joe Haynes said the James Bay area is known as hard ground, the graveyard of church planters. Yet, he and his family felt called to start a church there. And it hasn’t been easy. “We have a handful of Christians to form a core,” he said, but turnout to services is embarrassingly small, and “we have wondered – why do we persevere?” But, “As Jesus has helped our eyes to be opened, we have seen glimpses of his glory.”
The family’s day to day life is made harder by the ‘acting out’ of two boys they are fostering. “Pray for us.”
The president of Bethany College in Hepburn, Saskatchewan, answered a request to share his personal story – at a time when he and the college face dramatic enrollment reductions, serious enough that it may be forced to close. Howie Wall said, “Often a new thing can come out of something not doing well.”
He was encouraged by a letter from a faculty member, travelling in the Holy Land, who took comfort in the story of Jesus’ loaves and fishes in John 21. Randy Klassen had written, “My job, our job, is to keep feeding Christ’s sheep. My duty is to follow Jesus….who provides mysteriously in his timing, not ours. This is going to be a hard road, but follow me, okay?”
Ron Toews prayed for Wall and two other Bethany staff, present at the Gathering. He ended, “You display your power in ways we could not imagine. Be present to display your power.”
A woman, now student advisor at ETEM in Montreal, spoke of learning God’s power over a period of time as she recovered from serious depression and suicidal thoughts. “My story is part of the story of God,” said Veronique Beaudin, a victim of child sexual abuse. She hit a crisis at age 32, “in the dark of life…with suicidal thoughts.”
“That night, I lay on the ground, and prayed and told God, if you really exist, put some people across my path because I cannot continue.” Two weeks later, she found herself in L’Intersection church, and she was supported and mentored by Patrice Nagant and his wife.
She attended, first sporadically, then regularly, and joined a house group. She still recalls on an early occasion Nagant asked her, “Is this the first time you have come to an evangelical church?” and she replied, “Am I in a church??” Then she fell down and began to cry.
Beaudin now works as a student advisor at the ETEM seminary, and is two thirds of the way toward a bachelor of theology degree. “I am sure I want to serve him and give him all my life,” she said. “And I want to help victims, all kinds of victims.”