Last week in our youth Bible study, Kyson and I asked the question, where have you seen God’s faithfulness in 2014? It was interesting to hear the variety of responses, many of which pointed to positive circumstances as evidence of God’s goodness to us.
We should definitely thank God for these circumstances, but while it is absolutely true that every good gift comes from God, we must also remember that His faithfulness remains constant in every situation and independent from whether we feel good or happy or safe.
As I reflected on this same question of where we’ve seen God’s faithfulness, many moments of CBWC Church Planting life in 2014 came to mind, and I wanted to share a few with you.
At our online assembly in April, we welcomed Canaan Life Spring Baptist, a Mandarin-language church plant, into full affiliation with the CBWC. Their work to reach and reconcile Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants in Burnaby is fuelled by assurance of Christ’s promise that as He is lifted up He will draw all people to Himself.
In June, we mourned with Emmaus Community Fellowship as they dealt with the death of Gerry McBeth, husband of Pastor Janet McBeth. Gerry was a walking testimony of God’s love and faithfulness, which Gerry showed through hard work and thoughtful encouragement to many at Emmaus, the Union Gospel Mission and beyond.
Crossover church plant continues to reach Calgary’s Japanese population, with the call to develop leaders to send to Japan for sharing the Gospel in that nation. One of these young leaders, Carly, is not of Japanese descent but felt God’s burden on her heart for Japan nonetheless. Carly was baptised at Crossover this summer and says this:
I started attending Crossover Japanese church a few months after the Tsunami in 2011 because I was only 14 and I couldn’t go to Japan to help. I didn’t know what to expect and was nervous because I hadn’t met Japanese people before despite being so enthralled by the culture. God had put a burden on my heart for the people of Japan and given me the strength to have patience.
The fellowship and mentoring that I have received at Japanese church really has contributed to the person I am today.
Every summer our church has a BBQ/Service in Cascade Ponds, which presents the opportunity to be baptized. I had long put off that personal decision. I wanted to be baptized in Japan because I saw that as the start of my mission, but I had realized that me not considering the present as time that God could use me for his kingdom was leaving me weak to fight my temptations. Idolatry overtook me and I was putting people before God, but as I allowed for God to become number one in my life I have learned how to love people with the love of God, not my own imperfect love.
We’ve been praying for a long time for more church plants in Manitoba. In September the Board approved Shalom Christian Outreach in Winnipeg to enter the process of affiliation. This means that they are one of our church plants working towards becoming a full-fledged member church with the CBWC. Pastor Shadrack Mutabazi and his congregation have entered wholeheartedly into partnerships with other Baptist groups in Winnipeg, including Broadway-First Baptist Church. Broadway-First generously provides meeting space for Shalom, and we are excited to see this partnership grow in the coming year.
How about you? Where have you seen God’s faithfulness in the good time? Or in circumstances which to us may seem hard?