One of the major themes that we as a church have been looking at since September is being for our city through our #FORYYC movement. We’ve talked about how we can be For the City, For our Enemies, For our Family, For our Global Community and For our Neighbours. We want our city to know that we want to do our part in creating strong and healthy communities. So we decided to take a week where we could invite the local community into our space, spend some time out in the community and provide some equipping sessions for the Brentview Baptist Community.
International teams often require a degree of flexibility and this team was no exception but I believe that God was in the details and even though all of our plans may not have gone quite as planned, I believe that because we were obedient to God’s call to be presence in our community, fruit will come from this week.
I’d like to thank our team (Rebekka, Rebeca, Leah, Rachel, Jason & Scottland) for their hard work during the week, for the ladies/families that provided baked goods for us (Judy, Michelle, Jessica, Jennifer, Margaret & Stepanka) and for all those who provided prayer support to us throughout the week. It was a full week of activities and I was so encouraged by all of the events that happened. Here’s a little snap-shot of the week:
Monday-Thursday mornings: We hosted a parents and tots playgroup in our children’s area. It was great to watch the moms connect with each other while their children played.
Monday-Thursday afternoons: We hosted a youth drop-in that was well attended. A variety of sports were played in the gym, but basketball seemed to be the sport of choice. Some of the younger youth played board games with us in the foyer and it was good to have whole families come out. On the Wednesday, our day looked a little different, some of our team spent time playing board games and video games in the children’s area while part of our team went on a prayer walk in the community. It was good to get out and pray for our local schools, community associations and our neighbourhood.
Monday-Wednesday evenings: We had three “Engaging Neighbourhoods” equipping sessions led by Harv and Heather from Encompass Partnerships & SIM. We looked at the topics of “What is the Gospel”, “What is Poverty” and “What is true hospitality. As part of our hospitality conversation on the Wednesday evening, our Grade 5 & 6 students made us an amazing spaghetti dinner and joined us for a meal. Thanks Gabe and students for being a practical example of what it means to be hospitable!
The evening training sessions were really helpful in making me think about how I think about the people in the world around me. I particularly enjoyed the session talking about what the gospel is, who it is intended for, and why it is so important to share it with others. The sessions on poverty and hospitality were really useful in helping to change my perspective when thinking about the people in our community. The content and the presentation of it was excellent.
- Julie Peters
Thursday evening: We hosted a local agency information evening and invited the local agencies that we support to come and share about what they do and how people can get involved with them. It was great to watch all the agencies interact with each other and with those who attended. We partner with some incredible organizations in our city and it is a pleasure to be able to support them.
We ended the week by sharing a meal together after our Good Friday service. There were about 90 people in attendance and it was great to be able to visit and celebrate the week, and Easter together. Thank you Sylvia for helping get the meal together, and Mary and Jessica for stepping in and helping with the clean-up.
I believe this week was a beginning for us at Brentview. We may not have had many people from the surrounding neighbourhoods come out to some of the events but the fact that we were able to make some new connections, continue building on some of our current connections and practiced having our building be more open to the community was a good first step in us showing our community and our city that we want to be for them because Jesus loves them so dearly.
I became involved in the Spring Break Missions Project after hearing a message on Life Sunday about Matthew 6:10 and was inspired to help see the Kingdom of Jesus being lived out in our community and city. Serving for the week showed me how important it is to engage with the community as followers of Christ. Amazing things can happen when we step out of our comfort zone, take up our cross and trust in God for opportunities to reach out to others. I enjoyed going on a prayer walk throughout the neighbourhood and it helped me to see what areas to pray for in building bridges moving forward. It was a rewarding experience to connect with the Moms, tots, teens and all those that came out to get together as a community!
- Rachel Frey
I got involved with this week because I had been feeling that I was called to get involved and I was looking for the right opportunity to do so. It turns out that during my week off from work this week was going on and it was involving things that I am passionate about so I jumped at the opportunity. My biggest take away from the week was just connecting with the different ages of kids that are in our community that I had never even spoken to before and being able to make those connections to the point where now when I go to church those kids are coming up and excited to talk to me. It was really cool to see how those kids are even reaching out to the other kids that don’t attend church and welcoming others in. It made me happy to see others in the church being love and welcoming others in. The week as a whole was really encouraging to serve our community together as a group and even get to know the team members.
- Leah McMillin