We had such an amazing week during Spring Break with ENGAGEYYC!
It is truly amazing what Jesus can do when you just ask Him to use you. The week was spent challenging the members of our church to engage with their communities in different ways.
Monday’s challenge was to buy someone a coffee. A simple, but kind and thoughtful gesture for the people around you! We posted digital coffee cards so people didn’t have to even spend money to complete this challenge! We had lots of people send us photos and stories of their experiences!
Ashley shared her story on Instagram, saying “As I was driving to get my best friend a pick-me-up coffee for one of the last 2 weeks of the semester. God put it on my heart to not go through the drive thru but to walk in the store, approach a stranger, and buy them what they were getting. What a good reminder He played on my heart in this challenge Brentview Baptist proposed. God has called us to bless those who bless us, but also bless those who we don’t even know.”
Carleen also bought a coffee for a mom friend, and spent the morning with her!
Alongside the coffee sharing, we also had a group go to the Bethany Care Centre to play some music for the residents there. Martin Naundorf comments on why he volunteers to play there: “For me it’s the joy that I know the music brings to the residents.
I know from personal experience that when cognitive and communication skills decline that music remains a way to connect, deep in people’s souls.
I have a 93 year old aunt with Alzheimer’s that can no longer carry on a conversation, but when we sing familiar hymns in her room, she joins in, sing the songs she has loved to sing all her life”
Tuesday we challenged the church to engage with the people around them in a simple way.
We had a group of ladies come into the kitchen at Brentview and work together to make meals for our Shared Meals Ministry! This ministry supports people by providing them a free home cooked meal. It was amazing to see these ladies working together and serving people they didn’t even know!
On Tuesday, while the ladies were making meals, we had some staff members watching kids in the gym, which was our way of blessing parents in a simple way.
On Wednesday, the middle school and high school youth had planned to do a service project out in the community. They decided to invite the whole church into this night, and it was incredible what God did through the people who came!
We had a prayer walk through the Tri-Wood area, gift bags being delivered to stressed students at UofC, a barbecue serving free hotdogs held at Brentview for people walking by, and a group that went downtown to hand out snacks and pray for people outside of the drop in centre.
Here are some amazing things that happened that night!
The group who delivered gift bags to UofC told us of some encounters they found encouraging!
“A girl named Anna accepted our bag and was thankful. She is taking neurobiology and needs inspiration for direction as she's in her second year. We prayed for inspiration and for her joy to continue. She seemed visibly touched by us talking to her.”
“Two young guys, one is in mechanical engineering and the other is in pre-med. Both were very friendly and wanted to know what we were doing on campus. Explained that we were handing out gift bags and loving on students. They thought this was great and they felt our love just talking to them. Both have exams coming up. We didn't pray for them but just talked for quite a while. Both are from Calgary and grew up together. Encouraged their friendship that it might continue on after University because it was obvious they were supportive of each other. “
“Also, had a lovely conversation with one of the young students I was with about the struggles she has. I was able to encourage her and chat about how God created her so uniquely and has a plan and purpose for her life.”
Here are some notes of what happened during the prayer walk!
- We prayed over the provincial election and how that affects the neighbourhood
- We prayed over the houses that seem very beautiful but very empty - that people would shift their priorities to the right places (their families, etc.)
- We prayed over the union of the neighbourhood as new neighbours and old neighbours meet. We prayed that God would strategically place people within this neighbourhood.
- We prayed around the schools in the area, asking for joy in the school, for responsible leadership, for energy and protection for the teachers
We had a few people come talk to us and eat hotdogs in front of the church! It was really cool to see some genuine conversations happen between members of the church and a diverse range of people who came to get some free food! It was also fun to see how the middle school students engaged with the strangers and treated them with kindness and enthusiasm!
The group that went downtown spent time playing music and worshipping, handing out Crave cupcakes and pizza, and just spending time talking to, praying for, and loving the people they met!
Thursdays challenge was to share a meal with someone. This is such an easy but meaningful way to engage with and bless someone!
Melanie let us know that she accepted our challenge and shared a meal with a friend she doesn’t often see, and they were able to catch up!
Leah told us “I recently moved into a new apartment building and was thinking of ways to bless my neighbour that lent me a can opener my first week here. He is an elderly man who is widowed and lives alone. Today I made chili and corn bread and brought him some. He was delighted and very thankful.”
Our challenge on Friday was to do an intentional act of kindness for someone. We love the idea that kindness goes a long way. Carleen’s kids brought their teacher a care basket with no occasion connected except kindness! What a fun way to bless someone who often blesses you.
Overall, the week of ENGAGEYYC was really impactful, not only for the people we were engaging with, but also for the church! It is so important to remember that we don’t have to only be a church inside of Brentview, in fact we shouldn’t. We should be living all of our weeks the way we lived this one.
We hope these stories encourage you to continue engaging with your community!