Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… Here is a great outreach idea for churches to prayerfully consider this summer. For the past few summers, several of our new French church plants in Quebec have been hosting an outreach event called “J’aime mon Voisin” (JMV) or “Love your Neighbours.” Each summer their members, along with helpers from short-term mission teams have gone into their communities to love their city. Each team member wears a bright orange t-shirt with “Love your Neighbour” clearly marked. Teams mow lawns, clean windows, do garden work, paint houses and do other chores.
English speaking Fellowship churches who are in partnership with their French speaking church plants (in Quebec) send teams for a week to help in this outreach effort. You don’t need to speak French to clean a backyard or repair a sink. English Canadians accompany their new francophone church friends to love the neighbours their partner church plant is trying to reach. This new mission initiative in the community has been very effective. I would challenge Fellowship churches elsewhere in Canada to consider this outreach approach.
J’aime mon Voisin in Plessisville, QC
Last summer (2015), our church plant in Plessisville, QC, the “Maple Syrup Capital” of Canada, hosted short-term mission steams for three weeks. Teams from churches in BC and Ontario along with two JBEQ teams from Quebec helped our church plant love their Plessisville neighbours. Read this report from Pastor Karl Fortin, the church planter from Connexion Church in Plessisville to find out how it went:
“These five teams and their home churches have been a great encouragement in our mission to the people of the Maple County. With their help, we are able to serve over 40 families and non-profit organizations, and gather more than $600 in voluntary donations that will be returned to the community through a non-profit that gives out food stamps. We were also thankful that non-Christians from the community joined the church to serve their neighbours.
“I would like to share Annie’s story with you. Annie was supposed to move on July 1st. It was 4:30pm in the afternoon, the team had just finished moving someone in the rain. They were tired, wet and muddy when the phone rang.
‘I need help’, said Annie.
‘I have to be out of my apartment tonight and all the help I had just bailed on me! Someone told me to call JMV – they might be able to do something for me.’
“The evening was the team’s night off, but some of the volunteers said they wanted to help.
“We told Annie we would be there in five minutes. She was literally stunned when she saw 15 people with orange jerseys show up on her door step. Annie was speechless and said she thought this was nothing short of a miracle. She told the journalist who interviewed her that it was like her very own family had showed up.
“We ended the three weeks of JMV with a pig roast, inflatables and face painting. One hundred and fifty people showed up and we had a great time. During that evening, Annie was able to share her story with the crowd and the Mayor of the city gave us a word of encouragement, saying that the city was fully supportive of JMV. One man, when he understood what JMV was all about handed me $100 with tear-filled eyes!”
This summer (2016), other teams will be arriving in Quebec from partner churches all over Canada to help our new French church plants reach out to their neighbours with the love of Christ. Will you join me in praying for this outreach ministry? I would also encourage English churches throughout the Fellowship to consider this approach in loving your neighbours this summer. To watch a video about Love Your neighbour, click HERE.
I trust our collective evangelistic efforts this summer, whether it’s a week of “Love your Neighbour” or Vacation Bible School, or Day Camp will result in “much fruit.” May the Lord bless your efforts in the weeks to come. Let’s all take a moment right now to pray for countless “spiritual orphans” in our community in desperate need of a Heavenly Father
Have a blessed week,