A Word From Steve Jones
April 7th, 2020
Imagine giving birth to your baby and there is no doctor or medical care close by. This is the case in many places in our world. The FAIR department (the Fellowship’s humanitarian relief ministry) launched an appeal this month to help build a maternity health clinic in rural D.R. Congo. It’s actually the result of a remarkable story. I’ll let our FAIR Director, Dan Shurr, tell the story and give you the project details:
Dan Shurr, FAIR Director
The D.R. Congo has a long history of being the focus of missions work. Several churches, now members of the Fellowship, sent out missionaries to this field in the 1930s; Gordon and Edna Chambers (and later his second wife after Edna died in childbirth), and Larry and Dorothy Dolby. As a result of their work for the Lord, two mission stations were established in Shakenge and Tonu. In the 1960s, missionaries were forced to leave the Congo after independence was declared and the resulting conflict threatened their lives. However, the Tonu station still exists to this day and is run by Congolese staff. Basic medical care is available as well as an extremely outdated birthing hut for expectant and labouring women from the surrounding area. The closest “alternative” to the birthing hut in Tonu is in Kinshasa, a two-day drive through rural dirt roads, where vehicles frequently get stuck.
Tonu Birthing Chair and Medical Staff
Road to Tonu
With the lack of up-to-date medical facilities and supplies in Tonu, it’s not uncommon for women and/or their babies to die in childbirth. Through the Fall 2018 Appeal, Labour’s Refuge, FAIR hopes to change the outlook for the women in this region of the D.R. Congo. By replacing the current birthing hut with a state of the art birthing clinic, the outlook for expecting women and their newborn babies will be significantly improved. Construction of the new facility will be done in partnership with CBCO (Communauté Baptiste du Congo Ouest) as well as a Canadian work team led by the Chambers’ children who were born in the D.R. Congo.
We’re very excited to be able to offer this opportunity in supporting both the humanitarian and evangelical work that’s happening in the D.R. Congo. Through this unique mixture of past and present coming together, Labour’s Refuge has the potential to impact the lives of many with the love of Christ. We hope you’ll partner with FAIR in bringing excellent care to the women and children of Tonu through this appeal.
This FAIR appeal runs from September through December 2018. Would you and/or your church consider a Christmas or Thanksgiving offering for Labour’s Refuge this year? You can learn more about this appeal, watch the video, download promotional resources or donate here.
On the eve of celebrating the birth of a baby this Christmas, why not prayerfully consider giving to a maternity clinic in D.R. Congo? May God bless you as you generously give.
Have a blessed week,
Fellowship chaplains are ministering in areas where the church and clergy are not always permitted to connect. We call them “closed-communities”. A pastor or believer are not free to enter a police station and share the love of Christ. A Fellowship chaplain can.
In the past four years our chaplaincy ministry has grown from 27 to 79 chaplains. The growth has been incredible. Our chaplains are involved in a ministry of presence, seeking to demonstrate the love of Christ to many who would never visit a church. Peoples’ lives are being touched. Over 50 employees and passengers at the Pearson (Toronto) Airport Chapel came to Christ last year due to the ministry of our Fellowship airport chaplains.
I receive good news like this all the time from our Fellowship chaplains. Here are a couple updates from Guy Gravel and Wil Seppenwoolde:
Guy Gravel, Prison Fellowship Chaplain
News from the Prison
Guy Gravel is a prison chaplain in the Joliette Institution (Federal prison): “I have been chaplain of this establishment for two years now. I am witnessing the power of God and His faithfulness. During the past year, we have seen the number of volunteers related to pastoral care multiply (from five to 30). These volunteers, who are affiliated with churches in Lanaudière, come to do activities in the prison and testify of their faith. Others come for detainees who have been allowed to go out to attend worship or religious activity in the area. In 2017, we made more than 300 of these outings. Since February 2018, the number of Escorted Exit Permits has dramatically decreased, for various reasons beyond my control.
Documentary of the TV mini-series “Unité 9”
“Last October 2017, a researcher from the popular TV series, UNITE 9 contacted me to make a document on the work of a chaplain in prison. I accepted with a lot of hesitation and reluctance, because from a one-hour interview they would only keep a few minutes and I was afraid that most of what I wanted to communicate would be cut out. So I solicited prayers that God would guide me. I then met with Danielle Trottier (author of the UNITE 9 series) to express to her that I wanted to sensitize churches and communities of faith to the needs of women who are turning to God. To help integrate them in their new faith and accompany them to reintegrate in the society.
“The documentary was broadcast on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the ICI Radio-Canada station. I am grateful for the film crew. I believe they translated my intentions and the needs that I wanted to communicate. I am told that over a million viewers have seen the documentary and not a day goes by without my receiving requests from volunteers or churches who wish to get involved in this work of reconciliation. Thank you Lord!
“Please pray that I remain attached to God as Joseph was in his time … even in times of difficulties.”
Wil Seppenwoolde, Nursing Home Fellowship chaplain
“When I first started the end of January things were in rough shape, 16 individuals had passed away since early November and attendance at Christian functions was low. I had a few faith-filled residents who made it a priority to attend what was offered. Well, God has certainly brought about change in my long-term care home. I started by offering a real bible study on Tuesdays, I put out a few tables and placed large print New Testament Gideon Bibles at each place setting. We began by walking through the first chapter of the Gospel of John verse by verse. I brought in a complete study Bible and for some of these folks, it seems that they have never linked the Old to the New Testament or vice versa. They now come each week eager to learn more.
“Our Friday afternoon hymn sing began in a lounge on our second floor. Having spent many years in the Church of Christ, an Acapella fellowship, I can typically belt out a tune on key. The numbers began to grow as we simply went page by page through our songbook. I usually talk about a song and some of the meanings when I know them. We grew enough that we had to move to the chapel, now we are needing to move to the Ground Hall as we are once again bursting at the seams.
“God has taken this once shy young man, taught him how to be comfortable in front of people, and a heart for those who are in the final leg of their journey here on earth. To God be the glory, I serve a God who began grooming me for this role decades ago, and then patiently but consistently prodded me until I accepted the role He has chosen for me. God is good all the time.”
Rev. Sunder Krishnan
Enrichment Gathering for Ontario Chaplains
On October 25, 2018 Ontario Fellowship Chaplains will gather for an enrichment seminar for training, fellowship, and prayer. Our special speaker is Rev. Sunder Krishnan who will be speaking on “Soul Care”, addressing the prayer life of a chaplain.
Please continue to pray for our Fellowship chaplains as they minister, often alone, in settings our churches are often not permitted to connect with or touch. Their “ministry of presence” is touching lives with the love of Christ.
Please also consider supporting one of our Fellowship chaplains. Several must raise their own personal and ministry support and many are under-supported. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
If you would like to become a Fellowship Chaplain, start by clicking here to read more about the ministry and the steps to joining our growing team.
Have a blessed week,
Our Fellowship International department recently deployed three families to Pakistan and Quebec. It continues to be a joy and privilege for our International department to come alongside our local churches and support them in the sending of their missionaries. I asked Dave Martunen, our Fellowship International Director to introduce you to these choice servants and the task they have before them:
Qazis to Pakistan
In mid-September 2018, Jamila and Nadeem Qazi will be commissioned from Parkland Fellowship BC, to Karachi, Pakistan. What shines through them both, with undimmed power, is the hope of knowing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The Qazis embody the motto, Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God!
Nielsens to Quebec
Eric and Valerie Nielsen along with their two children, Zachary and Julia, relocated to Saint-Jérôme, QC, in early July this year. Eric completed his studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2015. He then took up an internship in their new home church, Maple Avenue Baptist in Georgetown, ON. Under Pastor James Seaward’s leadership, Eric was focused on young adults and his passion to make disciples among college and career-aged people in Montreal was affirmed. To fulfill this vision Eric and Valerie will first acquire French language through a tutor in Saint-Jérôme. Eric and Valerie have raised a strong support team among their families, friends, colleagues, and Fellowship churches in Ontario. This couple will serve as catalysts to form disciple-makers. Canada’s open immigration means that Francophones from all over the world have made Montreal their home. The nations are in our neighbourhoods! As people come to Christ, we envision that by supporting AÉBÉQ, our French-speaking Fellowship Region, we will see their work serve as an incubator for disciple-making movements among Francophone nations around the world.
Middletons to Quebec
Chris and Sara Middleton, and their two boys, Jude and Ethan, have deployed to Quebec after eight years in our Fellowship International office. Chris and Sara served separately and then together (after their marriage) in Turkey for eight years by using creative methods to present the Gospel and then to disciple Turks. A series of events resulted in their return to Canada. Both Chris and Sara nurtured an open desire to return to disciple-making initially believing that this would mean an eventual return to Turkey. However, as they prayed, and pursued counsel, the Lord opened their hearts to Quebec. They see themselves as formed by God to support disciple-making movements in Quebec by coming alongside Fellowship leaders and Francophone disciple makers. Our Quebec Region has asked that Chris and Sara assist them to orient missionaries who are being sent into their Region from all over the world. In order to form effective partnerships, Chris and Sara will be part of a team focused on orienting new missionaries into the Region and culture of Quebec. Chris and Sara are uniquely qualified to facilitate these outcomes. Right now they are committed to acquiring French language. To make that a reality, the Middletons purchased a home in the greater Montreal area, relocated their family to Quebec at the end of June, and will begin language acquisition. They, too, have a strong partner base from among their families, friends, and Ontario Fellowship churches. The Middletons embody the motto: Just because you can’t do everything, don’t fail to do something.
Thank you to the many churches and donors who have generously supported these three families. Please be mindful of praying for them in the months and years to come.
Have a blessed week,
Dear Prayer Partners,
I am so grateful to each of you for your continued prayer support these past few months.
Please find attached – my latest quarterly prayer news.
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Today is “Labour Day”, when we pay homage to all the hard working people of our nation. But too much of a good thing can be a problem. Burnout is a problem in the church.
In a survey conducted by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, he discovered 90% of pastors stated they are frequently fatigued and worn out. In a Focus on the Family survey, 80% of pastors were discouraged in their role as pastor. In both surveys, 70% of pastors admitted to not having any close friends.
Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion and/or low satisfaction.
The occurrence of burnout among pastors in North America is increasing, and ministry (job) satisfaction is one of the strongest predictors of burnout; only second to personality factors such as not having good personal coping mechanisms, an overwhelming desire to please others or inability to differentiate self from role.
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A couple years back several Canadian denominational leaders were interviewed and all expressed concern regarding a future clergy shortage among evangelical churches. Everyone is seeking ways to keep pastors healthy, particularly young pastors. Surveys consistently show that younger pastors ranked their job satisfaction lower than older pastors. How do we keep younger pastors from burnout and losing them from decades of fruitful service in pastoral ministry?
Thom Rainer spoke at our FNC 2015 in Gatineau, QC. His research and practical advice to pastors and churches is legendary. In a brief article, From Burnout to Vision, he shares 12 ways pastors went from burnout to effectiveness. He spoke to 17 pastors who had experienced burnout and later re-engaged into exciting ministries.
Thom asked them what they did to reverse their dark spiral of burnout? He tabulated their answers and formed them into the following dozen behaviours:
Our Fellowship offers, in cooperation with Focus on the Family, a service to all Fellowship pastors, missionaries, chaplains and their families. Clergy can phone the “Clergy-Care” hotline (1-888-5CLERGY) to get help. A confidential call to a qualified Christian counselor who will be happy to talk to you for two to three calls before referring you (if necessary) to a Christian counselor in your area. Our Fellowship Health Plan also has some coverage for counselor fees as well.
Don’t delay. If you are in some prolonged distress, start by making a confidential call to 1-888-5CLERGY. We are responsible to manage our soul-care…make the call. Click here to get more information about the Fellowship Clergy Care ministry.
Warmly in Christ,
PS. October is “Pastor Appreciation Month”. What are you planning to do to encourage your pastor and their family in October?