Loreena Thiessen: Celebrate Canada!

This year Canada is 150 years old. What does this mean?

In 1867 a group of men, the Fathers of Confederation, decided that Canada should have its own government and laws. Its name should be Canada. At the time there were only four provinces. It was July 1 and Canada was born.

How has Canada grown since 1867?

Canada is a country of immigrants. Most of the people living in Canada have come from other countries. First it was fishermen. They were Vikings from Iceland. They came to find more fish. The Atlantic Ocean around Newfoundland and Labrador was thick with codfish. That was 1,000 years ago, long before Canada was a country. The fishermen loaded their ships with the fish and returned home.

In time the King of England and the King of France sent men to explore new lands. The French wanted gold and riches. The English wanted to find a shorter trade route to Asia. Each king wanted the new land for himself.

Other explorers came. The land they found was Canada. They met Canada’s first people, the Indigenous people who were already here and who showed the new explorers how to hunt for fresh meat, how to travel by canoe, and traded furs for tools.

They trapped animals like beaver, muskrat, ermine, and mink. People in Europe wanted hats and coats made of these furs and Canada had plenty of them. The trappers travelled along rivers and streams and carried the furs with them. They unloaded them onto bigger ships in the Hudson Bay that sailed across the Atlantic and brought the furs to Europe.

The English and the French each built settlements to keep control over the land they wanted. They competed with each other and they fought each other. Each one wanted Canada and its riches for their king. Finally the British won and for a long time Canada belonged to England.

In 1812 the Americans invaded Canada. They had 4,000 men. They believed it would be easy to defeat the Canadians. The Canadians had only 400 men, but with the support of Native troops, together they defeated the Americans.

Now Canada needed a strong border, a line to mark Canada’s land. And so they built the railroad along the border. The railroad kept the border more secure. It sent a strong signal to the Americans not to attack again. The railroad connected the vast distances of Canada.

Towns and cities grew along the railroad. Now people and goods could travel from the east to the west, from Montreal to Vancouver. Today one half of Canada’s population lives in the big cities along the U.S.-Canada border. New people arrive every day who want to make Canada their home.

It was the Fathers of Confederation who built the country’s laws believing that God ruled over them and that he had “dominion from sea to sea.”

Read Psalm 72:8. This is what the Fathers of Confederation believed. It is the official motto of Canada.

Activity:

12 Canadian Words: which ones do you know? Write another word beside each one that tells what it is.

Toque        ____________________

Parka        _____________________

Toboggan  ______________________

Canoe        _______________________

Loonie       ________________________

Toonie       ________________________

Timbits     _________________________

Butter tart   __________________________

Nanaimo bars    _______________________

Canuck      ___________________________

Beaver tail    ___________________________

Poutine      ___________________________

Abundant Springs 2017: Carrying a Bit More of Jesus With Us

by Jaime Loewen

You may not realize that the weekend doesn’t actually begin with the arrival at the destination. It begins the moment the group comes together at 8 a.m. all sleepy-eyed with their pillows under arms ready to load into a squished bus. This journey began on Friday, May 19, 2017, in the parking lot of the Kleefeld EMC (my home church) with 20 youth and an eight hour drive ahead.

One pit stop and plenty of kilometers later, 28 churches from across Canada arrived at Briercrest College in Caronport, Sask., all eager for our weekend of fun and learning.

First Main Session

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Sid Koop Credit: Jaime Loewen

After settling in the dorms and eating supper, it was time for the first main session. At each session we begin with praise and worship. The band called “The Color” has performed for the past three Abundant Springs. They do an amazing job creating an atmosphere free to worship Jesus; and many youth, when asked their favourite part of the weekend, responded with “the worship.”

This year we had the privilege of having Sid Koop as our main speaker. Sid, who is passionate about awakening the lives of students through the truth of Jesus Christ, has spent over 15 years in full-time youth ministry in the local church. Sid taught us what it meant to be alive in Christ by focusing the weekend’s sessions on Eph. 2:4-5.

Sid explained to us what it means to be alive in Christ and how God makes us alive in Him. He started the session with the story of the Pharisees, in Luke 15:1-7, who were expecting God to be firm and harsh in his judgment, to cast those that stumble or stray away from his presence. But Jesus used the parable of the lost sheep to illustrate how God is eager to be with us.

The shepherd did for the sheep what the sheep cannot do on its own: find its way home. Likewise, God does for us what we cannot do: make us alive in him through the sacrifice of his one and only Son. Sometimes we need the reminder that it wasn’t us that pursued first; even while we were full of sin, God continued to pursue us.

Small Groups

After each main session each of the youth groups break off into small groups to reflect on the message, share thoughts and stories from throughout the day, and to pray for any requests. These strengthen the youth groups and build deep relationships.

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Dr. Patrick Friesen leads a workshop. Credit: Jaime Loewen

Workshops

Youth continue learning in smaller workshops both Saturday and Sunday morning. There are many workshops running, so youth choose. Some of the topics were Human Trafficking: Bringing Hope in the Face of Tragedy by Flo Friesen, Freedom From Addictions by Teen Challenge, and Making the Bible Come Alive by Dr. Patrick Friesen.

Activities

Saturday afternoon met us with a ton of activities, including sports tournaments: street hockey, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. For those inclined to the finer arts, there were indoor activities and crafts such as bracelet making, painting, drawing, board games, and a wild game of life-sized Dutch Blitz.

Second Session

Sid talked about condemnation and hypocrisy and how we tend to look to things to give us life (materialistic objects, relationships, success and popularity); and how these things actually give us the exact opposite and lead us farther away from living in the truth.

When we focus on these earthly things we become hypocritical and condemning of others. We listen to the voice telling us that we can do things better than others or be better than others. But Jesus came to recreate us and we no longer have to listen to these voices. Instead of our experiencing condemnation, Jesus gives us life through dying on the cross and offers us continual grace and a better way to live.

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Credit: Jaime Loewen

The Showdown

After this evening session the entertainment committee hosted what is now called The Showdown. Youth leaders prepared game show activities for volunteers. One was The Whisper Challenge where one person whispered a phrase and the other person, while wearing headphones with loud music playing, tried to figure out what is said. Another was The Bottle Flip: three youths competed to flip a bottle so it landed upright.

Wide Game

Following Sunday’s workshops and lunch was the Wide Game, where all the youth participated in a huge outside game. This year’s game was called “The Search for a Cure.” You were to imagine that you woke up one morning to find out that you have all been infected by a sickness that would remove your ability to feel, think, and create. As small groups you have to retrieve the cure.

Around the campus were multiple stations led by youth leaders where teams had to pass a challenge for the mind, the flesh, or the spirit. Some of the challenges were eating hot sauce, getting your team to stand on a pillow case and flip the pillow case over without anyone stepping off, placing a speedometer on your head and nodding fast enough to reach a predetermined speed, and solving riddles and puzzles.

The first group to complete a certain amount of challenges and make it back to the home base won the game. Seeing everybody’s excitement and participation during the game blew me away. I could see team building relationships and tons of good memories being made.

Third Session

Sid taught us from 2 Cor. 3:17 about living in freedom and how as a result God will become the core of who you are. True freedom isn’t doing whatever the flesh desires; it’s when what we ought to do becomes what we want to do.

Sid challenged us to reflect on if we are experiencing freedom or slavery. What you behold is what you become, so how are you spending your time? Are you creating time to behold Christ? Following Jesus is more than just becoming a better Christian; it’s about becoming a new creation in Jesus.

Praise and Prayer

With Sunday being our last night, we all gathered into the chapel for a time of praise and prayer. This is a chance to reflect on what God has been doing in the past couple days, to thank him, and just to pray about what we’ve learned. We started it out by praise and worship led by The Color. It was followed by Garth Koop leading us into a time of prayer and repentance within small groups.

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Credit: Jaime Loewen

Fourth Session

On Monday morning we had our fourth and final session with Sid. He taught us about allowing the Word to search our hearts and to lead us to a living faith. Sid used James 2 to show us that a living faith means a loving faith. An example Sid used of a husband who bought flowers for his wife when he didn’t really want to. The deed was empty of feeling.

Sid connected this to how we sometimes serve God just because it’s something that we are told to do. We could really see how living faith loves God and when we love God our actions and our desires will only want to please Him.

Each of the sessions throughout the weekend were eye-opening, they were filled with amazing truth, and were highlights for all.

A Bit More of Jesus With Us

Jaime-Loewen
Jaime Loewen

After packing up and saying goodbye to new friends, we began the reverse of our Friday drive. The weekend had been soul searching, full of growth, so much excitement. This writer was thankful for the time of quiet on the bus ride home to reflect before entering back into the daily grind of life. Hopefully, for me as well as the others, we will be carrying a bit more of Jesus with us from here on out.

Jaime Loewen is a youth leader at Kleefeld EMC.  

MCC Canada appoints Cober Bauman as executive director

by Laura Kalmar, MCC Canada

Brings almost 30 years experience with MCC

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Rick Cober Bauman Credit; MCC

WINNIPEG, Man.—After much prayer and discernment, the board of MCC Canada is pleased to welcome Rick Cober Bauman to the role of MCC Canada executive director, effective Oct. 10, 2017.

“As MCC approaches its centennial celebration, the board is confident that Rick, with his unique gifts and abilities, will lead us well into our next century of ministry,” says board chair Peggy Snyder. “Rick has been with MCC for nearly 30 years. He brings with him a rich understanding of our work and constituency, as well as heartfelt compassion for those we serve. Rick is a team builder and motivator, and is able to relate well with diverse communities.

“We invite you to pray for God’s blessings on Rick and all of MCC,” says Snyder, “as we continue the work of relief, development and peace in the name of Christ.”

Cober Bauman has served with MCC since 1989. For the past nine years, he has given leadership to MCC Ontario as executive director. Prior to that, he served in the roles of MCC Ontario program director and Aboriginal Neighbours program coordinator.

From 1989–1992, he was an MCC voluntary service worker, overseeing education, advocacy and community development work in Sheshatshiu, Labrador.

Cober Bauman and his wife Louise Cober are members of Tavistock (Ontario) Mennonite Church and have three adult children, Nicole, Jesse and Jared.

Cober Bauman will be based out of Ontario, while making regular trips to Winnipeg and other locations related to the work of MCC Canada. He replaces Don Peters who retires at the end of September following 16 years as MCC Canada executive director.

Resetting Our Priorities

by Brigitte Toews

LANDMARK, Man.—Heartland Community Church has sprung forward into a new season of ministry and service opportunities as we listen and follow God’s leading. Looking ahead, we have recognized the need to add a new part-time pastor of care to our pastoral leadership team.

Duane Froese has been our Prayer and Care service team leader for the past three years and he was affirmed in this new role on March 19. Duane will help mobilize the team at Heartland to encourage, serve, and help all of us connect to God and others in our church and wider community.

On Easter Sunday we hosted a travelling band of Christian musicians from Bellville, Ont., called FM Reset, who led our Easter worship. They have been touring Eastern and Central Canada, playing in schools and churches along the way, encouraging youth to live different. The band got their start as the young worship team out of Pastor Andy Woodworth’s previous church, and they said that Andy’s encouragement to keep practicing helped them stay focused and develop as a group.

On April 30 our church was formally introduced to the Dawood family for the first time since arriving in Winnipeg in December 2016. Al Reimer spoke on behalf of the Syrian Refugee sponsorship group, which is made up of Heartland donors, and a committed group of fellow Christians in downtown Winnipeg who live in the same area as the refugees.

Al said, “The Dawood family—father Mohamad, mother Aisha, daughter Mawlooda, son Mostafa—continue to make progress in settling in a new country, learning English, going to school, pursuing training for possible employment, and create a network of friends. They have maintained a positive attitude as they confront the seemingly overwhelmingly task of creating a new life.”

Mr. Dawood, with the assistance of Sultan Kittened, a translator who volunteered his service for this purpose, shared some of their family’s life experiences in war-torn Syria. He was a farmer by trade and when uprooted from his homeland, not all the Dawood adult children were able to come to Canada, they got separated during the crisis. After the service, we shared a meal with the family and an offering was taken for gardening tools so they can get started on their own urban garden project.

We look forward to more mission opportunities coming our way as we bear good fruit and remain rooted in Christ.

 

EMC Board of Missions Approves Special Projects at its June Meeting

by Ken Zacharias, Foreign Secretary

  1. Northern Mexico: $800 to assist eleven youth to attend a national youth conference in Designation: MW – Camp Ministry
  2. Guadalajara Mexico: $1,500 for a Guadalajara Outreach event. Designation: M1 – Guadalajara Outreach
  3. Paraguay: $500 Assist Chris and Revita Kroeker in receiving training at “Caring for the Heart” ministries in Colorado Springs Designation: P1 – Caring for the Heart
  4. Paraguay: $2,500 Radio Mensajero Daily Program Support (please read the article below describing this project.) Designation: P1 – MBN

To donate to a project, please send it to:

EM Conference
440 Main St.
Steinbach, MB
R5G 1Z5

Radio Mensajero: Daily Program Support

by Friedbert Siemens, director, Radio Mensajero

Radio Mensajero, located in Tres Palmas, Paraguay, has broadcast the Good News of salvation for more than 18 years. When we think of people who have heard this marvelous message, we are filled with joy and thankfulness. Our audience is thankful for a helpful Christian radio station.

God has been faithful and he has put in our path many people ready to pray, encouraging us and giving of their finances.

Ken Zacharias
Ken Zacharias

We have a special project called Daily Program Support available for listeners and supporters to assist with daily costs in running a radio staion. The request is 350,000 Guaranies or about $85/day. Although this isn’t the complete amount to run the station, it assists greatly. Each year we are need more donors, and it would be a great blessing to have donors for each day of the year. I invite you to be part of this project, and be assured that your donation would help us a lot. Thank you and may the Lord bless you!

 

Terry Smith: Volunteers and William Booth

by Terry M. Smith

The EMC, within local churches and wider, would not exist without volunteers, Christians who serve without being financially paid. Our conference’s local, national, and international activities depend on volunteers. The EMC has five boards and more committees with many volunteers.

Just ask the National Youth Committee how busy it is over a two-year cycle in planning for Abundant Springs (just past) or for TRU, our youth leaders’ event (to come in 2018). Ask Gerald Reimer, conference youth minister, to list all of the volunteers this year. (Prepare to be patient. It’s a long list.) Consider the work done by volunteers for our yearly EMC national convention held in Regions One through Nine.

No one is paid on the Nominating Committee, whose main task is to seek even more volunteers to help carry out the vision, values, and programs to which the EMC is committed. Church reporters are unsung heroes who keep you updated on their local church’s activities.

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Terry M. Smith

Yet volunteer isn’t an entirely correct term, at least according to William Booth, a Methodist minister. When Booth saw that Methodist churches, despite their lower class or common roots, were failing to reach the poor in London, he led a new movement with his wife Catherine.

What to name the new group? Volunteer Army was suggested, but William Booth objected. Once we become a Christian, he held, we are expected to act a certain way; Christians are more than volunteers.

Such a reality is basic to any church movement. The movement Booth co-founded was called the Salvation Army. Keep serving. “Your labour in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).