Loreena Thiessen: The Happiest Month

by Loreena Thiessen

May is the happiest month. There is much to celebrate. School is almost over and summer is about to begin.

Each day the sun shines warmer. There are colours, green, red, and yellow, where before it was only white. Colours and warmth bring renewed energy. You rush outdoors. You feel the sun’s warm rays on your face. You feel the sidewalk solid under your feet. You feel the smooth pavement as you glide along on your bike.

The air is different, fresh. It’s cool and warm all at once and filled with birdsong. Birds are gathering twigs and grasses in the industry of nest building, soon to be filled with new babies. Squirrels chase each other. Rabbits rest on the cool soft grass while chomping down fresh new dandelion blooms, the long stems dangling out of their mouths. Fat bees buzz. Butterflies flit from flower to flower sipping the sweet nectar.

The neighbourhood comes to life. People lean on their rakes and mowers and chat with each other after the long winter. They dig around flowers to help them grow. Balls and gloves come out for a game of catch. You hear laughter and shouting.

There’s more. On the second Sunday in May you celebrate your mother. You honour her for loving you and taking such good care of you. It’s your turn to do something special for her. What will it be?

Next comes the first long weekend of summer, Victoria Day. Victoria Day was originally meant to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday, who was the longest reigning queen in the 1800s. Today we don’t think about her so much. Instead we focus on enjoying the first holiday of the coming summer, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows outdoors, watching sparks rise against a dark night sky from an open fire, and sleeping in a tent or camper. There may even be fireworks.

June follows quickly. Each day is warmer than the one before. This is the month you’ve been waiting for, the end of the school year. At the end of this year you will be a year older than you were last year. Soon a new school year will be here, but first you get to enjoy summer. It begins officially on June 21.

loreena-thiessen
Loreena Thiessen

On the third Sunday of June you celebrate your dad. You remember all the times he has taken you skating, to a hockey game, or helped you shovel the driveway. He does many things for you because he loves you. Let him know you love him too. What does he like? To celebrate you may go fishing with him or play a game of mini-golf, ride bumper cars, or fly a kite and eat ice-cream in the park. A bike ride sounds like fun.

Celebrating and enjoying the outdoors is a good thing. To honour your mother and father is a command. Read Exodus 20:12 and Psalm 104:10–24.

Activity: Make a card for your mother (May 13) and your father (June 17).

Need: 
Two sheets of paper, one for each card.
Use regular printing paper or craft paper. A pencil, or pen, pencil crayons.

Do:
1. Interview your mother and father. Use these questions:
What is your favourite colour? What is your favourite food?
What is your favourite book? What is your favourite activity?
What is your favourite season? Who is your favourite hero?
2.  Draw a picture of something each one has done that you really like.
3.  Make a card for each with your findings. Use a sheet of paper, 8×10, folded in half for each card. Put the drawing on the outside of the card and the answers to the questions on the inside, like this:

favourite colour _______________________

favourite food _______________________

favourite book _______________________

favourite activity _____________________

favourite season ______________________

favourite hero ________________________

4. Inside write Thank you for being my mother, father.

Terry Smith: One Lord, Many Needs, and EMC

by Terry M. Smith

Proclaiming Jesus in word and deed: Opposing human trafficking. Assisting refugees. Counselling couples. Providing food. Aiding families living on a garbage dump. Building houses. Helping abused women. Praying. Digging wells. Supporting pregnant teens. Teaching children. Washing clothes. Flipping pancakes. Helping people with HIV/AIDS. Bible translation. Growing food. Gathering in worship. Evangelism. Flying patients and workers. Promoting mental health. Training leaders. Camping with children. Seeking justice. Planting churches. Educating members. Assisting the elderly. Striving for peace. Encouraging youth. In many countries. On six continents.

What do EMCers do? This is part of it!

The EMC has 98 cross-cultural workers in 24 countries serving 115 people groups, according to info provided to Diana Peters. That’s a wide ministry and a fairly high ratio of workers to members. This workforce, serving on our behalf, takes most of our $1.9 million national and international budget. It’s worth it.

In fact, EMCers value cross-cultural work so much that some of us likely give to the same workers in three ways: through the international and national budget, within a local church budget, and by directly giving to workers. And beyond the EMC Board of Missions, churches and individuals support many other workers.

We have, of course, four other boards. These seek to guide the EMC, be responsible stewards, develop and assist our leaders, educate in the faith, and preserve the testimony of past generations. All churches benefit.

EMCers do much. We have many workers—thousands. Missionaries and pastors form only a fraction of them. For instance, what keeps you busy?

We are busy because of Jesus. We exist because the One who is our peace makes us one (Eph. 2:14). Our unity is in Christ: “just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all in and all” (Eph. 4:4-6). This is basic and wonderful.

From this unity in Christ we work together and respond to many needs. Jesus came among us, healed, taught, was killed, buried, raised, and will return. Why? For our healing, reconciliation, wholeness, and safety both individually and together. And not ours only (1 Tim. 2:1-7, 4:9-10; 2 Pet. 3:9).

Yes, we face challenges. The EMC has grown little in membership in 17 years and our budget faces stress. When our membership does not increase and our budget is reduced, our ministries are affected and some people are not helped. In Canada, some of our churches are hurting and more churches are needed.

What does the Great Commission include? We’re to go, make disciples, baptize (Matt. 28:18-20)—and what else? Teach believers to “obey everything” Jesus has commanded. Our Lord’s words and example reveal that our calling as Christians is many-sided (Luke 4:17-19, Matt. 23:13-25).

terry-smith
Terry M. Smith

The good news is many-sided. We are called to faith in Christ shown in discipleship, community, evangelism, charity, justice, peace, stewardship, creation care, and much more. Body and soul, individual and community, “spiritual” and social—we are not, ultimately, called to choose between them for ourselves or others (Micah 6:8; Luke 4:16-21; John 1:14; James 2:5-7, 14-17; James 5:1-6).

As Christians we have a many-sided calling as local as next door and as wide as the world. We serve one Lord, respond to many needs, and Every Ministry Counts (EMC).

Adam Harris: Amid a Challenge, God is Good!

by Adam Harris

My name is Adam, and I just wanted to share my story. I felt like I should share this to encourage everyone that God is with you through your struggles and He will provide the strength you need to overcome any trial.

Life Is Hard

I was born three months before my due date. As a result of that, I had a brain hemorrhage and a collapsed lung, which almost killed me at birth. Because of the brain hemorrhage, I have had the side effects of mild ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, mild anxiety disorder, mild cerebral palsy, and loss of vision in my right eye.

All of these disabilities are mild, but combined they create a unique challenge for me. The ADHD affected my attention span and I was diagnosed with a learning disability in elementary school, which means I was slower to understand concepts and often required further instruction or repeated instructions.

I am unsure of how Tourette’s Syndrome affects me because for a long time it was assumed that Tourette’s contributed to my stuttering; the cause of my stuttering has since been linked to Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy affects the muscles in my jaw, which also affects my speech. It also affects the muscles in my legs and arms; lifting heavy objects and standing for long periods of time are more challenging for me.

The doctor says that the Cerebral Palsy in my jaw muscles are the root cause of my stuttering, but I’ve noticed that my stuttering has become more of a problem when I’m anxious or nervous. Personally, I think anxiety plays a big part in my stuttering as well.

In Grade 11, I barely stuttered, but it came back at the end of Grade 12 and has continued to this present day.

I have struggled with these disabilities since I was born; and since my graduation from high school I have noticed some unique challenges with those disabilities as I move closer to my goal in life.

Some of the Best Years

The past five years since my grad have been some of the best years of my life. I have served two summers at Camp Cedarwood, graduated with a Certificate of Biblical Studies from Steinbach Bible College (SBC), and attended Briercrest. I have built tons of friendships, the closest I’ve ever had, and I am closer to God than ever before.

But they have also been the most challenging years of my life. I suffered through a retinal tear in 2015 and could have gone blind. This was healed in August 2015. Praise God! On top of this, I have had to live with a cataract since September 2015. The cataract is mild and currently stable, but it will get worse eventually. I have poor depth perception as well because of only having one functioning eye, and cannot see as well as I should in the dark.

My struggle with stuttering has been worse than it’s ever been. I struggle with self-esteem because of my stuttering, and I suffer with anxiety for my future. If I compare myself to others, I feel inadequate. I feel like I should stop trying to achieve my goals because others would be better at achieving them than I would. But I know that God is good and I can find my worth and ability through what God thinks of me rather than what people think of me, or even what I think of me.

God Is Good

Through all this I have never given up because I know that through my weaknesses God will make a way, and that his power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). God has the miraculous power to work through pain and suffering to bring about His glory.

The promises of God will take us through anything that this world can throw at us. God’s power is made perfect in weakness. And he will most certainly strengthen us and uphold us (Isaiah 41:10). As I look back on my life and the struggles I have gone through, I know that there is one constant that has never changed: God.

adam
Adam Harris

He has been there with me every step of the way (Isaiah 43:2), and that if He is for us, then who could be against us? (Rom. 8:32). It says in Galatians that we will “reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Gal. 6:9), and that is what I intend to do. Never give up. The future is definitely bright when God is on your side.

Adam Harris is from Winnipeg, Man., and attends Braeside EMC. His goal is to serve full-time in youth ministry.