By Ruth Block
While we are tired of online events, they continue to hold new opportunities to gather in ways we wouldn’t have previously imagined. This spring the Board of Missions (BOM) tried something new—an online gathering for missionary sharing and prayer.
On March 4, 2021, we heard from three missionary couples who are focused on Bible translation. Paul and Lois Thiessen were unable to join, but provided a short update regarding the Siamou Bible translation project in Burkina Faso. Two other couples working in more sensitive areas also joined to share about their current work.
On June 24, 2021, church planting was the focus as we heard from Bill Janzen, Dallas and Tara Wiebe, and Jeremy and Adrienne Penner.
Bill Janzen, EMC church planter in St. Thomas, Ont., shared how The Forge, the only church in the northern half of this city of around 40,000 people, was gathering people together who had become disillusioned with church, or had never attended before. It took some time to get going, but over a space of a few months their group nearly doubled in size. As in many other cases, COVID-19 has caused issues, but the church looks forward to gathering in person again.
Dallas and Tara Wiebe, EMC missionaries church planting in Guadalajara, Mexico, are excited to welcome people into their study groups who have not been able or willing to join them in person. The church continues to grow stronger as they focus on leadership development, and they continue to connect with couples through Dallas’s counselling. The most recent Missions Alert video, focused on Guadalajara, is posted online at http://www.emconference.ca.
Jeremy and Adrienne Penner, EMC workers with Multiply in Thailand, shared several encouraging stories of the church among the migrant population they work with. Local leaders work hard to spread the good news among their people, but often lack the access to further biblical training. Jeremy and Adrienne’s team partners with two different local Bible schools, sending roughly twelve students in a typical year; in the last year, as restrictions moved classes online, they were able to send nearly forty!
While these events will continue to be held online, the BOM is working toward making in-person options available. If you are in the Steinbach area and would like to join us in person at Steinbach EMC, please email or call the office to register. The next prayer meeting will be held on October 14, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. (CDT) with a focus on education. Visit http://www.emconference.ca/prayermeeting to learn more or register.