Our Blog

Filter By:

From My Persepctive

main image

During my teaching career in the United Kingdom, I was often confronted with problematic situations that involved my students and their home life. On parent interview evenings, I encountered quite a number of parents who would glance at their kid's work and then immediately make their way to me to sit down and discuss an impressive variety of domestic problems. Many of the kids came from very disadvantaged homes, which engendered one-parent families, abusive situations, and depression. 

During that time in my life, I realized how difficult, sad, and traumatic life is for many people in our society. After retiring from teaching (and still living in the UK), I went back to school to qualify as a counsellor and became involved, at my local church especially, with "compassion" ministries and general Christian caregiving.

Having immigrated to Canada in 2002, I was excited to become a part of the newly initiated (in 2009) Stephen Ministry. We thank God for the number of people He helped us minister to over the last 10 years. So many people are in need of a "listening ear" at certain times in their lives, be it short-term or long-term, to help them through specific periods of stress, anxiety, and despair. 

Some of our Stephen Ministers wear a button, or pin, which lists some of the prerequisites for being an effective caregiver: TRUSTWORTHY (keeping and maintaining confidentiality, being a good listener, silent, connected, and accountable); SKILLED (having learned caregiving skills, to be attentive); FULL OF FAITH (trusting God, in the hope that He can deal with the situation); COMPASSIONATE (suffering together with another person, showing empathy, but above all, LOVING LIKE JESUS). We are a Christ-centred ministry. We expect ALL from Him, and are constantly aware that we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and insight.

To me, it is a privilege and joy to have the opportunity to serve in this way. Galatians 6:2 tells us to, "bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

As a bonus to our team, through the years, our Stephen Ministry group has grown individually and together into a deeper spirituality, love for God, and for each other. I am always amazed and humbled at how God's economy works!

"Therefore encourage one another and build up each other." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

If you are interested in becoming a Stephen Minister, or would like more information, please click here.

Posted by Lucy Hall

Where Did the Time Go?

main image

Where did the time go? Time is just flying by! How did we get to this stage in our lives?

Are these phrases you hear yourself saying often?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 teaches, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." The interesting thing about time is whatever stage of life you are currently in, you are constantly either looking back on a memory of a time past or looking forward to a goal not yet accomplished.

Your preschool years may have been completed decades ago and have no relevance to your present season of life. Some of you reading this may have just graduated high school and may not have a single memory of your preschool years (even though they were only 15 years ago!). Others might be in the midst of parenting the most challenging and difficult 3-year-old that ever walked the planet and you just want this season to end.

You were once a preschooler. Allow yourself to sit and ponder that for a moment. Yes, there was a time in your life that you didn't know your colours or ABCs. You didn't know how to use scissors, zip up your coat, or stand in a line. You had to be taught how to share, wait your turn, and how to apologize and make it right with someone. These skills are taught at young age and then developed over the course of your life. You don't become a successful adult by accident. We require different people in our lives, in different seasons, to help mentor, teach, and encourage our growth and development.

Many of us are wrapping up our school year either as a student, teacher, or parent. If you personally don't fall into any of these categories, allow yourself to reflect on the memories you have from the different seasons of your life. Pray for those who helped bring you to your current season of life. Ecclesiastes 3:2 goes on to say, "a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted." Sometimes you are the seed being planted, other times you are harvesting the reward of your efforts. In other seasons, you are the farmer who is planting the seeds. Each of these seasons comes with its own rewards, challenges, and experiences. A wise woman once told me, "Don't will away any stage of life. Earnestly try to stay present in each season and reflect on the lessons learned and blessings that surround you daily."

As First Steps Preschool completes another school year, I am filled with many different emotions. Personally, a season is ending for our family. All of our children will be attending elementary school in September. We sang "good-bye until next time" to our preschool season. God has brought us through yet another season of life.

Whatever season of life you are in, I pray that you will find a lesson learned, reflect on blessings of provision, and know the love of our Saviour.

Posted by Katie Yakiwchuk

Swaziland (Eswatini) Missions Trip

main image

We would like to take a moment to share an exciting story with you. Swaziland is a small country in Southern Africa. The nation has recently changed their name to the more traditional, "Eswatini." It is a beautiful country with great diversity and a young population. They currently have the 12th lowest life expectancy of all nations in the world. One of the significant factors in this low life expectancy is HIV/AIDS. Eswatini has the highest HIV rate in the world. According to the UNAIDS 2018 data, 27.4% of the adult population is HIV positive (ages 15-49) and UNICEF records that the nation is home to over 100,000 orphans.

Luis and Maggie Chomba live outside of Mbabane, the city capital. Luis pastors a small church and was overcome by the burden of so many young children who were losing their parents to HIV/AIDS. The Chombas started taking some of these young children into their home and before long, their home had become the local "Hope House" orphanage. They house up to 40 orphaned children full time and provide meals for up to 300 other orphans and vulnerable children in their community!

In July, one of SDBC's community groups will be going to serve the Chombas and the Hope House orphans. Craig and Heather Kraft will be returning to Africa with Andrew Kraft, Caleb van Til, and Melissa Robertson to work with Luis and Maggie. "Our group wanted to finish the year with a project or mission trip that gave us an opportunity to 'love like Jesus' outside of our comfort zone."

This trip will give the team a first-hand experience of what it is like to care for others in a challenging environment. Our team has been invited to Eswatini to meet the Chombas, learn about the great challenges in their community, and to provide a little bit of help and respite for the people who serve these orphans every day.

This Sunday, the Eswatini team will be hosting a hamburger lunch in the Chapel following the service. They will be available to share about where they are going, what they hope to accomplish, and how you can partner with them. The lunch will be by donation. Donations may be made through Outreach Canada by clicking the button below. 

Posted by Craig Kraft

12345678910 ... 5859