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Serving and Sharing on Salt Spring Island

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This year will be our 22nd year of sending a group of youth and leaders over to Salt Spring Island for a week to help residents with work around their homes. This trip is a highlight of the year for many of the students in our youth group. During the final months leading up to the trip a week does not go by without someone talking about how excited they are for Salt Spring. Many memories are made while on work projects and during the activities of the week. It has been a life changing week for so many students throughout the past 21 years.

Work projects are at the forefront of this trip, and the purpose of these projects is to serve the mission of the trip. The mission of the Salt Spring trip every year is ​to see students connect, learn, and grow as disciples of Jesus. The work projects help so many people on the island but the reason this trip happens each year is to see this mission happen.

Having this mission at the centre of the trip is what makes it so special. Work projects are a very practical way that we can love like Jesus. It shows us the importance of serving others and caring for their needs. It pushes students to see that part of being a disciple is serving. Jesus said, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all" (Mark 9:35b). How do we become a servant of all? We recognize the needs of those around us and aim to help them with those needs. For example, many on the island rely on firewood for heating their homes throughout the winter. So, we will spend hours upon hours during the week chopping and stacking wood. Others need help around their garden because they are unable to keep the weeds under control anymore. So we will spend hours pulling out weeds. We want to be servants.

But, there is something much greater that happens amidst these projects. At the beginning of the trip each year, we start with something we call the "equip session." A large portion of this involves practicing our testimonies and sharing the gospel with others so that we are prepared to share with the residents of the island. It is not uncommon to end up in a conversation about the gospel with residents throughout the week. Homeowners will ask students and leaders why they come to the island each year and this opens up an opportunity to share the gospel with them.

Growing as a disciple means we serve, but it ultimately means we also share the gospel. This is our duty as believers, to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). The work projects are an avenue in which we are able to glorify God on Salt Spring Island through word and deed. Please be in prayer for our team as we head over to the Island from June 29th-July 6th. Pray for God to work in the lives of the students and for opportunities to share the gospel with the people of Salt Spring Island.

Posted by Kyle McDonald

Tsawwassen First Nation Ministry

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More than 10 years ago, a group of Korean Christians began a food bank ministry on the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) lands as an extension of the Ladner Food Bank. In the past, both Pastor Paul and Pastor Ryan have been involved with this ministry, and several years ago my husband, Garry, and I also became involved.

It may not be generally known, but not all those who live on TFN land are actually band members and many live on a very limited income. For those who are members, often any funds distributed by the band are dispersed in periodic lump sums, leading to a cycle of "feast or famine." Sadly, as with many communities across all ethnicities, the effects of drug and alcohol abuse also play a significant role in the lives of many. Our role at the food bank is to assist with communication between the clients and the mainly Korean-speaking workers, to drive clients home with their food, and generally to be a friend to all who come through the doors. This has led to the opportunity to visit and pray with someone who had been hospitalized, to mourn with the community in times of loss, and to pray with others experiencing health concerns.

There is also an active Sunday night ministry led by Terry and Laura Weatherly, Owen and Lucine White, and Garry and myself. We begin with a church service and end the evening with a shared meal. Several individuals and community groups have graciously supplied meals in the past but it is an ongoing need. If you or your group feel this is something you could assist with, please email our team.

We often have few in number on Sundays but we have been greatly encouraged as we have seen God at work in the hearts of those who do attend. Those who once just filled a seat, are now actively engaged in singing praises to God and participating in prayer requests. We have witnessed instances when they have demonstrated caring among themselves by offering to drive a brother to the hospital to visit his sick sister or taking a meal home to a friend who would otherwise go hungry. In other words, they have begun to love like Jesus, and in doing so, we have become a family.

Posted by Brenda Horwood

Being a Dad

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I have been blessed for many years by having my birthday land on, or near, Father's Day. This year, it falls on Father's Day. For me, and perhaps my children, there tends to be a focused reflection on my dual roles of being human and being a dad. This duality is humbling at best and can be painful to consider when I take the time to meditate on it.

I am a fallen human being. I need so much of God's help navigating through this world and my life. Yet, I am a dad to four children who also need lots of help navigating through their worlds. This duality creates tension. I'm a learner, follower, and disciple of Jesus, and I am a leader and mentor to my children. At times, I don't feel competent in either role. But I love following Jesus and I love being a dad.

Being a dad gives me perspective on a life I have been so blessed to have; yet in my humanity, clearly do not deserve. Being a follower of Jesus, and being a dad, I get a small glimpse of just how much our heavenly Father loves me. He gave me children to love in a way that mirrors His love for me. He also gave me children to help me understand just how much I need my heavenly Father. Being a dad gives me something to protect with my life and love with all of my heart. It is a gift from God.

Being a dad is a responsibility and trust that sits around my shoulders. I cannot carry the responsibility alone very well. I need my Father to carry the load. I need my children to point me to my Father. What an amazing God we have that we get to be dads who get to love like He does and to be loved like only He can. Happy Father's Day, dads! We are most blessed!

Posted by Rick Burdett

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