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Starfish Is Starting Year Two: How Can You Help?

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Our first year of Starfish Pack South Delta wrapped up successfully at the end of June! Starfish Pack is a program that follows the school year, so we ended when school ended and will pick up in the fall when schools are back in session.

As it was our first year, our goal was to start gradually and add schools to our program as we gained an understanding of how many schools we could sustain. We started with South Park Elementary School and expanded to five elementary schools to include Cliff Drive, Pebble Hill, Hawthorne, and Ladner Elementary. The number of packs delivered weekly grew from six on our first week to 23 by mid-January. We ended the 2019/2020 school year with 20 students in our program. This decrease in the number of packs means that some families are no longer in need of the program, which is a positive thing.

When the pandemic hit our province and forced us into isolation, we pivoted promptly and had the food picked up and delivered to a volunteer's garage by a North American Rail Products truck. It was then packed and delivered by as few people as possible with safety protocols in place. For sanitary reasons, we could no longer pass backpacks back and forth with families. Therefore, all of the food was placed in plastic shopping bags for delivery to the schools. The school administration saw to it that every family in need received their bag each week, and they were happy to do so because they saw what a difference these packs made in the lives of the students and their families. We continued this way with our planned schedule and completed all food deliveries until the end of the school year in June.

Now that we are moving ahead with plans for our second year, we have a better idea of what is involved with running this program than we did when we started just one year ago. Our goal for the future of Starfish Pack South Delta is that we would eventually be able to serve any student in need in all of our 10 public elementary schools. Year One allowed us to reach all the students in five elementary schools, so we are halfway there.

In order to reach our goal of serving all 10 elementary schools we are now asking for your financial support. It costs $55.00 per student, per month to run the Starfish Pack program. We are able to do so because of the amazing generosity of our church and our community.

If you are able to help, please click here to donate online. If you have any questions about donating or about Starfish Pack itself, please contact me by email.

Posted by Mary Grierson

Missionary Update: Outreach Canada

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This week we hear from Outreach Canada in our missionary series. Even if you don't know exactly what Outreach Canada is, you probably know Craig Kraft, Phil Cox, or Rick Burdett, and all of these men are part of the Outreach Canada team. Please read on to learn how Outreach Canada and their missionaries have been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is your current location and mission work?
Craig, Rick, and Phil serve on the Research and Resources team for Outreach Canada and they all work out of our main office in Delta, BC. The Outreach Canada office in Delta is the administrative hub for our team of over one hundred missionaries and chaplains. Approximately one third of our team are full-time missionaries in Canada, one third are part-time or bi-vocational, and the final third is made up of part-time missionaries who serve as corporate chaplains or as part of our seasonal ministries. We also have over twenty missionary associates who serve overseas but require finances and administrative support from Canada.

Outreach Canada is a family of ministries that are focused on discipling our nation and serving our Christian leaders. Most of our ministry is focused in Canada. We have workplace chaplains who take the gospel into the marketplace and build relationships with people who have no other connections with the gospel or a Christian church. Part of our team focuses on discipleship and missions mobilization with tools like the Kairos Course which is now being presented in every province and in seven languages. We have a team that has developed a partnership to provide member care for Canadian missionaries and their families. This partnership includes FEB International and over thirty other mission sending organizations. Many are too small to provide all of the resources required by their missionaries but by working together we are able to share resources and build effective partnerships. We also have ministry partnerships in Canada that focus on ministry with ethnic congregations, ministry to Sikhs and Muslims, student ministry, church planting through Disciple Making Movements, and ministry coaching for churches and pastors.

In addition to our Canadian ministries, we participate in a global alliance and share our people and resources with our partners around the world as needed and requested. Craig currently serves as the moderator of the OC Global Alliance (approximately 1,100 international missionaries serving in over 100 nations).

Craig, Rick, and Phil are vital to the ministry of Outreach Canada and the Global Alliance as they provide administrative, financial, legal, and structural support for the ministry teams and provide mentoring and coaching to leaders within and outside of the organization.

How is God working in and through Outreach Canada during this unique and challenging season?
Most of the OC team works remotely so this has helped us navigate the transition to working virtually. COVID-19 has caused us to cancel all of our events for most of the year. We have been finding new ways to provide training events online, provide virtual camps for missionary families, and connect with ministry partners in creative ways.

We would like to share two unexpected blessings of COVID-19:
1. God is working through this pandemic, in Canada and around the world. Our missionaries are finding more opportunities to share the gospel with individuals during this time of global uncertainty. We are seeing this happen locally and around the world as people are looking for hope.

2. We have been providing the Kairos course (missional discipleship) for about five years. In that time, over 5000 people have taken the course in Canada. In June, we provided the course for the first time in an online format. The course went well and we will now be able to add that option for people who are not located in one of Canada's major cities. We already have dozens of people signing up for our next set of virtual classes. People who participate in this course become more deeply grounded in their faith and it helps them to become more missional in the way they live their lives. This is one of the ways that we are helping to disciple our nation.

How has Outreach Canada been impacted by COVID-19?
We have provided part of our answer in the previous question, but COVID has had a very physical impact on our team and our alliance. Many of our global partners have been hit hard by the pandemic. We have lost almost 150 church leaders in our association in one predominantly Muslim country. We have had a few partners die in India and one in Spain. The disease has hurt a lot of people that we work closely with and that affects us.

Our office has remained closed since March. There are four local employees who rotate through our office from day to day, practicing safe social distancing and dealing with the things that must get done.

We have seen a decline in donations. Some people have had to reduce their giving and we have lost the income from many of the conferences and events that we would normally be hosting. In response to the crisis, we have had to lay off two individuals and reduce the hours for many of our support team personnel to keep our accounts balanced. As the pandemic and subsequent restrictions carry on it becomes more challenging and many of our missionaries are experiencing emotional fatigue, financial stress, and frustration as they do not know how to plan for the future. Craig and Rick have been providing a lot of pastoral care for our team and for some of our international leaders.

During this time we have also experienced a much higher volume of cyber threats to our ministry and our data. Phil has been working hard to keep our team and our valuable information safe from local and international threats.

How can we pray for Outreach Canada?
Specifically, we would appreciate SDBC's prayers for Rick and his family as he recovers from open-heart surgery. He will be recovering for the next few months. We have countless prayer requests but I will share three that will cover a lot of our needs.

1. Please pray that our missionaries would feel encouraged. Missionaries sacrifice a lot to serve the Lord in this way and we are currently experiencing a lot of frustration and discouragement. Please pray that we would see little victories, that we would experience the presence and blessing of the Holy Spirit in our work. Pray that we would find sources of refreshment for our minds, bodies, and souls.

2. Pray for our executive team who carry most of the burden for keeping the mission running with reduced income and additional work. Everything seems to take more time and energy during this crisis, and all of the SDBC missionaries at OC are burning the midnight oil to keep up.

3. Pray that we would respond well when God provides opportunities for us to share the gospel, love a neighbour, or be a good friend. Sometimes we get so busy we miss the opportunities, other times we don't feel like we have time to respond to a need. Pray that we will be fully present in the lives of people around us and that we will radiate the love of Jesus Christ.

Please remember Craig, Rick, Phil, and the whole Outreach Canada team in your prayers.

Posted by Mary Grierson

Live Courtyard Service

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Living under the current circumstances with COVID-19 has been challenging for many of us, and we have repeatedly said that we miss seeing you and worshipping alongside you in an in-person gathering. The watch parties have been great and the fellowship and connection at the watch parties (with proper social distancing) have been precious opportunities. However, we have not been able to gather for live worship for several months now, and I know many of you miss live worship. Our church has been keeping the provincial health authorities' guidelines since the isolation measures came into effect in March. We have operated safely and responsibly under these guidelines, and we will continue to do so.

Having said that, we are excited to announce our plans to offer a live outdoor service in the church courtyard on August 30th. We will set up a stage in the main courtyard and spread out chairs according to the normal social distancing measures. We will be observing all the safety protocols for gatherings at our church including a maximum of fifty people per event. On Sunday, August 30th, we will be gathering at the courtyard for live services at 9AM and 11AM. You will be required to pre-register for these services, and we will add services as needed to accommodate everyone. In order for us to plan well, please help us by registering early for the outdoor service. Registration is now open and you can register online here or calling the church office during office hours (M-TH, 9AM-4PM; 604-943-8244).

If you're not available to join us for live worship on this date, or if you are not comfortable coming out to a live service yet, please join us via livestream on our usual Church Online platform at 11AM on August 30th. Please note the change of time for the livestream service just for this one particular Sunday. We look forward to worshipping with you whether in-person or online. For those of you who are able to join us at the church, we look forward to seeing you!

Register online now!

*UPDATE: We are now offering a 5PM and 7PM service as well*

Posted by Paul Park

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