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Stephen Ministry Update

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The weather is a common topic of discussion. Some people are never satisfied with the current conditions. For instance, I find our hot, dry summers uncomfortable. But I also find our winters too dull and wet. But I can get over it. In fact, there is nowhere else I would like to live.

As we know, there are many people who can't get over their current situation. Physical health and mental health issues impact most of us during our lives. Cancer can be beaten but we recognize the dramatic effect it has on many families. Cancer is only one of a number of life-shortening illnesses that we face. Mental health illnesses, such as depression, impact people no matter what the weather. Add to those illnesses the issues that cause relationships to fail and life, even a Christian life, can be challenging.

There are many different situations that people face, but there is one that is typical of the challenges we face in Stephen Ministry: a Stephen Minister and her Care Receiver had been meeting for about a year and a half, ever since the care receiver's spouse had died. She had been feeling happier recently and talking positively about the future. Suddenly, however, she was very sad. She had been told that her best friend was moving to Alberta to be closer to her family. She thought she was getting over the sadness at her spouse's death but now, the loss of her friend had set her back. The sadness was making it difficult to even discuss the subject. The Stephen Minister recognized her depression had returned and prayerfully began encouraging and providing hope to her Care Receiver. She shared the hope of Romans 8:31-39 and the process of listening and being there continues to this day.

Summer is a time for many people to take vacations from their normal routine. Some community groups don't meet as consistently during the summer and other ministries plan fewer events to accommodate holidays. Early in the development of Stephen Ministry we realized that the challenges people face don't take holidays and so Stephen Ministers continue to serve throughout the summer.

Over the last 10 years, SDBC has had an effective ministry that trains volunteers to serve people going through the inevitable challenges of life. A Stephen Minister will come alongside a Care Receiver and dedicate an hour per week for as long as it takes to support the person. It is understood that while the Stephen Minister can care for the person, it is only God that can cure us.

During the fall of this year, SDBC will celebrate the last 10 years of service provided by Stephen Ministry. The effectiveness of the ministry is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit working through the many Stephen Ministers and their Care Receivers, as well as the prayerful support of the SDBC family. As we move forward, one of our goals is to ensure that each member and adherent, when faced with a challenge, will first seek God's love and encouragement, and second, seek the love and support of a Stephen Minister.

Posted by Doug Thomson

Salt Spring Island Debrief

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From June 30th to July 7th, our youth group participated in our 21st annual trip to Salt Spring Island. We go over every year to help out residents with odd jobs and yard work around their homes. It is always an encouraging time as we see students and leaders work self-sacrificially and see God do some incredible work amongst the group.

One of my passions in youth ministry is to see youth diving into God's word for themselves. Throughout the week, I challenged our youth to be in the bible daily. You never know how many people will take on a challenge like this, but over the week I saw so many youth and leaders taking time away from the group to sit and read the bible. During our evening teaching sessions, I saw youth with open bibles engaging with God's word and discussing it with each other. I can't express how joyful it made me to see students in grades 8 to 12 have a hunger and desire to read God's word during this week.

One of the challenges of any camp or trip like this is that students get fired up to read God's word and cultivate their relationship with God, and then they go home and go back to old habits. The week becomes a thing of the past and a spiritual high. On the final night of our trip, we had our final worship and sharing session. As a parting challenge for the group, I encouraged them to take what they had learned and experienced throughout the week and use it to continue to pursue God as they went home. It's been about two weeks since we arrived back from Salt Spring and I have already seen and heard of students taking this challenge to heart. One example is a group of girls from our youth group who have decided to start a bible study with each other and keep each other accountable to be in the bible daily, by using reading plans. Some of the youth leaders and I met at Starbucks this past Monday for a weekly summer bible study we are doing with the youth and these girls were sharing, with great excitement, the different devotionals they had already read through.

God is at work in the lives of the youth in South Delta. Pray for our youth, that this passion for God's word will continue and spur them on to make Christ known in their schools, workplaces, and sports teams.

Posted by Kyle McDonald

Summer Fun

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I am so thankful that I grew up in Tsawwassen. I had a neighbourhood full of kids my age, the freedom to ride my bike to school with my sisters, and awesome events taking place around the community. I fondly remember the community events put on by SDBC; the summer events never failed to draw in families from around the community to come and join in on the fun at the church. My memories from these events, and the people I met there, are among some of the many reasons I started attending SDBC. As I am now helping to plan our summer events, one of my main goals is to draw in families from our church and the entire community and provide them with similar memories that I had growing up.

Our Carnival, which is the first event in our Summer Fun series, is fast approaching and our team is working hard to get things ready. We will have a series of carnival games, a giant inflatable slide, a bouncy castle, a dunk tank, and yummy food and snack options for people of all ages to enjoy. One of our goals with this event is to provide a fun, free event for the families in our community; to draw in families with the hope that they can meet some of our church families and form connections to get involved in our church. For this reason, I am encouraging everyone who reads this to invite someone to our carnival, and for you to join them. The more the merrier! There are many people in our community who have not heard the good news of Christ and as it says in Romans 10:14, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” This event is the perfect opportunity to live out the church's mission to Love like Jesus and show our community how much we love them.

So, come one, come all, and join us for our carnival on Saturday, July 21st at 11AM! For information on all our summer events, visit www.southdelta.org/summer

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