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Urban Fire Communities: Launched

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Through the years, I've watched campers and young people come through our ministries, finish up grade 12, and head to the city to get an education or find employment. But, sadly, they would soon fall into discouragement and be lured by all the destructive attractions that city life could offer. Jake (not his real name) was one of those kids. He had made a profession of faith in Christ and worked several summers at camp. He stuck it out and finished grade 12. Jake was a runner; a local track star who received an athletic scholarship to go to college. He went into the city and while at college, he tried out for the track team and ran, but didn't make the competitive school squad. Studies were difficult, and as he faced his second semester, he took his scholarship money and squandered it. Today, Jake lives on the streets; another life hurting deeply.

I started asking, "How can we change that?" I kept thinking, trying to put together a ministry strategy that would make a difference. Five years ago, the mission board gave us a green light to try something radical and risky. God started bringing together a team of young, new staff who believed it could work. They all spent a summer in EnGage!, our short-term ministry opportunity, living in a Native community. They saw the needs of these people, began to understand the struggles First Nations youth face, and they wanted to be a part of making a difference.

We've spent four years nurturing the concept of a Whole Life Discipleship Community while they finished up college, got married, and joined InterAct. We have now launched Urban Fire Communities, have rented two homes, and have a couple of students involved with us. We are determining the business facet of the plan, so that we can provide employment and teach life skills to these young adults. Then, we will support any educational pursuit they choose. Often, we feel in over our heads, but God keeps moving us along phase by phase. Marvellously, HE has brought significant people into our path to give us wise counsel and help.

We are excited about what God is doing and strongly believe that we can make an impact in the lives of First Nations young adults. We long to see them thrive, both in their walk with the Lord and as healthy young adults functioning well in the world around them. Pray for us as we move along in this new ministry of "Urban Fire."

Jim & Becky Hamilton
Serving with InterAct Ministries in Calgary, Alberta

Posted by Jim Hamilton

Rebirth of a Vision

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About twelve years ago I was struggling as I watched First Nations young people in their high school years giving up as they faced the next steps in life. Many dropped out of school, or really struggled if they tried to go on to university. To go to the city and find employment was next to impossible. Anyone finishing grade 12 really found it difficult to go on. I wanted to do something about this and we were in a facility that could have been used to help meet this need. So I began planning, building, and putting together in my mind what we could do to meet this need … then unexpectedly, the facility was closed down. I was so disappointed and struggled greatly over this. I thought that it was all over.
 
Then four years ago, during a missions conference in Wyoming, the keynote speaker was telling a story that ignited in me a very different way to accomplish the same vision, but probably in an even greater way. I came home and talked with our field director. He liked the idea. We talked about it a lot and finally put together a structured plan on paper for the board to look over. They gave a “green light” and I began talking about it while recruiting on campuses.
 
Today we have seven new candidates who have gone through our summer
EnGage! program, have made a commitment to the project, and are all working to do their best to be on the field in 2018. We meet monthly in a “Google Hangout”.  We’ve met annually for a face to face gathering three times, and it is all beginning to take shape. I am so excited and can’t thank the Lord enough for what has taken place over this last little while. A whole-life discipleship ministry is developing in the context of community, in an urban setting for those who are making this difficult transition in life. Want to hear more about it? Join us after the morning service on Sunday May 7th.

Posted by Jim Hamilton