The Harvest Is Plentiful …at Home
Ontario Conference Communications, March 29, 2018
When you hear the word “missionary,” what comes to mind? A plane ride of 13+ hours? Living on a mountain or deep in the bush in a remote land? Being surrounded by people speaking a language with unfamiliar tones and cadences?
Did you know that you don’t need to leave Canada, or even Ontario, to be a missionary? And that we are all called to mission work?
Just before leaving His disciples, Jesus implored them, “Go ye therefore into all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:20, KJV). Ontario Conference leaders have recognized that “all nations” includes unreached groups in our own backyard.
Says Ontario Conference president, Mansfield Edwards, “I believe that as a church, we’re positioned to impact Ontario in a powerful way. Jesus included the excluded, going into communities where He was needed most. As a church, we must do the same.”
Edwards and the Ontario Conference team are excited about new initiatives intended to spread the gospel across our province, often in uncharted territory.
Strides Made in the North
Great strides are being made to spread our unique message in the North, where Indigenous populations suffer from high suicide rates and poverty. In Sioux Lookout, a small town, 1,760 km northwest of Toronto, there is a growing Adventist influence. In recent years, Adventist professionals of all kinds (e.g., two MDs, an OPP, nurses, a member who was recently elected councillor for the area, a pharmacist, small business owners) have settled there.
Last year, Ontario Conference also hired Randy Elliott, its first Indigenous pastor. Elliott is a certified counsellor in suicide and depression, which is so well needed here. Moreover, he’s a descendent from a line of chiefs, which earns him immediate respect. group to flourish despite challenges they have already faced and will face in the future.
Among the mission opportunities for this group, Chief Clifford Bull of Lac Seul First Nations has built a wellness centre in which the local Adventist church will be actively involved. This summer, church members will use the wellness centre to run diabetes clinics and to build community gardens as a joint project with ADRA.
Chief Bull has endorsed the church and promoted Pastor Elliott’s ministry, saying, “This is the only group that has come up here and given the [Indigenous] community full support through ministry.”
Another major victory in the North is the recent acquisition of an amphibious Cessna airplane. The plane can land on water, land and snow, and will allow us unprecedented access to 26 communities for the ministry. As has been reported, God orchestrated several small miracles for this major breakthrough—first, with support from Wings of Hope, a U.S.-based charity, then with assistance from Adventist World Aviation and our own faithful members.
Presently, Wings of Hope is upgrading the plane’s avionics to state of the art and extending the wings to hold more fuel tanks. Through Adventist World Aviation (AWA), the project will also benefit from permanent missionaries, who will provide office support and serve as pilots, the Harding and Kennedy families. The Hardings will also assist with Chief Bull’s wellness centre.
Upcoming Mission Trip Opportunities
Finally, Ontario Conference would like to extend mission trip opportunities in the North and elsewhere for church and youth groups this summer. These trips are being coordinated as a collaboration of the Church Growth, Youth and Master Guide/Pathfinders departments.
These departments’ directors formed the mission trip committee that will receive and process application forms. There are two types of forms:
- Sending Church Form (for church/youth/master guide/pathfinders groups looking for a mission trip location)
- Hosting Church Form (for churches looking for visiting mission groups)
Potential mission locations include
- Northern Ontario
- Rural Ontario or smaller churches
- Inner city
- Canadian locations (outside of Ontario)
- International locations
For more info or for forms, you may email the mission trip committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Adventurer families/ Pathfinders / Master Guides
- Youth and Young Adults
- Day visit (Sabbath or Sunday only)
- Overnight (Sabbath and Sunday)
- Weekend (Friday-Sunday)
- Within Ontario
- Within Canada (other than Ontario)
To be announced soon.