To download the original copy, please follow this link: News Update – May 2017
From this issue of News Update:
Where is Togo? I’ve never heard about this country until one day I greeted an international student who walked into our church to worship. About six months later, Pastor Matthieu Ayena came to speak to us about mission work in Togo. This was not a coincidence, but God was planting a vision for our church to support CIM’s ministry. Bear in mind that in Montreal, many of our congregants speak French, the official language of Togo. In addition, the Togolese were favorably inclined to Chinese people. In the past decade, China has established a good relationship with Togo and helped develop this nation by building infrastructure in the city. This is the perfect time for Chinese Christians to minister cross-culturally.
The first time I stepped onto African soil was on October 7, 2011 and by the grace of God, I returned to Togo two years later. It was an incredible journey that God led our church to build a relationship with the local pastors in Atakpamé.
Standing in the middle of the bustling bus stop in Lomé, there was one thing that was very unusually abnormal to everyone: surrounded by the locals, why were there three “white” ladies here? Mind you, we are three respectfully dressed Chinese ladies. One thing was obvious, as foreigners, we naturally caught the attention of the locals, and that was a good thing. People were curious to speak to us.
[So if you are a shy introvert or worry that your time would not be well-spent, let me tell you this: there is no place to hide! You will have many many many opportunities to share your testimony and bring glory to God. This challenge has helped me grow in my areas of weakness, and I trust it will do the same for you.]
Some wanted to know what is the key to success. Some were surprised that we spoke French. But, all wanted to know why we were here. We opened the conversation by telling the Togolese, “Jesus loves you so much that He sent us to travel all the way from Canada to find you, and share with you the Good News. You are important to God, and thus important to us too.”
Indeed Togo became an important ministry to our church and our love for Togolese grew as we forged relationships with them. I fondly remember the church leaders and the Christian brothers and sisters whom welcomed us in their community. Their faith is strong despite the hardship they encounter.
Most of the pastors are tent-makers: juggling family obligations, work to support themselves, and carry out full-time ministry responsibilities. I see signs of physical exhaustion in their bodies, but their eyes are filled with the joy of the Lord. Although they live with material scarcity, they honored us with meals that includes meat which is costly. They are generous in helping their neighbors. People in the community recognize these faithful Christians and give them warm greetings.
Most of the population adhere to traditional African beliefs, where spiritual forces are found in nature and in the occult. I also noticed that more mosques are populating the area, where Muslim prayers are broadcasted regularly through loudspeakers. As a Christian, you instinctively become aware of the spiritual warfare that is surrounding you. In this environment, you quickly learn to seek God first and to pray ceaselessly.
In conversation with locals, we learn that they are accustomed to speak about evil spirits and falsely believe that Satan has authority over creation. Some are suffering and believe they are cursed by the spirits. Some seek tangible help, and are led astray by the preaching of health and wealth. Witch doctors prescribe cleaning rituals. Muslims lend money only to would-be-converts. Even Catholics are not certain if they have done enough to merit eternal life. Charismatic churches are practicing miraculous healing and prophetic announcements without once opening the Bible. These people are seeking for the One True God. They yearn to be directed onto the right path and to the right teachings, for they are vulnerable to charlatans, schemers and false teachers.
L’ Eglise de la Grace en Christ has been the beacon of light in the community. It is imperative that we preached the Good News of Jesus. It is important for them to hear that Jesus is more powerful than death; that nothing will separate us from Jesus; that our salvation is secured by the cross. This was the message that we share to our listeners. The Bible is the only reliable source from God. Whether I am in Canada or they are in Togo, we believe in the same God of the Bible. We should be like the Bereans (Acts 17) who examined the Scripture to verify if what we said is true. These were reassuring statements for the believers to know.
Beside personal evangelism and visitation, we encouraged the church members to devote themselves to the study of God’s words, we lifted up their needs and petitions in prayers, we offered workshops in the evenings, and held a children day camp to outreach the community. Our days were filled with joyful experiences and learning opportunities from God. I returned home with the satisfaction in knowing that I have given my all to be used by God.
Pastor Karen Wong
Pastor of Montreal City West Baptist Church
Board Director of CIM (Canada)
Financial Highlights for the month of April 2017
(please click on the table to enlarge)
1. General Fund – for general and administrative such as staff salaries
2. Designated Fund – for specific ministries in different field locations as designated (cannot be transferred between funds)
– All financial figures are in Canadian dollar and rounded to the nearest dollar.
Canadian Registered Charity Registration Number of CIM (Canada): 896216207RR0001