To download the original copy, please follow this link: News Update – December 2017
From this issue of News Update:
Merry Christmas from CIM Canada. We wish each one of you a joyous and blessed holiday season and may we remember the reason for the season. Let’s share the gospel of Jesus Christ to those whose paths we come across this month. It is because of Jesus Christ that we have eternal life and that is the best gift that we can receive and what missions is all about. As Christians, our mandate is to share this gift and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to do this.
In 2017, I traveled to West Africa 4 times and to the Roma settlements in Ukraine once. On each one of these trips, I visited people in towns and villages that do not know about the atoning work of Jesus Christ. There were the chiefs who worshipped idols, villagers that placed heavy emphasis in the occult and the spiritual world, people who prayed 5 times a day facing Mecca not exactly sure what their memorized prayers meant, children and adults involved in tribal worship, and the list goes on. It seemed that where ever I went, people were lost and needed the Lord.
Every Christmas, as on that first Christmas, there are people all over the world who do not know that God came to this earth as a baby in the form of Jesus Christ with the ultimate goal of saving mankind. Or some may have heard about Jesus Christ but they do not fully comprehend the significance of the event. Luke 1:68 states, “… for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people …” In Luke 2:10-11, an angel of the Lord gives this message, “… I bring you Good News of great joy which will be for all the people, for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.”
Notice the text states that the gospel is for all people, not just people of your same culture, church or just your neighbors, friends and family, but to all people. Even though it is important to share the gospel to those around us, and we should, it should not stop there. The gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be spread cross culturally world-wide. The vision of CIM Canada is to do that. In 2018, not only will we be traveling to Ghana and Togo in West Africa, but we are excited that we have added the Roma ministry in Ukraine. The Romas are a traditionally nomadic ethnic group, living mostly in Europe, originating from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent. The Romas are widely known among English-speaking people by the name “gypsies” which may have negative connotations. In Ukraine, the estimated population of the Romas is 400,000.
Over the years, I have also learned another important lesson in my travels to the villages in rural Ghana. The locals place a very heavy emphasis on community and relationships. Part of the reason is because they need to depend on each other for survival. They, truly, care for others in their towns and villages. Time spent with people takes precedent over being “on time” for events. It is more important for villagers to greet one another on the street and chat for 15-20 minutes, than being “on time”. Building genuine relationships is highly valued. In the rural areas, it seems like everyone is “family”. Children would come up to me and introduce other children as their brothers and sisters. I used to think they meant blood brothers and sisters, but what they meant was that the other children were from the same village and they care for each other as true family. They always have time for each other. As I travel to these villages, I am often reminded of Jesus, who spent much of His time also building relationships and caring for others. He always made time to talk to people whom the rest of society looked down upon. He also invested His time in mentoring and discipling those that are closest to Him, namely the apostles. He came to earth at Christmas time to bring salvation to others and part of His strategy was through building relationships and spending time with people.
One of the Christmas songs that I really like, other than the Christmas carols, is “Silver Bells.” I am sure that many of you know it or have heard of it. It begins with the familiar words, “city sidewalks, busy sidewalks,” and in a sense, that is a very accurate description of what the Christmas season is like, in the Western world, especially as December 25 draws closer and closer. People are rushing around. “Office party at 3. Christmas shopping at 5. Child’s recital at 7 and on and on it goes.” It seems like everyone is on a mission, but the mission is to get things done, and not in spending good quality time with people. Seldom do I see people in malls stop and talk to others. Maybe a quick wave, and then they are on their way again, because they are so busy and they need to be somewhere. What I have learned from my African friends is that we need to spend time with one another. We need to build and foster relationships and through that share the gospel of Jesus Christ. In essence, we need to slow down not only at Christmas, but every day, and reflect on why Jesus came to earth.
CIM Canada continues to build relationships with the locals in Ghana, Togo, and now in Ukraine. We work in partnership with local Christian organizations and we go back to the same villages, developing bonds of friendship with villagers and discipling church leaders. We believe that this is an effective way to share the love of Jesus Christ. Many of our STMers now have close friends in Africa and encourage each other year-round even if we are not on the same continent.
This December, let’s take a step back, and ask ourselves, what does Christmas really mean to us. Spend it with the people we love, but do not forget and neglect those who may not know the Lord personally. Missions does not start overseas. It begins where ever God has placed us. People need the Lord.
I asked one of my friends in Ghana, what does Christmas mean to him and he answered, “… love in action … the promise God gave to us through His Son to be put into action. It reminds me of the unconditional love God gave to me and how I need to love others unconditionally.”
May we be in “love in action”, not just this month, but year-round, but let’s start now.
This Christmas, as we gather for our turkey dinners, our staff celebrations, our church gatherings, and other festivities, let us remember those that may not know the Lord personally like we do. Let us give the present of Jesus Christ, whether it is to our family members, our neighbors, or to the villagers halfway around the world. Let’s build and strengthen relationships.
As 2017 comes to a close, we would also like to ask you to prayerfully consider giving financially to CIM Canada so we can continue our cross-cultural ministries overseas. Currently, we have a deficit of $23,197 in our general fund. We appreciate your friendship and generosity over the years. God has been so faithful in the past and we trust He will continue to do so moving forward. If you feel blessed to give to us financially, instructions on how to do it can be found at http://www.cimcanada.org/donation/
Once again, have a very Merry Christmas and blessed New Year from CIM Canada. If you want to know more about our ministries, please visit www.cimcanada.org
Rev. Isaac Quan
Financial Highlights for the month of November 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