December 2010 Update and Prayer Requests
December 7th, 2010
Our Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Greetings in the holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Mary & I give thanks every day for all of you who have been holding us up in prayer and who have blessed us with help and finances as we have worked through this first year of mission to the people of Squamish. Your faithfulness has been a great encouragement. As we look forward to the celebration of our Lord’s birth, it is our heartfelt prayer that He will meet each of you in a special way this Christmas season, that your families and congregations will be greatly blessed, and that you all will be given…in the midst of your own festivities, an extraordinary opportunity to touch another soul in Jesus’ name.
I have had considerable time over the last few months to pray and think deeply about this ministry that God has called us to in Squamish. When we first began, we had it in our minds that we were here primarily as a church plant…in the classic sense of the word, and called to be building a congregation that had a food co-op outreach ministry. That mindset of “congregation creation” has driven much of the preparation and effort in the early months. It has also been the source of great frustration and disappointment as I fussed and worried about statistics, numbers and the spectre of failure as a church planter. Much of the available church planting support material presents an expectation of steady growth from core team to self-sufficiency in 2 to 3 years. However, none of the books were written out of a rural Pacific Northwest cultural context. A bible belt, this is not! We are still struggling after 8 months just to establish and maintain a core team.
However, something else wonderful is happening. Perhaps it was a prophetic thing that we called ourselves a mission in the beginning rather than a church. Time after time, as the months have passed, we have been given opportunities to come alongside those from this community who are in the greatest need. In many ways this mission has become a ministry of presence, in much the same fashion as my years as a military chaplain. I think the modern buzz-word for it is “incarnational.” It is about walking with the lost and broken, being available rather than attempting to confer something on them that you think they might need. Yes, they do….as we all do, need Jesus. But they can’t even hear His name spoken until trust is present. Credibility, in this dark and difficult environment, is being built one relationship at a time. The formal part of “church” has and will eventually become an extension of those relationships rather than the vehicle for their formation. It simply can’t be rushed.
So…what is happening? The Open Door single mom’s ministry has been in our facility since September. They love the space and the relationship has given us a window into both the staff and that group of young families. Our kitchen is being used by the BC Ministry of Children and Families who are running a healthy family meals programme, teaching cooking skills to young moms. The Ministry is also accessing the Food Co-op to provide for some of their teenage clients. Since late October we have picking up the Friday left-overs from Cobs Bread in West Vancouver for distribution to a number of groups in Squamish. This allows us to share a huge volume of bread products (and our presence) weekly with our Food Co-op clients, the Squamish Youth Centre, Seniors Centre, Project Love, the Helping Hands Shelter, the Women’s Centre, & the moms from Open Door.
We worked closely with one of the other local churches and native band to present a Christmas supper and evening of fun for the town’s homeless and single parents. Mountain Valley Mission is also working alongside a dozen other churches and organizations to prepare and deliver over 350 hampers in the Community Christmas Care programme this year. I will chair that committee next year and have been following Pastor Darcy, the present chairman, around for the last few weeks to fundraising events with the various service clubs and organizations. Last week I was assigned as the chaplain to the local RCMP (Police) detachment. Each of these connections represents developing relationships where, as Theresa of Avila said, we can become Christ’s hands and heart of blessing. Out of them, the gospel will be presented. We do gather for prayer and worship. We do break bread together. We do have a small home group up and running, where we have been working our way through the Beatitudes in Matthew. However, we are in this moment a mission work that may, God willing, one day become a church.
We had previously asked you to pray for the provision of a young adult to come along side us who could help to develop a ministry to the 18-30 year olds. We have been blessed to have that prayer answered and will be welcoming Mark Hird as an Intern beginning in January. Mark is a first year student in the MDiv programme at Regent College. We are hoping to cultivate a connection with the folks at Quest University, Capilano University and among the college aged young people in Squamish. One of my first tasks will be to connect Mark up with the new Young Life coordinator and with others doing young adults ministry in the Squamish evangelical churches. Please pray that this will be a great way to help Mark develop his pastoral & leadership skills as well as providing another window into a needed area of ministry in this community.
Because we have not yet raised a supporting congregation, this mission will need to continue to be funded, at least for the time being, primarily from outside sources. We believe that God has indeed called us here and that He has plans to use us to bring many in the Sea to Sky corridor to an abiding faith in Jesus. Your continued prayer and financial support is central to seeing this vision fulfilled. Presently we have funds to get us through to March 2011. Please ask the Lord to show you how you would be able to help out….and then tell us what you receive from the Lord as you pray for us. We can be contacted by phone at 604-567-7400 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your discernment will help us to continue to walk in God’s will and timing. If you do have the ability & calling to support our ministry financially, please address your offerings to Mountain Valley Mission, Box 1231, Squamish BC V8B 0A8. We are a registered Canadian charity and able to issue income tax receipts.
Thank you for your friendship, sponsorship, your prayer and faithful ministry to us.
Your servants in Christ,
The Rev. Barclay & Mary Mayo