Mustard seed faith takes root

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Mustard seed faith takes root
Summer 2014
N E W S U P D AT E
GRACE BRETHREN CANADA • GBCANADA USA | WWW.GBCANADA.CA
Kitchener/ Waterloo, Ontario
Uptown Waterloo, Ontario
Paulo and Lavinia Garcia
Mustard seed faith takes root
GBCanada USA is teaming up with Grace Community Church and Grace Fellowship Canada
in exploring the possibility of starting a new church in the Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge
area of Ontario.
It all started with the planting of a small seed. In this case, seed couple,
Paulo and Lavinia Garcia, members at GCC since 2008. Paulo and Lavinia
live in the Kitchener/Waterloo area and came to know and follow Jesus
at Grace Community Church. They do not see themselves as lead church
planters but want to be a seed family to see a Grace Fellowship Church
start in their community so more people can come to know and follow
Jesus like they did.
“This is very exciting for us as we see the next generation of believers
wanting to plant churches in their own community,” said Nathan Bryant,
Executive Pastor at GCC and team leader for the expansion of churches
for Grace Fellowship Canada. “It takes a long time and a lot of resources
to plant a church, but even longer to start a church-planting movement,”
Nathan concluded.
An exploratory meeting is scheduled for June and invitations have been
extended to both Grace Community Church and Village Community
Church attenders. Lead Pastor, Bartley Sawatsky, is looking forward to
what God will do with the Garcia’s mustard seed faith. “You know, it’s just
like all the Bible stories you read as a kid. God likes to take the smallest
and humblest thing to make something BIG happen. Whether the
Garcia’s faith stimulates a small or large group of interest, we know it will
only succeed if God is in it and we’re ready to join Him to do anything we
can to plant, water and nurture its growth.”
Growing deeper roots in Grasslands
by Bart & Elizabeth Blair
Dave sets up the goodies for the Haiti Mission Team bake sale
One thing we can always
count on during our winters
here on the Canadian prairies
is that the wind blows and
blows and blows.
Whether it’s the arctic winds that blow the
snow or the warm Chinooks that melt it, the
air is seldom still. And so it has been with the
Holy Spirit as He has continued to keep things
stirring in our young church family here in
Medicine Hat.
After weekend attendance dropped last
spring from the mid 60’s to the mid 30’s and
losing a key family to another church planting
opportunity, we were not really sure where
things were headed. With a commitment
to stay the course and follow God’s lead we
re-launched last September with renewed
commitment to our vision to be a church that
unchurched people love to attend.
Our attendance grew back towards the high
60’s, with an almost entirely new crowd of
people, many exploring Jesus for the first
time in their lives. We revamped our small
group structure and had more than 30 adults
participating in our mid-week connections.
As we rounded out 2013 and prepared for
Carmen and Shelley signing in children to the Explorers and Trailblazers programs
2014, we were encouraged by many new
relationships and were eager to see God begin
bearing new fruit within the crowd that was
gathering.
We set our early 2014 goal to be to grow
deeper roots as a church family. While we are
anxious to see more people giving their lives
to Jesus and new spiritual life taking shape,
we also recognize that in order to support and
sustain new fruit we need to be a healthier
stronger church.
God continues to bless us. Through this winter
our attendance grew to the high 70’s and since
mid-April we have been averaging around 100
people on Sundays. We have four Community
Groups with about 40 people participating.
At the time of this writing we have 3 people
who are preparing for baptism and 3 others
taking our Discover Jesus study, where they are
learning the truth about Jesus for the first time
in their lives.
We could not be more excited about our
present and future. We love the fact that God
is allowing us to be a part of his work here
in Medicine Hat. We covet your prayers and
appreciate your continued support!
Surveying the strength of Hope
by Philip & Beth Bryant
and think through some of the realities of Community of Hope; we have only
so many people, with so many gifts, and so much time. What are we doing
well and what needs to be changed? What do we have and what do we
need? What are the most important things for this community? These are all
vitally important questions to answer, and we feel like we’re just scratching
the surface.
After six years in Surrey, BC, our church is growing
up, and learning what it means to grow up. We are blessed to have leaders who are servants, but they have taken on
so many things that it’s impossible for them to do any of those things with
as much care as we might want. So we were very happy to have Nathan
Bryant, team leader for Grace Fellowship eXpansion (GFX), join us for a week
this spring to experience our church family at work and play. While he was
here, Nathan helped our leadership team process a recent church survey
Part of what the survey revealed is that we are good at many things with
need for improvement to reach the excellence factor we strive for. The largest
missing piece is someone with strong administrative gifts. We have hired an
intern who just finished his MDiv and will bring much-needed administrative
gifts to the team as well as oversight of our youth ministries. We are still
asking God for leaders in priority areas and for wisdom on how to free up and
train our leaders to lead, and not just do. Please pray for Philip as he continues
to learn how to coach and bring accountability to the leaders we have.
Our annual Thursday-before-Easter 1st Century Communion service was
a precious time, especially as it included four baptisms; some were new
believers, some had known Christ for a number of years. Hope also had a
terrific Easter Egg Hunt on Palm Sunday and most people came because
someone from the church had invited them! That’s what we want to see
happening. We’re excited to see that people are using the recently developed
tools like our Facebook page and Twitter to invite their friends and neighbors.
Leaving The Village for greener pastors
by Ted & Elise Adomanis
seen things change before so we’ll just roll as God rocks. Meanwhile, we keep
selling and donating our belongings to fit our needs into a small UHaul. On
the personal front, our last grandbaby girl was born after Thanksgiving last
year so spending a few days of very valuable time with our family has been
special too as we prepare to move so far away. It’s been two years since we first felt God telling
us to “Go West” toward Calgary, Alberta to help
start a new church. A lot has changed since that first announcement and that initial dream
has turned into a new role as the Grace Mobile Unit. Because of a shuffle
in leadership, it looks like our first stop will not be Calgary, but Medicine
Hat to lend a hand with Grasslands Church, our youngest of four active
churches. While we still have our sights on Calgary, we’ve seen God move
in different directions recently so we’ll focus on the greener grasslands of
Alberta for now. Our prayer is that the house will be sold early this summer
and we’ll eventually wind up in Medicine Hat sometime this fall. But, we’ve
Meanwhile in Milton, the Village
Community Church is thriving with new
visitors every week. Attendance is pushing
150, five Villagers took the “baptism
plunge” in early spring, people are
growing deeper in their relationship with
God and unchurched people still find The
Village a comfortable place to meet God through Jesus. We’ve just about
handed over all our ministry assignments to others and it’s pretty strange
to just “go to church” on Sunday and not be part of the weekly planning
and management of events and programs. It will be very difficult
distancing ourselves from Village relationships after eight years but we
didn’t move here to be comfortable, but comfortably uncomfortable. We
know God will stretch us wherever He sends us. Looking forward for our
new assignments in the greener plains of Grasslands.
Thank you for praying for us and our growing Canadian family. So much is
happening and we are excited about the changes God is bringing our way.
Viva Brasil! Mucho gusto at Carassauga!
by Armando Padovan
Last month, our Grace Community Church building was transformed into the Brazil Pavilion
at Carassauga Festival of Cultures 2014.
Armando Padovan (right)
Imagine 22 hours of intense
and vibrant programming full of
entertainment and music: Samba,
Maracatu, Forro, Bossa Nova,
Rock, plus Capoeira (a typical
Martial Art), Freestyle Soccer and
delicious food and decadent
desserts – all Brazilian style.
Over 4,700 people came through the doors of the Grace Centre, where
166 dedicated volunteers greeted them. There were great sponsors,
amazing artisans, an awesome A/V team, and our outstanding MC was
our non-Brazilian youth pastor and church planting intern, Andrew Wood. The opportunities I am having with our Brazilian community have been
enormous. Now I am part of the Brazilian Council in Toronto, opening
doors to minister in many ways to my fellow countrymen.
The festival brought over 120 performers. One, a Brazilian who plays in a
newly formed band, came to me for counseling and asked me to be his
mentor. He is not a follower of Christ ... yet. I have shared the Bible and
my time with him. During the festival he introduced me to his wife. She
hugged me and cried, saying, “Armando, thank you very much. You do
not realize how important it has been to me and my family what you are
doing for us!” An experience like that makes me believe all the work was
worth it, if just to change one life.
Last Sunday morning I met a couple leaving the Grace Centre and
introduced myself as the International Pastor. I perceived the accent and
started conversing in Spanish. A connection was made immediately. They
learned about the Brazil Pavilion on Saturday and found out about Grace
through the flyer we distributed at the registration desk. It was reported
that other people who came to our services that Sunday came for the
first time because of our Carassauga event.
We flew in a freestyle soccer professional from Brazil, Adriana Oliveira. She
is a solid Christian and great performer. During the Festival she gave six
demonstrations and held multiple clinics for the kids. She autographed
and sold 50 soccer balls. Her autograph included: “Jesus te ama (Jesus
loves you), Adriana.”
One of our many sponsors gave away two roundtrip tickets to Brazil. We
received hundreds of entries for the drawing which will give us a chance
to follow up with each entrant.
We could easily fill an entire newsletter with many other stories but space
is limited in this issue. People from Grace and non-Grace volunteers
pulled together and gave overwhelming support to host Carassauga.
This event not only was tremendous outreach to our community but
continues giving us a better sense of unity as a church family.
We are helping people to rediscover God in a very unique way. Praise Him!
Viva Brasil! Mucho gusto at Carassauga!
GRACE BRETHREN CANADA • GBCANADA USA | WWW.GBCANADA.CA
Generational rewards
by Nathan Bryant
Proverbs 16:3
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans
will succeed.”
When we moved to Canada 17 years ago, our
team was motivated to see a movement of
churches start. That was the huge dream but
the real bottom line and driving goal for all of us
has been, and will continue to be, to see people
transformed by Jesus Christ and to follow Him. One of the first couples I had the privilege to
lead to Jesus 16 years ago was Eric and Carmen
Ting. Eric had little to no religious background
and came from a Buddhist country. They were
ready to start a family in Canada and decided
that they would check out this new church in
their neighbourhood. Soon I was visiting them
in their home and they were eager to learn more
as we studied the person of Jesus through the
book of John. Both of them came to fully believe
that Jesus is the Son of God and the Saviour of
the world. Now, over a decade and an half later, Eric and
Carmen are still very active in our church –
leading ministries and a small group in their
The Ting family
Your continued prayer and financial support are
what keep us here in Canada. If you are so led,
please visit www.justgive.org to make a secure
online donation.
home. This past month I had the privilege
of baptizing both their boys, Brandon and
Jaime. They had amazing testimonies of
commitment to Jesus and being led to Him
mainly through their parents. It is a tremendous
joy to know that this family has begun a new
direction for generations to come. Wow! Their
lives have become an awesome testimony and
it has been our privilege to see hundreds of
people start a new lineage for their families here
in Canada. We are planning to see more churches start –
which is great – but why we do it is to see more
lives committed to following Jesus and more
generations of families knowing and loving Him.
GBCanada USA invites you to Breakfast
Friday, July 18 at 7:30am and see Michael Jr.
perform live at 9pm.
For more about GBCanada USA or the Great Canadian
Adventure, please visit us online:
GBCanada.ca
CanadianAdventure.org
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