Volunteers to descend on Manitoba

“Help us begin a movement.”

That was the challenge that Gary Smith, church planter in Canada, recently gave to pastors in Eastern Nebraska Baptist Association.

Smith told ENBA pastors how God is working in the Prairie Provinces in Canada. He spoke to the pastors’ gatherings in Bellevue and Lincoln, Neb.

KNCSB has had a partnership with the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan for six years.

Now two Kansas-Nebraska associations—Eastern Nebraska and Heart of Kansas—have partnerships with Manitoba where Canadian Baptist work is still in its infancy.

Manitoba had only two Canadian National Baptist churches when the KNCSB partnership began six years ago. Now there are eight churches, thanks to aggressive church planting. Volunteer teams from Kansas-Nebraska and other parts of the United States are playing key roles.

Smith and his wife, Sue, are originally from Kansas. They are national church planters with the Canadian National Baptist Convention and are North American Mission Board missionaries. They served for eight years in Montreal and moved to Winnipeg two years ago. They are leading church-planting efforts in northern Ontario and the major cities in the Canadian prairie provinces.

Smith told of the vision of having 50 Canadian Baptist churches in Manitoba by the year 2020. That is part of the Canadian National Baptist Convention’s vision of having 1,000 churches in the entire nation by 2020. There are now 270 churches.

This summer, volunteers from Heart of Kansas and Eastern Nebraska associations will be joining other U.S. churches in serving in Manitoba.

One of the projects underway is building at camp for First Nations (native) youth at Grand Rapids, Manitoba, 280 miles north of Winnipeg. The camp’s purpose will be to teach native youth about the Christian life and to help them learn the traditional skills that are being lost in their culture.

In September 2010, a Canadian team worked on clearing the road into the property where the camp will be located.

Here is a schedule for summer teams serving in Manitoba:

June 4-12—Hope Church from Fort Worth, Texas, will be serving City of Refuge Church in Winnipeg with prayer walking, community surveys and people searches. This group also will be working on the camp project at Grand Rapids.

June 15-22—LifeSpring Church, Bellevue, Neb., will be working with church planter Aaron Boswell in starting a new church in the St. Boniface community in eastern Winnipeg. The church (Eglise Renaissance) is targeting French-speaking people known as the Franco-Manitobaine. Aaron Boswell’s parents are Charles and Patti Boswell of Immanuel Baptist Church, Wichita, Kan.

June 24-July 1—Hope Church of Fort Worth returns to serve again on the camp project at Grand Rapids, Manitoba. The group also will be working with City of Refuge Church in Winnipeg. A Canada Day block party is among the activities planned.

June 25-July 1—Immanuel Baptist Church, Wichita, Kan., will be working with New Life Sanctuary, Winnipeg, in preparing for its Canada Day outreach. (New Life Sanctuary and Garden Park Baptist Church are the two original Canadian Baptist churches in Winnipeg.)

July 9-16—Sharon Baptist Church, Wichita, Kan., will be working in St. Adolphe Bible Fellowship in St. Adolphe on the south edge of Winnipeg. The team will lead a Vacation Bible School and a sports camp.

July 10-16—Tyler Road Southern Baptist Church, Wichita, Kan., will be serving in a church-planting event in Winnipeg known as Power Plant.

July 16-24—Midway Southern Baptist Church, Wichita, Kan., will lead Vacation Bible School and other outreach activities for New Life Sanctuary in Winnipeg.

July 16-23—Summer interns from Heart of Kansas Association will be working with Aaron Boswell in the new French-speaking church start in St. Boniface on the east edge of Winnipeg.

July 25-Aug. 4—Hunuri Korean Baptist Church in Dallas will be working in the First Nations communities in Manitoba.

Aug. 7-13—Crossroads Baptist Association in Missouri will serve in St. Adolphe on the south edge of Winnipeg as well as in Anola, east of Winnipeg. Anola is the home of SALT Community of Believers.

It’s not too early to start thinking about serving in Canada in 2012. Sue Smith is the coordinator for volunteer teams. Contact her at
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