GCA Toronto, EH!
What a great week this past week was in Toronto, Canada with our GBC Youth. There was a total of 30 people in the team, 7 adults and 23 youth. There was so much that occurred on this trip, from two 12 hour van rides, to sharing God’s love with people in a park, to visiting a Hindu temple…here’s a recap of the week:
Sunday – travel to Canada! This was the first time many of the team had been out of the country. Crossing the border with 30 people was an experience, but we were able to share a little bit about our mission explaining to the Border Patrol Officer what we were doing.
Monday – We began our week with Evangelism training. Each morning we met with members of GCA Canada, Assist and Renew Church. They led the team in worship and training until lunch time. That afternoon, we traveled to Cambridge, MA, where we met up with Pastor Erik from Renew church and split our team into several groups. One group stayed at Heritage Bible College for yard work (landscaping, weeding, mulching) and the others went to several local parks for trash clean-up to help restore the community. We ended the evening by walking through several neighborhoods taking surveys on how the new church moving into their community could help them. It was very eye opening talking with the local community. We learned that many people do not go to church, and that most of them do not have a background on who Christ is. Teaching of the Gospel and general knowledge of the Church is about a generation removed in Canada at this time. It is very rare to find someone who has grown-up in the church these days, or has even visited a church for that matter.
Tuesday – We began another day with wonderful Evangelism training, and after our experience taking surveys the night before, what we were learning about talking with people who didn’t even know WHO Jesus is started to make sense. Then we all headed into the city of Toronto for mission work with the Gateway Salvation Army and the Young Street Mission. Our work included more park trash clean-up and yard work around a local apartment building. We were smack-dab in the middle of the city where homelessness is great and the need for Jesus even greater. It was really nice to be able to talk and interact with the people living there and sharing the love of Christ by helping to care for them and their community by simply picking up the area around them. We had MANY thank you’s from those who lived in the community. That evening, Pastor Paula from Gateway, took us around the city on a “City Walk” where we were educated even further of the need an the social needs/obstacles the church and organizations like Gateway encounter. All in all, this was a VERY educational day for all of us. We learned just how diverse Canada is with so many different cultures living together in the city. We also learned how easy it is for anyone to become homeless. And, we learned how much the HOPE of Christ is needed. So many people live to simply survive without any hope of the future.
Some of the kids even made the local news – Global Toronto News was on site filming about the new Toronto sign that had just been opened in the city. We happened to walk through at the right time…
Wednesday – FREE DAY! This was our one day to be tourists. We decided to go back to Toronto and take a closer look at the city. Some of us chose to go to a baseball game and watch the Blue Jays play. Others went to the Islands and the Aquarium, and some went to the local market. It was a GREAT day of exploration and spending time with our youth group family.
Thursday – We were back at it…training in the morning and mission work at night. The afternoon started with a visit to the Hindu temple which proved to be very educational for all of us. The, we traveled to Mayfield West to help pass out flyers in the community for Renew Churches Movie in the Park evening. We got to again meet many local people and families and get another glimpse at the diversity in the area. Renew Church there partnered with a local coffee shop that treated us all to some much needed caffeine as we ventured out for another evening of walking. We logged almost 11 miles most days.
Friday – Our last day…We had one final training session to recap what we had learned over the week. We then were taken to a restaurant named Madarin, the largest Chinese buffet any of us have ever seen. This was a great treat for all of us. We ended our trip in Cambridge at a local Park helping Pastor Erik and team with his Picnic Fun Day for the community. We served hot dogs, played soccer, helped with face painting and side walk chalk art, maned the moon bounces and simply played with the community that came. We met at least two families who plan to start attending the church from this event – Praise the Lord. It was a great way to end the week and very encouraging to have the Lord give us a little glimpse of seeds being planted in this process of evangelism.
Saturday – Time to come HOME!! We got to stop at Niagara Falls on the way home…on the Canada side. It was AMAZING, beautiful and powerful! God is so good!!
It was a GREAT Adventure in Canada! We are excited to come home with a renewed sense of mission and ready to Live for the Lord!!!