Canadian Church Partnerships Bring Blessings

Jun 29, 2011 11:06 AM EDT
FORT ERIE, Ont. (INS)— Some congregations across Canada have formed partnerships with Intercede over the years and have become key supporters of Intercede and its indigenous partner ministries in other countries—bringing blessings both to the churches and to the ministries.
Rev. Thom Braun (standing at left), from New Hope Church Niagara, preaches at a Good Samaritan India church. Intercede

FORT ERIE, Ont. (INS)— Some congregations across Canada have formed partnerships with Intercede over the years and have become key supporters of Intercede and its indigenous partner ministries in other countries—bringing blessings both to the churches and to the ministries.

New Hope Church Niagara, with campuses in Jordan and St. Catharines, Ontario, has been supporting Intercede’s ministries ever since the church was started in 2002. The church is Mennonite Brethren, and Pastor Thom Braun observed in an interview that, “most of our missions stuff happens with Intercede, and our MB leadership has been really good about that.”

Braun first became aware of Intercede while pastoring the previous church that he planted, Westview Christian Fellowship in St. Catharines, “It was probably through a random mailing. We heard that there was some national missionary leader available to come and speak, and that started it.”

Westview invited Silas and Winnie Owiti, leaders of Voice of Salvation and Ebenezer Life Centre in Kenya, to speak at that church numerous times. Freddie and Dorothy Sun, leaders of Intercede’s China Mission, also spoke there.

New Hope has also supported the Owitis’ ministries and the China Mission. A few years ago, Luis Guerrero, leader of Vineyard of Colombia, spoke at the church in Spanish, with translation from Intercede’s Eliud Herrera.

Although Braun hesitated to have a Spanish-language speaker, he says, “Sure enough, he gives an altar call, and one of my staff member’s daughters accepted Christ that morning. It was so cool! That was a very exciting morning.”

Braun very much appreciates that Intercede brings missionaries to Canada who are available to speak at his church. That access to what is happening with indigenous missionaries is huge for us. To hear the actual stories and testimonies from the missionaries of what they’re doing—it feels much more connected and in touch with them. The updates—it’s a lot of good information. You really have a feel for what’s going on—and that’s huge.”

New Ministry in India

Intercede has just started working with a new ministry in Andhra Pradesh, India called Good Samaritan India that was recommended by Braun. Started in 1998, GSI now has 28 churches, 15 full-time pastors, two schools with 210 students, and two orphan homes, with 51 orphans.

Joshua Adipi, leader of GSI, studied at a Bible school in St. Catharines a few years ago.

That is when Braun got to know him. “One of my colleagues introduced me to him. He says, ‘You’ve got to get to know this guy—he’s quite an amazing young man.’ So I got together with him, and developed a friendship. He invited me to come to India and do some preaching and meet with some pastors—and to preach at his wedding. So I took two brothers with me and we went over there. It was a two-fold purpose, because we were going to see the orphanage near Chennai.” That was India Christian Ministries’ Tsunami Children’s Home, which

New Hope church has been supporting for several years.

While in India several years ago, Braun and his friends visited one of GSI’s churches, in a city which “seemed like it was on one of the darkest places on the planet. Then the people started to arrive, and we had a worship service, and it was unbelievable how the presence of God was there. I didn’t understand a word of what anyone was saying, but I could sense that the light was breaking forth in that dark, dark part of the city.”

Braun also witnessed children as young as 10 working in slate mines—for just 65 cents a day. “It just wrecked my heart, and we came back and said, ‘We have to do something to try to help these kids out of this.’ There’s no slavery in India, but the minimum age is 10 years old, and the minimum wage is 30 rupees a day (65 cents)— which enough to buy a bowl of rice. That’s pretty much like slavery.

“So as a result of that, we started, with Joshua, a few micro-finance businesses—some embroidery, some paper plates. From what I understand, those businesses made a big difference. But there’s a lot of need there.”

Unfortunately, a cyclone hit that part of India, so Braun and his friends were not able to visit the ICM Tsunami Children’s Home, another ministry supported by Intercede. “We were on the train for 12 hours–it was pouring rain,” explains Braun. “The train wouldn’t go forward because the bridge was washed out. We managed to somehow get a connection with the pastor who oversees the orphanage. He didn’t know where we were, but it was a God thing. All of a sudden, there he is with an SUV, and water right up to the doors. He picks us up, and we get out on the last plane off. So we’re hoping in 2012 to go over and see it.”

Braun is very grateful that Intercede has started a partnership with GSI in India. “It’s a huge answer of prayer to me that Intercede is willing to adopt these guys, and allow our church to come alongside. We’re very happy to support Intercede to oversee that. We see that as partnering completely, and taking a lot of weight and responsibility off our shoulders, because you guys are experts at it and we’re not.

“With you guys playing that crucial role in between, I can go to my church and my friends and my family and say, ‘Give me tons of money for Joshua through Intercede.’ I partner with you guys to make sure it’s all done right. This is a really happy day for us.”

Partners in Manitoba

Since the late 1980s, Bethel Bergthaler Mennonite Church, near Winkler, Manitoba, has supported several of Intercede’s partnering missions. Currently, the church assists four missionaries in Nepal, and two in China. Intercede’s China Mission directors Dr. Freddie and Dorothy Sun visited the church a few years ago, and last year Sundar Thapa, leader of Nepal’s Evangelical Christian Fellowship, visited and presented “a great evening of report from a humble servant,” explains Pastor Randy Smart. The church invited these leaders to speak because “these missionaries were made available through Intercede.”

Intercede is effective as a mission because of “their support of indigenous missionaries who understand the culture and language,” writes Smart, in an email interview. “It is, among other things, a cost-effective way to invest in the work of the Gospel.”

Smart observes, “Our commitment to Intercede is only part of our Missions outreach. One missionary couple from Bethel have served for over 35 years and a number of other missionaries who grew up in our area have been sent out by the church.”

Training and Equipping

Since Beth Repha El Ministries in Chateauguay, Quebec, found out about Intercede, the congregation has been supporting Intercede’s ministries in Peru, Nepal, China, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Sierra Leone. “Our church first found out about Intercede International about three years ago at MissionFest in Montreal,” explains Pastor Audley Rowe, in an email interview.

Resham Raj, leader of Gospel Outreach Centre in Nepal, has spoken at this church. “He brought to our awareness the great work God is doing in these parts of the world and the lives that are being changed,” says Rowe.

Describing the Intercede ministries his church assists, Rowe explains, “I appreciate their dedication and commitment and utmost efforts to fulfil the Great Commission. As I prayed over the missions that are being supported by Intercede, and being guided by the Holy Spirit, these missions were chosen.”

Intercede is “helping indigenous people by training and equipping them to spread the Word of God amongst their own people, and teaching them to be self-sufficient,” Rowe observes.

Members of this church have not yet visited Intercede’s partnering ministries, “but we are planning on doing so in the future as God leads,” says Rowe.

Thank the Lord for these congregations that are partnering faithfully with Intercede. Congregations interested in becoming connected with Intercede’s indigenous ministries can contact Intercede at 1-800-871-0882.