living mission

Malawi and Back

Recently Jon Batisarisari and Don Greer flew to Malawi to see what GOD is doing through an amazing YWAM initiative there. Jon’s parents — Villi & Judy — are missionaries there, so Jon and Don had a great couple of weeks visiting and tagging along with them wherever they went.

When they got back, our Small Group invited Jon’s small group over and our two groups got to hear their report while it was still fresh!

Jon showed a great video, showing us the new church building and the Sunday school facility in Buli Village. What is extra exciting is that Don was a part of seeing the Sunday School building come to reality, so he got to witness the Grand Opening and tour the facility with a lot of excited church members and kids! At the grand opening there were around 150 adults and around 60 kids. In the crowd were 17 chiefs from neighbouring villages. It was a big deal!

Notable, on the edge of the church property is a Witchcraft Hospital. What a perfect place for a church to sit. Pray for them and their ministry in a dark and broken community with unique challenges!

Jon and Don got to see many of the orphanages and crisis centers that Judy and Villi minister at. At one of the homes their role is just to hold babies. This sounds so simple, yet babies die if they are not held, so this simple act of love is saving lives and extending care to the most vulnerable!

They also got to see the beginning stages of Villi & Judy’s co-worker, Delia’s, dream. She has been working in the area for over 10 years and she is trying to establish a crisis center for girls in trouble. This will require a financial input she does not have, yet she is determined to see this happen. There are girls who get pregnant and have nowhere to go, or experience other kinds of abuse and trouble. If they have a place to go, they can have a second chance at life!

While there, Jon got the chance to preach and help with communion and Don shared his testimony as well — in front of those 17 chiefs, what an honour!

The church in Buli is full of passion; just like us they are learning what it means to be disciples of Christ — not always getting it right! Sometimes the pastor has had some training but not a lot of training and there can be some need for correction in doctrine and practice, to really understand the heart of the Gospel. When this ministry comes to mind, please pray for there to be wisdom and understanding and that the church would be led by the Spirit of GOD into all truth!

Don and Jon described the church as full of celebration! Long services with lots of singing and dancing, lots of improvisation, lots of prayer.

Standing on the campus looking at the new Sunday School building, Jon had commented to Don, “Look what you have done for them, Don.”

And Don said, “No, look what they have done for me.”

Isn’t that the truth about these things? When you know GOD has allowed you to participate in something greater than yourself, the blessing turns around and blesses us more than we could have asked or imagined.

Thank you Don and Jon for sharing your stories with us. It was encouraging and challenging! May SunRidge be filled with people who are “living mission” locally and globally!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

It Is Better To Have Tried

This past Sunday our Mexico Team students made coffee for “half time” once again to help raise money for the house building project coming this Spring Break. This time, there was a special feature. If you weren’t there on Sunday you missed a pretty hilarious and heartwarming announcement by Kyle, our Youth Pastor about the “eats” being offered along with coffee. Last year, Garnet (pictured on the right) made a name for himself in Mexico for his passion for Churros! He ate buckets of Churros.

This year, he was committed to bring his Churro obsession to the Coffee fundraiser. He and Thomas found a recipe and whipped up a batch but…the product didn’t quite meet their expectations. Here’s the thing, they brought them anyway. Garnet was quick to say, “These were our first try, come next week, they will be better.”

I decided to try this week’s so I would have something to compare next week’s to. They may not have looked quite right, but they actually weren’t bad. They tasted like a doughnut.

Here is what I love about this story:

  1. That there is a story to tell of two young men who had an idea and tried it out. How many times do I talk about trying something but don’t?

  2. When it didn’t have the intended results, they brought them anyway. They weren’t perfect, but they weren’t a total fail either. Gotta have some pride in that. How many times do I think what I offer has to be perfect. How many times do I judge myself too harshly or stress over things having to be “just so”?

  3. The joy and humour with which they offered their smallish, brownish Churros. It made me happy just talking to them about it. Sometimes its just good to joke around. Isn’t a good laugh, an amusement, a funny moment worth so much?

  4. Their effort and their intentions and the heart behind it. This is what counts isn’t it? It is better to have tried and failed then to have not tried at all. How many times do I not even step into the ring?

I say A+ for effort and for bringing the fun. Full marks for DOING SOMETHING and being a contributor and having the attitude of a difference maker. Here and on the field, these guys have set an example.

Can’t we learn a lot from these students? I love this generation. I have so much hope for them!

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If you haven’t had a chance to bless the troupe, don’t miss the opportunity!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Meet The Interns (Part 2)

Last week I posted a little interview with one of our interns, Naomi. This week I am happy to introduce you to Matt De Jong — another one of our wonderful SunRidge interns.

An Internship at SunRidge is an opportunity for someone to come alongside our SunRidge family and staff to serve for a time in a variety of capacities. It is an invitation to explore different areas of ministry in a church, to be challenged and mentored and to allow God to use this time “set aside” to see what new directions, gifts and ideas come from the experience.

If you haven’t met him yet, this blog post is all about Matt!

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Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Calgary, AB

3 words a good friend would use to describe you:
Passionate about debate, learning, and sports!

Bible not included, what is one of the best books you have ever read and why?
CS Lewis Screwtape Letters was super valuable in showing me how I tried to cover my own sin

If you could invite 6 people to sit around a table with you for an evening of good conversation, who would they be?

Living: John Piper, Barack Obama, Noam Chomsky, Francis Fukuyama, David Cameron, and Reginald Bibby

Dead: John A. Macdonald, George Washington, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Maximillien Robespierre, and Niccolo Machiavelli

A great piece of advice you have received is...
That Gretzky's "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" quote is best applied outside of sports.

If a SunRidger invited you for dinner, what would your food aversion be?
Not a fan of stir-fry

Cats or Dogs?
Dogs

Country or Rock?
Country

Starbucks or Tim Hortons?
Tims

What was your role at Green Bay Bible Camp this summer?
I was the DTP (Discipleship Training Program) Manager at Green Bay this year

A recent thing God has been teaching you:
God has been teaching me the value of investing in him as a first priority, rather than a last resort.

in 200 characters or less describe your faith journey:
Grew up in the church, doubted my faith from about 12-15, but had an amazing experience of the kind of community Christianity can provide at Green Bay Bible Camp (here in West Kelowna) and have been devoted to my faith ever since. I've gotten to see and learn so much about God in 5 summers at Green Bay, and me being here this year. 

Why intern?
I felt God weighing it on me pretty heavily as soon as the internship was offered. I've been considering pastorship, and so this was a great opportunity.

What is a goal you have as an intern?
To get to explore what pastoring means and what it looks like on a more day-to-day basis.


We are super excited to have Matt serving in OOSC (SunRidge Out of School Care), it’s awesome to have a great mix of men and women in there, loving kids in our community.

SunRidge, hope you will go out of your way to meet Matt, get to know him, feed him, and make him feel like he has been our friend for a long time already!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

Stepping In

In case you didn’t know, SunRidge partners with Westbank United Church to come alongside in serving lunches to those who need them in our West Kelowna community. And who needs lunch? There are those who have experienced a turn in life that has left them homeless. There are those who have lost their job and a lunch here and there brings relief to the budget. There are seniors who might not be cooking a hearty meal for themselves. There are young people who are sorting things out and some warm food and some warm words are helpful. There are a lot of different kinds of people who come to a hot meal (three times a week) and sandwiches on the off days.

This requires

  • a lot of organization (Nancy is a force to be reckoned with),

  • a home base (thank goodness for the centrally located United Church facility and their compassion for the city)

  • food (donations come from all over our city from churches, businesses, farms, and concerned individuals)

  • volunteers (lots and lots)

This week we were short-handed on Monday and it highlighted again how many people it requires to keep this work going. So today I am highlighting people who “step in.” I know there are many who do — lots of faithful behind-the-scenes servants who help with no fanfare. There are people who send lovely home baking — the guests LOVE the home baking. There are people who go around finding donations, people who serve once and twice and three times a week. There are people who buy last minute groceries, people who wash dish after dish, people who give hugs, people who cut onions and…there is one beloved person who even comes to tenderly cut and style people’s hair.

If you would like to get involved in this practical, love-your-city, mission email our rep Randy at lunchprogram@sunridge.org or contact us here. There are on-site opportunities and other things you can do if you can’t do that! We also have a grocery list at the Connect Centre. Pick one up and add a few things to your list each week. You can drop off at SunRidge or at the United Church.

How did our shorthanded Monday go? Thanks to Mark P., Kim R., and Lindsay W. and some others from outside SunRidge who all “stepped in”…we got’er done! Go team go!

At the end of our shift, I like how Mark summarized things:

Why is Mark wearing oven mitts while stirring Coleslaw?

Why is Mark wearing oven mitts while stirring Coleslaw?

“A kitchen filled with love and servants hearts. People of all ages and backgrounds banding together to do their part in order to make a HUGE difference to show those less fortunate in our own community that they are loved, cared for and matter so very much. What an honour to be a part of it.”

Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

The Whole Bunch of Us

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On Tuesday most of the SunRidge Staff were all in one place for a post summer staff meeting. We worked through an agenda, looking beyond our more relaxed summer routines and approached the calendar more intentionally.

If you look at the picture in this blog closely, you will see there were seven people in attendance at our meeting. These seven "staff" have certain gifts, certain callings, and a certain amount of time each to put those to work. But these seven are inadequate. These seven can be obedient to fulfill maybe seven roles, but Jesus' call to His Church is for the whole bunch of us to fulfill all kinds of roles -- hundreds of them with varying degrees of personal sacrifice.

As we were putting some plans to paper, I couldn't help but think: there are a whole bunch of SunRidgers and there isn't a single person who isn't called to engage. We all have something to offer. Wouldn't it be amazing if every single person at SunRidge actively played a part making SunRidge a beautiful community to be a part of? And wouldn't it be amazing if every single person at SunRidge actively played a part in taking that spirit out into our neighbourhoods? Week in and week out...

We have been reminded of this in this 10:02 series and the "art of neighbouring" and I think it is a great nudge for the Fall.

I wonder, as the whole bunch of us listen well to the Holy Spirit, what needs will be filled in this new season? What new ideas will be tried in the coming days? What connections will happen week to week? What conversations will set a new course for someone? What service will be offered that will provide relief and make this world just a little bit more the way God intended it?

It's up to the whole bunch of us.

If you are "in" you can make it known by initiating some contact through our Get Connected tab on our website, or go to the Connect Center on Sunday and start a conversation about serving!

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Teresa Klassen