For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Evangelistic Outreach Halifax July 13-17

From Matthew Cain
Image result for halifax skyline night

In November, I sent out a message informing people about a week of evangelistic outreach in Halifax this summer. Lord willing, we are going ahead with these plans.

In consideration of the Lord’s call for us to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15), and remembering that people are “born again … through the living and abiding word of God” (1Peter 1:23), and that we have the privilege of being “ambassadors for Christ”, “working together with Him” (2Cor 5:20; 6:1), we are proposing a multi-pronged gospel outreach, that we expect will include:  

  1. Seed Sowers / Gospel Text delivery door to door in Halifax (exact community TBD)
  2. Street Evangelism downtown Halifax, including tract distribution and open air gospel meetings
  3. Children’s Meetings in a tent
There will also be daily Bible teaching sessions, with the content of the teaching directed towards younger believers. We will hold such sessions in the evenings, and likely in the mornings as well.

Evenings will potentially involve hymn singing, the above mentioned open air gospel preaching, campfires, or other activity, including the regular mid-week meeting of the assembly here on Wednesday night. The final day of the week will be a day off to enjoy some sunshine and outdoor activities.

This is a great opportunity for young believers to be involved in the spread of the gospel and receive some sound, consecutive teaching. We also look forward to families joining us to enjoy this week together as a family.  There are multiple ways people can be involved, including distribution of texts, driving people around the communities where they will be delivering texts, and helping with suppers as well.

This will be taking place July 13-17, with arrival of anyone from out of town expected on Sunday, July 12th. Due to the amount of organization that is required to carry out this plan, and also because of the need to purchase food and arrange meals for the group, REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. I know that many people will have some interest, but tend to be hesitant in finalizing their plans. You will likely need to put this week into your calendar and commit to coming in advance

There will be a REGISTRATION DEADLINE, likely June 15th. Registration will involve two steps. 1) Filling out a form, signing it, and sending it to me; 2) Submitting a nominal registration fee of $10 (if more than one person in a family is attending, $20 will cover the entire family).  You will not be considered registered until both of these steps are completed. Depending on the response and accommodation availability here, there may be a limited number of spaces available. You are not considered “registered” merely by replying to an email or a Facebook “event”.

Anyone under the age of 16 who wants to participate must have a parent with them in order to participate in this week.

Accommodations for the week can be arranged by yourself or through me. Options will include space in local believers’ homes (while space is available), booking space at a local campground, or a room at a local university dorm (likely Mount Saint Vincent University in Bedford, at a relatively inexpensive nightly rate as the University is happy to rent out these rooms in the summer time when students are gone).  Obviously, those that register first and request accommodation in local believers’ homes will be the first ones to be granted those limited spaces. As with Seed Sowers events in Ottawa and other places that some of you have attended in the past, lunch purchases will be your responsibility. A delicious supper will be provided free of charge at the hall each evening.

The outreach is being carried out in fellowship with the local church meeting at North Street Gospel Hall. The main objectives of the week are to spread the gospel and to provide good Bible teaching for young believers. Working together with likeminded Christians, serving the Lord together as a family, and just enjoying the Christian fellowship will also be a blessing. Attendees will have to adhere to a small number of rules – it is not a free-for-all week for you to do whatever you want in Halifax.  The delivery of texts is an important part of the week, but we do not want you to be so exhausted from that aspect of the work that your minds will not be fresh enough to appreciate the Bible teaching sessions.  We are not going to work you to the bone, but neither is it a week’s holiday. It involves a serious and mature commitment, but we fully expect all who participate to enjoy the time and develop further happy memories stemming from Christian friendship and evangelistic outreach.

We feel it is great for young people, non-young people, and families to be jointly involved in spreading the gospel. I know for some of you this will involve taking a week of vacation from work and we think it will be well worth it. That is one reason we are trying to give you plenty of notice.

If you have any questions, please contact me using the contact information below. Feel free to share this with others.

On Behalf of the Christians Meeting at North Street Gospel Hall, Halifax,
Sincerely Yours in Our Lord Jesus Christ,

Matthew Cain

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Community Tax Clinic

We decided to try holding a different kind of community outreach this year – a free community tax clinic.  We have a number of accountants in our assembly, so we organized a tax clinic to help people with simple tax returns and modest incomes prepare their returns. 

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a program called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (CVITP) where they help community organizations set up and run such clinics.  We registered with CRA to sponsor a clinic, and advertised our clinic on the CRA website, as well as on our hall website and on Kijiji and a website called comefromchina for new Chinese immigrants.  We also posted notices about the clinic in a nearby community centre.  CRA provides training, and access to free software to use in preparing the returns.  At first the registration was slow and we wondered if we would have any returns to prepare, but by the time the clinic date arrived, we were full.  We learned that it was important to have a phone number for registration rather than just an email address, and we had someone look after booking the appointments when people called.

We ran our clinic on a Saturday from noon until 5 pm.  We set up a wifi connection at the hall so that we could electronically file the returns on the spot.  We booked appointments for every half hour, and our four tax preparers prepared about 30 tax returns.  Most of the people we helped live in the community around the hall, and for all of them, it was the first time they had ever been in the building.  We had a couple of people staffing a reception desk, and we served people coffee and snacks while they waited their turn.  It was interesting to watch them reading the texts on the wall.  Some of them asked questions about the hall while we prepared their taxes.

The people who came seemed to really appreciate the help.  We gave them an information sheet to let them know about the regular Sunday night gospel meeting at the hall and our ESL class, as well as upcoming events such as a clothing give-away and a gospel supper.

Overall we were very happy with the response.  It is quite a bit of work to set up and requires commitment from a number of people to run smoothly, but it brought many new contacts into the hall for the first time, and provided a way of doing good and helping the community. 

For more information email Ken Kember

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Clothing GiveAway 2014 - Moncton Gospel Hall

Each year people are eagerly looking to clean out their closets in preparation for the upcoming winter. We decided this year, with a gospel supper scheduled the next day, and a series of special Gospel meetings starting the following week, we would take what people are willing to give away and use it to make contacts with the community surrounding the Gospel Hall. In addition, we used this time to invite people to our Community Dinner held on the first Sunday of every month.

In preparation for the Giveaway we distributed approximately 800 invitations to the surrounding community, which were double sided and had an invitation to the upcoming special gospel meetings. We distributed these via Canada Post a week before the Giveaway was scheduled. We also had people share an electronic copy of the invitation through social media. We were blessed with about 400 additional invitations being printed at no charge which were also distributed to two other areas of Moncton. Individual invitations were also given to friends and family who were in need.

Printed on the back of the Clothing GiveAway Invitation
The clothes were provided this year from the Christians only, however we had a number of others who asked next year if we would be taking donations.
The Clothing Giveaway started at 10am and lasted two hours. There was a steady stream of people who attended as well as a good mix of ages ranging from children to seniors. All were very happy to have this being offered in their community. We took every opportunity to give invitations to the Gospel suppers as well as the upcoming meetings and people were very open to taking what we had to offer.

We also offered Bibles to everyone who wanted one. We had three families come and one fellow who was in Canada for the first time from Africa. We provided coffee and tea, which gave the saints an additional opportunity to mingle and connect with people.

Overall this day was a huge success as thirty people of the thirty five who showed up had never set foot in the building before. These people came to get clothes and took the literature we offered. We gave out seventeen Bibles and had an opportunity to connect personally with everyone. The next day a mother and her daughter who came to the clothing giveaway attended the community dinner for the first time and stayed to hear the gospel after. Three other families that attended have been invited to bring their children to Sunday school.

Many Christians participated in the preparation of this event - as well as the day of the event and this was a huge encouragement. The Christians were very united in this work and the results speak for themselves.

If I could offer some encouragement to anyone looking to take on this kind of event it would be to pray for the Lord to help and get other people involved early. Do what you can do, let others do what they can do, then the Lord will do what we cannot do. Follow the pattern given in John 5 in the feeding of the 5000.

Submitted by: Brian Johnson, Moncton Gospel Hall, New Brunswick

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sarnia Welcomes International Students to Canada

Each September, May and January, Lambton College begins a new semester.  With it they welcome new international students to Sarnia from all over the world. The September semester represents the largest group of new students, May the smallest and January somewhere in between. The Sarnia Gospel Hall has connected with the International Office at Lambton College to host the new international students for a Welcome Dinner. Our first dinner was just over a year ago in August of 2013. We have had three more dinners since then, with our most recent on the 27th of August with seventy students attending.

Timing and Transportation
The timing of the dinner is important and usually falls the week before the semester begins.  Once classes start the students become occupied with their studies and are less likely to attend.  We have found that as a first point of contact in Sarnia, aside from the college, we are able build a stronger relationship.  Once the date is set, the Student Activity Coordinator from the college arranges a bus tour of Sarnia with the final destination the Gospel Hall.  City busses have been chartered as well as school busses, but in both cases the college has covered the cost.

Welcoming and Introduction to Christianity
When the students arrive, the Christians are waiting to welcome them. Everyone wears a name tag to encourage communication and interaction.  The students make their way in and find a seat for a 15 minute welcome message which usually touches on life in Canada, a personal story, and an introduction to the Gospel.  The message has been somewhat of a challenge.  We know it is an amazing opportunity to present the Gospel to young people who have possibly never heard it. At the same time we have to respect the college and the students so we do not upset or offended and lose the opportunity entirely.  The approach has been to focus on the love of God, and an explanation as to why we would have a group of students in for a meal.

The Meal
After the message, students are served a Canadian dinner consisting of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. It is difficult to make the foods to which they are accustomed, so we usually either avoid those dishes or combine them with a Canadian dish. For dessert we serve cake decorated as the Canadian flag.  The Christians are encouraged to sit among the students during the meal in order to share stories and advice, in an attempt to build relationships. In the past, the Christians have been responsible for bringing the students back to their homes. At the last dinner the buses were able stay and take the students home when the evening had concluded.

Welcoming ‘Care’ Package to Leave With
A small treat bag is given to the students as they leave.  The bags consist of candy, pencils, buttons, and other treats along with a magnet verse and some contact information.  We try to keep a Canadian theme throughout the meal, the treat bag, and even in some decorations. At the last dinner we handed out pamphlets explaining a little more about the Gospel Hall and the International Program. The pamphlet also contains contact information and encourages the students to connect with us on Facebook.  The Facebook page is called Sarnia Gospel Hall International Program.  We have found that Facebook and email are better ways to contact the students initially as they have access to internet sooner than cell phones.  We hope to expand the effort by having meals/events more regularly than just at the beginning of the semester.

The Future
With God's help in this work we are sure to see blessing. We need His guidance in directing our future activities with the students. We also look to Him to bless us with continued openness shown by the college towards our efforts. The response and connections made have been very encouraging and we feel God has blessed this work so far.

If you would like more information please contact Jesse or Vashti Young

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Ark in Gospel Outreach Summer of 2014

4th of July Parade – Arlington, WA
We had a good turnout of coworkers from the Assembly for both the parade and the Street Fair.

For the parade, there were 7 or 8 people walking down the street on each side of the ark handling out approximately 1200 seed sower packets to the crowd. The packets were well received. The younger children had fun handing out candy along the route.

The judges were very impressed giving us 1st prize in the float division.

Street Fair
The street fair was also a great opportunity to share the gospel with the many people that visited the ark. We had a 10 X 30 space which gave us room for a gospel table with seed sower packets, gospel tracts, booklets and magnets on it and another table for doing crafts with the children. The crafts were in conjunction with the ark.

The ark is certainly a great tool to draw people in, providing opportunities for conversations and giving out literature. It is also an encouragement to other fellow Christians who are excited and happy to see the gospel available to the community.

Because the ark is a new addition to our summer outreach activities, we assist the Christians in the ordering of suitable tracts, Seed Sower packets and any special printing requirements tailored to the needs of each Assembly, etc. We prepare most of the kids’ packets for the craft table and have people from the Assembly do the Seed Sower packets.

A special thanks to Dave Smith, Deep Cove, BC and those who helped him build the ark. It is very easy to transport and equally easy to set up. We get many compliments on the workmanship from both saved and unsaved alike.

We plan to have the ark at the Lynden WA Fair in Aug. for one week in connection with the Lynden Assembly. Then in the first week of Sept. we will be at the Okanogan WA Fair working with the Assembly there. The following week we will be at Rock Creek B.C. working with the West Bank Assembly.

Submitted (as requested) by: Bryon Meyers  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Gym Nights and Outreach Activities – Englehart, Ontario

For the last number of years, the assembly in Englehart, Ontario has run a regular children’s outreach call Gym Night.  We use the gym at the local public school. (We are very thankful that school board in our area allows community groups to use the schools after hours.)  We begin each school year by sending invitations to the community, advertising that Gym night is starting again for the fall.  We have used the postal service as well as a booth at the local Fall Fair to distribute these invitations.  The invitation that is most effective is the personal invitation, speaking to the kids and parents as we meet them in the community and the kids inviting their friends.

Gym Night is advertised for 1 hour but we open the gym a half hour before starting time, for the kids to have free time to play.  This time allows us to ‘hang out’ with the kids, get to know them and spend time with them, just shooting hoops, turning the skipping rope, chatting about their day, etc.  It also allows them to run around for a bit before they are asked to sit and listen to the lesson. 

            The structured time includes
1.      Singing a few well known Sunday School songs
2.      Teaching a verse
3.      Sharing a Bible Story
4.      Playing gym games for about half an hour (plus crafts/activities for the younger kids).

We have noticed that so many kids from the community have no Bible knowledge at all, so we have consecutively taught the major Bible Stories – it takes about 3 years to start at creation and work through to the end of the Book of Acts, then start over.

We try to get Gym nights started ASAP at the beginning of the school year, in general “If there is school on a Tuesday, there is Gym night Tuesday evening.”

The rules of Gym Night are as follows:
1.      Respect God
2.      Respect Each Other
3.      Respect the school

During the year we have 2 special Gym Nights
1.      “Christmas Party” which includes Christmas Carols, a Christmas message and cookie decorating and then eating.

2.     “Year End Party” (like a Sunday School picnic - at the same time and place as Gym Night usually is held) – we hire a French Fry Truck and serve everyone French Fries, Hamburgers, etc. then (weather permitting) have the message outside in the school yard, followed by outside games.

Over the years, kids have started coming when they are quite young and would continue into their late elementary school years.  As we noticed this happening we were burdened to encourage these older kids to continue to come and listen to the Word of God.  So we began a “Teen and Tween Night” on a Friday Night once a month.  We started by inviting the Gym night kids who were in Grade 6 and older – and told them to invite their friends.  We use Facebook, email, personal invitations, to contact these Teens and their families to let them know when and where the next Teen Night will be.

The schedule is very flexible, each night is different but the general structure is about an hour each for:
1.      Eating supper
2.      Singing and message,
3.      Enjoying some activity and social time. 
(The order may vary, which helps keep interest)

The kids really look forward to the meal – we try to have good homemade food (turkey or roast beef dinners, fresh bread, homemade pizzaor pies, etc.).  For the singing we have a power point presentation that is just for Teen night, it includes a few older hymns but mostly newer hymns that are full of the Gospel.  The Gospel is the main focus of the message since so many kids that come are not yet believers.  After the message we plan some type of fun activity and time to just hang out and have fun together. 

1.      spaghetti supper & gym games (volleyball, basketball, dodge ball, etc.) at the school gym
2.      baseball game & BBQ at the ball field
3.      skating at the local arena – then to a Christian’s home for pizza
4.      Progressive supper to the Christians homes.
5.      Group games – such as “Four on the Couch”, “Pictionary”, “Charades”, “Win it in a Minute” games, etc.
6.      Turkey dinner, Christmas carol sing at a nursing home then assembling & decorating Gingerbread houses.
7.      Board games – often during sports for the kids that don’t enjoy sports.
8.      Mystery meal (make up menus with strange names for normal food, the kids order off the menu, and ‘solve’ what items they want to order – Lots of Fun!)
9.      Snowman building contests
10.  Hiking in the local park and camp fire
11.  Photo Scavenger hunt.

These outreaches draw the assembly together and give every willing person a job to do.  There are many different ways believers can be involved in this work, some are obvious, and others are not as obvious but just as necessary:

o   The men that do the speaking.
o   Those that play the games with the kids and befriend the kids and their families.
o   The ladies that cook the meal and serve the kids at Teen Night.
o   The sister that plans the crafts for Gym Night.
o   Keeping attendance, getting permission forms, etc.
o   The sister that babysits the younger kids during teen night so their parents are free to run the outreach.
o   The young believers who invite their school friends and then hang out with them.
o   The sister that books the gym and makes arrangements with the school.
o   The senior couple that bring juice boxes every week to Gym night.
o   The believers that attend and supervise the hallways during Gym Nights. 
o   The people that donate candies, treats, food, and cookies to special Gym Night events.
o   The many believers that contribute financially to the groceries for Teen Nights.
o   Sending out invitations, by mail, email, Facebook, etc.
o   The support of the ‘front line workers’ in interest, general prayer and encouragement.
o   Those not physically able to attend but ask for a copy of the attendance list so they can pray specifically for each child, parent & teen!

As a result of these outreaches to the children and Teens of the community, families have been contacted.  Parents & Grandparents often come and are happy to listen to the message as it is presented to the kids.  Many souls young and older have heard the gospel at these outreaches over the past few years.  Some adults have been saved and come into fellowship in the local assembly as a direct result of their kids coming to Gym night and Teen night.  Most of the young people in this small community have heard the gospel at least once and a few have professed to be saved.  As well, we have contacted believers in the community that are looking for Christian fellowship.  God is working and His word is not returning void.

For more information contact Karen Marshall 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Community Advertising for Special Events

So there's an opportunity for the community to be exposed to the Gospel or to just establish relationships with Christians in the area. There are multiple ways to advertise such events. Be sure to advertise.

Beautiful postcards are easy to produce and relatively inexpensive. Our annual Christian Conference is held in May each year. So we found a local May scene that would be meaningful to the local public. A suitable and appealing Bible [Gospel] verse was selected for the scene. 

The details of the event were provided on the reverse side of the card in black and white.

The quality of the actual image and printing on the card is far superior to what is shown above.

You can shop around. We have used for a couple of years and have been satisfied. You can upload the images to their website and design your postcard - back and front - all online. It is very user friendly.

If you want an idea on the price - as of May, 2014: we ordered 1000 glossy finished coloured postcards on card stock - black and white on reverse side, with 250 matching envelopes. Total price, including shipping, was $78.06 and was received within 10 days of placing the order.

These postcards are available to all the Christians for their distribution. The 250 matching envelopes are available for community contacts to whom Christians may want to mail personal invitations as opposed to hand-delivery.

If there is a website connected to the local event, be sure to include it on your invitation.