Thursday, December 24, 2015

Praying for Congo this Christmas

A statue remembering the impact of war in Africa
Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

It is Christmas Eve and our family is getting ready for a time of worship at our church and making final preparations for tomorrows Christmas dinner with friends. It is a joyful day of anticipation as gifts are being wrapped and good friends drop by with Christmas greetings. Tonight we will sing carols, listen to the words of the Christmas story, and we will pray for healing and peace on earth.

In our prayers this Christmas will be our friends in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Since beginning our as CBM Africa team leaders in 2013, we have had time each year to visit with the Community of Baptist Churches of Central Africa (CBCA). An important part of the ministry of the CBCA is the medical work it is leading in 4 regional hospitals and the Bethesda hospital that treats victims of war and civil violence in Eastern DRC. Each time we have visited Bethesda, we have met dozens of casualties from the fighting that has taken place in and around Kivu. On this trip we visited survivors from a resent massacre near the town of Beni. One of the hardest visits was with a family where father, mother and all four children were being treated for gun shot wounds. We held hands and whispered prayers.

Survivors of conflict need more than medical help. The CBCA church is also very involved in emotional and spiritual support for 3,949 survivors of rape and violence. In churches and schools throughout Eastern DRC churches are forming support groups for people both in the church and in the community. An important part of this ministry are the "listening rooms" that provide a confidential and safe space for people to come and have someone who cares listen to their story and offer counselling and prayer.

Listening Room Ministry

Erica with the leader of the survivors group at the Vigrungu CBCA church.

Patty Card with members of the CBCA women's group

"Jesus Saves and Heals"

Malcolm Card speaking with the CBCA pastor of the Virungu Church

Meeting with leaders of the Bethesda Hospital, Goma

The head doctor showing Erica the overflow tents used for trauma patients

Kavira, director of the CBCA Women's Department

Please pray with us this Christmas for the people of Eastern DRC. We especially remember the leaders of the CBCA's community outreach ministries among individuals and families affected by war. We pray for peace in DRC and throughout the world. 

CBM Team: Adrian Gardner

Adrian Gardner visiting with our CBM Church partners 
in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Over the past two weeks, we have had the joy of getting to know our new colleague Adrian Gardner as we travelled together to visit the CBM team and partners in Kenya, Rwanda and the DRC.

On September 1st, Adrian joined Canadian Baptist Ministries as the facilitator for CBM's global discipleship program. Adrian's responsibility is to  help Canadian churches to be involved with our global partners through short term missions (STM) and STEP partnerships.

Adrian and his wife Nicole live with their two children, Eli and Grace in Grand Bay, New Brunswick. They will be relocating to the Toronto area next year, in order to be closer to CBM's offices in Mississauga.

Dr. Kalule Molo describing how a new hydro electric project of the CBCA works 
to Terry Smith, Adrian Gardner and Malcolm Card

Growing up in the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches, Adrian remembers meeting a parade of CBM missionaries over the years visiting his church. People like Charles and Fran the Harvey impressed him with their incredible stories and genuine love for people.

"I was drawn to CBM as well because of the integral mission approach," shared Adrian. "The way CBM works in partnership with local churches around the world... My first three months with CBM have been hectic, but it has been good. I was encouraged to see the great work done by partners and staff here in Africa. This time has confirmed my decision that CBM is an organization worth investing my life in."

Jonathan Mills, Andre Sibomana, Adrian, Erica, Patricia and Malcolm Card
Kigali, Rwanda

Short term missions is an vital part of helping the global Church share the rich diversity of what it means to follow Christ in spreading the love and hope of the Kingdom of God. Canadian churches both give and receive when they participate in times of worship, learning and serving with our international Christian community.

"The value of going and spending time with brothers and sisters in another culture is well worth the investment," Adrian tell us. "The benefit is for both those who go and for the people there. Short term mission changes us all."
You can learn more about short term mission opportunities in Africa and around the world by visiting or by using the link below that shows a list of current available STM trips:

Learn More

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

CBM Kenya Team

Canadian Baptist Ministries' Kenya Team
2015 Christmas Gathering

Earlier this month, we had the joy of having our friends Adrian Gardner, Malcolm and Patricia Card join our Kenya team for our annual Christmas party. It was a great time of sharing thanksgiving for all that God has been doing among us this past year.

We also had a pleasure of visiting the leadership of the Africa Brotherhood Church and the African Christian Church and Schools, our historic partner churches in Kenya.

Patricia and Malcolm Card

Malcolm and Patty have been dear friends since we first joined CBM in 2006. The Cards served in Kenya as our team leaders from 2004 to 2009, when they returned to Canada. Earlier this year, Malcolm returned to CBM as the president of the CBM board. During our time together this month we have also travelled to meet with our partner churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Laura, Erica, Pauline, Aisha, Patty, and Sofi

Pauline, Andrew, Adrian, Patrick, and Alamu

Adrian Gardner and Aaron

We were also grateful for time with with our new CBM short term missions facilitator, Adrian Gardner. This was Adrian's first visit to Kenya, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a fellow maritime, it was great fun introducing Adrian to life in East and Central Africa.  

Our Kenyan friends couldn't help but notice a little similarity between Aaron and Adrian,...

Aisha and Erica

Geofrey and Patrick

Andrew and Alamu

Patty and Pauline

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery!

M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S
from CBM's Kenya Team

Friday, December 4, 2015

Transforming Mission: Openness

Canadian Baptist Ministries' Self Help Group Program
Kariobangi, Nairobi

As obvious as it may sound, change starts with an openness for change. Without that willingness, change will never happen. Perhaps this is why the Bible talks so much about the importance of repentance. People need to own their part of the problem and take that difficult step of faith into the unknown -- saying things can be different, and I want to be a part of that new reality.

Erica facilitating the year end SHG gathering in Nairobi

This past year we have seen a lot of courageous men and women make such a step through joining the CBM self help group program in the slum areas of Nairobi. Again and again we have heard stories of men and women who want a better life for themselves and for their children.

Change does not come easy. Families living in impoverished areas like Kariobangi slum face an entangled web of social, economic, environmental, and political forces that contribute to a cycle of poverty and marginalization. But we believe that these systems of brokenness will not have the last word.

As Matisha, one of the self help group members, shared, 
"We do not want to be stuck in this same place. We hope to be far away from where we are now. We want to work. We want to go forward. We want our kids to go out and follow our values and find more for themselves than we have today."

Pray with us!

Please pray for the self help groups in Kenya, and for the families who are working to create a better life for their children and for their community. We also remember the local churches that we are partnering with in places like Kariobangi and Garissa. Pray for wisdom and discernment as these congregations seek to walk with their neighbours in building peace and hope.

You can learn more about how you can support these ministries by visiting, by contacting Canadian Baptist Ministries 905.821.3533, or by using this link: Donate Here

Kariobangi, Nairobi

Thursday, December 3, 2015

CBM Team: Rupen Das

Rev. Dr. Rupen Das, CBM Global Field Staff
and senior advisor to CBM's International programs.

We are deeply grateful for the international team that composes Canadian Baptist Ministries in Canada and around the world. Having the opportunity to collaborate and support one another is what team is all about!

Earlier this month, our friend and colleague Rupen Das joined us for two weeks as the principle lecturer in the certificate of integral mission program for our second module in Rwanda and Kenya. Rupen's expertise and breadth of experience in relief and sustainable community development shone as he led our training on project design and logic.

Rupen teaching leaders from our church partners
 serving in Kenya and South Sudan

Rupen and Erica at tea break in Thika, Kenya

Rupen and his wife Mamta live and work in Amsterdam where Rupen serves with the the European Baptist Federation on behalf of CBM. Among his responsibilities, Rupen is assisting in relief efforts in Ukraine.

Prior to this assignment, Rupen directed the relief response of the Lebanese Baptist Churches in Syria and among the refugees population in Lebanon. Rupen is passionate about helping local churches to live their faith through ministries that bring about transformation for the most vulnerable in society.

Aaron and Rupen

Through training programs like CIM, Rupen assists in capacity building and organizational assessments among CBM's field staff and church partners around the world. Through Ruben's insightful leadership and disarming sense of humour, he is helping Christian leaders enrich their way of thinking about missions and poverty.  "It is not about activities," the class echoes Rupen, "It is about change!"

Over the past ten years, the CBM African partners have greatly benefitted from Rupen's encouragement. We personally owe Rupen's teaching and mentorship great credit for the projects and programs that we have been able to design and launch with our partners and Muslim ministry team. 

Rupen's career has been an eclectic journey from Navigators ministry in India to directing International Relief efforts with World Vision Canada, to being the dean of Humber College's International Development program. We appreciate the way that Rupen has been able to bring theological reflection into the fields of relief and community development: Through the books he has authored, the courses he teaches, the programs he leads and most of all in the relationships he builds with his students.

Rupen with his students!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Swallows & Amazons

Swallows & Amazons
by Helen Edmundson and Neil Hannon

This year's Rosslyn Academy High School Play was the rollicking fun children's story of Swallows & Amazons. The musical play is based on the novel of the same name first published by Arthur Ransome in 1930. The story was adapted to the theatre by the Royal National Theatre and debuted at the Bristol Old Vic in December 2010. Rosslyn Academy is the first high school to stage the musical play. 

The story is of the four Walker children (John, Susan, Titty and Roger) and their imaginary outdoor adventures in the English Lake District during their summer holidays in 1929. Together they sail a borrowed dingy to camp on a nearby island where they meet the precocious Blackett girls (Nancy and Peggy). The children become the Swallows and Amazons and swear loyalty against the Blackett's uncle James Turner, who they call "Captain Flint".

Their imaginary adventures escalate as the children encounter the real terrors of storms and a mysterious crime.

The Swallow's camp taken by the fierce Amazons

Poor Roger fleeing the swooping cormorants 

Captain Flint warning John Walker

Titty all alone on Wildcat Island

Susan, Roger and Titty calling for John

The great battle of Houseboat Bay

The cast and crew

As parents we are thrilled over the opportunities that Tristan and Emma are having in staging theatrical productions at Rosslyn. We are so grateful for the dedication of Steven Slaughter and Audrey Statler to work with the high school students on such ambitious projects. 

Director, Steven Slaughter welcoming guests to the Friday night show.

Mrs. Audrey Statler, musical director, with Ezra, 
Emma, Tristan, Emerson, and Abby.