Prince Albert, SK CANADA

Summer 2019
Written by Steve and Merle Kember - Canada

More than 50 years ago at Toronto Conference, Vern Markle spoke about the "Mission Field In Your Own Back Yard." I have forgotten most messages I have heard, but some of that one still sticks in my mind. As you know, they spent some years in Cuba, until Mr Castro kicked them out in the 60's. He then was in the Maritimes, but spent his last years in Toronto, working around Kensington Market, where Italian and Portuguese immigrants lived. I remember him saying he even learned some of their languages.

That message gave direction to us. We had just been married a short time and until then we thought to be a missionary, you had to cross a lot of water, go to a country where you didn't know what people were saying, and eat food that didn't taste good! Mr Markle was not saying no one should go to another country, but he said we need to work right here at home, putting our hand to whatever God brings before us, until God called us elsewhere.

And at this point, it seems God has not called us elsewhere.

There are times when we wonder what we are doing here. So many hurting people, and you would think they would want to turn to the One who can give peace. I hope we realize, at least a little, that we are going to be disappointed if we think God sent us here to be occupied with results. There have been a few that have professed lately, but they carry a lot of past baggage.

Isaiah 42:3 says, "A bruised reed He will not break and smoking flax, He will not quench." I think we are all a bit bruised and smoky, but so many are damaged almost beyond repair. So, when we wonder what we are doing here, we remind ourselves that God didn't send us here to save anybody, but just to love the people.

So many have never known love. Every day we see girls with black eyes and bruised bodies. Not a day goes by but we have someone crying in the trailer. One young man this week openly wept about his problems and his friend that died as a result of alcohol. We talked to him about the hope in Christ, and the peace that God is able to give. After a while he sat on the sofa in the back of the trailer and fell asleep. We usually don't let people sleep, or we would have the place full of sleepers. However, we didn't wake him up. He left saying how peaceful this place is.

I'm sure no matter who it is or where they are, everyone seems to see what they are doing as uphill work. If only we could grasp the fact that, no matter what we are doing, it is not our work. It is God's work. David went out to bring down Goliath. He recognized it was God who Goliath had defied. He rested in the fact that the battle was the Lords. And he understood what our Lord Himself said, "Without Me you can do nothing." John 15:5.

But at the same time David did what he could. He collected 5 smooth stones. He didn't just figure that 'any old stone would do'. He also used his own strength, as he ran toward Goliath. He then used the skills that God had given him and that he had refined over the years with his Father's sheep. But his trust was in the Lord.

He didn't pick up 5 stones, thinking he had some spares, in case he missed with the first one. He had faith that God was going to use the first stone in his sling. So, you and I need to do what we can, and trust God to use it for His glory.

May God give all of us a heart of love and compassion for those we cross paths with. Someone said about having a vision; "If your vision is for a year, plant wheat. If your vision is for 10 years, plant trees. If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people."

We sure can't turn any to righteousness, but God is in the business of doing that and He most graciously uses each of us in His own divine plan.

Each Lord's Day we have what we tell people is "Singing, Service and Supper". A couple from Taylor side assembly, Henry and Eva Friesen, come each Sunday and help. And they are a great help. Henry stands out on the street before the meeting and invites people who are walking past to come in and Eva helps with the supper. Lately there has been about 12 to 15 visitors coming.

Merle and I continue to take services every 3 or 4 weeks at the women's prison. It is a cold, sad and dismal place of steel doors banging and clanging, cement floors, concrete walls and razor wire fences. To us it seems heartless. But one of the women that came to the service last week said, "I'm so glad I'm in this place. These people are the nicest people I have ever known." (referring to the guards). We have often seen that some of the guards are rude. But to her they are good people. It just showed us the life she has and people she has lived amongst!

Merle also volunteers in a school each week, teaching struggling kids with math or reading. She was a teacher and has never lost her love of teaching. She also has a ladies Bible study for some we have met.

Summer 2019
Written by Steve and Merle Kember - Canada