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"The love of the Lord and the love of his people is so evident in your church."...Read More
- Jackie

I understand now. This is for me.

Dear friends,
 
A place to belong, a place to meet God - Sharon dropped by the church late one day asking for prayer. She was frightened over next day’s hospital visit; doctors were saying that her leg may need to be amputated.  Lingering still after our prayer, she asked if she could speak more personally yet.  She said she wanted to make a new start in life; new friends, new family, new direction.  In essence, she wanted to become baptized and become part of the church family.  Would that be possible, she wondered.  What makes this remarkable is that she has lived on the streets for years.  Since that conversation, she has reiterated her intent several times to me; she is serious.  We have a baptism class coming up.  The psalmist said, ‘God sets the lonely in families.’  What a privilege to be a small part of that.
 
It can take a long time - Our journey with Sue began some years ago with an outreach we did among Buddhists who were visiting the city for some lectures.  Though her background is Muslim she was drawn in by the title of the movie we were showing that night.  From the first visit, it seemed to us that God was drawing her to Himself and that she was very open to Him.  That was some 12 years ago.  Since then she has come in and out of our life, sometimes disappearing for a year – always returning though and always warm toward us.  She also came into addiction during this time and has been trying hard to shake that.  The friends she was running with were very rough.  Most recently, on a Saturday evening, we were serving Holy Communion as part of our worship.  She listened intently and wanted to participate but something in her pushed back.  Next day she came to our morning worship.  Again we served Communion and again she listened with rapt attention.  Seeing her studying me, I took more time to explain the meaning of The Lord’s Table.  She said to us later, ‘I understand now.  This is for me. This is what I want to do with my life.  I want to follow Christ.  My mother is pressing me to participate more faithfully in the practices of Islam.  But that is not what I want to do anymore.’  For the first ever, she participated in Holy Communion and was full of joy. 
 
Bridge building – At Christmas we have a certain tradition in our church.  For years now, one young woman has written a pageant, unique each year, built around the specific acting skills represented in our church at the time.  This has become a bridge building event for us where we invite friends and family, along with community people who have been part of our outreaches.  This year, more than ever, people from outside our congregation came out.  Unbelieving spouses, parents, neighbors were there.  Community people from various religious backgrounds joined in; familiar faces to us, warm relationships, few of them having ever attended our worship services.  Here they were, witnessing the story of the incarnation told largely by children in the context of warm hospitality by the whole church.  That is the best way to communicate Christ in the city, in my view; the church loving, welcoming, proclaiming, worshipping.  God is honored and unbelievers definitely take notice.
 
Large gift – We are the recipients of many gifts, all of which are precious to us.  This last week, we also received a gift in the amount of $50,000 for the TAC re-build.  This brings our building purchase fund to just under $650,000.  We are deeply grateful for the many of you who contribute to this vision of re-building for a future in the heart of the city.   If you wish to give, you may do so online at www.re-build.ca or by mailing a cheque to the address indicated below, payable to Toronto Alliance Church, earmarked ‘re-build’.
 
May God bless you for your continuing interest in this work.  Your prayers make a big difference in this work and we are very thankful for them.
 
Bill Dyck, pastor
 
February 15, 2015

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