Seeing our Near Neighbours.
Dear Church,

"Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:1-2

We have seen each of our neighbourhoods, cities, regions, and nation changing with more people choosing Canada as a second or third home country. What if these movements of people were what God has intended for the activation of the Canadian church? What if our unique opportunity to interact with the nations was through long-held practices of hospitality and neighbouring? 

“God is orchestrating people movements so that people will find Him everywhere and glorify Him. What is our part in that?” - David Benjamin

These verse in Hebrews show that hospitality to strangers is a key part of our call to love one another and, through the stories today, a meaningful place for friendship and mutual learning to grow. 

Today, we invite you into the story of the Gambles, David Benjamin, and Yeshu Mandali who have seen the near neighbours in their Calgary communities and are learning how to extend neighbourliness and friendship to New (or newer) Canadians, or people seeking refuge.
An interview with David Benjamin, of Yeshu Mandali in Calgary, AB.

The Gambles, from Calgary, on thinking outside the box and opening their pantries to friends who are re-establishing their lives in the city.

Eldon and Ruth Gamble are serving with Christar , seeking to create community and foster spiritual conversations with Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists in North America. Eldon grew up in India, fluent in a few languages, including Bengali. After their service of twelve years in Bangladesh, Eldon and Ruth came back to Canada and continued their work with the Bangladeshi diaspora in Calgary.

Asking them about their day to day experience, Eldon shares the following:

“There’s never a dull moment..Life is pretty exciting. I think a lot of Canadians miss out [by not] opening their homes to people from other countries. It important to just get past that fear factor.

New Canadians were just as afraid to come into our home as we were to have them. Once that connection was made, we could all relax; we entered a place of mutual blessing. Canadians are blessed by learning more about other cultures, other people and even other faiths. It’s opening up your whole life to a new dimension of excitement, I think. It just shows you how great God is. That God can make people so differently, and countries so different and yet He can bring them all together.

I think that the Church should really be at the forefront of having people in their homes, reaching out to these people no matter what they are doing in the community. Starting with food banks is always great but it should get past that – from the food banks into our own pantries, our own kitchen tables, our own basements and dens. We can open up our lives to them. They can learn so much from us. In fact they learn more from being in a Canadian home in a week than they would at any ESL class or cultural class."

Their experience ranges from exploring the Bible together, Easter egg hunts, preparing meals collaboratively, helping friends secure work, having their basement full of furniture in the midst of moves, and grocery runs in the time of Covid-19. Through it all, Ruth points to a few important reflections. 

“You just have to think a little bit outside the church walls…I’m not an extrovert by nature so it doesn’t matter your personality. Any personality can do this. If you just see this as a way you can bring Jesus into the lives of other people and serve the Lord.

It helps to recruit, either another couple to do this with you. If you’re afraid to do this yourself talk a friend into doing this with you. [It helps] reduce the fear. You have a sidekick you can pull in if you need to, if you need some help or need reassurance.”

They share an encouragement to us all as members of our local expressions of churches and broader community. 

“I do think churches need to work together…That’s a really good testimony for the refugees and immigrant [communities]. Because they value the coming together of their people a lot. If they could see churches coming together, somehow visibly, caring for one another and those in their neighbourhoods, I think that would speak volumes.” 

June 12

EMCC World Refugee Prayer Summit

Friday, June 12
11:00 AM Mountain Time / 1:00 PM Eastern Time 

World Partners is hosting our next Prayer Summit - a time of focused prayer for refugees, and all who walk in step with them.
JUNE 14 or 21

World Refugee Sunday, with the Global Church

Churches around the world are marking their support and care for refugees.

Churches get resources (Social & Video Pack) to promote World Refugee Sunday*.

(*you choose to participate on June 14th or June 21st )

World Refugee Day 2020

Join the conversation, or community events.

Thanks for being on the journey together,