For about three and a half years, we were moving full-steam ahead to move to Togo, West Africa. So when God began redirecting our hearts last fall, the last thing we expected was to serve here in Québec long-term. But two things really sealed the deal for us, besides the godly wisdom we received, the leading of the Holy Spirit, and confirmation from countless sources:
- The extreme spiritual need here.
- How our giftings and passions align with the vision for ministry.
So let’s look at those a little bit more.
The extreme spiritual need.
One of our first few weeks here in Sherbrooke, we made a quick trip to the grocery store. While loading up the Jeep, a lady saw the Alaska license plates and started asking us if we lived here, why we moved, etc. In the course of the conversation, we explained that we were here learning French because we are missionaries who love Jesus. But literally as soon as I said the word missionary, the woman immediately ended the conversation, said goodbye, and walked away.
According to the Joshua Project, only 0.8% of the French-Canadian population are evangelical believers. About 74% of the population is Catholic, but unfortunately, that has turned into a more idolatry form of Catholicism where practitioners often bow before statues of Mary in worship.
Not only that, but French Canadians are considered one of the least-reached people groups in the whole Western Hemisphere. More Gospel progress has been realized among many tribes in South America than among French Canadians here in Quebec. Isn’t that mind boggling?
Our Giftings and Passions.
We’ve taken several gifts and passions inventory over the last few months in preparation of our move to the EveryEthne team. And here’s the trends that kept popping up:
- Allen: Gifted in service, hands-on work, discernment, hospitality. Passionate about discipleship, practical ministries, music.
- Melissa: gifted in teaching, hospitality, encouragement. Passionate about discipleship, walking alongside others.
As we prayed about ministry opportunities in Togo and ministry opportunities here in Quebec, God began showing us that the things we love doing in ministry align more closely with the opportunities here. For example, we love welcoming people into our home; a hospitality ministry – sharing a meal, drinking coffee or tea together, watching a movie, etc. – is important to us. And it isn’t a very practical ministry in Togo, apart from hospitality toward teammates.
In 2018, when God started calling us to missions, we told Him, “We will do anything. We will give you anything.” But what we failed to remember in that prayer is that the anything we do should be the thing that God has gifted and prepared us to do. We could willingly go and work in a hospital… but God has not prepared or gifted us for that; in that ministry, we would do more harm than good, we would burn out, and the patients would feel the direct effects of that.
So why Quebec? The need here is great. And God has prepared us.