I love when our experiences begin to shape our perspectives; when opportunities open our eyes to the world and to people around us. I love when the theoretical becomes practical and when passing thoughts become something concrete, existing right before our very eyes. That’s why I love this story. That’s why I love what Lorne Park Baptist has been able to do.
At the end of September, 15 parents and children from Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga made the 4 day trip from Ontario to Brownfield Baptist Church in Alberta. This group of 15 had a beautiful opportunity to visit Brownfield Baptist Church and share in a Sunday Morning experience as well as visit an Alberta Farm and participate in the day to day operations of local Brownfield Farmers.
On that Sunday morning the Lorne Park visitors were able to attend Brownfield’s Children’s Sunday School Program at 10am and then at 11am both the children and adults attended the large adult church service together. Following the service Brownfield hosted a Barbeque at the community park and the two communities had a chance to share a meal together while the children got to play with their new friends. These young children had the opportunity to laugh and dream and play alongside a community they otherwise would have never known if it were not for this trip. I think what I love most about this story is the way God brings people together, in the most incredible and unfathomable ways and yet it doesn’t surprise me because His ways are always astoundingly beautiful.
Beyond sharing in a Sunday morning service together the community from Lorne Park Baptist had a chance to observe and partake in the responsibilities and duties of the Alberta Farmers. They had a chance to move a herd of 50 cattle to a new grazing pasture, to watch a sheep dog get a herd of sheep into the barn for their feeding and were able to visit a bee farm and learn about the extraction process of honey from the beehive to the jar. They were able to learn how farmers spray the field, how seeds are sown, how harvesting is done, rode the large farm equipment and ran through a giant corn field (of course!)
I love that the children from Lorne Park were able to have such incredible and meaningful experiences during their time there – but here’s what I love the most. I love that this trip was not the beginning of a relationship between these two church communities – no this was the culmination of a long, lasting, and meaningful relationship. You see Lorne Park Baptist and Brownfield Baptist have been ministry partners for some time now. For many years Lorne Park Baptist has been raising money to pay for what it costs to rent the land that this group of farmers in Brownfield Alberta cultivate and harvest. The crops from this rented farmland are then sold and the funds are then put into the Canadian Baptist Ministries account at the Canadian Food Grains Bank. This money then gets matched by the Canadian Government at about 4:1 which means that through this project these two partnering communities are helping to send approximately $500,000 every year to help families who need food assistance. Laura from Lorne Baptist said that “last year our funds went to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon receive a monthly food box.” Together these two communities are making a difference and they are teaching their kids the value not only of generosity but of local and global compassion and beyond that the value of the global church. Through this experience this community from Mississauga had a chance to teach their children the value of working and serving together and taught them just how valuable teamwork is for God’s Kingdom.
This story was shared with us by Laura Sellakandu who is the Children and Youth Pastor at Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga. Laura has been working with children for the past twenty years and with youth ten years. Throughout the years Laura has seen many of the children she’s worked with just blossom in their Christian walk and that gives her much joy.