Update from Phil & Lorraine Taylor – Team Leaders
Dear Partners & Friends,
Thank you so much for all your prayers for our Potluck on July 14th. Friday, 49 people attended our backyard potluck. We had people from India, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and other countries come. We also had some First Nations guests and we had help from some of our grandkids, neighbors, and faithful volunteer team. Thanks!
Phil and I spent many hours getting ready. We wanted people to be able to come, feel at home, relax and enjoy community. I had been very careful to not pick all of our raspberries and saskatoons as I knew that Phil wanted our guests to enjoy them. Those who are new to Canada especially enjoy relaxing in an outdoor space. They are used to spending much of their free time outdoors as in their countries families relax by visiting and eating outside their homes. Being together, eating, visiting is very important to them.
If any of you are familiar with the old TV show Cheers, it is like the song says
“Sometimes you want to go, Where everybody knows your name, And they’re always glad you came; You want to be where you can see, Our troubles are all the same; You want to be where everybody knows your name.”
Friday our yard filled up. We had the place set up with tables, lawn chairs, screen tent, foosball table and 2 tables which over the evening filled up with the potluck food.
We barbecued the chicken and once again Millwoods proved to be an excellent place to live as we have discovered an incredible meat shop. It is run by Punjabis and you can choose a variety of chicken that is already marinated and ready for the BBQ. Phil said it is like God guided him and we had exactly the amount we needed, right up to the remaining 4 pieces for 2 guests who arrived late. It is these small things that make us excited, that show how God cares about even the little details.
I went around our yard, taking photos and greeting our guests and the overwhelming feeling was one of joy and peace. Truly our gatherings are becoming a place where everyone knows our names, where our troubles are the same and where we belong.
We all experience, ‘in this world you will have trouble’ but we have experienced as well that Jesus says, ‘cheer up I have overcome the world.’ That is what we share around our tables, that Jesus is the answer, that Jesus gives hope, peace, power to live this life and the endurance to never give up.
What I (Phil) learned at this event was that God was at work among us. I visited with four Muslims who are becoming followers of Jesus. When we read scripture together in groups I was with a group of Syrian refugees who are followers of Jesus, three of them very new. I realized that we must invite them into the ministry with us. We can’t just help them get set up with the material things they need, we need to help them become obedient disciples.
We talked about how nice Canada was as a place to make money and find jobs and homes. Then we talked about how hard Canada is as a place to thrive spiritually. I asked them, “Did you get beat up spiritually when you came here? You have been discouraged and depressed, haven’t you?
They need our Connecting Streams “secret sauce.” Do you remember what it is? It is ministry. It is obedience to Jesus in making disciples. It is getting involved in taking care of others.
I realized that we needed to get these newcomers to volunteer right away. They can’t afford to wait until they are all set up materially. They will thrive by being in community with us and by giving and serving in Jesus name.
As the night went on I observed that the happiest people were the ones there that were serving and helping others, the ones who had discovered our Connecting Streams ‘secret sauce.’
I observed others who I believe will one day be on our teams. Two young ladies from Afghanistan were so helpful to Lorry in the kitchen. They said to Lorry, “What do you want us to do? We are your soldiers!” They love helping!
Do you remember the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well in the Gospel of John chapter 4? Jesus was exhausted from a very long walk and had sat down to rest while his disciples went to get food. When they returned Jesus was already energized and refreshed.
Jesus disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.