Hello BeFree Family! A few weeks ago, John William Barnard and I journeyed to Shawi-Sud, Québec to spend a couple days with Pat Auger, one of the pastors of Église Évangélique Baptiste de Shawinigan-Sud. It was a sweet time of prayer, dreaming and relationship building as we considered what the future of our churches’ partnership might have in store.
First, a little bit about Église Évangélique Baptiste de Shawinigan-Sud (ÉÉB):
ÉÉB is a church family around the same size as ours, making it, in Québec terms, one of the largest evangelical churches in the area. We share with them a passion for the Gospel, a love for the Word of God and a desire to see the name of Jesus Christ lifted up in our regions. John William and I began forming a relationship with Pat Auger about a year ago and dreamed of one day having a “two-way” missions relationship with ÉÉB in which we pray for and serve alongside them in Québec and they pray for and serve alongside us in New Hampshire.
This “two-way” relationship began in the spring, when a team from ÉÉB traveled to Alton to serve with us in our first “BeFree Spring Cleaning.” A few months later, we sent a team from BeFree to Québec on a similar mission to serve alongside the ÉÉB family as they reached out to their community. These first few encounters with our brothers and sisters in Québec have been rich as we begin to form a relationship with one another. However, it’s at this point that we begin to look to the future and consider what the next few years might have in store for us.
John William and I arrived in Shawi-Sud, QC on Friday morning at 11:00 am. We spent the afternoon with Pat, checking in and catching up on life and ministry. This time was particularly sweet as we had a long period of time to hear about how God has been working in their church and about Pat’s heart to see the Gospel spread throughout Québec. The longer we talked, the clearer it became that this brother in Christ was not only a brother, but a partner in the Gospel.
After Pat’s family returned from work/school, his daughters tried to teach me French and his wife caught us up on her day. Later, they treated us to a wonderful dinner, after which we all took a long walk together before bed.
If the theme of the first day was ‘relationship,’ the theme of the next morning was ‘dreaming’. After breakfast with the family, Pat, John William and I turned our attention to thinking and praying about the relationship between our two churches. Pat and I came away with the same goal: to see a growing heart for missions in our own church and to help the Gospel spread through the ministry of the other church! While most mission relationships are “one-way,” we have the ability and privilege to have a “two-way” relationship with ÉÉB as we mutually seek to serve alongside one another for the growth of the kingdom everywhere! As we look forward, the plan is to hold the course: to keep praying for each other, keep growing in relationship with one another and keep traveling to serve alongside one another.
We spent some time in prayer for each other, said our goodbyes and left. After leaving, John William and I decided to spend the rest of the day in prayer. We went to the church to pray. We prayed for what the Lord was already doing in Québec and praised him for how he was already using ÉÉB to accomplish that mission. We prayed for the ministries happening at their campus, including a Biblical counseling center and a branch of an evangelical seminary. Most of all, we prayed for the hearts of the people of Québec. Our prayers were motivated by Colossians 1:13–14 which says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Our prayer was that God would deliver multitudes of people in Québec from “the dominion of darkness,” and that God would call many into “the kingdom of his beloved Son.”
From the church, John William and I traveled to Trois-Rivières, a town thirty minutes south of Shawi-Sud, where ÉÉB is dreaming of planting a church. John William and I spent the afternoon prayer walking through the streets of Trois-Rivières, praying for God to open doors for kingdom ministry and to soften hearts to hear the good news of the Gospel. During this walk, we even met a couple locals with whom we had the opportunity to share the Gospel.
Though our time in Quebec was short, we returned home encouraged to continue pursuing this relationship with Église Évangélique Baptiste de Shawinigan-Sud. God is using this church family in mighty ways to bring the Gospel to their region and we want to be a part of what God is doing.