Home Assignment: Discovering a ‘New Normal’
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been back in New Brunswick for 3 months now. Like most people in Canada, we’ve spent the majority of that time staying close to home and only going to public places when necessary. The Health Canada recommendations and travel restrictions have made this home assignment very different from our last one, where we spent the vast majority of our time running the roads throughout Atlantic Canada and Ontario, visiting our church partners. In 2018, on our last home assignment, we didn’t really have a place to call ‘home’, but we didn’t really notice because we spent so much time traveling. This time, however, with the realities of this pandemic all around, we are grateful to have a place to call ‘home’, and grateful for a generous friend and partner-in-mission who has provided a home for our family.
You might be wondering, “what are you doing with your time, since you are not able to travel to visit your individual and church partners?“. Well, in case you’ve wondered that, we thought we’d share a bit of an update to fill you in.
Home Assignment Work
In early January, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and our earlier than planned return to Canada, we had already arranged our home assignment schedule with our church partners. We had over 3 months of scheduled activities with our church partners throughout the Maritimes and Ontario. We are certainly sad that, for the most part, we are unable to visit ‘in-person’, but we are doing our best to maintain our planned schedule. In many ways, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are being given more opportunities to connect with our church partners through the use of technology, by way of Zoom or pre-recorded video presentations. Since almost all churches moved to online worship services at the beginning of the pandemic, we have been able to share about CBM and our work in the Philippines with even more churches then originally planned. It seems, however, that no two churches are doing the same thing. So, each week looks a little different for us as we work with our church partners to come up with a plan that will work for their congregation.
We are so grateful to our friends at Lancaster Baptist Church in Saint John, NB. Pastors Wayne Murphy and Andrew Beckwith, along with their audio technician, Geoff Banks, offered to produce a video presentation for us to share with our church partners. It was so great to have the use of their equipment, and especially their skills in using them and producing a good quality video for us to share with churches. Thanks guys!
If your church, mission committee, women’s mission group, etc. is interested in sharing our video presentation with your congregation or group please feel free to send us an email (email@example.com) and we’d be more than happy to share the link with you.
Although our interactions with our individual/family supporters is limited because we are currently not traveling, we are doing our best to find meaningful and creative ways to connect, whether through phone calls, Skype calls, physically distanced coffee meetings, etc… We hope to connect with as many of you as possible in some fashion over the duration of our home assignment.
Work in the Philippines
Although we are in Canada, we continue to work with our partners in the Philippines. Again, through the use of technology such as Zoom, email, and messenger apps, we are able to keep in regular contact and fully engaged in the ongoing work. Currently, there is an eleven hour time difference so almost all of our work with our partners in conducted in the early morning hours or late in the evening.
Roxas City, and the whole of Capiz province, has remained fairly sheltered from the spread of Covid-19 (although at the time of writing this there are 23 active cases). The local government has begun to allow more movement throughout the province/city, especially as it relates to business activities and livelihood for people. This has meant that, since early July, our BUGANA team has been able to resume some activities and are making products again. This means that those involved in BUGANA are able to start earning income again to support their families.
Examples of BUGANA Products
Last week, through the use of video conferencing, KPM was also able to conduct the next two CCTEP courses for pastors in Capiz province. Our former CBM colleague, Emo Yango, facilitated the courses from his home in Toronto, and we were able to join to share greetings and offer our words of support to the pastors.
Work in Canada
Michael has also been enjoying the opportunities to work more closely with our Canadian colleagues, particularly in the area of marketplace initiatives and the integration of Christian faith with our work in the world. It has been particularly enjoyable to co-facilitate a weekly webinar with our colleague, Brenda Halk, on the topic of faith and work. We have been using a video series that was produced by Dr. Paul Stevens called, Doing God’s Business. Each video draws our focus to a different aspect of work and faith. We’ve also been giving consideration to CBM’s 5 pillars for marketplace ministries, which has led to some great discussions. This weekly webinar has been very well attended by both CBM’s Canadian staff and global staff and we’ve enjoyed rich conversation and thought-provoking discussion questions that have begun to stimulate conversations about potential work with our international partners around the world in this growing area of mission engagement.
Our children are doing well and have enjoyed fun times with their cousins and friends. Kyla is working a couple of part-time jobs, which means that she is very busy and we feel like we hardly see her. She is working at a local vegetable market, as well as, Midland Baptist Church as one of their children/youth workers for their summer programs (which definitely looks different due to Covid-19). Sean & Carter have also been working for a local farmer helping with berry picking, weeding, etc…They have also been helping a family friend with odd jobs such as mowing, painting, yard work, in our community. Allie has also done some berry picking, but she is still a bit young so she gets to enjoy more time at home 🙂 Also, her favourite little job has been babysitting neighbours pets periodically because of her love for animals.
- Please be praying for the Philippines as they continue to fight against the spread of Covid-19. In large part, due to economic and political pressure, the government has begun to ease lockdown restrictions, which has led to a steep increase in the number of active cases. To date, there are over 70,000 cases and they expect that number to be 90,000 by the end of July. If things continue to worsen, the government (national and local) may be forced to reimpose lockdown restrictions.
- Please be praying for our partners, Kabuganaan Philippine Ministries (KPM) and Rev. Job & Phoebe Santiago as they provide leadership during this very challenging time.
Michael & Melanie (Kyla, Sean, Carter, & Allie)
For more information on CBM’s work around the world, including the Philippines, or to donate please visit www.cbmin.org or call 1-905-821-3533.
If you are interested in becoming a Partner-in-Mission with our family, please contact Barb Keys (firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-905-821-3533) at Canadian Baptist Ministries. You can also visit their website at www.cbmin.org to give online or for more information. We are only able to follow God’s leading in our lives thanks to the monthly support of generous individuals and churches.
All donations of $10.00 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt at year end.
Michael & Melanie
Kyla, Sean, Carter & Allie