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Young Africans – the real Canadian transformers!

By John P. Brown

Canada has sent many missionaries out to the world. But today Canada is also a great mission field. We need missionaries.

We need a clear witness to the millions of Canadians who were born in this country. Many have forgotten God and live life for themselves. But we also need Gospel ambassadors to the millions of refugees and immigrants coming to this nation.

Opening the door to 400,000 immigrants and 50,000 refugees annually, Canada has one of the highest rates of immigration of any country. Additionally, with an astonishing 700,000 foreign students at our colleges and universities, only two countries on the planet welcome as many international students. Today about 2 ½ percent of our population is Muslim. By 2030 it is estimated that 6 percent of Canadians will be Muslim.

All New Canadians have tremendously enriched our nation—our businesses, manufacturing, agriculture, and medical care. Not to speak of delectable foods and spices from Asia and Africa. But most important, as Canada has welcomed the world, we have discovered boundless opportunities to proclaim the Good News “right next door”! Back in 2016 Africa Inland Mission launched a Bible camp ministry for the children of new arrivals. One of our first counselors was Joseph Latitlok. As a lean, athletic 20-year-old Joseph arrived in Toronto five years ago from Kampala. In Uganda he had been his church’s youth leader—playing football, singing, strumming the guitar, and expounding God’s Word. Now at camps in Nova Scotia and Ontario Joseph exuberantly shared his love for Jesus. Dozens of young people from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Syria, Iraq, and China grew closer to Jesus as Joseph taught the Bible, led worship, and just plain loved the kids 24 hours a day!

Zion Tesfaye was born in Eritrea. Her Dad is a pastor in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. Zion has such a contagious love for the Lord and knowledge of His Word that her church repeatedly asks her to be their teacher. Twenty-five years old, she is calm and reserved, with a smile that lights up every room. In 2019, our last summer of camps before Covid, Zion served as counselor to teenage girls whose parents had come from Ethiopia, Somalia, and Syria. Zion’s favourite part of those exciting exhausting days was sitting with her girls on their bunkbeds after campfire. In the dark they could freely talk about their struggles and doubts. With flashlight beaming on her open Bible Zion told her campers how Jesus had changed her life, and how much He wanted to do the same for them.

One hundred and forty years ago West African missionary Edward Blyden wrote that when the spirituality of Western nations has been blunted by materialism, “it may be they will resort to Africa to recover…the simple elements of faith.” Blyden’s prediction has come true as young African missionaries change Canada—one camper at a time!

Ministry to Africans in Canada

February 2021

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