Tianne* is from France, but has been living in Montreal, Canada, since the beginning of November 2021.
I joined a team who were already working among the African diaspora. They particularly worked with immigrants from North Africa; people who have arrived as strangers and even refugees, and who are in great need of knowing the love of Jesus. The task is immense, but the Lord reminds me that he asks us to come to him with our five loaves and two fishes. It is he who multiplies, he who bears fruit according to his grace.
I have the privilege and joy of being able to benefit from the advice and experience of others on the team. I am observing a lot, training with them and discovering a ministry full of joy, love, struggles and challenges; one that requires a lot of prayer, wisdom, perseverance and creativity.
I have only been in Montreal for three months, but I am enjoying seeing God at work in a practical way. The Lord is using the English classes taught by team members to make contacts. He opens doors in wonderful ways! For example, the pandemic has forced us to run the courses online (by Zoom) and this has enabled many women to enroll who were not participating before. Through these courses, I have met two women who I now teach in French. This is a great encouragement to me.
Lately, God has opened doors with several families to whom I provide schooling. For many who have left their country for a better future for their children, this is a need. It is a joy to help the children and I am aware that this help is a way to get to know these families. We can pray that God will open hearts to hear the gospel and that he will give me patience and wisdom in my discussions with them.
Ministry among the diaspora is full of challenges too. It is a relationship-based ministry that requires time. Another challenge – which is a matter for prayer – is to create relationships that are not forced, but natural, leading to true friendships. This requires availability, flexibility, and therefore a lot of energy and perseverance. Finding the balance is not easy. It also requires knowledge and understanding of Muslim and local culture. I have a lot to learn!
Another challenge I am experiencing fully during this internship is the pandemic. The restrictions make it difficult to meet people. But the Lord is showing me that he is far above these circumstances and I am encouraged by the contacts I can have, despite the restrictions. Immigrants are eager to meet people and are often willing to participate in activities for their families, or even to share a coffee and spend some time with us.
Montreal is a large and multicultural city. There are not many workers and the task is huge. Pray that God will send workers. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convince Christians in Quebec of the urgency of the task. Pray that God will continue to reveal himself to these immigrants, through relationships with Christians, through miracles, through dreams, through his Word. He is not limited, as Paul reminds us: “To him who is able to do immeasurably more by the power that works in us than all we ask or think, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and ever! Amen!” Ephesians 3:20-21.
*Names changed to protect her ministry