“And see here, I’ll always be with you…”
“Espoir Acadien” (Acadian Hope) is the big evangelical outreach happening right now around Edmundston, NB in conjunction with the Congrès Mondial Acadien (World Acadian Congress). I got to join it for a few days last week.
Over 100 Christians from Quebec and New Brunswick (and one from Paris and a few from the Philipines) were camped out in Ste-Anne-de-Madawaska and involved in Scripture distribution and evangelism through drama, music and visual art.
They have big goals – some will be met and some missed. However, I got the sense that Christ was also doing many things that weren’t on the agenda. He is profoundly present with his people when they are on mission and they benefit from that perhaps more than anyone else does.
When Jesus gave the great commission the question uppermost in his friends’ minds was: What about you? How can we survive without you? They were sad and in shock that Jesus was leaving them and that they wouldn’t have him with them on earth. This consuming concern led to Christ’s promises about the Holy Spirit and to this final promise – I’ll always be with you on mission.
He was with me. You’d think the CABC Director of Inter-Cultural Ministries (even if he is a monolingual Anglophone) wouldn’t bat an eye at door-to-door Bible distribution in French Canada, but I was nervous. (I shouldn’t have been- Acadians in Northern NB have got to be the world’s most welcoming people.) The Lord Jesus used mission to remind me of a few things:
- like how much I need Him
- like how I have sometimes replaced Him with ministry (and a dozen other things)
- like how He wants me to be his dependent child (to help get this point across, He had me sleeping in the Ste-Anne church nursery)
- like how I can experience Him when I gather with his people. There were some wonderful people there but it was the guy I had sized up and decided was the most needy person there who ended up being used by God to bless me the most.
God was with the other workers, too:
- surprising some people with what they could do
- helping some people open up and ask for help
- speaking to others about forgiveness and reconciliation.
If you get a chance, pray for those gathered for mission in Madawaska – that Jesus, who is with them would have his way through them but also in them. And don’t miss a chance to meet Jesus on mission yourself.