Friday, 27 May 2016

Busy Time

YC Alberta 2016
There's a busy couple of weeks coming up. Starting today, with load-in for YC Alberta later this afternoon, setup tomorrow morning and a couple of shifts over the weekend manning our Alpha booth.

When I was in the business world I hated trade shows. I found them so tiring and boring, but with Alpha I actually enjoy them - shows like Break Forth, Missions Fest and YC. Although I am a natural introvert, somehow I put on another face, so to speak, and enjoy speaking, even bantering, with all sorts of guests at these shows. The difference, I suppose, is that these people are family; even those I've never met before. They are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Most of next week, starting Tuesday, I'm in Calgary at the Christian and Missionary Alliance General Assembly. Another booth, although apparently much smaller, with delegates not only from Alberta but from across the country. One of the special events I'm hoping to attend there is a dinner for chaplains. Although Alpha Canada has a team, John Kreklo and his wife Roxana specifically devoted to prison ministry, I still have a heart for that area, having run Prison Alpha for a few years, back in the day. I'm hoping to make some new contacts in that area.

June 8 we have a fundraising event planned, to support Alpha in Alberta, both myself and Youth Associate Amy Croy. It's going to be held on June 8th at the Chateau Louis Hotel Conference Centre on Kingsway Avenue in Edmonton. There will be music and comedy and a chance to hear what Alpha is doing in Alberta. Tickets to the event may be purchased online here.

June 11 we are presenting an Alpha Lab at Beulah Alliance Church. This is a training event lasting from 9 AM to 3 or so in the afternoon.

June 12 I'm at St Paul's Anglican Church in Edmonton for a presentation on my ministry in Alberta.

On top of all that, we are in the middle of a move. Well, we've moved already - we're just in the middle of cleaning and unpacking, although I must admit that Eva, my wife, is bearing the brunt of that work.

Later in June Eva and I plan to take a brief holiday for some much needed rest. We're driving to Vegas. It's a long drive, but as I've said before, I love driving, and a drive is as good as a rest.

Blessings,

John

Monday, 23 May 2016

Here's A Story!


At the recent FCA National conference in Grande Prairie I met a woman from Iran, formerly Muslim, who came to faith in Christ and now pastors a Iranian Church in Canada. She uses Alpha's material to do live talks in the Farsi language.

She shared the story of her journey to Christian faith, which was quite fascinating, and mentioned that on the way from the airport she noticed the cab driver had an accent so she engaged him in a conversation about faith. The cab driver in turn asked if he could pick her up to take her to his home to continue the conversation. Obviously, there was concern among the convention delegates with whom she shared about this arrangement, lest she be putting herself in a dangerous situation. We prayed mightily for her safety and tried to arrange someone else to accompany them. The convention was over and I was back on the road before this was all supposed to take place.

In any case, she sent me her account of her meeting, which she has given me permission to share:

"Hello John,
Thanks for thinking of me, prayers regarding my meeting with that taxi driver, and your encouraging kind words.
He actually came with his partner for picking me up. I was with them till near 10:00 p.m. The LORD gave me power and wisdom to answer the questions bothering him in his heart and By the work of Holy Spirit in him, he actually received Jesus as His Lord and Savior. His whole contentment changed while praying. He was red and sweating. His partner was a Christian(!!) Filipino girl and after the prayer was done they promised to attend a church and join Alpha course, as well they accepted to meet the pastor, get married officially and live for The LORD. Of course, I suggested them  to attend the same church
(CFA Grande Prairie, JK) that was hosting the convention. 
I believe we still should pray for them. 
All Praise be to Our LORD that is full of grace and mercy indeed:-)
God bless my brother, John, richly,
Zari"

Blessings,

John

Monday, 9 May 2016

Fellowship of Christian Assemblies Convention, Grande Prairie

May 3rd to 5th. Here we are, two old hippies, brothers in Christ at FCA convention Grande Prairie. Me along with Harold from Battle River Ranch Camp. One of us is a biker. Guess which.

Delegates came to this assembly from all across, and even outside, Canada. I had a number of interesting conversations. Most knew about Alpha, but a few didn't, and even though my position pertains only to Alberta, I was glad, of course, to help guests from other provinces.

One of the things I found especially poignant was that a number of the delegates were from McMurray Gospel Assembly, an Alpha church in Fort McMurray, which was right in the middle of the complete evacuation of the city due to the massive forest fire that virtually destroyed it. They must have been doubly troubled - not only at the destruction of their city, but at being separated from their families during the evacuation.
Driving through hell - leaving Fort McMurray Alberta


As I am writing this, the situation in Fort McMurray is still desperate. Please continue to pray for those were so suddenly, violently and with so little warning, displaced. Pray for the peace of that city.

Unfortunately, we have decided to cancel an event scheduled for May 14; an Alpha Lab similar to  the one held in Calgary. North Pointe Community Church is deeply involved in helping the Fort McMurray evacuees, and adding one more thing to their plate in this time of crisis, we felt, would not have been productive. Our next Alpha Lab is scheduled for June 11 at Beulah Alliance Church, also in Edmonton.

Blessings,

John

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Alpha Lab Calgary, After the Fact

As mentioned and as promised, here is a post on the Alpha Lab, run yesterday at Foothills Alliance in Calgary.

As mentioned, I picked up Steve Mulder at the airport, getting back on the Deerfoot about 1:30 AM. To reach our hotel I had to turn west on 16th Ave, Hwy 1, the Trans Canada. but we got so caught up in conversation that I missed it completely. Perhaps Alberta's distracted driving law should cover in-car conversations as well. The government should legislate complete silence in cars. I think I'll suggest it. Governments seem to want more and more control over individual lives, it may be heading in that direction anyway.

But... I digress, and am in danger of embarking on one of my rants. Anyway, we found the next interchange where we could turn around and head back in the right direction. It was after 2 when we finally hit the hay. I set my alarm for 7.

Just as the alarm went off, we became aware of a monstrous row out in the hall outside our room. The police were actually called. As I checked out of the hotel to head to Foothills, I asked the desk clerk what that was about. He said, "Well, you asked for a wake up call, and our phone system was down, so we arranged for  a fight to erupt outside your room." "Thanks," I said ;>)

The Lab itself went quite well I thought. There was a lot packed into the day and one thing we discovered was that it takes at least two people to run it. One would be totally snowed under. As it was a totally new concept, we had no idea how it would go. The feedback was all over the map, so to speak. Some guests loved one particular part and hated others. Other guests loved what others hated and hated what others loved. In general, though, most people complimented us on the day and were well pleased with their time there.

Next trip is to Grande Prairie, leaving Eva to start packing (did I say we have sold our house?) We're downsizing, consolidating, and moving back up to St Albert. Next Lab is at North Pointe in Edmonton on May 14, then June 11 at Beulah Alliance.

Keep you posted.

Blessings,

John