The Lord saved me at the age of 15 as a result of the infamous 9/11 attacks. I had been attending the St. Amant Baptist Church in St. Amant, Louisiana, as a bus kid since I was five years old. I remember being talked to about salvation often as a child, but I don’t think I really understood it. When I became a teenager, my understanding of the Gospel changed. I knew that I was a sinner and that I must trust Jesus alone for salvation; however, my pride, rebellion, and self-reliance made me confident that my sinful lifestyle was okay the way it was without becoming one of “the church people.” Yet, when I heard that the Twin Towers had fallen to terrorists, I didn’t feel so invincible after all. As a result of that tragic day, I neither slept nor ate well because of the deep fear in my heart that I might go to Hell. God definitely had my attention. I thought, What if I had died in one of those crashes? On the next church service that came around, I fell under the conviction of the Holy Spirit for my sin and asked Jesus to be my personal Saviour. He has forever changed my life.
I was privileged and blessed to be reared in a loving Christian home. My parents made sure from the time I was a baby that I was at church three times a week. My kindergarten Sunday school teacher asked me in class if I knew for sure when I died if I would go to Heaven. I told her, “Yes, I would go to Heaven,” and I honestly thought I would because my parents took me to church three times a week and made me behave. She told me I would not go to Heaven, because being good does not save you. I realized I was a sinner and could not go to Heaven on my own. That day after class, I bowed my head and asked Jesus to come into my heart.
Through much prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading, my wife and I have decided to join forces with veteran missionary Brian Johnston and his family in reaching the people of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Bro. Johnston has labored for ten years in the Toronto area to win souls, disciple believers, plant churches, and build a strong, pattern church, the Gospel Light Baptist Church. Our plan is to join his team in planting, multiplying, and strengthening churches all around the Toronto area.
A couple of years ago, my wife and I were privileged to attend a ministry summit in Hammond, Indiana, where I was able to attend a youth leaders’ forum. At this forum, we were able to bounce around ideas, ask questions, and hear some great advice. As a very new youth leader for our missions team here in the Toronto area, I wanted to know what I could do to help grow our youth group as a small-church youth leader who was quite new to the full-time position. Summarized in my own words, the advice I got was this: pour yourself into the kids you have right now, train them, love them, help them to grow, and reach others in the process. I have much room to grow, but that has been my goal ever since. The teen IMPACT program ended at the end of March, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners were declared. Collectively, the teenagers memorized hundreds of Bible verses dealing with temptation and other topics. It was very encouraging to hear feedback from some of our teens that the lessons really helped them in specific ways. I’m sure you pastors can understand wondering at times if you’re getting through. The teens really stepped up to the challenge and earned some happily given rewards for their work. Currently, in our teen Sunday school class, we’re examining “the faith” and learning to apply it. Again, I’m challenged by the study as much as I’m hoping that our teens are getting challenged to own their faith, know their faith, and apply their faith daily. The prior-mentioned challenge went so well that there are summer challenges in the works as I speak. My prayer is that these challenges will spur our teens to stretch themselves even more with Scripture memory, soul winning, and other areas of growth.
COVID restrictions have come and gone and come back again since my last update. The lockdown and stay-at-home orders were shortly lifted in March, but they came back again in April. Currently (May), we are still under stay-at-home orders until at least May 20. This means we can’t go door to door despite this being what is typically the beginning of our spring and summer campaigns. Pray for us as we witness to our neighbours and those we come into contact with out and about, as this is currently the only in-person option we have. We are still showing a Gospel-outreach film on Facebook and YouTube that we also pray will connect with people. There is much fear here, as the reports claim that hospitals are being overwhelmed. We’re not afraid, but COVID has changed our pace of ministry drastically.
We were able to do “Team-Up and Clean-Up Days” just before the April lockdown and stay-at-home order went into effect. Pastor Johnston picked out an area to focus on reaching people, and we put out a lot of flyers advertising to the neighbourhood. Many people from our church came out be a part of it, and folks from the community even got involved. This was a different way to get out tracts, advertise the church, and show the love of Jesus in a way that people here responded to positively. Sadly, the lockdowns happened immediately afterwards, but I believe much good was accomplished in bringing glory to Jesus. Please pray for remaining fruit from these efforts.