(Re)visiting Vancouver: What we learned

What did we learn? Better said, what did God teach us through our time in Vancouver?

  1. Canadian culture is different than American Culture—Just because someone is Caucasian and speaks English does not mean that they adhere to the same patterns of behavior that prevail in America. While Canadians are very open to discussing spiritual topics, they are very closed to having Jesus “marketed” to them. Our host church did a great job of repeatedly reminding us of the need to contextualize the gospel in a way that would connect well with Canadians.
  2. Canadians hate America—Though we saw it in their advertising and in their media, this truth was most evident in the drama performed after the church service Sunday night which included humor based on criticisms of America. While they do not like America in general, Canadians do like individual Americans. Everyone we encountered was very friendly to us.
  3. Conflict can be mutually beneficial—Are you looking to find a recipe for short term mission trip disaster? Bring a team of intentional, confrontational evangelists to work with a church of passive, relational evangelists. That was our exact scenario in Vancouver. Though there was some conflict in evangelism strategy, both sides were gracious in the way they handled the situation. The result? They were encouraged to be more active in sharing their faith, and we were encouraged to be more culturally considerate in how we shared our faith.
  4. Mission trips build unity—Serving side by side is one of the best vehicles through which people’s heart are knit together in love (Colossians 2:2). Our team bonded in such a way that it made our service more effective on the field and will benefit the church now that we are back.
  5. Mission trips bring refinement—It is difficult to hide sin and opinions when you spend a week with a group. So, a trip allows you to get to know who people truly are. Getting beyond the surface level, allowed our team to sharpen each other spiritually (Proverbs 27:17) and encourage each other daily (Hebrews 3:13; Romans 1:14)
  6. God is a global God—The same God that I have seen at work in London, Cairo, and College Station is also making His name known in Vancouver. It brings me great joy to know that He is interested in worshippers from all people groups. (Revelation 5:11-14; Matthew 28:18-20)
  7. Short term trips are important to missions strategy—While short term efforts alone are insufficient to reach a people group with the gospel, they can be extremely helpful to the long term personnel on the field. Why? Because they can be a blessing to long term workers and because they can do more in a short amount of time than the field personnel can do on their own.
  8. The tabernacle is an interesting model of pursuing intimacy with God—Throughout our morning Bible studies, Bill presented the tabernacle of the Old Testament as a shadow of the heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 8:4-6). If we are going to be experiencing God in this way in Heaven, why not begin to do it now?

NOTE: This is the last of my reflections on the spring break trip to Vancouver

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One thought on “(Re)visiting Vancouver: What we learned

  1. Hi Phillip,
    Just wanted to once again say thanks for all your support and help during your week with us here in Vancouver. I wanted to update you on your trip here. First, we were able to present Lifeline with a cheque on Monday night for $800. Your mission team was directly responsible for helping us to raise this money to help reach the homeless and poor and downtown Vancouver. THANKS SO MUCH! Second, I wanted to give you a simple financial report. Of the $500 US that your team gave us, appx. $300 went to directly to lifeline. With the remaining $200 we used that to help with transportation and other needs that arose during the week. Third, I wanted to acknowledge that you paid for pizza for your team out of your own pocket to the amount of $50 Canadian. I hope you are able to claim a reimbursement for this. Last, I wanted to say that your blogs were very accurate in their depiction of Vancouver and the challenges we face here. Something I would say just slightly different is that we here at the Point are intentional about our evangelistic efforts(not passive). We do intentionally share our faith and sometimes that occurs in the context of a confrontational style approach, however we usually are more relational in our approach. The good news is that people are coming to Christ here. Just last night we were able to connect and share Christ with a whole new crowd who came to our showing of the Invisible Children. By highlighting this significant need in Northern Uganda, we were able to demonstrate that Christians do care about the heartache occuring daily in our world, and we do respond with more than a bandaid approach. This led to many conversations of why we “The Point”, is so proactive to reach out to our world. This led to conversations with 62 people about our motivation, which is the love of God. So I just wanted to reiterate that God is at work here. Your team helped us and challenged us and we were grateful to watch you grow spiritually too.

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