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Aug. 16, 2013 Update letter

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Are Québecois students open to the gospel?

We sat down recently with an old friend of ours who came to Christ during our years at Carleton, and she asked us an excellent question. “Are there still people, like me, who are deciding to follow Jesus on campus? Are students in Québec open to the message of Jesus?”

We’ve recently put together a video that tries to answer that question!  Are Québecois students open to the gospel? The answer that we’ve found is that while they may be far from the gospel in their understanding and experience, they are indeed open to Jesus.  It just takes a longer time for them to understand and experience who Jesus is, because of the cultural baggage that they carry with them.

The video is done in documentary style, with the host interviewing a series of non-Christian students on campus.  The questions start fairly broadly, establishing some common ground, and focus in on the person of Jesus  towards the end.  What strikes you about the way that these students communicate their interest in the message of Jesus?

(Click the picture to open an external page with the video)

 

A few prayer requests :

– Our campuses in Quebec are getting ready to start up again, with students starting in classes as early as August 26!  Pray for us as we work with our various teams of staff and students to kick off another year of ministry on campuses across the province.

– Praise God for some new staff that have joined our team this fall!  We have 4 Québecois interns that are joining our team for this next year, along with another 2 new staff from outside of Quebec.

– Pray for a couple people in our life that are we are hoping to see come to Christ: for Mandy, Max, and Karl.  Pray that we would take initiative to share about Christ with them, and that they would connect with Jesus.

Thank you again for the vital role that you play in our ministry towards students in Québec!  Your prayers, support, and encouragement are of great value to us.

With hope for the student world,

Andy & Loni Smits

serving with Power to Change (Pouvoir de Changer) in Québec

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August 16, 2010

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The Ministry Adventures of Terra Leavens
Campus for Christ, National Evangelism Strategies
Looking forward to September…

Thank you for your prayers over the past few weeks.  At Campus Days I enjoyed working with my new team to roll out the projects we have been working on all summer to our staff.  It was exciting to receive their positive feedback as well as hold physical products in our hands of all our hard work.  If you have ever been involved in developing new tools, training, and strategies you will appreciate just how much works goes into things behind the scenes. I am excited that I am able to apply my skills and creative side to develop these new evangelistic resources for our staff and students.  Also at Campus Days I was encouraged by the two British Campus staff who joined us.  Their presence helped to continue our partnership, building trust and relationship as we seek to bring the gospel to the prodigal children of the UK.

Staff Conference was a bit overwhelming at times with so many staff and a lot of input on the vision and direction of Power to Change.  But I was glad for the chance to connect with staff and it was encouraging to see how our ministry continues to remain serious about bringing Christ to Canada and to thinking practically and passionately about the gospel.  If you are looking for opportunities to expand your own ministry opportunities here in Canada perhaps you would consider becoming an online mentor with our Mentor Center.  You can find out about it here.

September is coming!
Only a few weeks away from the most exciting time of the year for Campus Ministry here in Canada.  I am working hard to make sure all our Real Life Kits (read about and see the products I helped create) arrive on time to our Campuses and that all the follow up materials (Magazine, Follow Up Studies and training) are ready for Frosh Weeks. Lots still to do.  Most Campus Staff start back to work in the next two weeks and my own team will be meeting for the first time for our Team Orientation August 23 – 25 in Guelph.

Prayer Needed:
I continue to need your prayers, support and encouragement.
– I am anxious about how things may come together for my work this fall.  I don’t know yet how I will work long-distance from my team (as they will be in Guelph, ON). I don’t yet have a solution to the problem of not desiring to work on my own but also not being able at this time to commute so far (over an hour one way) or move closer.  Pray for a solution, peace and patience for God’s solution.
– My financial support continues to be a concern and worry for me.  Please pray for God’s abundant provision.
– Healing. I am still not recovered from the great losses of my time overseas. Pray for God’s healing and revival of my trust of Him, my heart for the lost and my passion/purpose in His kingdom.  Pray for understanding of my own internal world and God’s healing for my heart and body.

Thank you for your partnership in my life.

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July 21, 2008

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The Ministry Adventures of Terra Leavens
Campus for Christ, Edinburgh
God’s work through us in Panama…

Two summers ago I helped lead Campus for Christ’s first summer project to Panama.  Opening a new partnership was challenging and exciting as we attempted to navigate culture, university policies, students and ministry styles.  One of the girls who was on my team that summer was Trisha Jagt, a first year art student from McMaster University.  During her time in Panama that summer God so impressed the need for labourers on her heart that Trisha returned this past September with our first year-long STInt Team to help establish the work of evangelism and discipleship in Panama.  She has just returned from her year there and I received this small update from her.  I thought you would be encouraged to see how your investment in my life is impacting the world – through Canadian students, through international partnerships and through the work of the gospel in students lives like Trisha.

This is a photo I took of Trisha and Laura the first summer they met in May 2006.

“Imagine this.  Imagine that you start praying for someone you don’t know personally.  In fact, only God has ever told you about her.  So you wouldn’t know her if you were standing right next to her.  Wouldn’t that be strange?  I felt weird praying for this girl for about 6 months in preparation for my first trip to Panama.  I asked God to place in my life someone to carry on a ministry to reach the nations, and the country of Panama upon return to Canada.  God placed this girl onto my heart and so I thought of her often.

Now imagine you’re a young Panamanian girl who goes to visit family in the States in hopes to find hot boys and great drugs.  But instead of your hopes and dreams being fulfilled, you’re stuck staying in a Christian household.  So when 17 year old Laura Gonzalez agreed to go away on a youth retreat, she thought things would finally get a little wild.  Instead, God had a different type of fun in store.  God audibly spoke to her that weekend.  Her life changed dramatically, she gave it up for Christ and it would never be the same.  She experienced real joy without drugs, alcohol or guy attention. But on return to Panama she felt like God didn’t follow her back home.  She felt abandoned, hopeless and lifeless.

Around the same time that Laura was trying to get her life back on track with God in Panama, I was making plans to spend a chunk of my summer in Panama.  I held her up in prayer amidst her struggles only by God’s leading in my life.  It wasn’t until the end of my time in Panama that I came to understand God’s answer.  It was so effortless becoming friends with Laura that I didn’t realize; she was the one I was impacting all along.  And this past stint year, after over 2 years of great friendship, I have seen her grow into a full blown missionary – Jesus freak.

Panama is full of “Laura’s” that have been reached with the gospel message this past S.T.I.N.T year.  The majority of young adult/teenagers know about Christ but God is just a subject, religion or just old news.  But the message of Christ is everything but lifeless, and I believe God called me this past year to bring life back into the gospel.  To bring morals and ethics back onto the scene, those that are planted on a solid foundation, the word of God.  The majority of my ministry this year was spent pioneering the ministry of “Vida Estudiantil” on the private university “Interamericana”.  Laura was able to assist me and encourage her friends to get involved as well.  We put on outreaches, fun information tables to publicize the group and provide opportunities to get involved.  At the beginning of the year, Laura and I made a video about the state of the world and showed it from classroom to classroom.  Any way to get students thinking about their purpose in life, role to make a better future and relationship with God was utilized.  There were some things that went off smoothly, and other time of there was discouragement.  But most of all, one on one evangelism and discipleship was at the heart of my ministry.  At the end of my time there, I had the privilege of seeing a girl I disciple pray with one of her peers as she received Christ as Lord of her life.  Now, Andrea meets with her weekly.  Hearing someone you’ve invested in through discipleship times each week, disciple someone else has brought me amazing joy and thankfulness to God.” – Trisha Jagt, Short Term International Worker with Campus for Christ to Panama City, Panama 2007-2008