I made it to Guelph

I left my driveway on Sunday Aug 3 at about 8:30 am. It was tiring. I took few photos along the way. I would have liked to take more, but I preferred to maintain the schedule I had set for myself. 4560 km and 5 days later I arrived at my colleagues’ place in Guelph to stay for a week before my furniture arrived in a great big crate.

See you laters

It was difficult to say, “See you later” to all my friends on the west coast. Sometimes, I wonder, “Why did I move? I’m so far from all these people now.” I even anticipated feeling this way, yet I chose to move believing God would meet me here and fulfill that part of my life. I need to have patience with the process of getting to know people here. So, would you pray for me in that regard, that I would settle into the right social group here?

Thank You

To those of you who took the time to hear my appeal over the past few months and especially to those who prayed or gave financially, you have my gratitude. I was able to raise over $500/month in that time. Not just this calendar year, but the last twelve months have been my most successful and fruitful season of support raising in the last 5 years. God must have grown me in some fashion because my attitude about the whole process seems different from the past.

New Office

Here’s my new office. It’s a little devoid in August, but that will change rapidly in the coming weeks as school approaches. Below, Eric (smiling) and Paul are building a camera rig for filming purposes.

“I’m the first practising Christian that they have met.”

“I’m the only Christian in all of my classes. For all of my friends, I’m the first practising Christian that they have met,” said Laurence from the Université de Sherbrooke at this year’s Power to Change Plus Conference in Toronto. She tells her story of trusting in God to form relationships with people with whom she could share her faith in Jesus.

Advance to the 11:00 mark to hear Laurence’s story.

Although Laurence may be singular among her own circles, she is not alone. Jesus is always with her, but she also has the example and support of our staff in Quebec who regularly visit her campus to provide training and encouragement. She asked God to show her the people around her who were already seeking Him. “To see God answer my prayers so concretely encouraged me to continue praying and to ask Him for things that seemed impossible from my perspective.”

Power to Change Plus is our national student ministry conference. It brings together students from dozens of campuses who are experiencing much the same thing as Laurence and reveals to them the bigger picture of God’s work across Canada and around the world. My experience at a Power to Change conference led me to test out my faith in another country on a short-term trip and ultimately to my decision to enter full-time ministry.

I am now transitioning to a full-time conference planning role to begin in July in Guelph, ON. My desire is to help expand the influence of our conferences and see more and more students, like Laurence, make life changing decisions each year.

With this transition to my new role, I need to raise $1500/month to be fully supported so that I can begin my new role. Would you be willing to partner with me in this effort in any or all of the following ways?

  1. Pray that God would work mightily through our conferences and pray for my support level to reach my goal.
  2. Prayerfully consider giving either $50, $75, $100 per month or whatever God has laid upon your heart to give to help meet my support so that finances would not be a hindrance in my new role? If you are already giving monthly, thank you! Would you considering praying to see if God would like to increase your monthly giving?
  3. Recommend friends and family who you think would be interested in hearing about my ministry and be involved in partnering to help students discover Jesus.

I would love to spend a little time visiting with you if you’re in the Lower Mainland before I depart around the end of June. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at 778.808.1902 or john.homenuke[at]p2c.com to arrange that. Thank you for your partnership in the gospel.

New Role for Me in Ontario

I’ve accepted a new role with the Power to Change – Students Conference Strategies team, which requires me to work out of our office in Guelph, Ontario. I’m expecting to make the move in July.

What is Conference Strategies? Every year we host about a dozen events across the country and, traditionally, our campus staff take time away from their usual duties to organize them. This new team works year-round to set the vision and framework for these events, allowing on-campus staff to simply plug in with teaching and activity content instead of the administrative burden.

Why the switch? I’ve always loved our conferences. Many students, including myself, have made life changing decisions at these events. I want to see them get larger and continue to deliver great content. On top of that, I’ve been lacking a certain satisfaction in my current role for a period of time now. If I’m going to raise funds for the job I do, strong motivation is essential and I’d rather see someone new bring new ideas and new energy to my IT role.

The Conference Strategies team is barely a team yet. I will only be the second full-time member of it. This means covering new territory and solving new problems, which excites me!

It also means covering new territory in my Christian walk. I first moved out of my folks’ house 10 years ago, but with some back and forth since then. Oakridge Baptist is the only church I’ve ever been a member of.

This is a huge change for me. I really covet your prayers for my preparations and my humility. It wasn’t an easy decision. I will miss a lot of people and I know they will miss me too. I was told by a friend, “As long as you have peace about the decision, I’m happy for you.” The peace only came after I made the decision in late December.

My role with IT has now ended and my current role with the Students ministry will be handed off temporarily. I will now spend a few months raising funds to replace the subsidy provided by IT.

Power to Change Plus Conference December 2013

I’ve been assisting with these conferences for a number of years now and evangelism has long been a component of the event. This year, our students used our Mentor Centre software to do evangelism online. There are always more people contacting us online than we can follow up with (literally tens of thousands). Why not put our students to work on those who are already awaiting a response?

My Vacation

I just surpassed my 10th spiritual birthday this month (Nov 13, 2003). I remember writing a long letter to my uncle Ron explaining how it all happened, coming from a place of virtually no exposure to the gospel to making a decision to follow Him. I invited him to come all the way from the Philippines to see my baptism with only 2 months notice. He planned an entire 6-month furlough to help make that possible. It dawned on me that I could use my vacation time to go visit him this year. So that’s where I am right now as I write this — Olongapo City, Philippines.

He operates a facility for children up to age 16 who come from broken homes, abusive homes, families that are too poor to raise them, or they are orphaned. The kids are amazing! They get up at 5 every morning to do devotionals before breakfast and then school. They do the dishes, keep the place clean, and generally seem really happy. However, there is one boy, Joshua, who is still recovering from a neglected hip dislocation and has contracted some kind of virus as well, but his fever has finally disappeared after two weeks! — Philippines Photos

I also swung by Hong Kong to visit a couple friends and see the place that so many of my friends have roots. My visit there was too short, but to my joyous surprise I happened to meet everyone from a local chapter of Campus Crusade at HKUST. My friend Jenn explained that there is a high rate of suicide at that campus. Perhaps mental health could be their next outreach theme similar to what we did a UBC. — Hong Kong Photos

People only want to talk. Nobody knows how to listen.

Why do people broadcast what they had for breakfast on Facebook? Or complain about their homework? Or post photos from their vacation? They desire to be in relationship. People today live on the Internet and form their relationships there. As unhealthy as you may view this, we still need to send missionaries to where the people are (yes, to the Internet).

How? The Indigitous Conference is part of our answer to that challenge. Young people today are indigenous to the digital world and this past month, over 100 mission-minded, talented individuals came together in Waterloo, ON to collaborate on ways to make disciples with the help of digital media.

What was the common thread? Listening and responding to people as individuals. Traditional digital strategy is about getting your message and format right to maximize your audience response. This doesn’t work anymore because the audience doesn’t just want information. They want relationship. We must turn from being broadcasters to becoming listeners.

Jesus Daily is one of the largest Facebook pages in the world with over 24 million fans. Every week, the page receives thousands of private messages asking, “How can I know Jesus?” but it’s operated by just one man. He can’t answer them all. But what if it were possible to respond to all those people? What if you could help? You can. Find out how to get started.

Potential to Reach 900 Million Facebook Users

At about 21 million fans, Jesus Daily ranks only 127th in size among all Facebook pages. Where it ranks far above every other page is engagement with its audience. In addition to fans, Facebook also measures the number of “people talking about” the page. For Jesus Daily, this number consistently sits at around 30% of its fans. The next most engaging page on the planet only achieves 6%.

Jesus Daily does this by posting simple images and messages that call for a simple response such as “Like if Jesus saves” or “Like if you believe…”, etc. If every fan of Jesus Daily shared one of its posts, that post could appear in the news feed of 900 million other users.

Now, imagine the number of private messages Jesus Daily receives each day. People who visit the page have questions about God and they send messages because they’re seeking answers. Right now, Jesus Daily has over 80,000 unanswered messages in its inbox that likely came from those 900 million connected users.

We have partnered with Jesus Daily to help them answer their mail. The Mentor Center is a piece of software that connects people seeking answers with volunteers (known as online mentors) who have answers. Any Christian can apply to be a mentor. Once accepted, training is provided entirely online. Mentors can choose to receive as few or as many messages as they want per week. Would you like to become an online mentor? Visit theMentorCenter.com.

Now consider this: It’s also possible for the Mentor Center to respond to comments on Jesus Daily posts. That’s 400,000 comments per day — something to pray about for the future.

Way Ahead of the Curve

I remember the moment I decided to go on my first missions trip, sitting in a hotel conference room in Calgary. Going to that conference started me on a journey that has led me here continuing in full-time ministry.

Conferences are fertile grounds for spawning missionaries. I am excited to now be part of a team that plans these events. Our annual “Power to Change Plus” conferences take place in December and traditionally we open registration at the end of September. This doesn’t offer much time to promote and attract a large number of people. I’m pleased to report that registration for this year will be open in less than two weeks from now!

We’re praying for much greater numbers than we’ve ever seen before.

2.7 Million

This is the number of times we expect the Good News to be heard through the various ministries of Power to Change in the coming year. Our budgeting and planning cycle is nearly complete and this is one of the results I was able to obtain instantly from the system I built this year. This has actually never been done before within our organization, at least not without months of work piecing together dissimilar data sets.

My boss, Russ, showed my work to Erik Butz, Global VP of Operations for CCCI, whose comment was, “This is a low-cost method we should use all over the world.” Erik is looking to improve processes in his own office and I will be assisting him in that. God has given me this talent for spreadsheets and a place to exercise it. It would really be something if I could help our partners in other countries utilize a freely available technology to pull data together and help leaders make better decisions.

Highly Collaborative Planning and Budgeting

In my last newsletter, I spoke of our organizational planning and budgeting process for the coming fiscal year. Part of my job is create and manage the system that collects all the data. We employ Google Spreadsheets to make the process as collaborative as possible. As of now, I can account for over 200 people who are working together on it. There are likely more, including volunteers, who are playing a part in setting the direction of our ministry and spending.