Bringing the Community Together

Smiles all around from”full” guests at a monthly Neighbourhood Pancake Breakfast.

The Mountain Andrews All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church seeks to be a blessing to their community of North End in Winnipeg, Man. Thus our outreach as church members stems from the concept that the primary need of each person is to find God through Jesus Christ.           
During the summers church members walk the streets distributing faith-based inspirational materials such as books, magazines, Bible study enrolment cards, and invitation flyers for public evangelism. All this effort is accompanied with much prayer and with hope that many in our neighbourhood would be open to know more about Jesus. Our observation is that most people remain distant.
To overcome that distance, our church has been doing what Jesus did and going to where the people are and ministering to them. The Native Ministry Team arranged for a meeting with a member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in which she informed us of the issues and needs of the community. One need is healthful food for poverty-stricken individuals. High substance abuse and drug addiction call for a group recovery program. Vacation Bible School (VBS) is needed to minister to the many children with little to do in the summer.
Teams from Native Ministries, Children’s Ministries, and Women’s Ministries, and other volunteers are working together for two specific outreach activities.
First, the VBS events in the two summers 2018 and 2019 succeeded in reaching more than 95 children from the community: 55 percent non-Adventist and 45 percent from Adventist homes.
Second, regular Neighbourhood Pancake Breakfasts were held on Sundays once each month, beginning in April 2019 (omitting July, during campmeeting). The numbers attending ranged from 20 to 140, with the total served being 350.
We are encouraged by people’s responses as the number of attendees from the community grows. One man said, “Thank you very much for the Neighbourhood Pancake Breakfast. This church has not only blessed its members, but the community people as well.”

            An elderly man sent a three-page handwritten letter, from which are a few quotes, “Thank you for caring … We love you … Food is love, bringing people together … We are searchers, seekers, and finders …We search for the kindness of strangers … You exist, you are here, we are alive, you reach out to people … You are the sunshine that lights other people’s lives … You love our people, you are part of the Canadian dream … You have made a difference in our spiritual lives.”

            Two men approached Pastor Neil Tagarao after the meal on BBQ Day on Aug. 4. One man said, “Thank you very much for this BBQ Day. It is becoming a community fellowship. You see, if not for this event, the two of us would not be reconciled. I have been wrongly suspecting my neighbour of dumping snow on my yard, only to find out that it was not him. The guilty person is already in jail. So, in learning the truth, we are now friends again. Thank you so much for this event that brings the community together.”

            That same day (Aug. 4), a couple came to Tagarao and expressed their interest in Bible study, and eagerness to join the First Nation Adventist Training (FNAT) at Camp Hope, B.C.

            While our church is reaching out to the community through providing food and fellowship for their physical and social needs, we also continually offer material for their spiritual needs in our sanctuary. A table at the entrance of the church displays free books, magazines, and DVDs. We pray that the many who take these items will discover the most essential food in life—Jesus, the Bread of life (see John 6:32, 33.)

— Ruby Tagarao, Women’s Ministry Leader, Mountain Andrews All Nations SDA Church