A Manitoba children's ministry tripled in outreach this summer while at the same time losing $73,000 in government grant money.
Child Evangelism Fellowship of Manitoba (CEFM) supplies training and materials for Bible lessons in the public school system through their Discovery Time program, as well as providing help to churches who need training for Sunday School programs. They also run "Five Day Clubs" in people's backyards and homes, through which they reached over 1,000 children this summer.
"We had the potential for growth to bring the good news to children that we had never seen before"
The summer of 2018 brought what board chair David Hudson called a "two-headed spear." Hudson says that usually, the ministry receives somewhere between six and eight applications for summer missionaries to help run the programs. "This year we had 21 successful applicants."
Hudson says that the sudden growth was exciting for the ministry. "We had the potential for growth to bring the good news to children that we had never seen before." The ministry tripled their outreach potential, but at the same time it brought with it what Hudson said was "astronomical costs."
Normally, Hudson says, that wouldn't have been an issue as the ministry has consistently received government grants through the Canada Summer Jobs program. However, this year the government added an attestation to the grant application process that many applicants from a variety of faith backgrounds felt they could not sign.
CEFM felt they could not sign the attestation and sent in their application with a note stating that their ministry's focus had nothing to do with the matter at hand in the attestation. The government told them unless the attestation was signed they would not receive the grant money.
Going in faith
So with three times the normal amount of missionaries signed up, CEFM chose to go forward in faith.
"The harvest has just been unbelievable"
"It's like God has a sense of humour," Hudson says referring to the blessing and problem they faced at once. "I think in that He brings us to our knees. He takes everything back into context. It's not about us; not about the money, we can raise so much as just get the kids out there in faith.
"That's what our director did. He talked to us about the growth, we said to go in faith and he went in faith. And the harvest has just been unbelievable."
Hudson says that over 200 kids chose to follow Jesus through the CEFM programs this summer. And, while the harvest has been amazing, they now need help financially.
"We came into this summer like we do every summer with cash on hand and a reserve in the bank to pay for our summer programming. But with the growth that we saw and no grants coming in, it wiped us out. We used every nickel we have and still have a lot of bills to pay."
You can find out more on CEFM and donate here.