Monday, February 27, 2017

Mission in the Dominican Republic

Medical clinic in Pedregal, Dominican Republic
Two years ago, our congregation sent a team of four to do mission work in the Dominican Republic.  It was the first event of this sort sponsored by SPPC and we were all very excited about it.  The four people who went, described the trip as life-changing.  They were under the auspices of the House Upon the Rock, run by Paul and Sharyn Branson.  There are plans for a second team from SPPC to make the trip this summer.
As well as establishing a worship centre and helping to build housing in Pedregal, the House Upon the Rock, operates a medical clinic. This month, the clinic will celebrate its 14th anniversary.    Here are some stats from the clinic:

* Patient Load 14,500
* 40% Haitian patients
* 60% Dominican patients
* Give out about $750,000US in medication annually
* Unknown number of people who come for prayer and counselling.
* Unknown number of people who have accepted Jesus and/or grown closer to God through the clinic's ministry.

As the clinic is situated on rented property, its continuing existence is always in doubt.  Therefore, The House Upon the Rock is attempting to purchase the property.  To date they have paid 48% of the purchase price, with the balance due by April, 2017.  You can support Paul and Sharyn in this venture with a donation.  For tax purposes, make your cheque payable to MSC Canada.  If you do not want a tax receipt, then a cheque can be made payable to Paul and Sharyn or MSC.  The ministry does not have a bank account in Canada so we cannot cash any cheque if it is made payable to House Upon the Rock.

More news from the Bransons.

God's Stories

We are excited to share that Sharyn has published a book!  It has been a project that she has been working on for a couple of years and fulfilling what God told her to do.  The purpose of writing this book is to share what we have witnessed that God has done.  He is an amazing God and is always doing miracles.  This book is a collection of, well, God's stories.  Stories from our 20+ years in full time missions and what we have been honoured to witness God do day after day.  We pray that this book will inspire and bring people closer to God.  Whether you are a believer or not, we hope that you will read this book and it will encourage you.

It is available at and .ca, Barnes and Noble and soon, it will be available at Chapters/Indigo.  Available Softcover, Hardcover and Ebook formats.

Canada:  God's Stories Twenty Years on the Mission Field

USA:  God's Stories Twenty Years on the Mission Field   Barnes & Noble
            God's Stories Twenty Years on the Mission Field

Monday, February 20, 2017

It's a Party

We had a party on Saturday, complete with sandwiches and cake, flowers and balloons.  It was a great party, but one we didn't really want to have.  You see, we were saying good-bye to longtime member, Joan.  She's leaving us for Calgary.  We hate to see her go.

Joan has been involved in many aspects of SPPC.  With John she was active in fellowship events, most notably bus trips to Chemanus Theatre.  

She has been on the Flower Committee, served Easter breakfasts, brought dozens and dozens of cookies and squares to the church, poured the coffee and cleaned up in the kitchen.

She has been part of the Wednesday morning Bible study group since the beginning.  She has contributed to the blog.

But Joan's favourite role, is making music.  As the founding pianist of the Living Flame Choir, she has enriched all of us with her talent, her patience and her willingness to practice, practice, practice.

Because of that, the choir was able to stage several musicals, with Joan keeping us all on track from the keyboard.  We enticed her onto stage for the cast pictures, but her preferred position was at the piano.  
That is our enduring image of Joan, friend, colleague, good sport, and lover of music.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow Day!

Snow!  Days of it!  In Victoria! In February!  The complaints are loud and long;  stuck cars, missed meetings, cancelled flights, power outages.  The weather this week was definitely not part of any human plan -- unless you were a kid out of school and sliding down a hill on a toboggan.
And yet . . . the snow is beautiful, covering the landscape with purity, hiding the dead flowers, the unsightly garbage, the broken toys.   Beauty is a gift of God.

Storm after storm adds to the snow pack in the mountains, and that means more spring run-off and that means more water in the streams come summer.  

For the past two years we've wrung our hands over the drought, fish dying because the rivers are too low, communities trucking in water as wells and reservoirs dried up.

   Instead of looking at our snow as a nuisance, perhaps we could see it as a gift from God, providing for our physical needs,  filling our winter lives with beauty and wonder and joy and just plain fun.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bible Study Resumes

After a hiatus over Christmas and January, the Wednesday Bible Study sessions are back in session.  We've picked up our study of Galations, following a study guide prepared by Jack Kuhatschek.  We're mid-way through the study and on the fourth chapter of Galations.  Anyone who cares to join either the 9:30am group or the 7:30 pm group is welcome.  It doesn't matter if you haven't attended previous sessions.  Each lesson can be understood as a stand alone.

The power of Bible Study is that it is always relevant.  All of Canada has been in shock and mourning after the horrific shootings in a mosque last Sunday.  One of the people who spoke most eloquently to the media was Quebec Premier, Philippe Couillard.  Speaking in English he told listeners that we cannot pretend hatred and racism do not exist in our country.  They do, as they do all around the world.  What we must do, is to speak out when we hear someone spouting intolerance and fomenting hate.  That is not easy.  Most of us are non-confrontational.  We'd rather walk away than to take a stand.
   In our Galatians study,  the apostle Paul speaks out against a church and its leaders who have lost their way.  He even challenges Peter.  Angry and disappointed with the church in Galatia, Paul makes no bones about telling them so.  He doesn't duck, or use soft words.  He states flatly that the church and it's leaders have fallen into error.  At the same time, he tells them how much he loves them, how he worries about them, and that he is calling them to account for their own sake.  He wants nothing less for them than eternal life in Christ Jesus.

  As we make our way through the troubled world of our time, I think Sunday's hymn says it all.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus

1 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,                 2 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
    ye soldiers of the cross!                          the solemn watchword hear.
  Lift high His royal banner.                        if while ye sleep He suffers,
  it must not suffer loss.                              Away with shame and fear
    From victory unto victory                        Where'er ye meet with evil,
     His army He shall lead,                            within you or without,
   till every foe is vanquished,                      charge for the God of battles,
   and Christ is Lord indeed.                          and put the foe to rout.                    

3 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,                 4.  Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;                             the strife will not be long:
the arm of flesh will fail you,                         this day the noise of battle,
ye dare not trust your own.                              the next the victor's song.
Put on the gospel armour,                               To him that overcometh
each piece put on with prayer;                         a crown of life shall be:
when duty calls or danger                              he with the King of glory
be never wanting there.                                  shall reign eternally.

If we stand up for Jesus, we'll stand for our fellowman and we will not let hatred win.