We know from the Canadian Evangelical Mission Engagement Study, released in November, 2016, that fewer people in Canada want to be career missionaries and only a small percentage of people – career or short-term missionaries – go to the Middle East. We are not concerned about this because Jesus said it is the Lord of the Harvest who sends people into His fields and since 2004 we have seen Him send very good people to the Middle East through MECO Canada.
However, the questions we have been asking the Lord are: How do You want us to recruit? How do we avoid being an employment agency? How do we prepare recruits? Where do You want people to work?
Here are the conclusions we have been led to:
How and whom do we recruit?
Although few people want to go to the Middle East we still have to be selective. We are looking for people who are interested in serving God sacrificially and understand the theology of staying and the need to listen and learn from Christians in the Middle East. We are convinced that God will lead us to them, if we “ask and believe”. We may find them through talking with pastors, professors, people we know, people we don’t know. They may also find us. Regardless it will be the Holy Spirit who will put us together, just as He draws people to congregations. Our job is to be alert and to pray
How do we avoid being an employment agency?
By being dependent on the Lord and not losing sight of the fact that MECO Canada is God’s work not ours. We need to be watching and sensitive to where He is working and the doors He is opening. If we understand what we are being called to do – Jesus said I do nothing but what I see the Father doing –we have no doubt that God will provide the people. However, we need to be in tune with what He wants us to do and being in tune comes through prayer.
How do we prepare people to serve?
First, when God brings people to us, we need to bring them together on a regular basis to pray, to build relationships and ultimately to be guided by God as His team. We may have to do this virtually, if people live across Canada, but in Southern Ontario we should be able to do it in person. Second, there are two kinds of people who want to serve – the entrepreneurs, who are visionaries and can see what needs to be done and can do it, and the supporters, those who follow others. Third, those going overseas need to be prepared here before they go, regardless of whether or not they have graduated from Bible College or Seminary. Preparation may take a few months, a year or two years. Regardless, it needs to be done through ministry here. There are many opportunities to do that, including placing some in an internship programs and ministries we partner with.
Finally, where does God want us to work? What does He want us to do?
First and foremost, our role is to see the good news of Jesus Christ shared among Middle Eastern people, wherever they live. God has led us to understand that Canada is our Jerusalem, our starting point, and that the Holy Spirit will send people out from here…to the uttermost parts of the world. We also know that He wants us to work among those who are desperate and in despair.
MECO Canada’s history began with an English widow named Elizabeth Bowen Thompson, who in 1860 felt called to help Lebanese widows and their children. The widows’ husbands had been martyred during a civil war in Lebanon. Having lived in Lebanon, Elizabeth knew their families would be destitute. She left England and went out to Lebanon to find the women and children employment. It was only after she was there and had found them work doing laundry for the British Navy that she realized the key to their future was education. As a result, she started 23 schools in nine years.
Today, people are still going out to serve in one way and then discovering that God is leading them into service they never imagined. For that reason, we are committed to being sensitive to what God is calling people to do; helping them determine whether He is opening doors or closing doors. We are also committed to being flexible, recognizing that God has plans we know nothing about. To know the will of God for our work, and the work of others, prayer is a priority. To quote former missionary Jonathon Goforth: In all things seek to know God’s will and when known obey at any cost
Did you know that the least number of missionaries in the world go to the Arabic-speaking nations in the Middle East?
There is an inexplicable sense of being called that has been described by missionaries in this simple way: “You know that you know!” They may not know what they are to do but they know they are to “Go!”
Have you been a witness for Jesus in your own community?
Jesus told His disciples that they were to be His witnesses first in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Serving locally is an important first step in your journey to working overseas or in Canada.
Are you willing to lay aside your ambitions and trust God with your future? Have you counted the cost of following Jesus?
Are you willing to trust God to provide for all your needs, as Jesus describes in Matthew 6: 25-33?
Are you willing to trust God to provide for all your needs, as Jesus ibes in Matthew 6: 25-33?
Are you willing to put others first? Are you willing to do “nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit” but in humility regard others as better than yourself? Are you willing to look not only to your interests but to the interests of others? Are you willing to live out Philippians 2: 3-8?
Are you willing to go wherever the Lord calls you to go, to do whatever He calls you to do and to say whatever He asks you to say?
If you can answer “Yes!” to each of these questions, then we would like to hear from you!
Individuals can serve with MECO Canada in Canada or in the Middle East.
There are a number of opportunities – long-term and short-term – to serve Churches as they seek to connect with their neighbours from the Middle East. There are also opportunities to serve in ministry to Syrian refugees who have come to Canada.
In the Middle East:
There are numerous opportunities to help churches and ministries carry out their work. You can serve on a long-term or short-term basis.
To quote Jesus: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Just as it was true in His day, it is true in ours. We need people to join us in serving churches and ministries as they reach out to Middle East people. If you sense God calling you to serve in this way, you can be sure He has work for you to do that will be unique to you.
Those who serve with us are dependent on the Lord for the financial resources they need to carry out the work they are called to do. The Lord provides through their churches, family, friends and even strangers who feel led to give so others may serve.
Following the Canada Revenue Agency’s regulations, funds are raised with the understanding that MECO Canada has complete direction and control over the use of all donations.
Remuneration levels for MECO personnel are set by MECO Canada for the purpose of compensating them for carrying out MECO Canada’s charitable work. The true beneficiaries of all donations are the individuals being ministered to by MECO Canada through our missionaries’ work.
MECO Canada provides advice and assistance for missionary fund raising and issues tax receipts to donors.
If you have questions or would like to explore what serving with us would look like for you, please contact us.