Partnering in a Pandemic

January 3, 2022 | 3 minute read
Bethany Mortelliti

A collage of Canadian landscape

Toronto was recently recognized as the most multicultural city in the world, with over half of its residents born outside of Canada. Newmarket, a town in Greater Toronto, has a population of over 1,500 Spanish-speaking residents alone.

When Eynar Mina arrived in Toronto from Colombia about 20 years ago, there was only one Spanish-speaking church in the area and he saw greater opportunities for Spanish-speaking people to hear the Gospel.

Like most immigrants, many new Canadians from Latin America leave behind their careers, their families, and their homes, and arrive in Canada with a sense of emptiness. Eynar recognizes the importance of the Latin orientation toward family. He said, “Most Spanish people come here because of some difficulties and they are hoping for a better life in Canada. My prayer is that they find Jesus. Not just the Gospel, but also a family.”

Today, he leads a network of Spanish-speaking churches throughout Greater Toronto who welcome new Canadians in their heart language.

This past year, Eynar recognized an opportunity to partner with organizations and leaders to share the message of Jesus through planting new Spanish-speaking churches.

For some time, leaders at Newmarket Alliance Church had been praying about reaching the large community of Spanish speakers in their area. When Eynar spoke with them about a family who was willing to come to Canada with a dream to reach new immigrants, they eagerly pledged their support to see this family welcomed as part of their ministry. Further, a nondenominational Christian church in Colombia, the Faith and Hope Centre, was excited to send this family across denominational and geographical lines.

With the blessings and support of these partners, Andres, his wife Lucia Piedrahita, and their two children were welcomed to Newmarket in October 2019. As brand-new Canadians with no English language, they were disoriented but determined to help Spanish-speaking Canadians know Jesus and lead a group of 15 as a New Venture. Fast forward a few months and the pandemic had barred all in-person meetings, yet these leaders did not lose heart!

Unable to reach out in person, the ministry has instead flourished as part of this family’s mission to Canada.

The Piedrahitas quickly moved online and found a receptive audience. Their two children are extremely creative and well-versed in technology. With access to Newmarket Alliance’s tech gear and the support of the Faith and Hope Centre in Colombia, they have launched a thriving weekly kids program on YouTube. Since many countries have limited access to the resources that allow for such a kids program, especially one that is in Spanish, this program has had wide viewership not only across the Spanish-speaking network in Canada but in many other countries. Their regular online gatherings also have a strong viewership in addition to Bible studies and a youth program in Spanish.

Over the course of the pandemic, Newmarket Spanish quadrupled in size from 15 members to over 60.

Andres said, “As Pastor Eynar mentioned in the last review meeting on this project: ‘Newmarket Spanish is a miracle.’ God has provided us with everything we need to continue fulfilling the purpose of His work in Newmarket and its surroundings, even amidst the limitations of the global crisis caused by the pandemic. The Grace of the Lord has accompanied this project from the dream, to the planning, and even to the reality of today; we have witnessed His fidelity.”

Stories like the Piedrahitas remind us that the ever-changing Canadian landscape requires unique partnerships as we strive to share the hope of Jesus with our neighbours. With more effective online tools developed in response to the pandemic, we are seeing even more willingness and desire to partner across geographical and denominational lines. New waves of immigration will continue to offer valuable opportunities for leaders, churches, and individuals to work together to see God’s Kingdom come in Canada.

 

This is an article from our Fall 2021 edition of Alliance Connection. Read the full copy here.

Share:


Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Image

Bethany Mortelliti

Bethany is the Communications Lead for New Ventures and loves telling stories of Jesus at work raising up new Canadian leaders and churches through the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. Bethany lives in Quebec with her husband Matteo and their two boys.

Learn more

Support the mission


Our International Workers are financially supported by the Global Advance Fund (GAF) - your continued generosity allows for workers to stay in the field and continue their ministry.

Donate

Comments

There are currently no comments. Why don't you kick things off?

Leave a Reply