Making Connections March 2021

Kurios Recruitment and Campaign Celebration

Jesus Christ is Lord!

I am overwhelmed by the response to our Pulling Together: Raising Tomorrow’s Leaders Now fundraising campaign. Throughout February we’ve been telling stories, building our communications, and asking for financial support (see for details). The outflowing of generous support is humbling, and exciting!  We raised $96,407! We are so amazed that we came that close to our goal of $100,000, and while the campaign has ended of course we will gladly continue to accept donations. Those funds will help us continue to offer this experience, bridge us to our next group of students, and provide safe and reliable transportation!

I am so encouraged by the response, and feel so blessed to part of this community! Thank you, deeply and sincerely, to all of you who support Kurios financially, in prayer, and by pointing young adults towards Kurios.

Kurios: A CBWC Gap Year Experience is designed to walk alongside young adults in their pursuit of Jesus as Kurios (Lord). We are actively looking for the next group of young adults to join our experience this coming September, for 28 weeks of seeking Jesus together and pursuing Him as Lord of all.

Can you help pass the word along? A great opportunity to find out more is at our Virtual Open House, coming soon, including live guests from Guatemala!

Spotlight: CBM | Reflections of God at Work in 2020

Adrian Gardner – Director, Canadian Partnerships

On the evening of March 11, 2020 news of a novel coronavirus broke out. Within a week, our church had moved online, the SENT program was placed on hold, the Canada-US border was closed, and non-essential businesses were shuttered.

Looking back, I am overwhelmed by the faithfulness of God and the generosity of His people. In a time of difficulty, when it could have been easy to focus on our own hardship and need, Canadian Baptists continued to proclaim and demonstrate the love of God for the most vulnerable around the world.

I think of CBM Calling, a daily livestream we launched to tell the story of COVID-19 and how it was affecting our partners.

I remember our first Solidarity Sunday livestream where we joined our partners virtually. Over 200 people joined live and thousands watched later. Participants heard updates and prayer requests from our global partners, and we prayed for those in need.

Through Active in Mission, our first virtual run/walk/bike-a-thon, we worked with churches to provide composting latrines and clean water in rural El Salvador.

At Christmas, over 70 churches launched online campaigns, practicing generosity and demonstrating God’s love throughout the season.

The world has changed radically since March 11, 2020. I am choosing to focus on the story of the church being the Church, embracing the truth that we are not defined by our buildings but by our love, for God and for others.

Untying the Bonds of Oppression: An Interview with David, Arturo, and Yola Nacho

By: Jodi Spargur- Submitted on Behalf of the Justice and Mercy Network (JMN)

In a recent conversation about Jubilee and some modern examples of living into this biblical principle, I encountered the experience of Arturo and Yola Nacho and their own story of liberation through land reform in Bolivia. I wanted to learn more.

A few historical details will help you follow the conversation. Until 1953, most Indigenous peoples in Bolivia were subjected to a life of indentured servitude. Also, it was against the law to teach Indigenous Bolivians to read or write. In the 1920s, an ecumenical group came into ownership of a large farm in the village of Huatajata (on Lake Titicaca) which was home to 48 households and 275 serfs. In the 1930s, this project was turned over to Canadian Baptist Mission. The following is my conversation with Arturo and Yola Nacho and their son, David, about this project and its impacts.

Arturo: My name is Arturo Nacho Laura. I was born on the shores of Lake Titicaca. I attended a mission school because there was no government education until after the revolution in 1952. I worked for around 37 years as a pastor and in literacy and education.

Jodi: Arturo, what is your first language?

Arturo: The Amara language.

Yola: My name is Yola Vargas. I was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and my background is Indigenous. I grew up not being very happy to have Indigenous roots. When I grew up going to school, there was a lot of discrimination. I think many people like me don’t show their background. I was one of them. But Arturo was different. He was proud of who he was and helped me be proud, too.

Jodi: I want to talk about the farm at Huatajata. Were you born on the farm, Arturo?

Arturo: No. My community is called Llamacachi, a free community, nearby. Huatajata was not a free community.

Jodi: Were both of your grandparents from a free community?

Arturo: No, my Dad was a serf from the hacienda. My mother was from a free community, though.

Jodi: How did land reform and education bring the gospel in a meaningful way to your community?

Yola: It really was a very significant start for indigenous people. Even though in the past, 100 years ago, some Indigenous peoples fought and gave their lives for the rights of Indigenous peoples, still they could not gain this (these rights). There was a CBM missionary (Merrick) who argued that slavery was a conspiracy against the gospel and must end.

Jodi: So, originally, missionaries ran the hacienda in Huatajata like all the other haciendas around were run, with slaves. But they decided that this needed to be changed for the sake of the gospel. The action taken then was the liberation of the Amara and the title for the land being turned over to them?

Yola: Yes, and this was the model for the revolution of 1952. With that revolution, the other communities around—all the land of Bolivia—benefitted (from the) land reform.

David: When there is empowerment, or recognition of the value of another’s culture, and their right to live freely, there are good things—missiologically— that happen. The farm is one example of that.

Yola: Also, I think that any community needs its own leaders. What these missionaries did well was to develop, support and raise up and prepare the leadership in the rural area. As well as in Bolivia, in general.

Jodi: I am struck by the fact that the actions on this farm become the model for nation-wide agrarian reform. Are there ways that the church in Canada is being called to bold action around the return of land?

Yola: I think that people in Huatajata were empowered by this return of the land. For people like us who live in the city, maybe not as important. But for them, yes, it was very important. But it is not possible to return land everywhere. We know around the world that there are those who have lost their land and other people occupy it. And it cannot be returned.

Jodi: Let me push back on that. In Canada, 89% of the land is owned by the Crown, very little is occupied. Is there not room here to return some land, even just the land agreed to in the treaties?

Yola: Then, if this is the case, we must fight to get this land back. We must support people to get that right! Also, as a church, I think we must be committed to the empowerment of Indigenous People, and we can push a bit, politically.

David: I think there is a link here. By giving the people the deed/title for the land, you acknowledge them as responsible for it. Not in a paternalistic way, but in a way that calls all the others to restore the respect that was not there.

Maybe there is a lack of awareness in urban centers about how important this issue of land is for those who live on it, steward and take care of the land. The blindness of urban dwellers to the importance and significance of the land makes it harder to understand.

Arturo: I want to say what the Bolivian government is doing right now in Bolivia. They are working with internships because Indigenous peoples need to be included in every level of leadership. They do not just need to be hugged and told they are loved; they need to be included in government and leadership at every level. The Canadian government needs to do this, too.

Yola: I am very hopeful. It is very good for my spirit to see young people trying to live in a good way. There is something about the work they are doing in Bolivia. We need Indigenous youth as much as they need us. This is a dream, maybe, that we can share.

The CBWC’s Justice & Mercy Network seeks to inspire and equip churches in their theological vision of the kingdom of God so that we all pursue right relationships with God, with self, with others, and with the world. We seek to provide a thoughtful and wise social analysis of injustice, and to offer various resources that help inform decisions about justice. For more information about JMN please visit:

 Heartland Regional Newsletter

Reflections on Reconciliation | A Journey to Life in Ministry by Mandi Hecht 

Betty (Milne) Anderson – A Life in Ministry

Submitted for March’s Church Planting blog-Originally published as a Humans of CBWC story on Facebook

God blessed me at the very beginning of my life by giving me Christian parents. At a very young age, I decided to be a nurse. After I accepted the Lord as my Saviour at age eleven at Christopher Lake Baptist Camp, my life goal was to become a Missionary Nurse.  Everything I did worked towards that goal; I obtained my BSN at the U of S because I knew Public Health training was essential, attended BLTS because I would need Bible and Christian Education knowledge, and did Midwifery training because I knew I would be delivering babies. I had a few years of nursing experience with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) and was in communication with the Baptist Overseas Mission Board. I was ready and waiting for God to call. But He didn’t.

My thoughts turned more towards nursing in the North, so I investigated nursing in the NWT. There was a position available in Frobisher Bay! But there was also an exciting VON nursing position in Nova Scotia. I was torn in my decision until one night, God very clearly called me to N.S. I wondered why until I became involved in a church which really stretched my faith and where I matured spiritually. I also had the privilege of going to Bolivia for a six-week Mission trip. I was sure that God would call me back to Bolivia, but He never did.

I was back home in Saskatchewan working with the VON in Regina when God did two wonderful things. First, He brought Joyce Oxnard into my life. At first, she was my boss, but then she became my best friend, mentor, supporter, prayer warrior and colleague. Second, He provided opportunities to learn an Evangelical approach to Christian witnessing. While there, a nursing position became available in Yellowknife to establish a Home Care Program. Joyce and I accepted and moved there together. It was during this time that God prepared both Joyce and myself to eventually move further north. The CBWC shared in great detail with us a desire to begin a new church plant in Inuvik. I waited on the Lord to call me further north. And finally, He did! It took twenty years to prepare me for that calling, but now I was finally ready.

It was very uncommon for two women to head up a church planting mission back then. Women in ministry and church planting were in their infancy almost 50 years ago.

Our Executive and Area Ministers took us to the Edmonton Airport, gave us a filmstrip projector and told us to go and “do our thing.” What a lot there was to learn!

During the next four years, we tried not to do “our thing”, but “God’s thing”. That was the only way we could survive. Our congregation started with a few people of Baptist-like backgrounds and gradually increased. The adult ministry was mainly to the white population, but the children and teens were Inuit and Dene. We were blessed with gifts and prayers from across the country. The Alberta area provided a lovely van sent up on the barge. There were no roads into Inuvik in those days. There was wonderful support from the Yellowknife church and especially from the Pastor, Alan MacPhedran. As Inuvik was the Triennial Project of 1976-79, money was raised to erect a building, which was built by volunteers from the south and our own people. It took three months and three days, much to the astonishment of the town! This and so much more was the excitement of that beginning work. But there was also the day to day work, the demands, disappointments, tears and doubts and wondering why everything didn’t happen as we hoped and planned. But there was also the constant reminder that God had called us. He was there with us. He would provide. And He did!

Those four years were the beginning of a variety of ministries: Interim in Fort McMurray serving a hurting new church plant suffering from an early split in the congregation. A wonderful five years in Grand Centre, leaving a strong congregation but no church building! Encouraging a discouraged, despondent church and Pastor in Medicine Hat. Surveying and attempting a church plant in Edmonton without a Mother Church. Re-establishing a closed church in Swift Current. Interim ministry at Argyle Road Baptist Church whose pastor had to resign because of ill health. Pastoring in Yorkton, called “as a last resort” when it seemed no one wanted to follow a 24-year pastorate! Return to Inuvik to a very small congregation who had been without leadership for some time. No one suitable became available, so the church was closed and the building sold. We would have stayed longer, but Joyce’s asthma was a severe health problem. So, we were there at the beginning and at the end of that ministry. Joyce retired at that time, but I spent five more years as half-time Associate at FBC in Saskatoon.

What we learned during almost 30 years of ministry is that what you experience in one place, what you read in books or are told by someone else or what you think might work, is not always the answer. What is essential is a strong sense that you are exactly where God wants you to be. That His timing and His ways are perfect and are not always your ways and timing. It is His work and He will accomplish His purposes, sometimes despite you. What a blessing to know the Lord is the one in charge.

After retirement, there were significant changes for us. Joyce gradually lost her sight until she was legally blind, although she still served as best she could in our local church. Alzheimers was diagnosed in 2016 and she spent the last two years of her life in Long Term Care. The Lord called her home on October 19, 2020 with rejoicing in Heaven but great loss here on earth.

Within a year of retirement, I married a wonderful man, a friend and colleague, Blake Anderson. He was also retired but serving part-time at Wakaw and is still involved in ministry, so we are serving together in various ways. Becoming a wife, a stepmother and grandmother all at once is exciting and I love every minute of it. Along with eight grandchildren, we now have five great-grandchildren with two more expected this year and 5 foster great/grandchildren. Never a dull moment! We regret not being able to see more of them these last months.

What a wonderful God we have! How thankful I am for His salvation and constant presence and provision!

Easter Preaching Series 2021

As we continue to live within the reality of a global pandemic, we collectively lament various layers of loss while searching for glimpses of hope. The fullness of lament involves honest emotion and eventually a turning toward a hope that is based on the promises of a God who delivered Israel from captivity, delivered us from the curse of sin and death, delivered Jesus from the grave, and will one day return to make all things whole. As followers of Christ, we are reminded that God meets us in our most overwhelming loss with a message of life, newness, and durable hope.

CBWC Staff have created a video-based Easter preaching series entitled “Durable Hope” to help lead your congregation through Holy Week – from Palm Sunday through to Celebration Sunday. You are welcome to use one or all of the pieces provided in the series:

Palm Sunday: Sermon by Peter Anderson
Maundy Thursday: Written reflection by Faye Reynolds
Good Friday: Sermon by Rob Ogilvie | “Lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” – Mark 15: 16-39, 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Easter Sunday: Sermon by Shannon Youell 

Watch for it HERE and on all CBWC social media platforms in early March!

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.