Youth Mission to TorontoJuly 29 - August 3, 2018
As the Youth and there leaders are in Toronto we will post any updates.
July 29 th 2018, Day One
Noteworthy: Today was filled with events of which few were helpful. According to Romans 5:1-5
we probably learned a lot of endurance:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through
him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of
God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance
produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has
been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Even though we exited the building of Agape at about 9:50 we did not leave Williamsport until
11:02. First, we were looking for a missing passport. Then we had to stop for some oil, and finally,
Pastor Dale left his cellphone at home. This last misstep enabled several youths, who realized that
they needed something else to pass the time (since their cellphones were absconded with) found
several card games.
All went fairly well until our border crossing at approximately 2:45. After about 15 minutes in line
(and watching a car impounding- which Ben Confer did everything he could to hear every detail)
Pastor Matt pulled up to the customs booth and proceeded to send off red flags. Well, to be honest,
I’m sure that we just got an officer who was either on the verge of being fired or was just extremely
grumpy. To make a ninety minute story short, we parked our cars, handed in our paperwork and
waited… with a lot of other people who must have been infected by our grumpy friend… a lot of
grumpiness and forlorn faces. Our crew definitely kept the gloomy room light (although you
wouldn’t have noticed by their facial expressions) as we took up about 30 percent of the seating
area. After about an hour and a quarter Ginny Eck said, Hey, we haven’t prayed about this.” We
prayed and about 15 minutes later we were on our way.
At our evening session, Erika thanked God for the man at customs who finally called our group to ask
us questions. I‘m not so sure that he wasn’t the culprit… but thanking God was a good way to
prepare us for this week. Our journey was still not over… we managed to get lost (I’d say around a
half dozen times… maybe more), drive on an Expressway for only native “Ontario-ans.”
Fortunately, Austin saw the 15 foot by 15 foot… sorry “5 meter by 5-meter sign” which Matt and I
missed that told us that we will be fined if we drive on it. We exited promptly at the 50 km/hr
All in all, we arrived at nearly 8:00 to a 5:00 dinner and a lot of people. Lights out on the concrete
tiled floor at 10:45… sorry again 11:05 and now we are ready to go. We have divided into two
groups: Austin, Michael, Iscah, Anna, and Stephen will be painting a house today with Pastor Matt.
Ginny Eck and I will go to a special needs ministry (?) called St. Jude’s Academy of the Arts. We will
be working with these ministries for two days and then switch. Gotta go… late for breakfast and
Grace and Peace,
July 30th 2018, Day Two
Noteworthy: Today was filled with new things. This was vivid as I entered the men’s room this morning only to find Anna and Stephen… cleaning the bathrooms… at 8:00 in the morning. In the kitchen, Iscah and Michael were washing the dishes. I thought it was a completely new experience until Iscah made it clear that she always washes the dishes… Hmmmm… I’m still thinking about that one. By the way, my venture into the bathroom paid dividends for Stephen as I ended up unclogging a toilet for him. I’m guessing that he knew how to do it himself… and am contemplating the turn of events that ended with me plunging.
We divided into two teams today. Ginny, Erika, Ben, Mia, Stevie and I drove to an adult special needs center and interacted with about 15 individuals. We encountered the complete spectrum of personalities in two contexts. The first was a kite making activity that led to an outdoor activity of running with a six foot… sorry (2 meter string) string and an 11” kite. We clapped for all of them and they seemed to love the activity and attention. By the way, their construction paper is 8.5” x 11” which surprised me.
The second activity was an afternoon karaoke activity which took all afternoon. Our crew decided to add to complete the afternoon with a duet by Erika and Mia and a quartet adding Stevie and Ben.
Matt, Iscah, Stephen, Anna, Michael, and Austin were supposed to paint today but the landlord changed paint color, so they taped walls for painting later. It looks like they may paint tomorrow… but our team (Maple Leafs) will certainly be painting when we take over the REFRESH ministry on Wednesday and Thursday.
Showers were interesting. We take showers after our work day. The shower temperature was unchangeable. Today’s results were something like this. As the first one in the shower as an adult volunteer, I could not get a drop of water over 60o so I showered… very quickly. Apparently, I went to fast because Mia and Erika were flushing out the cold water in their washroom to a nice warm temperature. The devastating effects of this were that everyone else had unbearably hot showers.
Last night Pastor Bill, from Emmanuel Church of the Nazarene- where we are staying, shared the story of how this church came to be a service-oriented church for the community. It was quite a story. A traumatic event about 11 years ago changed the hearts of the people and the leadership to change from an inward focused church to a community focused church. Several miraculous stories captured our kid’s attention. I am praying for several things to happen here in our week. Please be listening for the Spirit to lead you into prayer… for our youth… for our leaders… for our church… for our community.
I am feeling that my blogs will be getting shorter and shorter. Our schedule will look something like this:
- Tue: Pastor Dale (PD) team serving at St. Jude’s Pastor Matt (PM) team serving in REFRESH
Evening walk through the Toronto downtown with “EJ” a missionary to this urban community
- Wed: PD team serving in REFRESH PM team serving at a different Special needs ministry
Evening Activity of our choice. It looks like rain, so we may go to the downtown “Harbour Centre” where there are several places to see and… stay dry in.
- Thu: PD team serving in REFRESH PM team serving at a different Special needs ministry
The Evening Activity is a shared community dinner and celebration. We will have a chance to experience the people from this church and from the community.
- Fri: We will be up at 6:00 to clean the church building and to pack our vehicles. Pray for us as we press into God… and the week of service.
Gotta go… its 6:45 and we have breakfast prep this morning.
Grace and Peace,
July 31 st 2018; Day Three
Noteworthy: Today we experienced a second gift from the personal testimony of a minister of
God’s grace here in Toronto. I am beginning to think that this week was a planned gift from God.
We drove to downtown Toronto to a homeless shelter and met with a man who is a missionary to
Toronto. E. J. shared with me that he is the only ordained person in Toronto who actually lives in
Toronto. The median price of housing ownership is $800,000 Canadian Dollars. It seems that no one
wants to live in the city even if it’s their place of ministry.
E. J. had many heartbreaking stories to tell us. His passion for Christ and the people that we saw was
contagious. It is my sense that God is doing something in our kids but that there is a definite
resistance from our enemy, that ancient serpent. Please pray for our kids… now.
Benjamin Confer; Stevie Forestal; Austin and Erika Haag; Stephen Hill; Michael and Mia Jones; Iscah
Rintelman; Anna Schult… and our leaders Ginny Eck and Matt Fox.
For several reasons this is all folks.
Grace and Peace,
August 1st 2018; Day Four
Noteworthy: Today was a transition and exploration day. Our two teams swapped ministry style assignments. For my team (the Maple Leafs) that meant going to a neighborhood apartment building and painting some hallways. This ministry of Emmanuel’s is called REFRESH. We were the first team to begin their “Phase 2” of this ministry. I’m not sure how many years Phase 1 lasted but they have painted the inside of hundreds of homes in the neighborhood.
In Phase 2 they begin by responding to requests for great needs of the neighborhood. The “great need” number 1 is quite a story. The people in this apartment building complex worked hard in putting a submittal together to the City of Toronto and won a grant to paint their hallways. I’m not sure how big this complex is but there are many buildings with dozens of hallways. The Landlord proceeded to take the money and paint the hallways with paint that he must have had (or acquired for a cheap price) because it was the ugliest color that the tenants could have imagined. Since that day there has been a rift between the Landlord and the tenants. Emmanuel, in an effort to reconcile this relationship, is painting their hallways… in a color that the tenants choose… well sort of. Apparently, there it has been difficult for the landlord to approve the color. Team PM (Canucks) were in on the last color change and painted the final approved color on Tuesday. Our Team PD (Maple Leafs) will paint two halls today.
Team PM (Canucks) went to an Adult special needs ministry called New Hope. In this ministry there were groups of more highly functioning adults than St. Jude’s. They played games “of all sorts” and engaged in activities that included making bracelets.
Our “activity of choice” was Harbourfront Centre. After showers, we packed the cars and ventured through this wonderful Lake Ontario downtown destination and took on some Thai food, beaver tail, bubble tea, gelato, etc. There are also a few stories to tell… like the one about my “Tim Horton’s” pants. We enjoyed ourselves and then rushed back for our evening gathering.
Our group time in the evening is always a mix of the kids responding to the invitations of the staff, to share, with humor (always) but there are always surprising deep thoughts and expressions of faith that astound me. This was a stretching exercise for Pastor Matt. I have seen him grow as a leader before my eyes. There are several individual stories which are challenging, encouraging and full of hope. Keep praying. I’m sure that some of the stories will be told from our kid’s point of view soon.
Tomorrow we will wake up at 6:00 to pack, clean the building (we have extra cleaning because we are the last group at this church) and pack. Hopefully, we will leave by 9:00.
This will be my last blog. So, until I see you face to face…
Grace and Peace, PD
P.S. I am convinced that this trip has been a Godsend for our youth, our leaders and possible our church. There have been several coincidences that can only be attributed to God. Matt and I talked about this on Tuesday night. This week was completely left open for us to experience as an individualized week. Given that there are usually 6-8 groups each week and last week they had 60 kids makes this fact remarkable. What we have found out is that, after 19 years of ministry here in Toronto and 11 years at this church, Youthworks is closing this site do to lack of participation. I can only imagine that is because the advertising does not do this site justice. This is need oriented evangelism to a “t.” Our church needs to come out and experience this ministry. It is heart wrenching to say the least. Several months ago, someone handed an offering envelope to me after one of our services. I looked at it questioningly. The envelope read, “Pastor Dale- for your miracle.” I opened the envelope and it was a check for $1000. It was from someone not from our congregation. I believe that this may be a greater miracle than I could have ever imagined.
Our youth are going to be in Toronto from July 29th to August 3rd for a mission trip through Youth Works. Dale Rintelman, Matt Fox, and Ginny Eck will be leading a group of ten youth to serve Toronto by partnering with homeless shelters, food banks and senior centers.
our purpose: We exist to connect teenagers to God, each other and
communities through life-changing Christ-centered mission trips.
our vision: Providing life-changing Christ-centered mission trips is our way of serving God’s
multidenominational Church. We want to help empower every teenager to know God and be like Jesus in
the ways they love and serve others, and our desire is the same for churches, families, staff and
communities. We aim to create experiences that broaden perspectives, ignite passions, expose
possibilities and inspire pursuits.
our value:s As we live out our purpose and vision, we strive for these six priorities to shape the way
we work and those we work alongside. These core values hinge on our aspiration to love teenagers, work
alongside communities and serve God’s Church: