Saturday, July 5, 2008

Our Two Year Stint with the Coolest Mission in the World (IMHO)

The month of July marks the end of a two-year stint with Peru Mission. We have arrived at the difficult decision to shift gears in our life of ministry leaving behind a mission that we love dearly, and embracing a new challenge that we would never have dreamed of. We have accepted a new assignment on a new mission field- we’ll be moving from way down south in Peru, to way up north in Canada(!).

A brief summary: As we've thought about where we should invest ourselves in this next stage of life, we came up with 4 criteria: We wanted to be (1) in an important urban center; (2) near a major university; (3) in a post-modern / post-Christian context; (4) where the PCA (our church) is thin or non-existent. As we thought about the ways in which God has been shaping us and forming our thoughts along these criteria, I have accepted a call to be a part of a multi-site / multi-congregational church planting movement in Calgary, Alberta (we received a recommendation from Mission to North America’s Church Planting Assessment Center in June).

We looked at a handful of other options—including in our beloved home country of Texas—but none matched up with our desires like Calgary did. Calgary is (1) a beautiful city of over a million people with ~20,000 moving there every year; (2) home of the Univ. of Calgary—36,000 students; (3) post-modern and as several Canadian pastors have told me—very post-post-post Christian; (4) has only two PCA churches with about 200 people attending. In some major cities of Canada, over 40% of the people are atheist. Further, the fastest growing religious categories by rate of increase between 1991 and 2001 are Paganism (+281%), Native Spirituality (+175%) and Islam (+129%). Calgary needs the Gospel: only around 10-12% of the city attends a Christian church of any kind, and that number is shrinking rapidly.

We are excited and scared at the same time, feeling that this will be the biggest thing we've attempted to do for Christ's Kingdom to date. We have grown a lot, learned a ton, and we really feel like we are more prepared to do this now in ways that we wouldn't have been able to do several years ago. So we ask for your continued prayers.

So it's with a mixture of sadness (to be leaving such a fine mission and to be saying goodbye to our beloved Peruvian friends) and anticipation for continued use in the mission field. We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish here as well as the ways we've been able to serve Peru Mission. We couldn't have done it without the prayers and support of our friends around the world. Thank you.

The immediate future: We'll be moving back to our hometown of Bryan/College Station around mid-August to begin development for this new project.

Some of our supporters have asked us about continued support & partnership. The short answer: Yes! August will be our last month employed with Peru Mission, and then we will be in full-time fundraising mode for Calgary. There will be a few months gap until our mission board / paperwork, etc., are all in place to process gifts & receipts. We will keep you posted.

Thanks for being a part of our lives and the work of Christ’s kingdom. It is a privilege to be in this together with you.

Grace & Peace,
John & Heather Ferguson

Banff National Park, an hour outside of Calgary

1 comment:

em said...

sounds good