Inaugural event highlights world-wide missions
By Aaron Epp | Thursday, July 5, 2012
Photo courtesy of Ron Pearce.
WINNIPEG, MBGo west, young man. An annual event that showcases ministry opportunities from around the world is expanding to a second Manitoba location.
Missionfest Manitoba West, an extension of Missionfest Manitoba, will take place at McDiarmid Drive Alliance Church in Brandon on October 26 and 27. The inaugural event will feature more than 40 exhibitors as well as keynote speeches by Ron Pearce, the founder of Empower Ministries, and Greg Musselman, vice president of outreach for The Voice of the Martyrs.
Missionfest Manitoba is held annually in Winnipeg in February at Church of the Rock. Gordon Gilbey, the festival's executive director, says the October event helps fulfill Missionfest's mandate to put on events that reach people all across the provincenot just in Winnipeg.
"For Missionfest to really speak into Brandon (and western Manitoba), it really has to have its own festival," Gilbey says.
He adds that while some people are able to make it from outside of Winnipeg to Missionfest Manitoba, the distance and winter weather can be a deterrent.
"A few people from that area could make it to Winnipeg, but for the festival to really raise the missions bar in Brandon, it's got to be there and speak to Brandon and that whole corner of the province," Gilbey says. "I wouldn't be surprised if we get people attending who are from places like The Pas and south-eastern Saskatchewan as well."
Kevin Holmes of McDiarmid Drive Alliance Church is helping to organize the festival, and says he's looking forward to it because Missionfest events show people how God is working in other parts of the world.
Holmes and his family did missions in the Middle East for 10 years, and he always looked forward to sharing their stories when they returned to Canada. He's excited to give other speakers the same opportunity.
"We lived a life where we saw evidences of God all the time and it was exciting to see how He was moving, especially among the Muslim people," Holmes says, adding that most of what Canadians hear about the Middle East these days are the negative things reported by the media.
"God was calling people and people were responding. People in Canada don't know that. They need to know that God is doing miraculous, fantastic things around the world."
Holmes says at least seven other churches are helping to organize Missionfest Manitoba West and he hopes it becomes an annual event that is not owned or organized by any one church or committee, but rather is a group effort that brings different congregations together.
"My hope is that all who attend will be encouraged to see what God is doing in foreign countries, and in the end, that that will result in more missionaries going out and doing missions work," Holmes says.
"It's exciting for me to be involved in the little way that I am in mobilizing Christians into their God-given ministry," he says. "That's what I look at Missionfest as doingproviding [mission opportunities] for the Christians of Manitoba to get involved in."