I’ve never been a big fan of winter. The bone chilling temperatures, the added work of shovelling snow and clearing driveways, the expensive heating bills, and the difficult driving conditions, all leave me feeling a bit ‘annoyed’ with winter. But, admittedly, there is something magical about it, such as waking up to a fresh blanket of white covering the ground, tree bows weighed down by a layer of snow, outdoor skating on frozen lakes and ponds, icicles hanging from the eaves of houses, and crisp air breathed into our lungs. Winter serves as a constant reminder that although the earth lay dormant for a season, new life will eventually spring forth.
Here in my small community in New Brunswick, signs of Spring are starting to emerge. The snow is almost gone, birds are returning, warmth is returning to the sun, and our days are getting longer. All of these signs point to new life emerging from the ground that was once covered by snow and ice.
The prophet Isaiah, speaking on behalf of God, reminds us that the snow and rain is necessary to nourish the ground. He says, “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.” (Is 55:10, NLT)
I guess I should really change my outlook on winter…although it can feel long and difficult to endure, it is necessary and part of God’s design for creation. In my last update, I had reported that I was in a season of planning, both in my work in the Philippines and within faith + work. At times, those months felt long and hard to endure, but it is my prayer that those months of planning will serve as nourishment for our work and that God would use it to bring forth lasting fruit. The prophet Isaiah goes on to say, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (Is 55:11, NLT).
In this update, I’ll share some highlights from the past few months with updates on CBM’s global focus on Faith+Work, and our ongoing work in the Philippines with our partners there. I hope you find these updates encouraging, and as always, if you would like more information, please feel free to reach out to me.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support!
FAITH+WORK: Strategic Plan Implementation
In my last update, I shared with you that our Faith + Work team at CBM had been working on a new 4-year strategy framework plan to help guide our work into the future. We received approval from CBM’s executive leadership team in November 2021 and were given the ‘green light’ to begin implementation.
Although our focus on Faith + Work at CBM is not new, we have struggled over the years with what to call it. We’ve referred to it in several different ways (marketplace ministry, Co323, Faith+Work), but we’ve not felt that any of them fully capture and communicate the intent of our work in the marketplace.
With this in mind, one of our first priorities was to establish a creative brand, logo, and tagline to be used throughout all our work, both here in Canada and around the world. CBM’s Content & Design team led us through a design process where we considered lots of great options, but in the end, one clearly rose to the top.
As much as I’d love to share it with you, I will hold off for now. We are working towards a big ‘reveal’ and full launch of CBM’s new faith + work brand, including a web page, a social media presence, and much more.
In addition to developing this new faith + work brand, we have also been working on developing processes and building structures to facilitate work with our field staff and partners within our three key themes. These include Formation (theology of work), Creation (transformational business initiatives), and Mobilization (joining God’s mission through work).
PHILIPPINES: Beginning a New Year of Ministry
All of the planning that was completed during the last quarter of 2021 has paved the way for a new ministry to begin in the Philippines with our partner, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM). Although the Philippines is still affected by pandemic restrictions, we are thankful that KPM’s programming has been able to carry on without significant complications. Programs, such as KPM’s childcare centers, continue to serve the needs of children and their families to ensure that no child is left behind.
CBM’s programming with KPM underwent a bit of restructuring for 2022 and now falls under three main focuses: 1) Education and Formation for Children & Youth, 2) Theological Education for Pastors
3) Capacity Building and Livelihood Support for Individuals & Families.
In addition to these three main focuses, KPM continues to operate two Faith + Work initiatives, FOOD for LIFE and BUGANA Livelihood Center. Although the pandemic has made it very difficult for these two business initiatives, I am pleased to report that they both continue to operate and are making a significant impact in the lives of those involved. We give thanks to God that although FOOD for LIFE is no longer receiving financial support from CBM, it continues to grow and flourish in support of the farmer cooperators. FOOD for LIFE now has its own storage facility to keep products safe and clean until they are ready to go to market and a laboratory where they produce organic inputs so farmers can produce healthy and safe food without the use of harmful chemicals.
FAITH + WORK: Formation – Creation – Mobilization
Being based in Canada has allowed for me to engage at a much deeper level, both here in Canada and around the world, as it relates to the development of CBM’s Faith + Work strategy. Integrating faith with work, especially as an extension of Integral Mission and with an emphasis on whole-life discipleship, continues to be of great interest to CBM staff and partners.
Currently, we have teams in Africa and Latin America participating in course work towards earning a Certificate in Marketplace Transformation through our partner, the Institute for Marketplace Transformation (IMT). In addition, a small group from within CBM’s Africa team is working on the development of a contextualized curriculum that will be used to teach marketplace theology with CBM’s African partners. It is our hope that this curriculum will be able to be adapted for use in other fields as well.
In addition to the business initiatives in the Philippines, CBM is also supporting an initiative in Nagaland, India with partners there. This initiative began in 2021 and is now preparing for the launch of phase 2. We are also in the development stage of a new transformational business initiative with our partners in DR Congo.
Here in Canada, we are also connecting with partners and looking for opportunities to collaborate. Most recently, I am having the opportunity to share with students and staff at Crandall University through a series of Chapel sessions, which we hope will lead to further partnership and engagement.
At the end of April, CBM will be co-sponsoring a Masterclass with CBAC through their Leadership Development Department. The focus of this Masterclass will be on ‘The Kingdom of God, the Church and the Marketplace’. Dr. Paul Stevens, founder of the IMT, will be our special guest presenter. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with our partner, CBAC, to provide a space for pastors to learn and consider the importance of integrating faith with everyday work in the world.
Lastly, in early January, I invited a small group of pastors to join me on an 8-week journey through a video series titled, ‘Doing God’s Business’. This series, created by IMT, is designed to introduce various theological themes related to the integration of faith and work, while providing opportunities for group discussion. The goal of the group is to learn and consider how, as pastors, these theological themes can be integrated into their own ministry contexts. We are hoping to host similar groups with pastors, both here in Canada and with our international partners.
Prayer & Praise
- Please pray for CBM’s partner in the Philippines, KPM, as they wrap up the first quarter of programming for 2022 and prepare reports.
- Please pray for the Philippines as they approach a national election in May. In the past, elections have led to conflict, so please pray for peaceful elections.
- Please pray for CBM field staff in Latin America and in Africa who are taking courses towards a Certificate in Marketplace Transformation through our partner, Institute of Marketplace Transformation (IMT)
- Please pray for the people of Ukraine and those attempting to provide aid and support to those in need.
In my new role of Senior Associate, Faith+Work and Philippines, I continue to serve as a CBM Field Staff. As such, it is necessary for me to raise financial support. If you are interested in becoming a Partner-in-Mission with our family, please contact Barb Keys (firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-905-821-3533) at Canadian Baptist Ministries. You can also go to my page to give online or for more information. We are only able to follow God’s leading in our lives thanks to the monthly support of generous individuals and churches.
All donations of $10.00 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt at year-end.