The most wonderful year I’ve seen for some time…
Well, here I am waiting to leave my hotel to travel to Toronto Airport for the ten hour trip back to the UK, and I just felt I needed to record what I've witnessed over the last four days here. To be honest, it’s more to do with what I've seen since we started the CAP Canada journey over the last 18 months. It’s strange to think of all we have been through and all God has done. I’m used to seeing miracles (because I always need them!), however what I've witnessed here has really taken my breath away.
First, I really did take some persuading about coming to Canada. It took well over a year for me to really get a sense of peace from God about it. I’ve no idea why it took so long or why I struggled to find the peace but, hey, it’s always important you are honest – if you're not sure, always say you're not sure.
Then by last October, very much led by the faith of Helen Johnson, who was our UK Director of Centre Development at that time, we agreed to begin preparation. Helen really knew God was calling her to Canada and, without her faith, I’m not sure we would have pioneered into a new country. It took six months to get everything ready and then, together with Will MacLaughlin, one of our centre managers form Northern Ireland, Helen flew out to Toronto to make a start.
And here we are now! Wow – what a nine months of progress! From just a few names and a couple of churches who said they would be interested, we have seen massive favour from God. CAP Canada is now truly up and moving! We have 41 churches running the CAP Money Course, with 88 CAP Money Coaches trained. More importantly for us in terms of reaching the poor, we have established our first four CAP Debt Centres and have 30 clients on their way to becoming debt free. It’s working! Just last week we saw our first client choose to become a Christian too.
We needed $170,000 to cover the initial costs, establish the staff team and set off. On Friday night when we held our first ever fundraising dinner in Toronto, we raised $37,000 from just 70 generous Canadians. This $35,000, when added to the other income we've seen this year, means we haven’t just covered the $170,000 we needed – we might even have a few $1000s towards 2014! We also have 150 Life Changers giving every month! It’s been some time since I've seen God's hand so clearly in something.
We are definitely on our way now here in Canada. We are looking to open at least six more debt centres next year and partner with another 40 churches to run the CAP Money Course. We’ll see our ministry really get ready to expand throughout Canada. It's such a privilege to be used by God to see his kingdom come. I just can't quite believe it’s 17 years since it all started in my bedroom office with £10 and a heart to see lives changed. Here I am 5,000 miles from home, in awe at my generous and gracious God, who is able to truly do more than you can dream or imagine.
I’m looking forward to going home to see Lizzie and the kids and having some time to reflect on the most wonderful year I've seen for some time.