All around Canada, there are ministries passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus with children and families. Up first in The Hope Blog’s new Spotlight Interview series is Bible League Canada. We chat with International Ministry Manager, James Pak.
THB: Tell us about the mission of Bible League Canada. How would you describe what you do to someone who is just hearing about you for the first time?
JP: Bible League Canada believes that all people should have access to the Living Word of God along with the tools to read and understand it. We are all about placing the Bible in eager, waiting hands. We do this strategically through extraordinary local partners in Canada and around the world, building on their strengths and ours to see people transformed by the Living Word of God.
THB: Bible League Canada has been active in Canada for more than 60 years. Where else are you working?
JP: Bible League Canada is currently working in over 40 countries on 5 continents.
THB: A recent development for the organization was the launch of Converge Canada. Tell us a bit about that. How is it different from Bible League Canada?
JP: Converge Canada brings the vision and mission of Bible League Canada to a laser beam focus on Canada. By building partnerships with national ministries who believe Canadians need Jesus, Converge Canada is committed to expanding the impact of Bible-centric discipleship programs, to see all Canadians transformed by the Living Word of God. Bible League Canada continues to focus on this mission internationally.
THB: Bible League Canada works in four main areas, Children’s Ministry, Starting New Churches, Adult Bible-Based Ministry, and work within the Persecuted Church. Tell us more about Bible League Canada’s work with children’s ministry, in particular. How are you active in this area?
JP: We work with amazing partners who provide great opportunities for kids to hear about Jesus in settings they enjoy, making the Word of God come alive for them. Summer Bible camps, after school programs, and year-long Bible clubs engage kids with tutoring, stories, songs, games and more. The best part is, when they go home, they share this message with their families and friends!
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THB: Why do you see this as a vital part of your mission?
JP: Kids, particularly in the 5-14 age group, are open to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Once a person reaches adulthood, accepting Christ becomes increasingly rare. Evangelism is most effective in the childhood and teenage years.
THB: What does this work look like on a practical level? What sorts of on-the-ground things are you involved with?
JP: In India, year-long Bible clubs invite kids to come every day after school for tutoring, and then some Bible teaching, songs and games. The kids are given a Bible, and leaders spend time with them, helping them understand what they are reading. These Bibles make their way into their homes, where they are often eager to read for siblings, parents, and even grandparents.
In the Philippines, the after school program is a national program taught by volunteers, and endorsed by the Philippine government! Each week, kids are taught about how much Jesus loves them and how He asks them to live in response to His teachings.
THB: How is this making a difference? Is there a particular story (or two) that you could share that really brings it home?
JP: In the Philippines, we hear over and over again from principals who are astonished at the change in behaviour of the students who attend these after school programs, to the point where the principals are pleading with the volunteers to expand the program. The kids’ hearts are changed when they learn about Jesus, and it is just so evident to everyone around them.
THB: How about here in Canada?
JP: One Hope Canada is one of our partners. They provide kids with in-depth Bible engagement while spending time in God’s creation in Bible camp settings. This has proven to be a combination that really resonates. They hear time and time again from kids whose lives are changed because of their experiences at camp.
Many return for leadership training, to multiply their own experience for other kids. As one camper reflected, “…being a camper and eventually a camp counselor for many years was one of the most significant parts of my journey with Christ. I could hardly wait to share with my family and friends all of the ‘God moments’ that took place each summer.”
THB: Why is it important for parents, grandparents, children’s ministry leaders—really anyone with children in their lives—to continue to speak into their spiritual development?
JP: We live in such a complex world, with so many voices competing for our kids’ attention: their peers, social media, television, the internet. Providing a clear, guiding, steady voice for them has never been more important. Investing in our kids’ spiritual lives impacts them for eternity!
THB: In light of the challenging times brought on by COVID-19, how has this affected the work of Bible League Canada? How are you having to pivot to continue to meet the needs in the countries where you work?
JP: The global pandemic has truly been a “gasp and then just breathe” situation for ministry work. Obstacles seemed insurmountable—like, how can we build relationships with people if we can’t meet with them? But God has been faithful, and is showing us the ways we need to move forward. Technology has never been more vital. And as one of our Latin American partners noted, “As everyone practices social distancing to abide by local restrictions, we are delighted to find people have more time and open hearts for sustained, meaningful conversations.” The Word of God cannot be chained!
THB: How can Canadian Christians support the work of Bible League Canada?
JP: The easiest is to donate, or purchase a Be Still Devotional Day Planner, where the proceeds from each purchase fund on-going ministry work. As well, every Devotional Day Planner purchase provides a Bible to someone who needs it. And of course, prayer!
THB: How can we pray for Bible League Canada?
JP: Pray God would continue to use Bible League Canada, so that all people everywhere would be transformed by the Living Word of God!