Reaching Refugees in Toronto
BMC Students Jump Cultural Barriers at Sports Camps
During their summer in Toronto, Canada, BMC students Coty Cook and Katy James interacted with people from Pakistan, Greece, China, and the Philippines. Toronto is home to many refugees from war-torn countries around the world. This incredibly diverse mission field is in need of committed missionaries with a deep sensitivity towards other cultures.
Cook and James spent 52 days supervising sports camps for Upward Sports, Monday through Friday of each week. At night, they left camp and went into the city to meet people and share the Gospel with them.
“Each of these people came with a whole host of stories that revealed their desperation for a God who could heal and save. The Lord was gracious and we saw Him bring people from death into Life,” said Cook.
The Work: Building Relationships
During one of their sports camps, Cook and James befriended a young Syrian refugee, Rashad, who told them about life in a war zone. Rashad’s family had stopped going to the mosque in their town near Damascus because mosques were being targeted for bombings. One day Rashad had a fight with his father, who would not allow Rashad to go with his friends to the mosque. Later that day, Rashad’s friends were killed in a bombing at that very same mosque.
Rashad told Cook, “I think God allowed me and my Dad to fight to keep me alive, but I don’t know what the purpose is.”
Cook explained to Rashad his idea that God had kept Rashad alive so that he could meet the missionaries and hear the good news about Jesus. Rashad answered, “I believe this is why God allowed me to live, so I could meet you and hear this message— and you have become like my family.”
Cook, James, and their supervisors developed a close relationship with Rashad and his family. Though this Muslim family did not become Christians, they continue to have a deep friendship with the missionaries and are open to discussing religion.
“His (Rashad’s) sister Shayma and I really hit it off and she was full of questions about ‘my religion.’ She is very interested in Christianity, but has not given her life to Christ yet,” said James.
The Call: Why to Consider Summer Missions
The mission field in Toronto is not an easy one. Cook and James experienced exhaustion and cultural barriers. Nevertheless, both of them passionately recommend summer missions to students on a regular basis. Cook is also currently a mobilizer for the International Mission Board and helps students connect to missions through the IMB.
Cook said, “We will be forever thankful to God for our time on the field in Toronto, and we urge others to go and fall in love with every soul you meet. The reward will far outweigh the risk.”
How Can You Get Involved
Contact Tracy Moser at the BSU, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to summer missions online: www.missionsnow.net.