The Rim Country’s Simone Lake, founder of Deep Roots in Christ Ministries and a popular Bible study teacher involved with numerous area churches, recently took her work to Canada.
Lake and two other women from the Arizona Baptist Convention were invited to participate in the Canadian Baptist Convention’s Midwest Baptist Association Women’s Retreat in Calgary, Alberta.
“This was the first conference of its kind in Alberta,” Lake said.
“People don’t see Canada as a place where there is mission work to be done,” she said.
“Most people in missionary work operate from a mindset based on Acts 1:8 where Christ told the disciples, ‘... you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ And they see missionary work taking them to Third World countries, not Canada.”
Lake was surprised at the need for missionary work in Canada. She shared some statistics provided to her by the hosting group, which titled the material “The Canadian Challenge.”
• Canada is the second largest country in the world — 1-1/2 times larger than the U.S.
• 89 percent of the land area is unsettled
• 80 percent of the population lives in cities; with 75 percent living within 90 miles of the U.S. border
• More than 50 percent of the population growth is through immigration
• Less than 7 percent of the Canadian population belongs to an evangelical church (43 percent claim to be Roman Catholic)
According to Lake’s hosts, there is a need for more than 10,000 new evangelical churches across Canada. In Calgary, Alberta, with a population of one million people, there are only 229 evangelical churches — one church for every 3,959 people.
“No matter where you’re at, there’s a need to grow spiritually,” Lake said.
She would like to do additional mission work in Canada and said she has asked women in her Bible studies throughout the Rim Country if they would be interested in going in a group to do the work.
“Quite a few of them have said they would like to join me. They like the fact they wouldn’t have to worry about learning a new language and if they had a health issue come up, the kind of care available is similar to what we have.”
Lake’s mission to Canada was brief, only a week-and-a-half. In addition to her participation in the retreat, she also spoke at a number of churches, at a ministers’ wives dinner and to college groups. At the retreat she presented a keynote address, “Joy from Christ’s Perspective” and taught several workshops, two on prayer, “Pressing in with Deeper Prayer, Yes, You Can Do It!” and another called “Hermeneutics,” which is on reading and studying the Bible.
She was gratified that her workshops were filled to overflowing and additional chairs had to be brought in and during meal breaks, many of the participants in her programs joined her to continue the lessons.
Another thing that surprised Lake was the tremendous diversity of the ethnic groups involved. There are Philippine and Korean Baptist churches in Calgary, and even some in which Mandarin Chinese is the principle language. In fact, at least two of the programs presented were in Mandarin because of the number of retreat participants who were immigrants from China.
She said the biggest challenge she had to deal with at the retreat was the lack of time. The workshops were so well received they could have gone on past the time in which they were scheduled, Lake said. There was also at least one opportunity to work with a college student that had to be missed because of the tight schedule.
“Leaving was hard, too. I grew so close to them and felt a kindred spirit with quite a few of them. I miss them already,” she said.
Lake hopes to return to Canada and would like to hear from anyone who would like to participate with her or partner in making a mission trip possible.
She can be contacted at email@example.com.