Member letter (March 2024)

Dear fellow disciple of Jesus,

The year 2024 is already well underway, and by the time you receive this letter, we will have just completed Holy Week and experienced the celebration of Easter.

As I write, I am thinking of the lessons I learned during the time of Easter Preparation. One sermon gave at that time was based on Mark 8:34-37:

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

In her blog from Ash Wednesday Diana Butler Bass pondered what it means to take up our cross and follow Jesus: “If we can practice resurrection turning that seemingly impossible Easter event into a way of life, might it be possible to practice the cross?”

I like how she words our call to discipleship as “practicing the cross”.

What does it mean to practice our calling as a disciple of Jesus? It can be a pretty daunting task at times but can be filled with incredible satisfaction.

A few years ago, I had lunch with a friend of mine who used to work as an executive director of a food assistance charity. Her job consisted of constantly trying to find funding, visiting potential donors, and operating an organization with a bare-bones staff. In the years I knew that organization they did incredible work on a shoestring budget.

Then she took a job as executive director at one of the major philopatric foundations in her province. She was able to accomplish so much more with a larger staff and rather than focusing on trying to find money for her charity, she had the task of providing funds to charities like the one she had worked for. When I asked her what she felt about her new job she explained: “Bill, it is the best job ever!”

I often tell my fellow disciples that we have been given “the best job ever”. We get to preach and live out the Gospel! To tell the story to our neighbours that there is a God that loves them, and who wants to have a relationship with them. And to not just explain in our words, but in our actions that God is not dead (as Easter teaches us, “He Is Risen”) but is working in our midst. As Jesus’ disciples, we “get” to “practice the cross” and follow the Master in all we do. Not out of some sort of obligation, or because we “have to”, but in response to the life that Jesus has offered us.Since my last letter, God has continued to bless us with good news stories.

First, I want to welcome Silvester Nkosi to the position of fellowship group facilitator in Quebec City. He has taken over from Roger Labelle so that Roger can focus on leading our newly formed bilingual church in Montreal. Silvester was one of our pastors in Africa (see below) before he emigrated to Canada. The group in Quebec City as well as the church in Montreal certainly needs our prayers as they “practice the cross” in one of the most secular societies in Canada.

Two other good news stories originate from our congregation in Surrey, BC:

Ordination and Commissioning of Job Alimasi Ayuba

On January 13, 2024, about 100 enthusiastic people gathered at New Life Christian Fellowship / GCI Surrey, BC for a very special and joyous service. National Director Bill Hall braved the challenging weather travelling to BC, along with others from Quebec City, Ottawa, Edmonton, Texas, and Michigan, to join our special celebration. After his sermon, Bill Hall ordained Job Alimasi Ayuba to the position of elder and commissioned him as Associate Pastor of our congregation. Job’s long-time mentor and pastor from Malawi, Silvester Nkosi testified of Job’s long-term commitment to Jesus Christ and service in ministry, including leading youth groups and camps in Malawi as well as serving as deacon and then pastor of the congregation in the Dzaleka Refugee camp where he lived with his wife Imani and their children. In July 2019 GCI Surrey sponsored Job and Imani and their family to emigrate to Canada, where Job and Imani have continued to serve in the church and in the community. We were delighted that six of Job’s coworkers attended the service as well as friends from near and far.

Craig and Debbie Minke New Life Christian Fellowship / GCI Surrey

Family Day Carnival

GCI Surrey decided to host a free “Family Day Carnival” on Monday February 19, for our community. Our volunteers spent many hours preparing games, distributing over five hundred flyers in the neighbourhood, and praying for success. On carnival day twenty-two volunteers dressed in bright yellow t-shirts welcomed over one hundred guests to join the fun, offering nine different games, face painting, a colouring table, candy jar guessing, popcorn, drinks, and prizes for all the kids. Parents and kids, grandparents and friends enjoyed the games and hung around to visit afterwards. It was an awesome experience for everyone involved—not only the participants but also for the volunteers who served and loved wholeheartedly in the name of Jesus!

Job Ayuba (Love Avenue Champion and Associate Pastor) New Life Christian Fellowship / GCI


I look forward to sharing more “good news” or God stories in the months ahead, as disciples like you and I discover what it means to “practice the cross” in their lives. Each day I thank God for your prayerful support for this church.

Bill Hall

National Director