Storyline Winter 2017

FIRSTALLIANCECHURCHCALGARY

Winter edition of FAC's Storyline Magazine. Stories of Christmas giving & advent, global & community impact, and life change. See photography, illustrations, and writing from gifted FAC volunteers.

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Winter 2017


a note from Pastor James

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Register for Next Steps

Christmas is a season full of expectations and often some surprises! This year we are so excited

to have all three of our kids home for Christmas. What is it that you are anticipating most of all?

My prayer is that all of us will find the space to be amazed by Emmanuel, God’s wonderful gift of

Himself to us. Our six Christmas Eve services are going to be a great opportunity to invite family

and friends to hear the story of God’s unexpected arrival. There’s plenty of room so please be

generous with your invitations!

Finding your way in a large community like FAC can be daunting. I know, I’ve had to do it! That’s

why we have Next Steps, an event designed just for you. God’s plan for each of us is that we will

Connect, Grow, Serve, and Share. If you’re unsure of your next step, would like to know more

about following Jesus, are trying to find community, or would just like to meet some people who

would love to meet you – this is just what you’ve been looking for. I’d love to meet with you for a

fun-filled interactive experience and some good food, too, on January 14.

I love this time of year and I love being your pastor!

Merry Christmas,

Pastor James Paton

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Connect with Pastor James!

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our team

Editor in Chief Heather Wile

Art Director & Assistant Editor Briana Southerland

Graphic Design Deon Watson, Julie McPhail, & Peggy

Xia

Editor Cheryl Siebring

Photography (unless otherwise noted)

Jill Hopkins Daron Young

Terry Schmidt unsplash.com

contact us

Phone 403-258-4359

Email storyline@faccalgary.com

web faccalgary.com/storyline-magazine

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Writers (unless otherwise noted)

Josephine Tse Terry Schmidt

James Paton Peace Oyetunji

Jill Hopkins Jeremy Dyck

Photo Editing

Samuel Campo & Janina Resus

Print Production Humphries Printing Inc.

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Fall 2017

3

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Did you know there

is a new FAC blog?!

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to check it out

Advent

y wife and I decided to forego the

traditional Advent calendar for our

kids this year. At first, we thought that

it would be a letdown for the children to

not have something to open up every

day. It was an easier decision once we saw that our

children don’t need daily reminders of a Christmas

countdown.

You know how with your children, you count “sleeps”

until the big day?

“18 more sleeps until Christmas time!” I would say.

My middle child rolls his eyes. “It’s actually 445 hours,

6 minutes, and 11 seconds, Dad.”

Wow.

They do NOT need reminders of how long it is until

Christmas.

But we sometimes do need reminders of what

Christmas is about. That’s why the church holds

this “Advent” tradition. Advent, in the Latin, means

“coming.” And it’s a shame we don’t use that word

more often.

Before the movie: “Advent soon to a theatre near

you!”

If your Mom calls you for dinner: “OK, Mom, advent!”

And who could forget great songs like “She’ll Be

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Advent ‘Round the Mountain”; “Santa Claus is

Advent to Town”; or that classic Stevie Wonder

album, “Where I’m Advent From.”

OK, maybe it’s wise that we don’t use that word

so often. But we do tend to forget why we use it.

Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas,

reminds us that Jesus is coming. We don’t light

these fancy candles every week to remind us that

Christmas is coming. I have my kids for that. “It’s

now 445 hours, 4 minutes, and 30 seconds, Dad!”

We’re reminded of three things: His first coming

as a little baby into the world; His current coming

into our lives; and the future when He’s coming

back again. That was the first intention of Advent.

Now, we use Advent as a way to remind us that,

in spite of the growing excitement of Christmas,

we celebrate a different reality altogether. We can

celebrate the past events in a tiny animal shed

2000 years ago. We can celebrate the present

(Get it? Present? The double meaning of “gift” and

“now”? See what I did there?) of Jesus coming into

our hearts. And we can also celebrate the certain

future of His Second Coming.

I’m certain that when I’m old and grey, I’ll be talking

with my kids about the lead-up to Christmas,

about how, in my day, we didn’t see Christmas

supplies in Costco until October. Unlike now,

when they're up as early as February 26.

So, maybe as a suggestion for next year, should

we start our Advent a little earlier? Can we bump

it into an 8-week thing? 12 weeks? That would

be a lot of candles by the time Christmas rolls

around, but I’ve seen fire extinguishers around

the church. I’m sure we can manage it.

At any rate, I like the tradition of remembering

Christ’s Advent, or coming into this world at

this time of year. If only we had a chocolate

calendar to remember this part of Christmas.

• Written by Jeremy Dyck


not another

Christmas

GIVINGarticle?!

Written by JEREMY DYcK

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Christmas giving can be so much more than the stores make it out to be. You

can still be a giving person, but it shouldn’t have to be stressful. This year, I’m

giving you permission to sit back and enjoy the holiday times.


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Illustrations in this article by Michaela

Thiessen, FAC Grade 10 Student


Staff

Reflections

It was eight o’clock on a Sunday night, and I

found myself sitting in a car next to a hysterical,

pregnant, fifteen-year-old girl crouched over in

the passenger’s seat sobbing uncontrollably.

e were stationed outside her father’s house, which had just been

raided by the police after the neighbors saw a man dragging

a woman across the floor onto the front steps of the house.

Inside the residence the police had found a myriad of drugs, alcohol, and

tobacco. After investigating the situation, the officer on duty stated that

the house was not a safe place to live in and suggested that the young girl

find a shelter to stay. As I sat in the car, reflecting on the past few months

that this girl had spent at Emma House and the definitive decision she

had made to go back to her old lifestyle, I began to genuinely question my

ability to help and enable a long-lasting impact in her life and the lives of

the women I encountered daily. It was stories like this one that opened

my eyes to the dangers and obstacles of being homeless and pregnant.

Over the past two years, my time at Emma House has been filled with

a range of various emotions. I have had the privilege of embarking on

a journey with 27 different women from various cultures, families, and

circumstances, each with their own life stories. As each of these women

entered Emma House with the purpose of finding healing and making

a change, I realized I was part of an organization that was focused on

equipping women who were once lost and broken and leading them

into a life of wholeness. In many aspects, Emma House is like a glass

mosaic with each woman as a different piece of the puzzle. Each piece is

essential to the final product; alone, the picture wouldn’t be complete, but

together they make up the body, the community, the family that is Emma


House. It is difficult to understand how such a vulnerable

demographic could be looked down upon for their life

choices and circumstances when in reality these women

are some of the most persistent, resourceful, and resilient

people I have ever met. Though not all of them succeed

in making a change, the ones that do have overcome

adversities and built a better life for themselves and their

children.

As I’ve watched these women become bold, empowered,

and independent, I am truly honoured to have been a

part of such a monumental period in their lives. So, as my

time at Emma House comes to a close, I leave learning …

knowing … believing that these women are not accidents

waiting to happen, but destinies being fulfilled.

• Written by an Emma House Staff

Member

Emma House Beginnings

In 1992 Emma House welcomed

its first resident in a rented

church manse. Initiated by two

police officers and a group of

individuals concerned about

the lack of support and shelters

available for pregnant homeless

women, Emma House became the

only shelter dedicated to reaching

out to women who were vulnerable to

homelessness while pregnant.

In years since, Emma House has provided

shelter and support to over 140 expectant mothers from

across Canada, encouraging women to build new lives away

from violence, poverty, or addiction.

In response to a growing waiting list for long-term housing,

Emma House has lengthened the stay for women and

newborn babies, allowing them to stay up to six months

while securing long term housing.

"At first I was angry, I was pregnant and felt abandoned by

everyone. It didn’t take me long, however, to warm up to

the house parents. They made me feel right at home ... I felt

like I could breathe for the first time in three years. It was so

refreshing to have someone who really cared just listen to me."

– Shawna placed her baby for adoption and returned to school.

She is now married and a mother again.

Emma House is a community

partner of FAC. Interested in

getting involved?

click here!

volunteer at the Emma House

Contact Michelle Peters,

Community Impact Admin

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WHAT IS YOUR

PLAN

for me, god?

Written by TERRY SCHMIDT


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“Everyone needs a good laugh

now and then and I hope my

comics will do that for others.”

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Story of Global Impact

“Jesus said, 'Go and do the same!'” Luke 10:37

Upon first meeting Heather Hair, you will find a humble individual with an impressive 30-year career as an emergency

nurse, a developed businesswoman, and a leader in the health care industry. But digging deeper, you will discover

the biggest passion in her life is serving Jesus.

Heather has participated in several missions trips to the Philippines, Central America, and most recently the Middle

East. Admittedly, when Heather first heard about the missions trip from Pastor Craig, she wasn’t certain. However, as

it stewed in her heart, Jesus pressed upon her that the Middle East was the place He wanted her to be. Obedient in

her faith, she packed her bags and joined the team in April.

Heather was part of the first response medical team and upon arriving was quickly exposed to the brokenness of the

health care system, the lack of rules, and deficiency in regulations. There were an abundance of people who were

sick and hurting and her heart broke for them. “Jesus loves these people; what can I do to serve?” was a question she

would often ask herself.

As Christ-followers it doesn’t matter where we are in the world; we continue to be His faithful servants

everywhere we go.

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One day during the trip Heather was called to see

a man who was suffering from diabetes. Without

much examination Heather knew the patient had not

received the proper treatment. As a result of improper

care for his diabetes, the patient suffered from one

of the worst cases of gangrene she had ever seen.

Quickly, she recognized this would lead to amputation

and she needed to provide him with better care

immediately. Without hesitation and despite the

language barrier, she took the initiative to transfer

him to her personal car and drove a long distance to

another health care site where she knew she had the

proper tools and medical colleagues to aid him. This

unexplainable act was overwhelmingly confusing for

this man; it’s almost unheard of for medical personnel

to go above and beyond to help the sick in his country.

Throughout the car ride he kept on saying, “You are

sent by Allah”; her response was, “It’s Jesus who led

me here.”

After just a few days of basic health care provided at

this site, his foot was substantially better with reduced

pain. This man and his family were so overwhelmed

by this act of kindness. Through this act of service, this

man felt and experienced something different – God’s

relentless love. Despite the language barrier Heather

was able to communicate God’s love for this man as if

she were the hands and feet of Christ.

A couple of months after she returned home from the

missions trip, Heather received a call from a doctor

at the health care site where Heather took this man.

The doctor told Heather, “This man would like your email.” As

it’s abnormal for a health care professional to divulge personal

contact information to patients – and especially since they didn’t

share a common language – she didn’t respond. A short time

later, Heather received another call from a surgeon sharing that

this man was adamant to get her email. Heather finally decided

to pass her contact information along and is now awaiting those

words this man would like to share with her.

"It's Jesus who led

me here."

Regardless of if and when Heather receives an email from him,

she continuously prays for this man. And as much as God has

moved in this man’s life Heather shares that crossing paths

with this man on this trip has greatly changed her life. She was

a witness to how God’s love can penetrate even without

spoken words, and became a vessel to be a means to an

end for God’s purpose. God’s love is so amazing and even in

times of brokenness He provides hope. God calls on us in many

different ways, sometimes even in difficult situations, but it is

up to us to respond and take that leap of faith just like Heather

did last April. • Written By Josephine Tse


"Light to the Darkness" Illustration by Slavik Lykhosherstov

“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel …”

This is a mandate given to every believer to reach the unreached and share the love of Jesus. “The world”

may mean different things to different individuals. It could mean your local community, work place, school,

coffee shop, bus stop … or yours may be a call to take the gospel overseas like Harvey and Selma Bolt.

Being on mission is not new to Harvey and Selma;

they were missionaries in Germany for 25 years. This

past summer Harvey and Selma, with another couple

from Calgary, had an opportunity to go on a two-week

mission trip to Interlaken, Switzerland. They were part

of one of the missions under the Arabian Peninsula

Partnership, called “Salamu Aleikum” which means

“peace be unto you.” This mission is led by a Swiss

missionary who has the vision to reach the holidaying

Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula. They had an amazing

experience but not without meticulous preparations

and plans.

Each morning began with a devotional and prayer.

The daily training sessions oriented them on how to

approach and understand the Arab culture and how to

direct a conversation from weather talk to introducing

Jesus.

In the afternoon, they dispersed into town in groups

of four. Two people would approach Arabs and talk to

them about Christ, while two others prayed in a less

obvious place. Harvey explained, “We had little Arabic

Bibles and New Testaments – since the Muslims have

great respect for holy books.” Also, they were given a

small folder welcoming them to Interlaken. Inside the

folder was a small chip containing the Arabic Bible,

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nearly six months, the pain was still there. At this point

people advised her not to go on the mission trip because

she would be handicapped and hinder the whole team.

But Selma says, “We were so convinced that we needed

to go and we wanted to go.”

Two days before their trip she had a bee sting on her

knee, which resulted in swollenness and aggravated

pain. They saw this as temptation and discouragement

to hinder them from going to preach the gospel, but

they were relentless in their decision to make the trip.

the Jesus film, and testimonies of those who became

Christians through dreams and visions. These materials

gave possibilities for long or short conversations.

Several evenings the outreach included showing the

Jesus film in the park. Four Alphorn players started the

evenings with a half-hour concert, with the purpose of

gathering people.

Selma remarked, “The Arabs are very polite and they like

to talk about religion. Personally we also had a higher

advantage because they have respect for older people,

so most people we approached gave us audience.” They

knew they couldn’t talk to everyone on the street but

they prayed that the Lord would lead them to the right

souls.

In Arab culture men are only allowed to talk to men,

and women to women. Harvey approacheda man, while

Selma spoke with his wife and five daughters. Selma

shared a personal experience that led her to Christ

which ministered to them in a way that made them want

to hear more about Christ. After a lengthy conversation,

Harvey offered the dad a Bible, but before he even had a

chance to accept it, one of the daughters grabbed it and

hugged it tightly. Harvey and Selma used the openness

to pray God’s blessing over the family and they believe

God is at work in their family.

Last March Selma damaged a nerve in her back and

leg (sciatic nerve), resulting in many months of severe

pain and disability. She visited a chiropractor, went for

acupuncture, massage, and physiotherapy, but nothing

helped. The doctor told her it would take about three

months to heal. After three months, she started feeling

better but then suddenly relapsed. They prayed and

tried all kinds of treatment but the pain persisted. After

On the day of the trip, Selma recalls, “As we arrived at

the airport, I felt a stabbing pain in my leg and I was

wondering how I could make a 10-hour flight with this

pain.” Lo and behold, that was her last pain!

“I personally believe God waited to answer the prayers

to make it an “over the top” miracle. That was what God

gave me at the last minute.”

Selma used this experience to show God’s love to the

Arabs.

Sometimes obedience to God’s command unlocks the

supernatural. Living on mission is a stretching experience

that exposes us to how broken the world is. What would

our holidays look like if we saw them as opportunities to

tell others about Jesus?

• Written by Peace Oyetunji

Interested in going on a short-term

missions trip this summer?

click here!

Contact Pastor Craig


We Died

Before We Came Here

Book by Emily Foreman

Review by Jill Hopkins

Book available in

FAC's Cornerstone

Marketplace

19

click here!

Bookstore Hours


"I feel that it is only fair that you understand my level of commmitment

to God and His call on my life to take the gospel to the ends of the

earth. No matter the cost" (p. 5).

With that, Stephen Foreman laid out his life plan to

his then girlfriend, Emily. If she married him, what

would she be willing to sacrifice for Christ? Could she

leave the comforts and freedoms of her American

home, raise children in a culture not their own? She

struggled, then said ‘yes.’

When they were sent to an undisclosed North African,

100% Muslim country in the midst of the horror of

9-11, she struggled, then surrendered. As she tried to

make a home for her children in a country that lacked

the rudiments of education and facilities, and, as she

tried to build relationships and understand women

at the mercy of sharia law, she struggled. As each

challenge rose up, Emily struggled, weighed the costs,

then surrendered to the voice of God in her life.

In her book, “We Died Before We Came Here,” Emily

tells the true story of her family’s journey of faith

and sacrifice as they chose to follow God’s call. Her

stated purpose in recounting the often difficult,

sometimes rewarding, sometimes staggeringly tragic

and heartbreaking experiences in North Africa, is

to tell the story of God’s faithfulness through it all.

And, as she records His faithfulness, she also shows

her faithfulness in humbly seeking His direction, His

wisdom, His peace, even in the face of heartbreak and

loss. It is Emily’s own journey of faith that seeps out

of every decision and circumstance as she wrestles

with her mind and heart, but, in the end, trusts and

follows. It is Emily’s and Stephen’s faithfulness in

seeking the face of God in every circumstance but

ultimately, His faithfulness in walking beside them

every step of the way, as they follow His will and His

purpose for them to bring light into the darkness. At

any cost.

As the reader is brought into the day-to-day moments

of Stephen’s and Emily’s life, a third theme becomes

evident. As they ministered to the very great needs

of the local people, relationships, friendships, filled

with mutual respect, are built. As Emily meets with

women in prison, she helps to teach them skills that

give them purpose and self-worth. Love grows. As

Stephen openly lives out his Christian beliefs amidst

the Muslim community, people take notice, lives

are affected. Some even secretly come to faith and

join in his work. One convert, not unlike Timothy to

Stephen’s Paul, picks up the cross when Stephen

tragically dies. The whole community mourns. God

remains faithful.

Into the western cultural perception that often views

those of the Islamic faith with fear and suspicion,

seeds of compassion, understanding, and admiration

are sown. Light flickers in the darkness.

Through the story of the Foremans’ seven years in

Africa, the reader is transported on a journey driven

by God’s complete and utter faithfulness. “We Died

Before We Came Here” is a testament for all who

want to be inspired anew, by one couple dying to

themselves and surrendering to the will of God for His

purposes and for His glory. No matter the cost.

And He said to all, "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny

himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would

save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save

it." (Luke 9:23-24)


Building lives that

honour God ...

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all for Jesus!


What if up was down?

New series beginning January 6/7 2018

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