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The Path Where He Has Placed Our Feet

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An Update from Art and Paula Shore*

At some point several years ago, the government of our country in the Middle East, our home for the past fourteen years, decided we were no longer welcome on their soil. This decision affected all the foreign Christian workers from our part of the country. But rather than deporting people and creating a scene, they preferred to merely not renew residence permits, while refusing to give any reason. “You’ll have to ask Angora” (the capital).

Since we left rather suddenly in April of 2012, returning for Paula’s chemotherapy and radiation treatment, we didn’t have occasion to test the government’s resolve. Art returned to the country in January of this year and Paula followed in early March, both receiving three-month tourist visas after difficult re-entries. We inquired at security headquarters in our city about renewing our residence permits but were bluntly informed that we would not again receive long-term residence permission in the country. So in March, at a retreat with our team and regional directors, we decided to return to North America for a time, before being denied entry or deported as some others have experienced. We had one month to disperse or pack our possessions and attempt to say our farewells.

After returning to North America, we discussed with the RMM executive team what we might do in the coming year. We decided to explore how we might reach out to the growing population of North American Muslims. We proposed doing that by moving into an immigrant-rich neighborhood in Toronto or Kitchener/ Waterloo and by finding employment in Teaching English as a Second Language.

In the next several months, we made numerous exploratory trips to both cities but nothing seemed to materialize. We learned how difficult it is to find teaching jobs these days; some university graduates wait for years to find employment. In light of extremely high rent prices and no job, it didn’t seem wise to move into the city. Throughout the summer, we looked for work and submitted a number of applications. We shared at a number of local churches. Art began to assist a small congregation whose lead pastor was about to begin a six-month sabbatical. We also pursued relationships with people from our country of service, wherever we could find them.

In August, our regional director suggested that we again send out prayer requests to our intercessors for a place in the city and for work. We did that on the 24th of August. On August 26th, we had a telephone conversation which seemed to be a door opening into the kind of neighborhood we were looking for. On the 28th, I had a phone call from a local community college offering me an interview regarding several openings. The power of prayer!

Since then, I have accepted a job teaching in the LINC program, a government program providing Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada at a location in Cambridge, the third of the tri-cities with Kitchener and Waterloo. Our move to Kitchener is still unfolding but it looks promising. In early November, we may move into a neighborhood mostly inhabited by immigrants, into the house of a family who has spent twelve years there, being salt and light.

This family is leaving for eight months in Africa on a job assignment from the construction company which is the husband’s employer. They had been praying for someone to fill in and are excited about us taking their place: being a presence, continuing with their house of prayer ministry, and mentoring other young workers in the city. We are excited because this brings us into a circle of people who share our vision and are already doing precisely what we hoped to do. (Another appointment arranged by God!) We hope that our involvement may be also useful in helping to mobilize local churches to reach out to the world which is coming to our doorstep.

Immigrants make up approximately 25% of the population of Waterloo Region. The population of the immigrant community is growing twice as fast as the non-immigrant community. Apparently this is due to the excellent array of services for newcomers and the warm embrace of the Christian community. Currently there seems to be an openness within these communities; this may be a strategic time for God’s people to be working in the harvest fields next door. RMM has appointed us to a one year term working with these communities.

In my English classes, there are students from China, Laos, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Romania, Poland, Albania, Rwanda, El Salvador, Colombia, and Brazil; I may have missed several. My fellow English teachers are from Hungarian, German, French, and Canadian backgrounds.

On another important topic, Paula finished all chemotherapy and radiation treatment by November of 2012, and has steadily been regaining her strength and health. She goes for checkups every 4 months and has been encouraged by the good reports. Her next checkup is scheduled for January of 2014.

We are grateful for your faithful prayer support; we hope you are encouraged by the answers we have received. One translator has worded Psalm 85:13 this way, “Righteousness will walk before us, placing the feet of the faithful on the right road.” We are grateful for God’s faithful guidance, for the path where He has placed our feet, even through unexpected changes and times of waiting.

*Names changed for security reasons.