December 12, 2013
By Gladys Terichow
WATERLOO, Ont.—A weekend mission retreat hosted by Waterloo Mennonite Brethren Church renewed Brenda Bradley’s commitment to begin each day by asking God, ‘what do you want me to do today?’
Loving God and neighbours, she says, involves more than participation in organized church ministries.
“It is doing what I am already doing but looking at it with a new perspective,” says Bradley. “It is seeing my everyday activities through God’s eyes.”
Bradley was among 250 participants in AWAKE, an event that brought together people from six congregations in southern Ontario that belong to the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. AWAKE, a pilot project that was planned and coordinated by MB Missions and the C2C network, took place in September.
Through teaching sessions, workshops, worship, reflections and ministry assignments, participants developed a better understanding of God’s love for people and how they can reflect God’s love in everyday life.
“For me, it was a good reminder and affirmation to be intentionally aware of God’s presence in my life and what God wants to do through me,” says Bradley. A mother of two daughters, Bradley works part-time as a teacher and is involved in volunteer activities in her church and community.
Michelle Knowles, director of global outreach at Waterloo MB Church, says she had participated in similar mission programs with MB Mission in various cities in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
“I’ve dreamed of how I could share with my church the powerful experiences with God that I’ve had on mission programs,” she says.
During the closing service, she realized this dream had come true as she and hundreds of people from her church “praised God and lifted up to Him our very own community.” They also had hearts of repentance “of things that hold us back from embracing God and His love for our neighbours and city.”
She adds: “It was a fantastic experience for our church and we very much hope to do it again with MB Mission and C2C next year.”
One of the highlights for Bradley was serving on a ministry team with her daughters, Kate, 12, and Claire, 9. Their ministry assignment was a church-supported program for Grades 4-8 girls from low income families.
Their positive experience of getting to know the girls motivated Bradley and Claire to continue building these relationships through serving as regular volunteers.
“It is so neat to see our kids be part of ministry,” says Bradley. “What we are doing matters if we choose to let God be part of it.”
Gladys Terichow is the staff writer for the Canadian Conference of MB Churches
Photo: A weekend mission retreat hosted by Waterloo Mennonite Brethren Church has given Brenda Bradley and her daughters, Kate (left) and Claire a deeper appreciation of God’s love and how they can reflect this love in daily life. (Photo by Michelle Knowles)