In the afternoon of Sunday, July 15, representatives from more than 10 congregations gathered in Caistor Centre, Ontario to commission David and Jennifer Wright as new missionaries to Niger.
David is an Ordained Minister in The Free Methodist Church in Canada and previously pastored the Caister Centre FMC for five years. The Wrights, along with their two sons, Cole and Ben, left that pastorate in 2004 to spend two years in Niamey, Niger working with SIM in educational ministries.
During their time in Niamey they identified the need for more Christian outreach opportunities in this Muslim country with an extremely underdeveloped economy. The idea of The Free Methodist Church initiating ministry in Niger was broached to other mission groups who were very receptive as the need for more workers and church plantings is enormous.
Upon returning to Canada in 2006, David and Jennifer began discussing how they might go back to Niger as long-term workers. Since they were already trained for this ministry and have both pastoral and cross-cultural ministry experience, the key component was to identify those Canadian FM churches who would be involved in sending them.
Caistor Centre FMC was their most logical starting point, since they had invested 5 years of ministry there. But Caistor Centre is a small country church with about 50 or so persons in regular attendance. It seemed obvious that other churches would need to help support the Wrights. And so a number of other congregations in southern Ontario – about 15 to 20 – have also partnered together with Caistor Centre to send David and Jennifer and the boys.
However, Pastor Raymond Hartman, who replaced David as pastor at Caistor Centre, and the congregation, decided to do as much as possible. Just a couple months ago, Pastor Hartman let me know that Caistor Centre has pledged $8000 per year for the Wrights. This figure amounts to almost 10% of the Wrights ministry support budget. A tremendous feat!
This also highlights our conviction that the sending of missionaries needs to proceed from local church vision and commitment to what God is calling them to do. Caistor Centre has proven that size does not matter, at least in this equation.
Director of Global and Intercultural Ministries