In January, Barb and I travelled to Edmonton for the launch of Leading Influence Alberta. Everyone needs to make at least one trip to Edmonton at that time of year just to experience the incredible sunshine, the fresh air and especially the ‘dry cold’. Pastor Larry Lindoff serves as our chaplain at the Alberta Legislature but he could also be an unofficial ambassador for the city of Edmonton. He regaled us with insights and facts about Edmonton that were almost enough to distract us from the -20C daytime temperature. Larry’s warm and outgoing personality is a fantastic fit for us at the Legislature ‘village’. I visited again in mid-April, just as the snow was starting to melt and was thrilled to watch Larry in action. He’s a virtual ‘people magnet’ and MLAs and staff alike are drawn to him.
While we were in Alberta, we also launched PrayAB (www.prayab.com) which is the prayer ministry of Leading Influence in Alberta. Elaine Baille is doing a fantastic job of providing leadership and oversight to this important part of what we do.
February marked the beginning of the spring session of the BC Legislature. More importantly, it marked the start of something we have worked towards for a long time. As the result of a request from a member, we were able to launch a weekly prayer gathering in the Legislature. This has been a long road of 2 steps forward, 1 and sometimes 3 steps back, but by God’s grace we were finally able to see this long-term goal achieved. On a weekly basis, a group of MLAs meet together to pray and encourage each other in their faith as they serve Jesus in the political arena. We finished the spring session by celebrating communion at our last meeting time before the election was called. I’m not sure if it was the first time that happened, but I know it’s the first time in a very long time!
In March we held our 7th MLA Prayer Breakfast. The sold out event was well supported by MLAs and many friends and supporters. The Prayer Breakfast also marked the beginning of our 60 Days of Prayer Campaign. 60 Days was designed to mobilize the church to pray during the BC Election Campaign. In addition to daily emails, FaceBook posts, twitter updates, highway billboards, smartscreen and radio ads (and the list goes on…) we used simple silicone bracelets as a reminder for people to pray. One Cabinet minister put a bracelet on at the breakfast and wore it through the entire campaign. One of my favorite memories of the spring session was to see him ‘flash’ his bracelet at me from the floor during Question Period. He wanted me to know that he was praying. I would flash mine back at him to show him that I was too.
April marked the end of the 39th Parliament in BC and launched the beginning of the election campaign. Sadly, we said goodbye to some retiring members who were instrumental in helping us establish Leading Influence in BC. We will always be grateful to those who opened doors, made introductions and helped us find our feet as we began our ministry. I was able to make a quick trip to Alberta to cheer on Larry and Elaine during the Alberta Youth Call to Prayer. Elaine initiated the AYC2P in Alberta. While we were in the building, Larry and I were welcomed and introduced before Question Period.
May held some huge surprises for us. On Election Night in BC, we saw 13-15 Christians elected to office. While God is neither a BC Liberal nor a member of the BC NDP, He is advancing His Kingdom and it’s important to remind ourselves that God is eager and able to respond when His people come together around the purposes that are close to His heart. In this case He gave us men and women who have hearts inclined to His plans and purposes.The Legislature resumed sitting in late June and through all of July. I was asked to open the 40th Parliament in prayer. It’s the second time that I’ve been given the privilege to pray at the Throne Speech and always an honor.
Through the combined generosity of our ministry partners and the Canadian Bible Society, we were able to provide a bible to every MLA. It was an exciting project that was well received by Members on both sides of the House.Through a series of ‘promptings’ and conversations, I made a trip to Saskatchewan in September to explore the possibility of launching Leading Influence Saskatchewan. As is often the case, I arrived to discover that God had already been at work in preparing the way before I got there. He had not only prepared the way, but prepared the right person for us. As a result we are pleased to announce that Pastor Barry Berglund would be joining our chaplaincy team to provide ministry to MLAs in Saskatchewan starting in 2014. Barry will be a great addition to our team. He comes from a successful background in business and has a long track record of ministry involvement both in the church and in the marketplace. His understanding of life in the business world will be a tremendous advantage for him as he takes on this ministry challenge. Barry will continue in his role as Senior Associate at Lawson Heights Church in Saskatoon in addition to working with us. We are delighted to have him join our team!
One of our goals for 2013 was to increase the number of church visits as a way to stay in touch with our partners and share what God is doing through Leading Influence. As of last week, I visited 28 churches this year and had the privilege of speaking to well over 6000 people. We covered most of Vancouver Island and the lower mainland with several visits into the Interior and Alberta as well. BC Ferries should show a profit off our ferry fees alone!It’s been a great year! God has been faithful to make a way time and time again. Thanks so much for standing with us! We cannot do this without your partnership and support!