“God understands each race,” said Vishal, pastor at Behta Darya Community Church, GTA. “He is showing off among Punjabis who think idols can save them.”
Vishal recounted story after story of miraculous intervention in the lives of Punjabi people who have encountered the church and Jesus.
And the miracles have extended to the 14-year-old church itself. The congregation of some 150 people was recently able to purchase a building despite many challenges.
“We jumped off the steps into God’s arms,” said associate pastor Rafiqua. “We’re living in a different dimension: the spiritual.”
Behta Darya conducts its services in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and sometimes English. Reaching out to Punjabis who are encultured into an often confusing, works-oriented Sikh or Hindu understanding, it’s constantly engaged in providing for people’s physical needs, sharing the gospel and teaching them about spiritual needs, holding prayer vigils, discipling youth, offering opportunities to adapt to Canadian culture – and celebrating. The 2.5-hr-plus services are followed by another hour or two of lingering over tea and samosas. Holiday celebrations involve hours with the whole church family – who have often become the only family for members who are rejected by biological relatives upon converting to Christianity.
“We don’t know how God will arrange [realizing new ministry dreams],” said Rafiqua, “but he’s already arranged everything else, so…”
Experience Toronto culminated with a concert of prayer in St Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Toronto. Rafiqua instructed the group to pray “for God to remove the veil and unblock ears to hear the gospel,” and for the capacity to “equip young leaders in the church.”
She thanked the MB family for giving the church a sense of belonging to the wider family of God. “It’s so refreshing,” she said.