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Prayer paves path for urban pilgrims

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A new ministry in downtown Winnipeg is unfolding at an exciting pace. Rachel Twigg-Boyce, House Blend’s pastor and leader, is convinced that progress would be much slower but for the prayer – prayer that started four years ago among those with a vision for reaching the inner city with Christ’s love.

During that season of prayer, Rachel conducted a needs survey. It revealed much opportunity to serve and learn with people living in poverty downtown. Rather than start a “program” of compassion or outreach, the prayer group was drawn to MB Mission’s (formerly MBMSI) Team 2000 model – form a team and let ministry flow. Team 2000 went to their field (Thailand), learned the language and the culture, and made friends along the way.

Urban work is no different, says Twigg-Boyce. One must know the language and culture of the neighbourhood. The approach attracted many college-aged volunteers among the two dozen or so affiliated with the ministry. Together, they started to minister just a year and a half ago.

Each member also volunteers with a local agency. Through her work at a soup kitchen, Twigg-Boyce quickly realized “one begins to see the same people every week.” Friends are made. In the past year, House Blend purchased a house where some workers can live and where potluck meals, worship, prayer, and ministry can take place, all within a short walk from social agencies. House Blend has also acquired a board of directors, a significant help in administration and fundraising.

Following Christ effectively in a community is a quest of discovery, and it’s ongoing. A friend recently asked, “Did you always know all this stuff or did you have to learn it?”

Rachel chuckles.

—Barrie McMaster

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