Well, it’s that time again… it seems like whenever I have recovered from the last massmailing of letters it’s time to send them out again! I’ve been at the Youth With A Mission base in Winnipeg for about a month now, having arrived Feb. 19 via train – my favourite mode of transportation so far, I think! The adjustments have been slow but steady. It’s great to be working with people I know from the Discipleship Training School, but at the same time it’s weird having the house so empty from the absence of the rest of the DTS staff and students. Of the several changes I noticed here at the base, the most obvious was the addition of a ministry. The Dusty Cover used bookstore opened up about a month and a half ago, and is yet another step towards the type of community Jamie and Kim Arpin-Ricci, the co-directors of the base, want to form in the West End (more on that later). In an email from my dad a little while ago, he asked what a typical day would look like for me. No such thing exists, but I’ll give you an idea. First of all, I work several shifts at the bookstore per week. The rest of my schedule is then planned around those shifts. I have been doing quite a variety of things, including learning accounting systems, general cleaning/ organizing around the house, office, and bookstore, and editing documents. There is also plenty to do in regards to planning upcoming programs. Our Spring Mission Adventures program will be starting the end of March, for instance, which will mean facilitating urban missions experiences for several youth groups. Shortly after that we will begin preparing for the Summer MA program, then the Discipleship Training School will begin in October. And once the DTS starts we will basically be working 24/7. On that note, if you are interested, or know somebody who would be interested in doing a DTS, feel free to contact me or visit our website (“Discipleship Training School” link on left) at: http://www.ywamconnect.com/sites/YWAMUrbanWin/Homepage Some people have been curious/confused as to why YWAM opened a bookstore, and a non-Christian one at that, especially in this neighbourhood. The West End of Winnipeg is not an area where books and reading is very important, and we realize that – it is certainly not meant to be a huge money-maker. Jamie can explain it better (and more intellectually) than I can, but I will do my best. Part of the mission statement of this base is we want to be a “missional community”. Here is a quote from our website to explain:
We use the term "missional community" to restore the emphasis of what we, as Christians, are called to be. Rather than a group of individuals coming together for their own purposes (Consumerism Christianity), it attempts to focus on the purpose that God has for the Church, which involves continuing the mission of Jesus Christ. In addition to being missional, it is also a community - a group of people who come together in purpose and authenticity to serve God with our whole lives. There are three main places where people spend their time and build relationships: home, work, and “missional third spaces”. The bookstore is meant to be a neutral missional third space where people can come to hang out in a non-Christian, which for many is also a non-threatening, environment. In other words, the bookstore’s affiliation with YWAM is not advertised. Foot traffic varies day-to-day, but we have a faithful group of kids who come almost every day at lunch and after school. It’s great to be able to build relationships with them, even though they can be a bit hard to handle!
We are hoping other organizations will take initiative to start and run programs, using the bookstore space, since all the staff at the base here are busy enough without the added work at the bookstore. There is one kid’s program which started recently, and there are talks going on between YWAM and the Mennonite Church of Manitoba to partner together to start a church in the West End. There is a good likelihood the church would meet in the bookstore, in order to stress the church being the people, not the building. (Nobody could say of the bookstore “that’s my church”, because it isn’t a church building; it’s a bookstore.) Although I will not necessarily attend the church, I am very excited about all the possibilities! Of course, in addition to work, I have been settling into Winnipeg life. It has been a challenge learning to live with people who are not related to me, stocking up on kitchen basics, getting used to a transit system of a greatly reduced quality to that in Edmonton, searching for a church, etc. etc. etc. I am hoping to get to know the neighbours eventually, but since people do not venture out much in the winter, and are wary about trusting, it will take time. As a base, we were able to reach out to our neighbours right across the street by taking over cookies and a card after one of their sons was accidentally shot a few weeks ago. Although very tragic, I was glad for the opportunity to show we care. Before closing, I would like to say a bit about God’s provision and answers to prayer. While preparing to leave Edmonton I was wondering how well my transition to Winnipeg would go, but I and others were praying, and it all went quite well. I am sure God was overseeing the whole process. I was also a bit apprehensive about finding a good church close by, and although I have not settled on one yet, there are many within walking distance and I have been in touch with people from several of the churches I attended so far. If nothing else, church-hunting is a great way of getting to know some people and find out about the various church-based ministries in the neighbourhood! That said, however, there are always things I could use prayer for… • Although the YWAM community here is great, it would be very unhealthy to only interact with my fellow staff members, so please pray for wisdom as I continue to look for a church to attend regularly, and consider volunteering with various other organizations in the West End. • For an increased ability to “break out of my shell” (ie. lose some of my shyness). I don’t think it is wrong to be quiet and shy, but it sure makes it hard to get to know people and really be part of a community!
That’s it for now… if you have any questions, or want to clarify something I said in this letter, or if you are in the Winnipeg area and want to get together, please contact me - I would love to hear from you! I am really excited to be here, where God wants me to be, but it would not be possible without support, so thank-you. Ultimately, though, to God be the glory!
Lindsey Ainsworth c/o YWAM Urban Ministries Winnipeg 518 Maryland St - Box D Winnipeg, MB R3G 1M5