Tomorrow, our oldest daughter Valerie flies out of Charlotte with a group of students from Calvary Christian School in Greer, SC. She and another teacher are leading this group on a mission trip to help missionaries Jared and Rebekah Stevenson for one week. We ask you to pray that God might use this trip in the hearts of these young people for His glory. We are so thankful that Valerie’s epilepsy has been under control for several months now. We ask you to pray for her in a special way during this trip. It is such a thrill for us as parents to see her and Tom giving of themselves to the Lord’s work!
Lord willing, we will be leaving Quebec City on Monday for the airport in Boston, and a round trip flight to San Diego, CA for two weeks. We are looking forward to time with Melanie’s family in Southern California and to much needed rest. This will be our first real vacation since 2009. We are thankful that Catherine’s health is currently stable enough to allow for this. Thanks for your prayers!
We will be enjoying Christmas this year in Québec with Catherine. Stephanie, Jérémie and Dérek will spend Christmas day with us. On Sunday afternoon, December 23rd we will be hosting an activity at our home for our folks and contacts.
Tomorrow we make another round-trip to the specialist in Montreal for Catherine. She has been doing much better! She has a few jobs that are perfect for now like English language tutoring and piano lessons. The other day she even landed a job helping a teacher in our church correct student’s exams! These are direct answers to prayer! Thank you!
A reminder to pray for our conference which begins this evening at 7:00 p.m. and goes through tomorrow afternoon! Thanks!
A dear brother in the work here graciously offered to drive us to the airport in VT on Wednesday and what a blessing that was! Melanie arrived in SC on Thursday in time for supper. Thank you to Becky Sandquist and another friend from Concord Bible Church for providing the ride from the airport in Charlotte. Catherine is already doing better but Valerie is not well. The Sandquist family will need much wisdom in the days ahead as they adapt to mom’s epilepsy. Pray that Melanie’s time there will be a big help.
Please don’t forget to pray for me (Mike) as I attempt to “hold down the fort” without my dear partner in ministry for the next three weeks. The current plan is for Melanie and Catherine to return together via VT on October 29th.
Ever since we had to bring our daughter Catherine home from college almost three years ago, the Websters have been in “survival mode”. Thank you for faithfully supporting us with your prayers through these times.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Ro 5:1-5 AV)
Please pray for the Province-wide ladies conference that will be held here in our church on Saturday, September 29th. Melanie has been heading this up and is very encouraged by the enthusiastic implication of our own ladies. The theme of the conference is “Lies we believe.” Pray for the conference speakers who include both Melanie and our daughter, Stephanie.
(Editorial from Spring, 2012 edition of “News of Quebec”, the trimestrial missionary news publication of the Assemblies of Christians in French Canada, used with permission by the author, Richard E. Strout)
The Supreme Court Decides
On February 17, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada in a 9-0 ruling upheld the right of Quebec’s Ministry of Education to require that all elementary and secondary school children be obligated to follow the controversial Ethics and Religion course introduced into the Quebec school system as of 2008. According to Christianity Today, the court ruled that since the program was educational and was not forcing children to join any religion, it did not infringe on religious freedom.
The course teaches religion from a secular point of view, putting all faith systems on an equal footing. Bible stories are treated as legends and Christianity is presented as just one among many of the legitimate cultural expressions of our time. In the words of the court,
“… early exposure of children to realities that differ from those in their immediate family environment is a fact of life in society. The suggestion that exposing children to a variety of religious facts in itself infringes their religious freedom or that of their parents amounts to a rejection of the multicultural reality of Canadian society and ignores the Quebec government’s obligations with regard to public education.”
Since its inception, the introduction of this course has been opposed by parents and leaders of various Christian expressions, both Catholic and Protestant. Already over 2000 parents are said to have raised objections, among them parents of two children in Drummondville, Quebec, who requested of the local school board that their children be exempted. Following the school board’s refusal, the loss of their case before the Quebec Superior Court and a refusal by the Quebec Court of Appeals to hear the case, it was taken to the Supreme Court.
Some organizations within the province of Quebec have opposed the introduction of this curriculum by legal action, public manifestations and the like. On the other hand, The Protestant Partnership in Education has endeavored to work closely with the Quebec Ministry of Education to introduce changes into the program in order to make it more compatible with evangelical convictions. Thankfully, there has been a good spirit of give and take and some progress has been made over the years. This said, however, in the minds of many if not most Quebec evangelicals, the Ethics and Religion course is still very far from being acceptable.
The Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC), one of the numerous interveners in the case before the Supreme Court, expressed its concern with the court’s decision lest it “set a precedent allowing provinces to implement a particular mandatory religion course of their choosing at the expense of violating the religious sensibilities of Christian schools and their supporters.” The CCCC goes on to say that, in their view, “the religious curriculum in question favours one particular vision of religion that of the Quebec government at the expense of the vision of the parents who objected.”
This is by no means the first time that the education of evangelical protestant children has been a matter of concern for parents and leaders here in Quebec – see my editorial in the Spring 20 I 0 issue of this magazine. One has only to return to the 1950s and 1960s and right back into the nineteenth century when education was in the hands of the predominant church. Ways were ultimately found for circumventing the problem but they were costly, both in terms of money and the persecution of the French evangelical minority. Today it has become a Church-State issue rather than a confessional one; however, the stakes are much the same.
Happily, materials have been and continue to be prepared to be placed in the hands of Christian parents which will enable them to counteract the negative influences of this required curriculum. We can only hope that parents will avail themselves of such materials and step up to the plate as concerns their God-given responsibility to see to the proper religious education of their children. …
Brethren, pray for us.
One of our joys since ministering in Québec City is seeing God bring several second-generation believers together to serve Him. Their weddings are a public testimony to the Grace of God in a land where fewer and fewer marry today. Tomorow we expect around 200 people for Guillaume and Sara’s wedding, many of whom will be inside a Bible-preaching church for the first time in their lives. Please pray for the message that will be preached by Pastor Claude Jutras, and that in all things God might be glorified.