Toronto planters on mission to change city
    May 23 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    TORONTO — With a good job, his own business in fact, Rudy Geronimo didn’t see himself and his family leaving the Philippines.

    His wife Edna didn’t want to leave either.

    Yet, in 2002, they decided to move to Canada in an effort to give their three children a better future than what they had, a better life.

    At least, they thought they were moving for their children. As it turns out, God had a much bigger vision in mind for the Geronimos.

    Geronimo, who has been a Christian since age 14 when he prayed to receive Jesus Christ during a house church service, has a degree in Metallurgy and got a job with an aluminum company in Toronto. When they first moved to Toronto, before he was able to work full time with the aluminum company, he also worked at Wal-Mart.

    Geronimo and his family got involved in a church in Scarborough, which is about 20 minutes from downtown Toronto. Geronimo and his wife joined the music ministry and Geronimo served as a deacon. A few years went by and Geronimo sensed that something needed to change in his life.

    BSC photo

    Arnold and Teresa Wong, church planters in the Bantry Avenue area at the southern tip of Richmond Hill, participate in a podcast in Toronto. The Canadian National Baptist Convention does not have a Chinese church, or any church, within walking distance of this area. The Wongs minister among nearly 500 Chinese families. Visit http://www.ncbaptist.org/index.php?id=1596 to listen to podcasts from the Wongs as well as other church planters in the Greater Toronto Area. Visit www.brnow.org. Click Photo Gallery.


    “I wanted to do more,” he said. That “more” turned into a desire to start reaching more people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to do so through starting a church.

    The church they were attending was not really involved in church planting, so Geronimo joined with three other families to start a Filipino church.

    The church plant increased in membership; however, Geronimo envisioned planting a church and growing it not with believers from other churches, but with new converts.

    “I wanted this to grow from evangelism from the harvest,” he said.   In 2009, Geronimo started Kingdom Harvest Missional Church. The church meets in Geronimo’s home and includes Haitian, Jamaican, Filipino and Caucasian families.

    The church is focused on reaching the un-churched, multicultural community of Scarborough. The community includes many residents who are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Geronimo is still bivocational, working full time for the aluminum company and pastoring Kingdom Harvest.

    Geronimo is praying that Kingdom Harvest will truly become a missional church as they seek to plant other churches and send out missionaries into Toronto and the world. Although small in number now, Germonio said the church is “discipling the core so they will make disciples.”   Geronimo is also praying for Kingdom Harvest to make a difference in Toronto.

    “We want to be of value to the community,” he said. “Every month we go out and meet the community.”

    Widen the circle

    Like Geronimo, Tim Heerebout didn’t set out to become a church planter.

    He was serving as a worship pastor at a church in Toronto and thought things were going along just fine. “During devotions one morning it dawned on me. The stories I was reading in the scriptures about how people were living their life wasn’t really matching up with mine,” he said. “I started taking inventory of how many people I knew outside the walls of the church I was working in. And the number was exactly zero.”

    Heerebout didn’t even really know what church planting was at the time. It took him about a month to tell his wife Melissa he was thinking about starting a church. At the time Melissa was eight months pregnant with their first child and they had recently moved into a new home.

    Although the idea of planting a church was overwhelming, about a month after Layla was born, Melissa told Tim she knew this was something they had to do.

    Melissa and Tim are reaching out to the artistic community of Toronto. From musicians to painters to jewelry makers, they are seeking to build relationships. To help do this, they started a non-profit organization that supports local art and humanitarian causes.

    As Tim and Melissa meet people through the non-profit, they pray for opportunities to tell them about God and about Montage, the new church plant. Although still in the beginning stages, Heerebout is already casting vision.

    “We need to get our people serving their communities,” he said. “The lifeblood of our church is going to exist in missional teams.”

    He prays people will take notice of the church in the community and ask why it is they do what they do. Then they can share the gospel and tell them it is because they follow Jesus Christ.

    For more information contact Michael Sowers at msowers@ncbaptist.org or call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5654.

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    5/23/2011 7:59:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments




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