A Great and Surprising Missions Opportunity
An amazing chance to reach out to a people in need of the love of God.
I would like to invite you to come along on a missions trip to an exotic land where less than 1% of the population claims a born-again experience. The prevailing attitudes of the population toward the Gospel range from ignorance to indifference to hostility. You will need to learn another language, as English is not the lingua franca of its people. Hearing of this type of opportunity, you don’t immediately think of a North American destination, now do you?
The greatest mission field in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the greatest in the world, lies literally minutes from the doorstep of many Canadians – and Americans, for that matter. It is only 5 hours by car from Toronto. It is the province of Quebec, the French-speaking part of Canada, with a population of 8 million. You can travel from the Arctic Circle to Tierra-del-Fuego and you won’t find a greater missions challenge.
FUN FACTS ABOUT QUEBEC
- One of every six Canadians is French-Canadian.
- Quebec is the land of tourtière, and maple syrup, and poutine, and bagels, and smoked meat, and of course the Habs – les Canadiens de Montréal hockey team.
- Land area of 1.4 million km2 (larger than France, Germany and the British Isles combined).
- Economy: rich in natural resources and hydro-electric power; strong in aerospace, information and communication technologies, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
- Almost half of its population lives in Montreal, the second-largest French-speaking city in the world (after Paris). The seventh-largest city and twelfth-largest metropolitan area in North America.
- Montreal is the city of Festivals. Home to the Jazz-fest; the Comedy-fest; the Complètement Cirque; the Formula 1; the Festival International du Film; the International Fireworks Competition...and more!
- Host of the World Fair Expo 67 – Man and His World; and the 1976 Summer Olympics.
- The Quebecois are entrepreneurial in nature. Some of our greatest exports are Bombardier, Cirque du Soleil, and… Céline Dion.
- Why is the Canadian national aerobatic ski team dominated by French Canadians? Because they’re crazy! Reckless. Courageous.
- The urban areas have a distinct European flavour. The countryside is dotted with quaint and picturesque towns and villages.
NOT SO FUN FACTS
- Less than one percent of French Canadians have any knowledge of a born-again experience.
- Highest rate of youth suicide in any Western people group (excluding some of the First Nations peoples).
- Drinking, gambling, drug use, incest – all Canada’s highest levels.
- World Health Organization estimates 10-15,000 homeless youth in the streets of Montreal.
- Operation World states, “Quebec is a unique region that has experienced in one or two generations the secularization and modernization that took France centuries to accomplish.”
- Quebec’s church attendance is the nation’s lowest (despite being 85% Roman Catholic).
- Evangelicals are often regarded as cults (the French word that translates ‘sect’ also translates ‘cult’ = “secte”.
A SOCIETY OF CONTRADICTIONS?
Quebeckers are a happy, fun-loving, and joyful people. Certainly their joie-de-vivre is proverbial. Yet they have the highest rates of clinical depression and mental illness. (On a related note: 1/5 women; 1/7 men have been sexually abused in their childhood.)
They love family and children. Yet they have Canada’s highest divorce rate and lowest fertility rate.
They are a passionate people, and when they come to know the Lord they are so passionate when it comes to worship. Yet as a people they are so indifferent when it comes to the Gospel.
But perhaps these are not contradictions, but indications of the spiritual attack to rob a people of its God-given destiny, to deform their God-given identity. Satan sees the potential and attacks the image of God stamped on the Québécois people.
PART OF JESUS’ INHERITANCE
Within Canada, Quebec truly is a “distinct society”. It is in fact a “nation” – a people group in the sense of the word “ethnos”. They are not French; they are Québécois, who speak French. Just as a Mexican speaks Spanish, but you would never call him a Spaniard, or an Aussie speaks English, but don’t dare call him English. In Canada we must be careful not to disdain the spiritual need in Quebec because we may be ticked off by separatist policies! Most French Canadians are not separatists, but they are “nationalists”! They are proud if their identity, heritage and culture!
So we cry out that Jesus might receive his inheritance: "Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for your inheritance" (Psalm 2:8 NKJV).
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [ethnos]." (Matthew 28:19 NKJV). The Québécois are one of those nations.
Many respected voices have declared spiritual revival for Quebec. One of the more interesting was a prophecy by Paul Yonggi-Cho who prophesied in 1993 to pastors gathered in California (!) that the Lord had showed him a city that would become a revival centre for the nations: Montreal!
Marcia and I were called to Quebec in the summer of 1981. Many in my graduating year responded to a call to learn French in order to bring the Gospel to this people. When I asked God, “Why Quebec? Why now?” I heard the voice of the Lord clearly say to me, “Look to the French-speaking world.” At that point in my life I had NO idea of what that meant. In my ignorance, the French-speaking world comprised France, Belgium a bit of Switzerland… and French Canadians. To my surprise, I subsequently discovered that twenty-nine countries use French as an official language and twenty as a main language, including at least ten sub-Saharan African nations and many Saharan muslim nations. So the revival the Lord wants to bring to Quebec will have a major impact far beyond its Canadian borders! (And let’s not forget Tahiti… in February!)
Quebec – one of the greatest mission field opportunities of our times. Resources – human and financial – are desperately needed to help reach this ‘nation’. So we cry out, “Father, let the River flow! May your kingdom come to Quebec; may Jesus receive His inheritance in this province!”