The Power Behind Online Encounters
Mission Canada has five governing priorities that guide the focus of ministry and reach. One of these identified priorities is those who live in the province of Quebec and Canada’s francophone population nation-wide.
Geographically, Quebec is the second largest province and ranks as the second most populous province with 8.59 million people. For a province that is often considered to be mainly Catholic, it has been determined that less than 6% of people go to Mass on a regular basis and protestant evangelical churches make up less than 1% of the Quebec population. The need is great as is the burden to reach this province with the gospel of Christ.
Carole Amico is passionate for Jesus and desires to see lost people find their way to a relationship with Christ. She has a heart for intercessory prayer and has faithfully served alongside her husband, Antoine, in pastoral ministry for over 20 years. Carole could never imagine herself as “a missionary”, but as she could tell you, “God truly does order our steps.”
Born and raised in Africa, educated in Europe, and now living in Quebec, Carole understands the French mentality very well. God began to place a greater awareness in her heart that Canada, and particularly the province of Quebec, were mission fields and God was calling her “to go”. This relentless burden on her heart led Carole to begin the process of becoming a Mission Canada worker.
Even prior to COVID-19, Carole saw how people were becoming more and more isolated because of endless hours on the internet and on social media. Online browsing included everything from Advil to advice, and Carole felt God leading her to the online world as well—but not for Advil and definitely not for advice! Carole’s personal experiences, sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and her unique spiritual gifts allow her to discern what people are dealing with. As a Mission Canada worker engaging people in an online capacity, she is able to walk with those who are going through deep waters, helping them connect to the hope found only in Jesus Christ.
For privacy purposes, mentors and mentees initially are protected by the use of nicknames. Yet, ministry occurs as people are given the freedom to ask questions they may be embarrassed or afraid to ask of someone face-to-face. The online platform Carole uses for discipleship provides a visual “buffer” as mentors like herself pray, share Scriptures from God’s Word, and provide helpful resources for spiritual growth. Carole knows what it is like to have God impart that “perfect word” at just the right time as it is shared with the individual on the other side of the chat screen. Every call and connection is bathed in prayer.
As a Mission Canada worker, Carole is humbled to be a part of conversations which start online with strangers who are far from God, yet over time become family-like conversations with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. A vital part of the discipleship process is to transfer the online conversations to offline, helping new believers get connected to a local church for further discipleship and Christian community in a physical setting in their geographical area.
Ironically, Carole’s online ministry began well before COVID-19 hit and has served as a powerful reminder that God orders our steps and prepares our path and our heart for what is to come … all for His purposes. Prior to this pandemic, many churches knew they did not have the skills or tools to begin an online ministry of this nature. But, in recent months, Carole has been helping many a church bridge that gap. God had been not only using Carole in the last few years to do His work in the online world to draw people to Himself, but He had also allowed her to establish tools necessary for online ministry to reach French-speaking Canadians with the gospel—tools that would be much needed in the time of a global pandemic!
Online interaction and opportunities to share faith and hope in Christ have increased greatly in 2020 as people are questioning all that is going on in the world, feeling the effects of anxiety and hopelessness, and are looking for direction and even deliverance. Some online conversations are “one-offs” while others are mentoring opportunities that transpire over time as commitment and accountability develop. Carole recounts her interactions with a person she will call “Terry”.
Terry came online under the premise of seeking help, yet ultimately his goal was to harm. Through prayer and the discernment of the Holy Spirit, Carole discovered this individual was deeply ensnared by deception and the occult which was manifesting within them fantasies to harm or even kill Christians. Over the span of a couple of months, Terry engaged in several conversations and Carole patiently shared the truth of Christ. Not being able to deny the feeling of genuine love and forgiveness, Terry’s life was changed by the transformational power of God. As a new Christ-follower, Terry made it a point to destroy all the books and occultic symbols that he had amassed over time, and even went to a Guru-satanic leader to denounce what they had been preaching.
It is most exciting to see how God is drawing people unto Himself in ways that are beyond the doors of the local church, especially in a pandemic season when churches have been closed or limited in their capacity. Nothing limits the power of God and what can be done to allow the gospel to go forth in powerful and life-transforming ways, when His people listen to His voice and follow His leading.
Could God be calling you to missions work in an online reality? Has He been preparing you for kingdom advancement? Pray and ask Him. Listen for His voice. Be who He has made you to be, right where you are. Reaching our nation includes using tools and platforms at our disposal, including the internet. An online encounter that introduces someone to the person of Jesus Christ, and a personal relationship with Him, can move people from hopelessness and despair to lives transformed by the power of Christ. And it can all happen … one online conversation at a time! Because we must.