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Toronto planters on mission to change city
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
May 23, 2011
5 MIN READ TIME

Toronto planters on mission to change city

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

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 [email protected] or call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5654.

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