It is hard to believe that it is July! We have reached the halfway point of 2022, and I want to update you on the ministry in Canada. God is at work amid some substantial challenges in our country.
2022 started with significant changes in our economy; inflation skyrocketed from 3.4% in 2021 to almost 7% this year. The entire country is experiencing higher prices at grocery stores, and gas pumps and families are figuring out how to adjust to these changes. At Precept, we have felt the pinch of inflation. Our shipping costs increased 36% over 2021 as we are being charged extra for fuel costs from our carriers. As the shipping rates have increased, we have witnessed a decline in the number of study materials leaving the office. This decline is significant as our mission and focus of the ministry is to “Engage people in relationship with God through knowing His Word.“ Part of this mission is to supply resources to our leaders and students across Canada. When materials are purchased through Precept Ministries Canada (preceptministries.ca), one hundred percent of the funds from every purchase goes directly back into the ministry in Canada. These funds are used to offer free training workshops, produce additional study materials, translate studies into French and cover administrative expenses for the office in Brantford. As we experience the effects of inflation, it is natural to consider how we spend every dollar. We want to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. I want to encourage you to Purchase with a Purpose and invest your dollars in Precept Ministries Canada. While our materials are available from other online stores, those companies do not invest a single dollar back into Precept’s mission and ministry worldwide.
Praise the Lord that Precept has not raised the prices of any of our study materials in twenty years! Even as the cost of printing has increased, we are committed to ensuring that anyone who wants to study using Precept materials can do so at a reasonable price. Pray that God will open doors for us to partner with our shipping carriers to lower the shipping costs.
In June, we hosted our first two in-person workshops. On June 11, I travelled to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I recently returned from British Columbia, where I taught workshops in Nanaimo and Langley. I did not realize how much I missed being with people face-to-face in our workshops. What a privilege it is to spend the day together in God’s Word.
In Langley, teenagers filed the room eager to dig into 2 Peter! Since 2020, we have provided workshops at no cost to the participant. This step of faith was a drastic change from the first twelve years I served with Precept. Previously, we charged a registration fee to cover travel expenses to the workshop location. The travel industry is also impacted by rising costs, resulting in higher prices on flights, rental cars, and accommodations. Did you know that car rental companies sold off their cars during the pandemic and now charge triple the fee due to supply and demand? Neither did I!
Our ministry is committed to offering in-person training. We love and are thankful for the possibility of online training technologies, but there is nothing better than being face-to-face! We will continue to step out in faith and travel across Canada, praying that the Lord will provide the funds needed for these workshops. If you see a workshop coming to your area, please register, attend, and invite someone new to Precept to go with you. We hope that we will see full classrooms across Canada. When you register for the training, perhaps you could consider donating to help cover some of the travel expenses.
Precept Family, I am delighted to share that God continues to do amazing things through this ministry. I received the first draft of the Pentateuch in French in May for The New Inductive Study Bible translation. Praise the Lord for our translators who are taking on this big project. Please pray for them as they do this important work for French-speaking souls. In June, I received the final print version of Seigneur, Je Vous te Connaitre (LORD, I Want to Know You). This new translation is vital for not only Quebec but our ministry in France as well. This study will introduce people to the names of God in the Old Testament. I cannot wait to see how God will use these materials in Canada and around the world.
Currently, our translators are working diligently on Genesis Precept Upon Precept Parts 1-3, Discover For Yourself children’s studies on John and The New Inductive Study Bible. Our ministry is committed to investing in French Translation work as it is making a global impact.
Finally, in May, I spent an hour with some of our leaders at our monthly Leader Connect Zoom meeting. The focus for May was “God at Work.” I was so encouraged by the stories from across the country. We heard stories of how lives were impacted by God’s Word in their group discussions from the east to the west coast. I hope to share some of these stories over the next few months, but I wanted to share with you about my friend Pastor Andy. Pastor Andy and I have connected over the years through our in-person workshops. I had the opportunity to teach Essentials of Precept’s Bible Study Method, and Pastor Andy had a lightbulb come on; he saw the value and importance of studying using the Precept Bible Study Method. Pastor Andy is now leading a group of men through the book of Daniel. They are meeting in person and on Zoom every Monday night. I am thankful for my relationship with Pastor Andy; we connect regularly. Andy will send me a text message on Sundays — “Are you okay to chat at our regular time on Monday?” I look forward to this time together as we discuss ministry and God’s Word. Andy will walk through his lesson with me; we’ll discuss the challenging parts of Daniel and how to handle those verses with his class. I love having the opportunity to coach Andy in growing his leadership skills. The best part of my week is when he calls me Tuesday to tell me how the group discussion on Monday went. Praise the Lord that God is at work in his life!
When we stop and think about all the changes happening in the world, we can look to the Unchangeable One and sing praise that nothing in this world surprises God.
As we celebrate what God is doing through the first six months of 2022, I want to challenge you to seek the Lord in the following ways.
1. Seek the Lord’s direction in sending a one-time gift to help
cover the expenses of offering free training workshops — both
online and in person.
2. Seek the Lord’s direction in joining our E-Team by giving
monthly to the ministry. We are praying and believing God for
ninety-five additional E-Team members this year.
3. Commit to praying for the ministry that God would continue to
provide everything we need to do ministry in Canada for the rest of
this calendar year.
Mark Sheldrake, National Director