CALGARY, AB, Canada—If passerbyers at Calgary’s two train stations receive a bouquet of sunflowers with a chocolate tied to a “Jesus loves you” note, Maher Said is likely responsible.
The church planter and pastor of Grace Arabic Church in Calgary, Alberta is constantly looking for ways to reach the community for Christ.
“We are new, yes,” Said commented. “But we have a vision; we have a goal to reach out to the community three times this yea[MF1] r. Already, this Valentine’s day, my church members and I wanted to share Jesus’ love in a creative way—in a way that was pretty and printed, wrapped and full of love.”
Grace Arabic Church, which officially launched January 14, 2017, saw 150 attendees at their first worship service.
“It appears there is a great need for Arabic churches in Canada,” Said noted. “I had no idea. God called me to do this, to plant an Arabic church, through my sister. One day, she called me and said, ‘I think God needs to use you as a church planter.’”
Said was not surprised by his sister’s comment.
“She prays for me often,” Said added. “I just said, ‘What? Well, we will see.’”
But after one month of fasting and praying, Said knew. God was going to use him to plant an Arabic church in Calgary. Said took the church planter’s assessment through the North American Mission Board and passed. Grace Arabic Church was set in motion; their first service was held at their Sending church, Richmond Hill Baptist Church, entirely in Arabic with headsets for attendees who needed English translation.
“We currently serve families and singles,” Said commented. “They’re of all ages, really. Most of the families found us through printed flyers and invitations that we handed out. Most of the families are believers already, and some are God’s gift to us—the nonbelievers we can witness to. We’ve got a balance of believers and nonbelievers to share His message in our church. It’s amazing.””
Grace Arabic Church has set Bible studies at Richmond Hill Baptist Church on alternating Fridays, however, Said plans to do more.
“For the nonbelievers, we want a group, too,” added Said. “We plan to make this other group on Wednesdays as well. They need their own because they are beginners. I plan to make that happen for them.”
Grace Arabic Church was planted with a vision from Said to “make the church a place for learning and retreat.”
“I’d like to make some counseling and consulting services available in our church,” Said mentioned, noting that his online search for Calgary or Alberta counseling services had rendered him speechless. “The prices counselors were quoting people for help they needed was too much. Instantly I knew this was where I was supposed to be because I have a Masters in Counseling—so do three of my church members. We knew God had brought us here, together, to add this valuable service to the community through our church for free. That’s the dream for this year and a big challenge for me!”
To learn more about Grace Arabic Church, go to www.gachurch.ca or visit their FaceBook page at Grace Arabic Church.
Josie Rabbitt writes for the North American Mission Board.
Published January 27, 2017