They’ll know we’re Christians by our love

February 15, 2016

GenSend missionary commits to life in a new country 

By Kathy Chapman Sharp 

EDMONTON, Alberta – Zach Hunn gives the distinct impression he’s a man who knows exactly what he should be doing and where to do it. Today that’s serving God in the city of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.

The Lebanon, Tenn., native, and University of Tennessee graduate, arrived at Edmonton in the summer of 2015 as part of a 10-week GenSend experience sponsored through the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Sent to adopt communities and identify strategic places for new church plants, Hunn was ready and excited about serving with his fellow team members in the city. 

“The mission is so clear and the need is so evident,” said Hunn. “How could I leave? It’s apparent that God’s dreams are bigger and better than mine will ever be!” Hunn hopes to attend seminary at Liberty University, but a funny thing happened over the course of the summer–he fell in love with the city, and decided to stay. GenSend is a student missionary opportunity through NAMB, part of the “farm system” of assisting churches discover the next generation of church planters and missionaries in their midst.

“Becoming a part of the lives of the people we were trying to reach was key,” said Hunn. “As we built relationships, people asked why we were here and we had the opportunity to share the hope that is found in Jesus Christ.” Learning to match his daily rhythm with those of his new neighbors was a great learning experience, Hunn said.

Many of those conversations have led to deeper relationships giving Hunn the opportunity to meet one-on-one with people. He’s continued to build camaraderie and answer questions they have about living as a Christ follower.

“God is at work in Edmonton,” said Hunn. “I can see how the Holy Spirit has orchestrated every step of our team as well as the people He has put in our paths. It was kind of like a perfect storm–always being in the right place at the right time! God really taught me that if I would be intentional and willing, He would use me.” Hunn said those kind of experiences have taught him that churches should be looking for people instead of people looking for churches.

“There’s just something about the churches here,” said Hunn. “Yes, they’re small, but they’re so passionate and focused on living the gospel.” Over the summer Hunn also came to value the community that exists between churches and believers in the city. Part of his focus in 2016 is to work with those churches, offering any help he can, along with encouragement.

“It’s hard to describe how much I’ve come to love this city,” Hunn said. “God is so good and makes His wisdom and strength known through us. Knowing that He wants to use me in the city I’ve come to love and feel so connected with excites me.

“The community I’ve experienced here has been phenomenal. God has led us into fellowship with many Christians in Edmonton and it has been so wonderful to pray with them and encourage them in their walks. So many of them have become such amazing friends. It is a privilege to love each other in Christ and love those in the city who don’t yet know Him,” Hunn said. 

Hunn said his experience in Edmonton has taught him even more about what it means to live on mission. “Theoretically it all sounds good when we talk about dying to ourselves and living for the gospel. But sometimes we don’t grasp what that really means. We give some, but not all. The fact is, we can’t choose whether or not we will die to self and live for Christ because, if we’re a Christ follower, we’ve already chosen. The more I [die to myself], the more alive Christ is in me!

“Sure I’ve had those moments when it felt awkward to talk about Jesus, but I can truly say there is no feeling like the feeling of when I am living openly and boldly for Christ, and loving others in His name,” Hunn said.

Learn more about GenSend, and how to apply at Discover your next missional community at the

Kathy Chapman Sharp is a writer and church communications consultant living in Nashville, Tenn. 

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