A Warm Reception in Cold Saskatoon
Posted by Rick Manafo on November 7, 2017
Just over a year ago, the seed was planted for our team to visit Saskatoon and hold outreach events to university students.
This past week that became a reality as Logan Gates and Abdu Murray spoke to several hundred people at the University of Saskatchewan.
We don’t often think of doing four open forums in one day, but due to a tight schedule those who helped us organize the events tried to fit in as much as they could.
Logan Gates began the day of ministry with a talk on “Faith and Sexuality”—not the easiest topic to begin the day. Logan stressed that there is a cost for anyone who wants to follow Christ, no matter what your orientation.
After that, Abdu Murray gave a clear message on the topic,“Do All Religions Lead to God.” Attendance at the events grew as the day went on. Students and guests were attentive and had great questions during the Q and A. Each session had a good number of people searching for answers.
Later that afternoon, Logan gave a compelling talk on the credibility of the Bible. Those in attendance were taking furious notes as the material being presented was so convincing.
That evening the campus groups organized a multi-faith panel discussion between an Atheist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian (Abdu represented the Christian worldview). Each person had to answer questions about morality and purpose. They were also asked to state why they believe what they do and why those in the audience should consider doing likewise. The conversation was lively and thoughtful—each representing their beliefs substantively, which doesn’t always happen.
The questions from the audience also elicited clarifying responses from the panel. Abdu presented the gospel quite persuasively. It was quite the day.
To cap our visit, the campus leaders, who have also been building a great relationship with the local Ahmadiyya mosque, arranged for a dialogue between Abdu Murray and A.M. Cheema (an Islamic scholar with whom Abdu has previously interacted).
It was a snowy morning that began at –9 degrees. We were wondering how many would be in attendance. But as the event began and the introductions were done, the room was packed with more people in the overflow. There were many people from the mosque who got to hear the beautiful message of a God who, by his very nature, is love. Abdu defended the veracity and credibility of the Christian scriptures and was able to, with great conviction, tell people why he was a follower of Jesus.
The members of the mosque were gracious and very hospitable and extended an invitation to continue the dialogue.
We are so grateful for the student and staff leaders of the various campus groups who organized such strategic events ad worked diligently to invite people out. We look forward to building on this very positive experience to further reach the community of Saskatoon. Maybe next time it will be a bit warmer. Highly unlikely!