“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. Luke 4:18-19 NKJV
Freedom City was birthed out of a passion for God and compassion for the lost and hurting in the downtown area of Toronto. Pastor Michael's vision was to bring the Light of Jesus Christ into the darkened avenues of those living in the poor and forgotten areas of the city.
My wife Kim and I started working with Pastor Michael, ministering at a small Mission on
Monday nights in one of the toughest places in Downtown Toronto at Queen and Sherbourne Streets. From the first time I went I fell in love with the people coming in to listen. Many of the people that we met had lost everything and had nothing. Many were homeless, some addicts of one form or another and others had mental health issues. It did not matter who it was, I was always touched in my heart. The chance to encourage, listen and share the most important message God has to offer was an irresistible opportunity to reach others that I wanted to do. It was very much like leaving the ninety nine and going after the ‘One’. During this time, with Pastor Michael’s help, myself and my wife Kim were both ordained as Pastors with Canadian Christian Ministries. After being at the Mission on a weekly basis for over two years, God began to lead us to start a new Ministry in Toronto.
This was the birthing of Freedom City Ministries, which began in the Spring of 2014. At the beginning, we started meeting at the Parliament Street Library on a weekly basis. A few of us spent a year worshipping, praying and sharing messages the Lord put on our hearts. It was mainly a time of waiting on the Lord. While we were there we did have a couple of events that were well attended. It was from the people coming out to these events that we heard of St. James Town. After a year at the library we felt the Lord leading us to move the Ministry into St. James Town. So, in the Spring of 2015 we began to distribute baked goods and offer prayer in a small community park in St. James Town. This was a tremendous blessing not just for the people coming out from the High Rise buildings surrounding the park but to us as well. The distribution of food became a bridge to minister the Word and prayer. By the end of the first year of ministering in the park, the Lord led us to start renting the school next to the park to begin Church services every Sunday morning for a couple of hours. We also began having festivals in the park for various things such as summer celebration just before the kids went back to school, Thanksgiving and Christmas. These events attracted hundreds of people from the area where we would distribute food supplies, clothing, Bibles, back to school supplies, gifts for the kids at Christmas and much more. At these events we would have live gospel music, testimonies, preaching, prayer and so much more. I think the greatest impact of working in St. Jamestown has been the relationships we had developed with the precious people living there we would meet week after week. The chance to talk and pray with them and assure them that God loves them unconditionally is something that is priceless in view of eternity.
For anyone who has been experiencing the desire to serve God in a way that seems
unconventional and may not always be accepted by the traditional churches, I would say to pray and consider stepping out to follow what God may be calling you into. There is often sacrifice but the blessing of the Lord more than compensates in the end. Remember, there is a race to be won. Time is winding down and there are souls that still need to hear the Father's voice calling them to come home. May God give us a heart of compassion to go out after the 'Ones'.