PORTICO Community Church 5K Walk and Run

Sending God’s Love from Mississauga, Canada to Mwanza, Tanzania

PORTICO Community Church – Sending Its Love from Mississauga

by Stacey McKenzie

Helping people find their way back to God is the heartbeat of PORTICO Community Church in Mississauga, Ontario. Whether visiting as a first-time guest, exploring questions about faith during an uncertain period in one’s life, or looking for a church as a mature believer, PORTICO is known for its welcoming spirit and for its focus on helping people understand the gospel and Christ’s command to go into all the world, locally, regionally and internationally, to spread the good news of God’s love and forgiveness.

Supporting global workers and engaging in short-term missions and related projects has been a long and important part of PORTICO’s tradition of discipleship. On June 10, 2017, early on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning, at least 120 people from all of PORTICO’s campuses (PORTICO’s Mississauga, Ontario location, PORTICO Español, also in Mississauga, and PORTICO’s location in Milton) showed up to walk or run 5 km along our Streetsville neighbourhood trail. The goal was to raise $25,000 for a great cause—building a girls’ home in Mwanza, Tanzania, on the Village of Hope compound managed by Jade and Julius Kenyamanyara, global workers with The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. The home, a follow-up project after a boys’ home was built there last year, is intended to help children raised at Village of Hope to make the transition a bit more smoothly towards life outside the orphanage as young adults. A scholarship fund is also going to be set up using these funds.

Organized by the short-term mission team heading to Mwanza in late June/early July 2017, people of all ages, stages and fitness abilities came together to take on the 5K challenge. After getting sponsors to make contributions to the home’s building fund in exchange for their participation, husbands and wives, parents and children, teens and young adults, and even grandmas and grandpas, all came out to deliver what they had promised their donors. Volunteers came out to help make the day a special one, serving at water stations, baking cinnamon buns, or just cheering participants on.

Before the race began, as the large group gathered for a photo, the energy and the strong spirit of unity and purpose that was evident was even more inspiring than the race itself. There was a great sense of everyone’s love for each other and appreciation for the chance to be together for a great cause. There was also a real sense of anticipation not just for the race, but for the way in which, together, we would help to change the direction of the lives of the children for whom the home is being built—halfway around the world from where we would be walking and running. This is our constant focus at PORTICO—to help people find their way back to God, by connecting with Christ and His family in spending leisure time together, growing together in Christlikeness as we give of ourselves for the benefit of others, and offering ourselves to serve Christ’s mission in the world, using our gifts and abilities.

And the race? The youngest and fastest finished the entire round trip in 15 minutes flat. Others took their time, coming back to the starting point an hour or more after they left, but just as happy with the result as if they’d come back as the winners. By the end of the morning, donations were well on track to meet the $25,000 goal that was set for this year (and in line with last year’s boys’ home tally).

Before the race began, as the large group gathered for a photo, the energy and the strong spirit of unity and purpose that was evident was even more inspiring than the race itself.”

The 5K may be over, but the real work for the team heading to Tanzania is just beginning. Led by Pastor Dwayne Hutchings and his assistant leader, PORTICO intern Yousef El Zohiry, nine men and women, some of whom are just getting to know each other and have never been on an overseas mission trip, will be heading off soon to serve the children and the community around the Village of Hope in Mwanza. Pray for their safety and effectiveness as they provide health care and administrative services, teacher training, and community and leadership development assistance.

Did you miss out on this year’s 5K? Plan for it next year—even if you can’t walk or run, there can never be too many cheerleaders giving moral support to those taking on the challenge. Never been on a short-term overseas mission? Maybe this will be your last year just hearing about it second-hand. Prayerfully consider taking on a new adventure! Anyone of any age should give it some thought—it’s never too late to begin another chapter in your journey with God and serving His mission with your church family in new ways. Open to anyone healthy enough to participate and who has made a commitment to Christ, short-term missions activities give believers the opportunity to step beyond merely giving and praying, to developing a deeper sense of God’s heart for those who have not yet come into relationship with Him—whether here in Canada or in another part of the world. It’s also often a pathway for participants to explore whether they sense God’s call to serve again over a longer period of time in a foreign context.

To those who participated and gave—your involvement was meaningful and will have an impact for eternity. PORTICO can now send a powerful reminder of God’s love, once again, all the way from Mississauga, to Mwanza.


shareStacey McKenzie is the communications and publications manager at The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and attends PORTICO Community Church in Mississauga, Ont. Photo by Hana El Zohiry for PORTICO Community Church.


The PAOC 2020 Initiative

PORTICO Community Church is one of more than 1,170 English and French churches across our nation affiliated with The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. As a Fellowship, with a shared vision for church revitalization and multiplication, we are believing God for 350,000 Christ followers (1% of Canadians) within our Canadian churches in the year 2020. Our International Missions department is working towards a goal of 420 global workers by 2020, up from the present 300. As churches like PORTICO faithfully encourage short-term missions and the financial support of international projects, we are trusting God to raise up more workers from our collective disciple-making communities for the harvest field, and for a greater number of Canadians to become aware of and invested in missional and humanitarian work in the areas of greatest need. Together we are committed to pray, read, give and share. We want Jesus to be seen in us so that thousands of Canadians will be transformed by His good news and join us in an “every day” relationship with God and His family, here in Canada and around the world. Click here to learn more about the ongoing progress of the 2020 Initiative.


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