While many of the churches in the Caribbean are celebrating milestones, they are joined by the Caribbean Missions Society (CMS) in Canada. Formed in March of 2017, the official charitable status was granted by the Canadian Government on May 30,2019. The journey to obtain charitable status was an interesting and amazing experience.
On a full-time basis, I run a CPA firm as the Managing Partner. Clara, my wife, is employed by the firm as our Controller and Software Trainer. We also served as lay leaders for a marrieds’ sector in the Toronto Church. Leading a sector of over 80 people with five family groups spread across the north end of the city was not only demanding, but also very time-consuming.
Our personal lives became very challenging due to the health of our parents and the many commitments that entailed. It was after my father passed away, helping my mother to re-organize her life and dealing with my mother-in-law’s struggle with dementia, that Clara and I made the difficult decision to step down from our many years of being lay leaders. After a year of focusing on and ensuring that our elderly mothers were well taken care of, we began our journey to figure out what God had planned for us to do next.
After much prayer, I heard there was a Caribbean Missions Society (CMS) meeting held in St. Louis at the North American Discipleship Summit in July 2016, which some of my fellow Canadians attended.
Now, let’s step back for a bit. I was born in Guyana, South America and immigrated to Toronto, Canada when I was 17 years old to attend school. I was fortunate to meet my amazing wife Clara (born in Canada from Italian descent), who had never visited the Caribbean. For many years, it had always been on my heart to make a difference in Guyana and I thought that getting into politics would be the best way to have a practical impact in the country. However, my Italian-Canadian bride would have none of it. The desire still haunted me, so when I heard about the CMS, I was really excited to get involved. My bride supported this one –since this was God’s plan. I emailed Sean Barnes, treasurer of the US CMS and waited for a response. If God wanted me to get involved, he would make it clear.
After sometime, Sean got a hold of me and with discussions with me and Brian Santos, Chairman of the US CMS, we made a decision to begin the process to incorporate a CMS in Canada and apply for charitable status as soon as possible. As a Canadian, we cannot give money to a US charity, i.e. the US CMS. Normally it takes two weeks to set up a Canadian Not-for-Profit organization, the first step in the process. When my wife completed the online application, we received approval in two hours! We were both shocked and elated at the same time. God wanted this done! Since the first step took a matter of hours, we confidently thought the next steps would be a piece of cake. God had very different plans; it was his timing, not ours.
After two years of struggling and being rejected by the Canadian Government for charitable status, we spent over three months preparing documentation, writing detailed programs, budgets, and biographies of all the Canadians involved in the CMS in Canada, before we reapplied. This time, we filed our application leaning on God’s will, not relying on our talents and strengths. We asked all the Caribbean leaders, members of the US CM,; and many, many Caribbean disciples living in Canada for prayers.
Our vision for the CMS in Canada is to raise sufficient funds in order to reach every soul in the Caribbean by providing training for local leadership, assist in church plantings and provide shepherding for the churches. Short -erm mission trips will enable Canadians to become more aware of the needs in the Caribbean. We also hope to facilitate Christian-focused workshops in the Caribbean, led by Canadians who are experts in their fields, on topics such as finances, conflict resolution, eldership development, parenting special needs children, preteens & teens and developing campus ministries.
We were given official charitable status on May 30, 2019. To God be the glory! We are now looking forward to seeing the amazing things God will do in the Caribbean.If you would like to donate, please click here.