Patrick Long, Ontario, Canada
Each of the various missionary service groups associated with the assemblies had a different beginning. The half dozen or so in the English-speaking world, and the two dozen or so in other countries, each arose from a particular need.
In the case of MSC Canada (previously Missionary Service Committee), World War II conditions were what brought about its beginning. The involvement of Canada in the war effort meant that there were currency restrictions in place that made it impossible for the assemblies in Canada to send funds overseas to Canadian commended missionaries. Consultation with government officials led to the creation in 1940 of the Missionary Service Committee, and this committee was used by the Lord during the war years to transmit funds to overseas workers.
It quickly became apparent that there were benefits to having a body like this even when there were no currency restrictions, so Missionary Service Committee continued to serve the Lord’s people, being incorporated in 1959, and registered with the Canadian government as a charity in 1967. Most people simply referred to it as ‘MSC’, and the name was officially changed to MSC Canada in the ’nineties. From a very humble beginning in 1940, using borrowed and leased office space in Toronto, MSC Canada grew to the point where an office was purchased in a building in Markham where the committee and office staff work diligently to serve the Lord’s people at home and abroad.
MSC Canada has fifteen members, ten of whom live in the Greater Toronto area and nine of whom serve as directors of the corporation. Five live in other regions of the country and serve as ‘Regional Representatives’. Two of the members also serve as administrators, working alongside the three permanent staff members. Those members in the Greater Toronto area meet twice a month to conduct the business of MSC Canada. MSC Canada’s mandate is to serve Canadian assemblies and assembly-commended workers, with a primary focus on those serving overseas. Through a series of ‘agency agreements’ MSC Canada is also able to forward support funds to workers commended from assemblies in other countries.
There are three principal ways in which MSC Canada serves. First of all in the transmission of support funds to the workers. It is not prudent for individuals or local assemblies to send funds directly to overseas workers. There are significant costs involved, and in some countries it is illegal to have money other than the national currency in one’s possession. By holding the various donations received during the month, and then transmitting them in one sum as the worker has instructed, there are considerable savings, and a great deal more security. Many of the transfers are done electronically so that the workers receive the funds in an expeditious manner. Nearly $7,000,000 (Canadian) is received by MSC Canada each year, and a very efficient office staff ensures that the funds reach the workers promptly and efficiently.
The second way in which MSC Canada serves is in providing information. It would be very difficult for individuals or local assemblies to be up to date on all the various government regulations that are in place, and that affect the operation of assemblies and their commended workers. The committee and staff have accumulated much of this information over the years, and do their best to keep abreast as legislation is amended and regulations changed. To assist the Lord’s people MSC Canada conducts seminars across Canada and takes part in conferences where appropriate and when invited. A number of publications are available from the office and a web-site has been developed where there is a good amount of helpful information. Letters and other communications are constantly being received in the office from overseas workers, and items from these communications are gleaned for the weekly ‘MTN’. This is sent out to many people electronically and by mail, and is available on the web-site. Opportunities for short-term service are also gathered and that information is also made available to the Lord’s people. MSC Canada also cooperates with CMML in New Jersey, USA, in the publication of Missions Magazine and the Missionary Prayer Handbook.
The third area of service is in ‘Relief and Development’. When disasters occur around the world, whether natural or man-made, the Lord’s people are quick to respond and MSC Canada has been privileged to be able to play a role in assisting in the relief. From time to time individual members of MSC Canada have been able to travel to these places and observe the disaster first hand and provide help and information on-site. It has also been possible to assist missionaries in projects that might otherwise be difficult or impossible for them to complete on their own. Over the years many containers have been shipped overseas, to provide materials for the missionaries and for relief and development.
For further information please contact us by mail: MSC Canada, 509 - 3950 14th Avenue, arkham, Ontario, Canada, L3R 0A9 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or through the web-site: www.msc.on.ca.