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New Ministry Over Coffee Reaches Immigrants
Chinese newcomers spend lonely days at a local McDonald’s.  A new ministry reaches out to them with love and a helping hand.

Chinese immigrants receive more than a hot cup of coffee at local restaurants thanks to Testifying Jesus’ Love in Truth (TJLIT), a ministry of friendship, compassion and faith co-founded by Toronto teacher Ian Reid.

Helping lonely newcomers:  TJLIT volunteer Karen Lao (centre) leads a Bible study with a group of new immigrants.

In 2002 Reid noticed a number of lonely Chinese newcomers spending their days at the local McDonald’s.  He prayed for an answer.  The result was an on-location ministry providing life-skills training – and a life-giving message – in fast food joints and coffee shops.

“We took our ministry to Tim Horton’s in a mall,” says Reid, currently on sabbatical from his teaching career to focus on TJLIT’s work.  “The mall owner is a Chinese Canadian who has told security to treat us kindly.”

Every Tuesday and Thursday evening TJLIT participants – most of whom are well-educated women – get together over coffee and doughnuts for help with resumes, English, job searching and landlord disputes, as well as confidence building.

“When they come over from China they come with high qualifications and they have to adjust to jobs at Burger King,” explains Reid.

Karen Lao is a TJLIT volunteer who was once a refugee from Cambodia.  Lao speaks six languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese, and has put that skill to work translating Bible passages into simplified language for participants who want to know more about Christianity.  “Seeing people go from depression or thoughts of suicide to putting their trust in Christ Jesus is wonderful,” she says.

Originally published in Faith Today, September/October 2007.

Used with permission.  Copyright © 2007




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