A Kairos Story: The Course that Changed my CultureAlycia DeLong
/Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Kairos: The Course that Changed My Culture
It had barely been two weeks since I had completed the Kairos course when it happened. It wasn’t planned. All I did was go to 7-11 to buy cream.
About a year earlier, my husband, Danny, and I had returned from serving in England where we’d been involved with ministries in some pretty rough areas. We’d lived there just over seven years and felt like we had really “served in the trenches” – you know - been there, done that, got the t-shirt!
Seasons change, our time in England ended, and we returned to Canada. Danny had been pastor of a small church in a Calgary community centre for about a year and, to be honest, we were feeling restless. When we heard of Kairos, it sounded right up our alley, so we quickly registered for the course.
Over the next few weeks, we went through a life-changing transformation as we dove into scripture, statistics, studies, and stories. Discussions came up and questions were asked that challenged our perspectives, separating our cultural chaff from the true heart of the Father!
As inspiring as it all was – and as much as we left that course ready to hop on the next plane to a foreign land, it wasn’t that simple.
Or was it?
In fact, could it be that the first steps of “going” began closer to home than we thought?
It was a Sunday morning, and, like every Sunday before church, I walked across the street to the 7-11 to buy cream for coffee time. It was an easy enough routine that would take me less than ten minutes.
Like many other convenience stores, the 7-11 had a frequent rotation of new staff joining their crew; typically, someone who had just immigrated to Canada and was just learning this new culture. Although I had noticed the many different ethnic groups represented behind the counter, I never really felt confident enough to strike up a conversation. But I’d never understood before how desperate our Father in Heaven wanted to make a connection with these people! However, after that Kairos course, the Holy Spirit had a new authority over my life and, before long, I was already 20 minutes into a full-on conversation with the newest employee behind the counter!
Kaleem had come to Canada only a few months earlier with his wife, Saman, and their three children, all under the age of 10. They’d immigrated as refugees from an area of Pakistan that suffered under terrorist hostility. He was extremely educated, having degrees in economics and social development, plus leadership experience with U.N.-affiliated programs that had worked to restore broken villages. However, in Canada, all that meant very little. Kaleem was now working at 7-11; starting from scratch, but more than willing to do whatever it took to provide for his family.
We covered a lot of ground in our 30-minute conversation, and I was, without a doubt, late for church! Since Kaleem’s shift wasn’t over for a few hours, I told him I’d be back after church, and I’d bring my husband – they just had to meet! (I don’t remember what Danny preached about that morning, but I remember repeatedly giving him signals from the back row to wrap it up so we could go to 7-11!)
Over the next few weeks, our families became good friends. The first time we went to Kaleem’s home, they were living in a one-bedroom basement furnished apartment. The living room was also the children’s bedroom; the couches were their beds. They’d been searching for low-income housing that could fit their family and budget for months, but even if they had a place, they didn’t own any furniture or housewares.
Our prayers were answered when Kaleem found a duplex for his family! We’d been sharing their story with our church and friends and with this development, everyone was more than willing to help them settle in! By the time moving day came, there was a crew of movers and vehicles loaded with everything from a coffee maker to a washing machine!
Kaleem eventually found another job and was even able to take up some university classes to regain the Canadian equivalent of his degrees. It was a busy time, but he would still message Danny – always with the same greeting, “Hello, my love!” (And it made Danny giggle every time!)
Through the Kairos course, we felt like we’d had our eyes opened: Not just in respect to who “the unreached” were, or to who “the called” were, but to who JESUS is. It made a whole new foundation for us, and once on that path, anything is possible.
Register for an upcoming Kairos Course or learn more information here: Kairos Course Canada.
Alycia DeLong and her husband, Danny, have been involved in overseas missions for over 20 years. In 2015, they moved to the Middle East, focusing on discipleship multiplication ministry in unreached areas. They were there until last August when they returned to Canada with their two children. Now both Alycia and Danny are on staff at the Regina Apostolic Church, Alycia in creative design and Danny as Pastor of Global Initiatives.
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