Encouraging, Living, Reaching

Reaching Those Under The Radar

Reaching Those Under The Radar

The expression “flying under the radar” aptly describes an assembly in Malton, a Mississauga (ON) neighborhood, and not just for the fact that it sits beneath Canada’s largest and busiest airport, Toronto Pearson International!

With only about fifty in fellowship, Malton Bible Chapel may seem quiet and unassuming compared to its fellow assemblies in Southern Ontario, but for more than fifty years the Lord has been fulfilling His commission through this assembly’s missionaries and ambassadors both at home and abroad (Mt. 28:18-20).

A bird’s eye view

During the Second World War, the nascent Malton Airport became Canada’s center for pilot training and aircraft building. It was also where the Avro Arrow supersonic jet interceptor was developed in the 1950s. Postwar, Malton was settled by Italian and Polish immigrants.

In 1969, a pipeline gas explosion destroyed the business section located at the busy Airport & Derry intersection. As a result, the “Four Corners” never regained its former vitality. Presently, two-thirds of Malton’s 40,000 residents are mainly immigrants from South Asia and the Caribbean.

English is a second language for half of the population. Notably, Malton is home to Sri Guru Singh Sabha, a prominent Sikh temple and learning center.

Taking off on solid ground

In the early 1960’s, there was a clear need for a gospel testimony in the growing area of Malton in addition to a couple of other churches already there. Launched in November 1963 with the encouragement of Erindale Bible Chapel, it wasn’t long before the Thomas, Ennis and Poole families were joined by others in the fledgling ministry.

Until 1967 the assembly gathered at Ridgewood Public School, whereupon the congregation purchased a vacant four-room wartime school at the corner of Victory & Churchill where they have been ever since. Years of tireless renovation and expansion converted the latter school into the chapel of the present.

Many of the families were added in those early years because of the vibrant children’s ministries. Many of the children that were saved and discipled as a result of the Sunday school, kids’ clubs and youth groups continue to serve the Lord to this day.

Phil Barnes fondly recalls growing up at Malton Bible Chapel in the 1960s, long before he became the executive director at MSC Canada. During that time, a group of “hippies” were living in the neighboring park. Some of the elders (including Barnes’ father, Norm) decided to invite these young vagabonds inside for the meeting.

“I said, “are you guys crazy?’” laughs Barnes at the recollection of these elders, dressed in their Sunday best, making their approach. However, their boldness paid off, resulting in a ministry to this group of disenchanted youth. A coffee drop-in was started in the chapel and a local baker, a believer, donated baked goods to the outreach. Several of these youth were saved as a result.

Supporting missions has always been a priority for the elders. Missionaries commended by the assembly include Dudley and Jill Ward (France) and Phil and Marilyn Barnes (Zimbabwe), respectively. Many others have the assembly’s steadfast support. Malton Bible Chapel is also a long-time sponsor of the Toronto Easter Bible Conference.

New frontiers

“I enjoy going there [to preach]”, says Bill Yuille (ON), “I sense a love for the Lord and for His people. They have some fine people there”. Upon visiting the assembly, one is immediately struck by its cultural diversity. Notably, none of its five elders was born in Canada.

In between the English meetings, conversations can be overheard in Tagalog, Urdu or Spanish to name a few. For the last forty years, a sizable portion of the assembly has been composed of godly, committed Filipinos of all ages.

A group of Hispanic believers hold Spanish services on Sunday afternoons. Additionally, a Friday night boys’ sports outreach, attended mostly by local Afro-Caribbean youth, has been going on for years in a nearby school.

Responding to the need

Until a few years ago, the assembly held special meetings targeting Malton’s South Asian community, often in Punjabi or other languages. The elders had realized that, if the Lord wants this assembly to continue another fifty years, the assembly needed to be more reflective of its community and win South Asians to Christ.

In response to the challenge, a pharmacist in fellowship has hosted several diabetes-awareness seminars at the chapel for the affected community. Last year, Malton Bible Chapel hosted its first Vacation Bible School, with several community kids attending.

Plans are underway for another VBS this year, Lord-willing. However, more work remains! Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest (Mt. 9:38).

For more information, visit: www.maltonbiblechapel.com

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect any other author or an official position of the assemblyHUB team.

Hanniel Ghezzi

Hanniel was saved at the age of 17. Married to Jannilea since 2006, they have been blessed with four children with whom they reside in Brampton, ON. Employed in manufacturing, Hanniel hosts a YouTube ministry, “Backpack Christian”, and speaks at various assemblies, including his home assembly Malton Bible Chapel where he also serves as an elder.

One Response to Reaching Those Under The Radar

  1. Avatar
    Miller thomson

    Good to hear about this Assembly and the continued testimony and the work they do.
    The Lord bless them in their work for Him

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