Celebrating Three Years in Montreal!

We have been in Montreal for three full years now and we have so much to celebrate. Often people ask us what brought us to this city and our answer is the same today as it was on day one. We are here because we believe fully that the only hope in this world is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, who came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died a real death taking all of our sin on himself out of his deep love for us. Not only did he die, but he defeated death and was raised from the dead so that death does not have the victory. We each can experience full, abundant life through Jesus. THIS is why we have come to Montreal. We want to share this with our friends, our family, and our neighbors, because this hope has changed our lives. This hope is what we base our lives upon, the hope of future glory in the presence of God because of his mercy, not our achievements or good deeds. Any good people see in us is the goodness of God to transform our hearts.

So here we are, three years later. Things have changed…

  • We went from a family of five to a family of six!
  • Our kids successfully finished three full school years and just started the fourth…
  • We have two (soon to be three) fully fluent French speakers in our home.
  • James and Abi have worked on language learning and made strides towards fluency.
  • We moved neighborhoods to Pointe Saint Charles from Villeray in 2018.
  • Three different elementary schools for our kids…
  • A stay in the hospital for Brock when he fell from his loft bed, but God showed up!
  • Renaissance Church has grown in size and depth by the grace of God.
  • Added a new staff family at Renaissance and hope to have others joining us in 2020
  • Completed trainings provided by NAMB to equip us for the work of church planting
  • Celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and other milestones far from family and learned how to stay connected despite distance.

These are just a handful of changes that we have encountered over the last three years!

As we look back and also look ahead to the future there may still be many unknowns for our family and our ministry, but throughout the years there is one reoccurring truth that we have learned through the highest highs and the lowest lows and that is this:

GOD IS GOOD. (Simple, right?) Something we have always known, but now truly believe.

His goodness has been present in every moment of every day, when we could see it and when we couldn’t see it. He never changes, He is faithful, and He is GOOD. We look ahead with great expectancy to see God change lives. We are looking to see where He is at work and finding ways to be a part of our community in a way that gives us a platform to share the hope we have in Jesus. We hope that our neighbors have noticed that our family (although nowhere near perfect) is a picture of God’s love and grace, and THAT is what is different about us.

The question and answer is the same today as it was at the beginning: Why Montreal? Answer: Because of the great call on our lives and the great need in this city (and around the world) for people to find that the only sure thing in this world is trusting in Jesus Christ as their hope, their peace, their everything.

Until All Have Heard — We press on!

 

Happy New Year!

Welcome back to our family blog!

2019 has begun and we are so thankful for another year of living and serving God in Montreal. We took some time in December to look back over the last year and we were amazed to think about all that happened and the many ways the Lord affirmed our calling through his Word, through the prayers and encouragement of friends and family, and in visible ways through Renaissance Church. What a joy it is to serve the Lord in this city as we seek to see families come to know Jesus, grow in their faith, and share their faith in Jesus with others.

We spent our Christmas break visiting family in Missouri and enjoyed every second of it! The long travel days there and back are so worth it to see our kids enjoying time with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles and coming back recharged and refreshed, ready for a new year.

Anabelle and Mya are doing well in their new school. The program they are a part of is wonderful, and is an answer to our prayers for a place where they can have the space to learn at their pace and go deeper in subjects that interest them. They have formed some special friendships and both have wonderful teachers who are eager to help both girls find ways to challenge themselves academically.

Brock is enjoying his year at home with Mommy (and Lottie) and is working hard at learning to read. We venture out in the snow at least once a day to get exercise and explore and frequent the library as well!

Lottie turned one on January 12th! Her first year went by in a blur…similar to the way she moves these days…a constant blur of movement! She started walking at about 10 months (the earliest of all our kids) and is nearly running now. Her favorite activities are playing around her sisters and brother, eating, and looking at books.

If you are interested in receiving our monthly emails that have more information on our church and ministry, please send an email to theabicopeland(at)gmail(dot)com and we can add you to our list!

Family Pictures 2018:

Fall Update 2018

November already? Fall always passes to quickly here as we anticipate the changing colors of the trees only to see the leaves fall quickly and winter begins. We have been so blessed in October and November to have had visits from family and friends, to have taken part in Coordinating the Montreal assessment for future NAMB Church Planters, to have watched our girls adjust and thrive in their new school, to have had time to get out of the city a couple of times and enjoy the beauty of Quebec, and to see some really amazing things happening at Renaissance.

Pictures cannot say it all but we hope this will help to who some snapshots of what life has been like for our family since we last posted and pray that as we continue to serve the God in Montreal that the light of Jesus will shine bright in this city!

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Summer Ministry Update 2018

We have been going non-stop since we moved to a new neighborhood in Montreal on July 2nd! Our summer has been full of so many good things and as we reflect on all that we’ve seen happen we are full of gratefulness in our hearts first of all to the Lord who has done more than we could have asked for and secondly for the countless people who support us through giving and prayer. If that is you, THANK YOU!

Our family is looking forward to all that year three in Montreal has to bring and are so thankful that our first two years have been some of the hardest but BEST days of our lives!

Here are some snapshots of our summer adventures:

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As always, if you would like to receive more in-depth updates about our ministry and are not currently receiving them, please email us at copeland5inmtl@gmail.com and we will add you to our monthly email list.

May Ministry Update

Happy Spring!

I’m not sure about you, but the sunshine, the green grass, the budding trees, all the signs of new life in God’s creation cause me (Abi) to pause each time I’m outside and remember that God keeps His promises. Just like the song says, “though the darkness may last for a night, His joy comes in the morning…” we are rejoicing that the “darkness” (and the cold) of winter is past us and the newness of Spring is before us!

We are seeing God answer your prayers right and left! How we wish we could sit down with each of you and tell you all the ways, but instead we hope that our newsletters will give you a small glimpse as to what the Lord is doing here through the ministry of our family and our church, Renaissance.

We encourage you to take some time this spring to stop and reflect on the many ways He has been good to you and your family, always faithful, always kind. What a mighty, loving, gracious God we serve as we continue together for His glory to be known in Montreal!

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We officially have a signed lease for a new place to live! Thank you for your many prayers, God heard and He answered to meet the needs of our family. A little about our new home:
  • Only one mile from our Sunday gathering spot for Renaissance
  • Plenty of space for our family of 6 (including a basement!)
  • Wonderful open floor plan for hosting friends and family when they visit
  • Great school for our children within walking distance
  • Family-oriented neighborhood close to the beautiful canal
  • Streets full of new neighbors and soon-to-be friends to connect with and invite to Renaissance
Thank you for being a part of this through your prayers! We are excited to share pictures in the days to come…
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Some recent pictures of our four kids:

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March/April Ministry Update

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Recently at Renaissance we have been walking through the book of Acts as we see how the Gospel advances through prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the bold witness of the church. Our prayers are BIG for the city of Montreal and we hope you will continue to join us to see the Gospel advance as the Holy Spirit works in hearts as we are given opportunities to share Jesus with those around us.

In March, we traveled back to Missouri to attend the Missions Week at our sending church, Ridgecrest. It was such a time of refreshment and encouragement for our family. We also were able to introduce Lottie to most of her family in Missouri…living at such a distance is not always easy but we are thankful for the trips where we get to spend time with family and friends.

Spring is coming, right?!?

We are in the midst of a cold snap here, and know that we aren’t the only ones. (It was in the 20s this morning in Missouri!) It seems like Spring is taking it’s time to settle all over and not just for us here in Montreal.

Just as we are anticipating the arrival of warmer temperatures, sunshine, and the beauty of spring we are eager to see how God continues to work among the lost here in our city in the days to come. We hope that you will be encouraged to keep praying for what God is doing in Montreal. His work here is not finished and we are humbled that we get to see first hand the beginning of a mighty move of God in Quebec!

*Also, for those who have been praying with us as we searched for a new home when we move in July, we have good news! Just last week we found a place that we loved and it has the space we were praying for as we seek to create a home where we can thrive as a family of 6 and use our space to welcome others in. More to come once papers are signed but we are hopeful that this is the place God has provided!

Ways to Pray:

  • For those in our city who are curious about Christianity
  • For those who are learning what it means to follow Jesus
  • For the pastors of Renaissance as they travel to the U.S. for the Together for the Gospel conference this month
  • For Gospel conversations and continued opportunities to disciple new believers
  • For God to bring to Renaissance a Worship Pastor
  • For God to give wisdom as we train up future leaders within our church and for future church planting as we seek to be a church that multiplies

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January/February Ministry Update

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Christmas Eve Service at Barley Cafe

The beginning of the year has been a lot of “getting back to normal” for Renaissance as well. Many of our church members traveled over the holiday break along with two weeks of “relocation” due to the school being closed for the break but we are officially back to our normal time and place and ready for all that the Lord has in store for our church in 2018!

  • Our Christmas Eve service was a great night of music and fellowship! We had around 40 people join us for the evening where we shared the Gospel message clearly and enjoyed seeing our church family and friends to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Please continue to pray for relationships that were formed from this event, that we would be diligent with follow up as God provides way to stay in contact.
  • Abi hosted our first annual Christmas Tea for the ladies at Renaissance and it was a wonderful afternoon! Around 15 women came to share in some yummy treats (prepared by Anabelle and Mya) and tea. Abi was able to share the Gospel with the group as well as encourage them during the winter season that can be very hard and long here in the “true north”. Please continue to pray for Abi as she prayerfully asks the Lord to lead in the area of women’s ministry at Renaissance.
  • We finished our first evangelism training class and just started a new session with six people signed up! We are praying that this encourages our church to share the Gospel in our everyday lives at work, with family, and with friends as God provides conversations and ways to be intentional in our relationships.
Ways to Pray: 
  • Pray for our current sermon series in Acts called “Multiply” as we focus on being a church that lives out a Gospel culture in our community
  • Pray for unbelievers in our church to give their lives fully to God. We have seen some great movement as they are being drawn more and more towards a relationship with Jesus.
  • Pray for our new session of evangelism training.
  • On July 1st our current lease for our apartment will be up and we plan on moving in order to be closer to Little Burgundy and the community we are called to serve. Please join us in praying for God to provide us with an apartment that is right for our family…here are some specifics we are asking Him to provide:
    • Good, safe school district for our kids (it will be the third school in 3 years for our girls…please pray for this transition for them!)
    • Plenty of space for the six of us (hard to find in the city)
    • Close location to where we meet on Sunday Mornings
    • Rent price that fits our budget

Welcome Lottie Grace!

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Thank you for your prayers as we welcomed Charlotte “Lottie” Grace on Friday, January 12th into our family!  She weighed 10 lbs. 7 oz. and was 20.5 inches of sweetness! She  is healthy, sleeping like a champ, and of course deeply loved by her three older siblings. We were blessed to have both Abi’s mom and James’ mom come for visits to help as we adjust to our new normal. We also have a great church family who brought meals for the first week and checked in on us here and there! Please continue to pray for us as we are awaiting the right documents for Lottie, in order to travel to Missouri at the end of February for Spring Break. We look forward to introducing her to our family and friends and need the process to move as quickly and smoothly as possible!

Here are some pictures from her first few weeks:

 

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We sure loved our Grammie visit! 
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We loved our Grandmo visit, too!

December Ministry Update

Ahhh…Christmas in Montreal, when the cold sweeps in, snow blankets the ground, and a big, warm bowl of poutine sounds amazing at any time of the day. We are excited to welcome in the Christmas season this year and although we wish we could be spending it close to family and friends we are eager to create some new memories here in Montreal as we anticipate the arrival of Lottie Grace on January 12th. (We will not be traveling to Missouri for the holiday because of the pregnancy.)

Our family is taking time this Christmas season to pause each day and reflect on the coming of our Messiah, Jesus, Immanuel who came on a search and rescue mission “to seek and save the lost” (John 19:10) . We hope and pray that you, too, will take time to remember the significance of Jesus’ birth, what it means for our lives in the present and in the future. Our kids are memorizing Christmas carols, working on Christmas crafts, and remembering the story of Jesus’ birth with wonder and amazement. What an incredible opportunity, as parents, to teach them this true story of the Great Rescuer who came to earth!

We are also taking time to praise God for the many partners who are a part of the work that God is doing in this city. We are humbled by the generosity, the many prayers, and the encouragement that we have received in recent weeks as we walked through a time of discouragement; yet in the midst of it, we were able to see God remind us time and again of His faithfulness and His power at work in the lives of those around us.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making it possible for our family to not just live, but thrive in Montreal. Although it has it’s challenges, we could not be anywhere else doing anything else, THIS is what we were made for. Our prayer for your is that you are encouraged, knowing that you are an important part in bringing the Gospel to the city of Montreal, the most unreached city in North America.

From the Copeland family to our amazing partners….MERRY CHRISTMAS!


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How can you pray for us this month? 

  • Pray for Renaissance.  We are seeing the Lord work in the hearts of many and continue to pray for salvations!
  • Pray for our Core Team as we are learning the the 3-Circles Evangelism tool. Pray that this will encourage them to begin Gospel conversations and have confidence to share their faith. Don’t know what 3-Circles is? Check it out here: 3-Circles Video
  • Pray for our upcoming Christmas Eve service in Little Burgundy. Pray that those in the community will join us for an evening of Christmas music, food, and fellowship.
  • Pray for Abi (and the girls) as she hosts a Christmas Tea for the Renaissance women. Pray that it is a time for friendships to deepen and for encouragement!
  • Pray for the many opportunities we will have in December to attend community and school events. Pray that we can find ways to create Gospel conversations at each event as we interact with people in Little Burgundy and around Montreal.
  • Pray for our family as we will be away from our own family for Christmas. Pray that our hearts will be encouraged and that we will use the time to invest in others around us who are also away from family.

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