We’re continuing our survey of Canadian Reformed missionaries and mission works. We’ve now covered all the missionaries sent out by churches in western Canada. Strangely, all these sending churches are in one classical region: Classis Pacific West. For some reason, there are no churches from Pacific East, Alberta, or Manitoba that have sent out missionaries. I find this regrettable. I know, however, that it hasn’t been for lack of trying. Local churches in Alberta and Manitoba have tossed around the idea of calling and sending a missionary for some years. But until now, unfortunately nothing has gotten off the ground.
At any rate, we arrive on the eastern shores and our first stop has to be my new hometown, Hamilton. During my last stay here (1996-2000), there was a small group of seminary students and others who did evangelistic work in downtown Hamilton. This was mostly concentrated at a place called “the Men’s Residence,” an alcohol and drug rehab centre. Eventually, this work developed into something more organized and official. Richard Bultje became the evangelist/mission worker and Streetlight Ministries was born. It was originally a joint project of the Ancaster and Fellowship (Burlington) churches. These churches continue to be responsible for oversight, although others are also involved in support of the work.
Eventually, Rev. Paul Aasman was called to be the Streetlight missionary. He took up this work in 2006 and through his labours and those of others, the work is moving more and more in the direction of a regular instituted church. Richard Bultje recently left Streetlight to resume seminary studies and Hilco DeHaan took his place. Hilco served for a number of years as a mission worker in Smithers, BC. Prior to Hamilton, he and his family were serving in West Papua, Indonesia with an aid organization affiliated with our Dutch sister churches. Hilco brings many years of experience and a love for sharing the gospel to Streetlight.
There are special challenges associated with working in the inner city, especially poverty, addiction and other mental health issues. Even where those challenges are not present, the darkness of unbelief and the confusion of wrong belief are always there. Streetlight has been brightly shining with the hope of the gospel for some years now — may it, under God’s blessing, continue to do so for many years to come. If you’d like more information, please check out the Streetlight website.