Couple reaches city where immigrants outnumber nationals

Couple reaches city where immigrants outnumber nationals

Everyone is welcome!” That is the motto of Fellowship Church Rogue Park (FCRP) located in Toronto’s East End. This multiethnic, multigenerational church plant rents space in a local Catholic school on Sunday mornings and hosts events throughout the week.

Strategically launched near an area known for gang violence, the ministry is led by church planting missionary, Kesavan Balasingham and his wife, Viji Balasingham, both immigrants to Canada who found new life here.

Known as the most multiethnic city in the world, Toronto’s metropolitan area has a population of almost 6 million.

“More than half of the people here were born outside the country,” he said. “An estimated 4 percent of the population is evangelical Christian. … We believe that this is the harvest where God wants us to work, to pray, to labor and to see people who don’t know Jesus becoming worshippers of Christ. And then they themselves reach out to others. That’s our prayer, our dream.”

Imprisoned, but freed

Originally from Sri Lanka, Kesavan Balasingham was raised Hindu and lived in several countries before his family moved to Canada. Life was hard and the lure of the local gangs drew him.

Arrested at age 19, he found freedom in Christ during his incarceration and discovered a heart to reach others.

“The Lord saved me very early on in my journey in prison,” he said. “I kept reading through the Bible and I came to read the story of Joseph, a young man who ran away from sin. And then afterward, the story of Moses, a man who ran into sin. I saw how … God used … .” He pauses and laughs, “Um, violent people for His good glory. I began to have hope that God can most certainly use my life in whatever way it pleases Him.”

After his release, Kesavan Balasingham graduated from seminary and got married.

The couple felt called to plant FCRP, which initially began in his living room. The goal: to minister to internationals dealing with challenges like the ones he and his family had faced.

FCRP hosts open gym and field nights for area youth to play and connect. For Kesavan Balasingham, this ministry opportunity is close to his heart as it targets young men who are in similar situations to his own as a teenager. They have anywhere from 20 to 30 young people show up weekly for sports outreach and hearing the gospel.

“Our aim is to point toward the gospel by proclaiming and demonstrating its power in our lives by the way we engage the community,” he said.

The Balasinghams are church planting missionaries featured in the Week of Prayer for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. This year’s offering theme is “On Mission: Here and Now.”

Learn more about the Balasinghams at (Missions Mosaic, NAMB)