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Competing to shine

Reformed youth across Canada are taking to heart Paul’s encouragement to young Timothy “don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers….” Over the past year, 16 school clubs and over 300 individuals have taken part in a friendly competition, organized by ARPA Canada and using newly-developed custom software, to spur each other on as Christian witnesses in Canada’s public square.

ARPA Profiles took off

“We finished our post-it note display which we have been working on for 23 days. Every note represents 40 lives of children lost to abortion.” – Ebenezer School, Smithers

Daniel Kanis, the “tech-wizard” at ARPA, came up with the idea of using technology to “gamify” political action to make it competitive and fun. He first introduced his concept to his colleagues at a summer staff retreat, and then launched it publicly as “ARPA Profiles” mid 2022.

“The key to success would be rapid onboarding of students and adults alike” Kanis shared in an interview with RP. “Rapid onboarding” is what it sounds like: getting a lot of people all involved – all “on board” – at the same time.

“In October we had our chance. We rapidly onboarded a variety of students across the country from British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario at our youth conferences.” It didn’t take long and a healthy spirit of competition arose between these schools, that continues till today.

ARPA Profiles involves signing up for a unique profile on their website, taking part in political action and then getting points for that action, depending on how difficult it is. For example, sending an EasyMail letter gets you 200 points, meeting with your MP or MLA will result in 15,000 points, and distributing flyers results in 1000 points for every 25 flyers. If you are really ambitious and can get an airplane to fly a pro-life banner, you get 1,000,000 points! Other options include things like visiting an old age home, helping a pregnancy care center with groceries, baking cookies for an event, or hosting a flag display.

Those who have an ARPA profile can earn points for themselves but also for the school club or ARPA chapter that they are a member of. To make it fun, the school club with the most points gets a banner to keep, a trophy for a year, a pizza party, and celebration shirts. There are also prizes for individual championships. The deadline is May 17, 2023, and at press time, there is a fierce competition between Judy Slaa, Brooklyn Gortemaker, Anna Van Orizande, and Micah Wieske for the top place.

The race for the top school isn’t quite as fierce, as the Alberta Home School group is currently doubling the second-place school, Immanuel Christian in Winnipeg. Ebenezer school in Smithers is currently third out of 16, followed by Mount Cheam Christian from Chilliwack.

In it together

This 10,000 flag display for the preborn was set up in northern Alberta

When asked what ARPA Profiles has accomplished, Kanis shared that it has “one key ingredient that I think is essential to political action. And that’s the thought of: ‘I’m not doing this alone.’”

The ARPA Profiles website fosters a sense of community, as participants post a picture of what they did. Scrolling through dozens of pictures will silence those who lament that young people aren’t very active today. Not only are many active, they are doing things that their parents or grandparents likely never did at their age. And the hope is that it will make it far more likely that they continue to shine in the public square the rest of their lives.

Looking through the pictures, it is evident that Albertans are leading by example. Ed Hoogerdyk serves as ARPA’s Alberta Manager, with a special focus on helping Albertans shine their lights with political action. “ARPA Profiles is a great motivator!” he shared with me. Hoogerdyk proceeded to give some examples, beginning with their “CareNotKill” campaign. “Shortly after pictures are shared of grassroots action (flyer runs, billboards, banners), I receive inquiries from people wanting to order items so they can take action as well.”

Hoogerdyk has noticed a steady increase in the number of school club members and adult chapter members. “More people are meeting. More people are praying. More people are politically engaged.” And it is translating into giving as well. “Fundraising builds community spirit and reminds people of the importance of witnessing in their own communities. It’s been inspiring to work alongside so many ‘cheerful givers’ in Alberta.”

Healthy competition

Hoogerdyk testified that the competitive aspect of ARPA Profiles is important. “The competition is healthy. I sense a strong spirit of unity amongst the school clubs and chapters. They’re sharing updates with each other and encouraging each other to compete.”

“I held signs up for an hour, and got a lot of waves and honks.” – Mya V, Immanuel Christian in Winnipeg

I asked Kanis how he would respond to those who think that people should be active without needing points or prizes. “At the level and caliber that the students on the platform are doing action, they are to be doing it for the heart of the mission,” he answered. “If you were just participating in the competition for the points, and for the prize, at the end of the day those with heart will win. It is great to award and acknowledge those people who go above and beyond in being a faithful Christian witness.”

Active like never before

But is all of this just an exception to the general rule that Christians aren’t very engaged in politics or culture? Hoogerdyk respectfully challenged those who think this way. “Based on my experience, there continues to be an increase in the number of people engaging with politics.” He proceeded to give examples.

“First, more people are praying. This is evident in prayer matters brought up in church services, messages from people letting us know they regularly pray for ARPA’s work, and ARPA’s prayer calendar. Second, more people are staying informed and taking action. They’re participating in grassroots activities, supporting our chapters and clubs, and contributing financially.”

And the involvement goes deeper too. “There are numerous constituency associations with good Reformed Christian representation, including some who are presidents of these associations.”

The contest closes mid-May, and readers can get plugged into ARPA’s weekly Quick Update videos, newsletter, or social media to find out which individual or school makes the podium. But it likely doesn’t end there. Kanis is hoping that they can build on the success next year. “I am tremendously thankful for the uptake that the ARPA supporters have shown in the open reception of this new system. I am thankful for their patience as this first year was sure to have some hiccups. I hope it can be a blessing to many others, and that those who may not have heard about ARPA Profiles can sign up and be encouraged with just how much action is happening across Canada!”


"Be Fruitful and Multiply" tour comes to Albertan April 19-22

Families are having fewer babies, and the world’s population is expected to peak and then decline later this century. The world isn’t prepared for the impact that this is going to have. However, what may be the greatest challenge of this century can also be a huge opportunity for the Church to shine…. if we embrace the blessing of children, and are prepared to raise them faithfully.

In this presentation, Reformed Perspective’s Mark Penninga will unpack data, history, and God’s Word to make the case for embracing the gift of children with open arms.


Ages 16-116, single or married, children or no children, these presentations are suitable for all mature Christians.


Edmonton: April 19 at 7:30 pm at Immanuel Canadian Reformed Church

Barhead: April 20 at 7:30 pm at Emmanuel United Reformed Church

Ponoka: April 22 at 7:30 pm at Parkland Reformed Church


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ENJOYING GOD! RP's 2022 photo contest, the youth entries

This summer we asked RP's readers to send in photos showing how you were enjoying your Creator. It was a photo contest, with two categories: one for adults, and one for youth under 18. There were so many fantastic entries that we wanted to do online what space didn't permit in the print issue: we wanted to share all of them. What follows here are all the youth entries, beginning with the winner and the runner-up. There's so much to see here, so take the time to look, but also linger, and share in some of the enjoyment that was had in so many different ways, experiencing God's goodness, His brilliance, and His power too. And then click here to check out all the adult entries as well. ***** WINNER It's amazing to see the power God displays through storms. Jordan L. (13 years old)   RUNNER-UP The boat's going too fast for my nephew, and his Dad told him to hang on, so what's he supposed to do with his cookie? He enjoyed God as he fished with his family and is now heading back to the campsite. He is also now enjoying the God-given talents of his Oma's baking abilities. Deborah D. (12)   Seth B. (14) Seeing the world close up and admiring the intricate things God has made.   Miriam P. (14) In this photo my sister is standing on the deck of a windy ferry. She is enjoying God and His beautiful creation. The golden sun is setting and reflecting off the ocean. God made his creation beautiful for us to enjoy.   Krista D. (12) Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person like God has loved us.   Darci W. (14) Times like this shows the beauty God is capable of.   Danielle L. (14) Standing on the path, under the trees, looking out across the lake at the forest on the other side of the water. Hiking is a great way to enjoy God's creation and see the unique ways in which He shows his love.   Darci W. (14) This beautiful photo shows how God takes care of his creation and how we can enjoy it.   Danielle L. (14) We went kayaking during a storm and hid out under a cliff watching the rain hit the water and then captured a picture of the storm clouds rolling away. God is truly powerful!   Abby B. (13) We went backpacking and me and my friend were sitting there thinking about how great it is that we can enjoy this awesome creation that God has made. It is absolutely beautiful to look at all his creation!!   Seth B., (14) Enjoying watching the cows on a peaceful and calm summer morning.   Josiah C. (10) I enjoy God's world by spending time watching Rufous Hummingbirds dart from flower to flower pollinating.   Deborah D. (12) My nephew, with my Dad are enjoying God as they fish on Babine Lake. He likes fishing, catching, and hanging out with Grandpa.   Krista D. (12) Nature proclaims God, and when we enjoy nature, we enjoy God.   Leah P. (9) This is a photo of my sister having a fun day in the pool during a hot summer day. I like the sister that God made and the water that God also made. 🌊   Hannah P. (12) This photo shows us enjoying God by enjoying his creation. On hot days we like to go outside and have fun in the heat. We are also enjoying God by enjoying each other's company.   Seth B. (14) Watching in amazement as a beautiful summer, evening storm rolls past.   Danielle L. (14) We went for a hike through the woods and walked under cliffs and in caves. The rocks were beautiful and it was really amazing to see the way that God shows His power and creativity to us. It's humbling to realize that God is so much bigger than us.   Brett V. (7) A hummingbird moth feeding on a bee balm flower.   Zachary V. (9) I enjoy God when I go kayaking. I can hear the birds sing, and the fish splash. I can see the majestic cliffs and the towering trees. It brings me peace when I spend time in His creation.   Rozlyn V. (11) I enjoy God when I go for walks in His creation. I can see His care for even these trees growing on rocks and how He gives them life even on the edge of a cliff.   Lydia V. (14) I enjoy God by the ways he shows His power, whether that is in a great storm or in the crashing of the mighty rapids.   Lydia V. (14) I enjoy God's handiwork and splendor in the creation He made. The sunsets He paints in the sky each night, the mighty pines and the peaceful waters are just a few ways can enjoy each evening He give us.   Kara V. (12) I can see Gods power in many things. In this picture can see his handiwork and his power in lightning and the beauty it displays. I enjoyed watching the storm and in this am reminded that God is always with us.   Josiah C. (10) I enjoy how God created all the details in the feathers of a Wood Duck.   Deborah D. (12) My brother is enjoying God as he snowmobiles in God's beautiful mountains.   Josiah C. (10) I enjoy God as I watch a Surf Scoter and a seal pup resting together.   Darci W. (14) This lovely photo shows us the amazing parts of God's creation....