An invitation to take initiative within your community

Written by Layton and Jerrica MacCabe

In 1952, a 19-year-old named Willard Moyer moved from Pennsylvania to northern Ontario, to the outskirts of a small, rural First Nations community in response to God’s call on his life. There, he built a house with lumber from the surrounding trees and began the work of building friendship, trust, and influence with the neighbouring village.

He met his wife doing similar work in the surrounding regions. Together, they lived hardy, compassionate, and zealous lives for Jesus, seeing much spiritual fruit in northern Ontario as they pioneered five ministries, founded churches, and catalyzed a project to translate the Bible into two of the principal languages of the Canadian north.

Today, Willard’s daughter and son-in-law, themselves missionaries for many decades, are our spiritual mentors. Personally, we have been stirred deeply by the histories of many young pioneer missionaries who exemplified radical obedience to Jesus’ command in the Great Commission.

These trailblazers of the gospel were often younger than us (we’re 21 and 22). They sacrificed comfortable lives to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who would otherwise not hear the gospel. It’s incredibly humbling to learn about their simple obedience that laid the foundation for the modern missions movement we are blessed to be a part of today.

So, urged onward by the commands of Jesus, the encouragement of Paul (don’t let anyone look down on you because of your youth!) and the testimonies of those before us, we as a couple committed to what we felt God calling us to—pioneering an evangelism movement in eastern Canada.

Photo credit: Jerrica MacCabe

Though there were many bumps and hard experiences along the way, over the last year we’ve seen many tens of young people give their lives to Christ and hundreds of young Christians share the gospel for the first time. We’ve been privileged to be involved with planting a burgeoning house of prayer as well as an upcoming missions training school along with our spiritual mentors.

We truly believe that there is a call in this unique hour of history for brave young men and women to rise up and radically obey the commands of Jesus. We’ve seen culture-changing movements follow the simple “Yes!” to God on the lips of youth and young adults.

The Holy Spirit moves regardless of our personal abilities and giftings and lacks thereof! The Spirit is the real pioneer, not any human individual, and we have found Him faithful to teach us every step of the way. So, we wanted to leave you with some of the takeaways we’ve learned.

Prayer is the foundation of movement

It’s a well documented fact that every significant revival in history was preceded by a group of faithful intercessors calling out for the salvation of their generation or region. Yet the incredible power of prayer extends even beyond that.

We have found the Lord gives the bulk of strategies to reach the lost during these prayer meetings. If you want to see a move of God in your region but don’t know where to start, we recommend hosting small prayer meetings in your garage, living room, or wherever works, and inviting every person you know who is passionate about seeing the same move of God.

Be engaged with what the Lord is doing globally, not just locally

When things start to shift and move towards the kingdom of God in your region, the temptation can be to hunker down and enjoy what the Lord is doing within your bubble. But being engaged outside of that as a community is essential for fostering healthy zeal for the Great Commission.

We regularly seek out opportunities to engage in missions outside of our region, forming friendships and seeing what the Lord is doing across the world. Go on a mission trip, attend an evangelistic stadium event, meet up with pioneering Christians from another city. Often, the Lord uses these moments to keep us feeling fresh and full of endurance!

Seek out spiritual mothers and fathers

From the Bible, we know how important discipleship is. Especially when in positions of leadership, we cannot forget the value of being discipled ourselves.

We have found seeking out fathers and mothers of the faith (older men and women who will speak truth, conviction, and grace into our lives and ministry) is a crucial component of spiritual covering. Permit someone you trust to be that extra voice of wisdom, and carve out time to meet and pray with them regularly!

Hold your plans loosely

One thing we have learned in our journey of following the Lord’s will is to hold our plans loosely. Especially over the last year, we have had many moments when we thought we knew exactly what our direction was until the Lord rocked us with a far superior plan.

Photo credit: Maren Mealey

To pioneer is to hold your arms open wide to anything the Lord wants to place into them. It means holding a heart posture of “Whatever your will is, Lord, let it be,” and saying yes to what He says.

Of course, these takeaways are just the beginning of what you’ll discover as you follow the Lord’s calling on your life. Whether you’re called to start a prayer meeting, train with your friends to be evangelists, catalyze a worship movement, or go to the nations as a missionary, the Lord has many sweet things to reveal to you during your journey.

If you want help with the first steps towards becoming a pioneer, please reach out to us by email. We’d be happy to pray with you and give you some practical pointers.

Find Gather to Go on Facebook @gathertogo. Contact Layton and Jerrica at or