In the summer-holidays in 1963 Michael Cassidy led a mission to the University of New Brunswick as part of a Leighton Ford (of the Billy Graham team) mission to Fredericton. It was Michael’s first major university mission, and a baptism of fire! Following another town mission with Leighton Ford, Michael and fellow student Paul Birch met up in Montreal and began a promotional whistle-stop tour across Canada introducing African Enterprise to potential prayer- partners and supporters in many churches, home-groups, and universities.
Michael describes the trip as “…crazy drives on weather forbidden icy freeways in wind- chill temperatures of minus 52 degrees, with stops in Toronto, Calgary, Saskatoon, Edmonton, plus somewhere in the Rockies waiting for an avalanche (couldn’t talk there about African Enterprise, Africa, or signing up to be a prayer- partner… But it got our prayer- lives going waiting to be buried under a million tons of rock and snow!)… and then finally on down to Vancouver. That was when our wonderful constituency of African Enterprise Canada friends was birthed… an initial core group of volunteer friends who launched African Enterprise into more than fifty years of adventure together of Mission and Evangelism in Africa, and even many moments over the years of direct ministry in Canada itself as well. Numbers of the African Enterprise evangelists who have done ministry tours and media broadcasts there and remember these times of privilege with delight.”
In 1968 Paul Birch, one of the founding members of African Enterprise leaves the team in South Africa to go back to his home country, Canada. He stood as the Chairman of the Canadian Board for many years, and still serves as Chairman Emeritus.
The African Enterprise Support Office in Canada was established by volunteers in 1965 but had no full-time staff until 1989. In 1991 David Richardson, African Enterprise’s Pan- African Missions Director and African Enterprise South Africa’s Missions Director, left South Africa and returned to Canada to head up the Support Office. He retired in 2016 after 36 years of service to the ministry.
Beginning in late 2015, the African Enterprise Boards and Offices in Canada and the United States began a prayerful conversation about ways they could work more effectively and cooperatively together across North America. After David Richardson’s retirement, the decision was made to close the previous African Enterprise Canada office in Vancouver, effective 31 July 2017, and for the African Enterprise USA office in Spokane Washington, not too far across the border, to carry out fundraising efforts across North America from 1 August forward.
The African Enterprise Canada Board welcomed two USA Board members into its number and the USA Board will include one Canadian Board member. An outsourced local service company in the Vancouver area handles the receiving of Canadian mail and phone calls, as well as bookkeeping and basic compliance with Canadian charity legal requirements.
This new structure means that even more resources can be allocated to the African teams while expanding African Enterprise’s reach in North America and Canada.