John Longhurst: Passion for Giving Passed Down Through Generations

by John Longhurst

For Alain Reimer, learning to be generous started when he was a child. “We were taught that giving was just a part of life,” he says of what his parents told their children.

On Sundays, when the family attended church, he remembers being given money to put in the Sunday school offering. “If we had something, we shared it,” he says. “Seeing my parents and grandparents always being generous was extremely influential . . . it absolutely ingrained a spirit of generosity in me.”

His parents also emphasized the importance of service; when he was in high school Alain’s family spent a Christmas break in Mexico building a house for a family in need. “That was my first experience with poverty, and it really taught me that not everyone in the world gets to live the way we do,” he says. “It really gave me a desire to give.”

Alain’s wife, Emily, had a similar experience growing up when her family spent a spring break in New Orleans rebuilding houses affected by Hurricane Katrina. “I loved being able to help in that way,” she says.

Their experiences filled the two with gratitude for what they have—and a conviction to help those in need. So, when the southern Manitoba couple married, they made a commitment to live generously.

To help guide their decision, the Reimers opened a donor-advised fund, called a Flexible Gifting Account, with Abundance Canada. Through the account, the Reimers automatically deposit a portion of each pay-cheque every month.

They receive regular statements and a charitable tax receipt for funds added to their account. They can give immediately through it, or at another time, to any charity of their choosing. “I always had in my head that I wanted to have a bank account where I could put a portion of a pay-cheque away for charity,” Alain says. “It was exactly what I’d been dreaming of.”

Recently, the Reimers had an opportunity to travel to Haiti and visit some of the areas where they had contributed to reconstruction efforts. “Seeing the impact on the people we’ve given to have brought us so much joy,” says Emily. “The results of our generosity brought us more joy than we would have ever gotten out of that money had we spent it on ourselves.”

A year ago the Reimers welcomed their first child; they want to pass on the same values for giving that they were taught. “We want to live in such a way that our kids see us worrying more about others than ourselves,” Alain says.

“Generosity doesn’t just happen—it is learned and strengthened through practice,” says Brad Friesen, a gift planning consultant at Abundance Canada. With a flexible gifting account, donors can be strategic about their charitable giving, he explains.

“Whether it’s immediate, a long-term gift throughout a lifetime or potentially a legacy gift in an estate, it’s the donor that advises the timing and the charities they wish to support,” he says. As well, he adds, it’s a practical way for families to model generosity to future generations.

“As children grow, parents can involve their children in the charitable decision-making process, giving them an opportunity to take part and see the benefits of giving,” he shares. “Gifting accounts are an excellent way to make sure the whole family is engaged in learning about and practising generosity.”

John Longhurst

With offices in Kitchener, Winnipeg, Calgary and Abbotsford, Abundance Canada is a donor-advised public foundation that enables Canadians to achieve their generosity goals though services such as flexible gifting accounts. For more information, contact

John Longhurst is a freelance writer.

Crestview Fellowship: Outreach Events Held, Challenge Made

by Jenaya Groen

WINNIPEG, Man.— At the beginning of the month of February 2019, Crestview Fellowship Church experienced two prominent events. One of them brought the community, congregation, and youth group together to enjoy an evening full of fellowship on Feb.1, 2019. The event was held on a Friday night, starting at 6:30 p.m., where we were able to enjoy a tasty taco dinner before we settled in for a movie in the sanctuary.

I Can Only Imagine was the movie being viewed that evening, and it definitely brought some interest in from the community. Crestview Fellowship loves these events for reasons of outreach and, fortunately, God’s hand was at work again with another successful opportunity. Without the thought and time put in from the volunteers, these types of events would not be possible. The church is very thankful for the working hands and willing hearts within it; they truly go the extra mile.

The second event was on Feb. 3, 2019, where we celebrated with the Triskle family, as they committed their second baby to raising them in the love of Christ. The church is eager to watch baby Allistair Triskle grow in his faith, as we will be supporting him, whether that is through prayer or helping out with Sunday School. The future of Crestview Fellowship Church is continuing to strengthen as we watch our family grow and use their gifts to benefit our Lord’s kingdom.

CFC enjoyed many Christmas blessing and outreach events during December 2018. Three of the many highlights this Christmas included Christmas hampers, the L.O.F.T. Christmas party, and the second annual Christmas Eve service and potluck.

This year Crestview blessed nine families with a Christmas hamper. The church was very generous and the hamper assembly and deliveries were able to run smoothly.

The L.O.F.T. stands for Living Our Faith Together, where youth from the church and around the community meet on Friday nights, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., and study God’s Word and enjoy playing exciting games. The L.O.F.T. Christmas party consisted of delicious homemade pizza, surprising youth leader trivia, extreme white elephant gift exchange, tasty sugar cookie decorating, and a game of capture the flag in the dark. The youth that attend are grateful for an awesome and welcoming Friday night every week.

Pastor Darrel Guenther said in a Christmas Eve sermon that believing in Jesus as the Messiah without any evidence is similar to finding, while blindfolded, a certain coloured penny among hundreds of other pennies. Then he went into O. T. prophecies that reveal why we can trust in Jesus. Credit: Crestview

The Christmas Eve service and potluck was another year of outreach success with many smiles of members and visitors enjoying each other’s company and sharing in joy of our Saviour’s birth. The message was called, “Is He the One?” Our eyes were opened to seven of the many prophecies of the coming of the Messiah, in the Old Testament, being fulfilled many years later. We can all trust in God’s Word and celebrate His faithfulness this year. Pastor Darrel Guenther challenged everyone, “He is the One. Is He your Saviour?”

On Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, Crestview officially welcomed Adam Schmidt has our youth pastor. Adam Schmidt grew up in the Crestview Fellowship community, and many in the congregation have watched him grow and express his faith in Jesus Christ. Adam has a servant heart that is always eager to help and encourage. He went to Steinbach Bible College where he learned a lot about himself and God through four years.

Connecting with youth, both inside and outside the church, is something that is so important to Adam and his efforts in these relationships are evidently huge and so cool. Adam connects through his own experiences, whether it’s on the court or reality. It’ll be exciting to see how God uses Adam as he serves as youth pastor in the Crestview Fellowship community.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, Crestview enjoyed reaching out to the community with a free sale and free breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. The church had been collecting items for the free sale since early spring; therefore, we had endless things to share with the community. From boots to books, from couches to pouches, we had it all. The breakfast was served: orange juice, hot coffee, fluffy pancakes drizzled with maple syrup, and savoury sausage, all cooked right in front of the community. This outreaching event touched the hearts of many, both the ones serving and receiving.

Obituary: Almon Menno Reimer


Almon Menno Reimer

Almon Menno Reimer, of Steinbach, Man., passed away on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2017, in the Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach.

Almon was predeceased by his wife, Annie Sawatzky Reimer; his brothers, Enoch Reimer, Rueben Reimer and Joel Reimer; five sisters-in-law and two brothers-in-law. Almon is survived by his five children, Larry Reimer (Viola), Rebecca Kornelson (Gordon), Marlene Reimer (Jim), Verna Reitmeier (Bob), Julie Reimer Fehr (Matthew); 11 grandchildren; and 24 great-grand children. He is also survived by his sister Mary, brother Arnold, five sisters-in-law and two brothers-in-law.

Almon, son of John C. and Maria Reimer, was born on Oct. 7, 1923 in Blumenhof, Man. Almon was baptised upon the confession of his faith in 1943. Almon and Annie, the daughter of Jacob A. and Helen Sawatzky of Steinbach, were married on August 12, 1945. The wedding was officiated by Peter D. Friesen at the Kleine Gemeinde Church that is now the Steinbach EMC.

Besides working at Plettville and the Brandt Foundry, Almon also had a long career working at Friesen Machine Works. Many farmers regretted the day when Almon finally retired from his job as machinist and welder after 44 years of service.

Almon, who was not one to sit back, after a few days of retirement went on to a 16-year period of volunteer service at the local MCC Thrift stores, fixing many bicycles and other objects for resale.

Almon served God quietly but wholeheartedly as a member of many church committees, singing in a group for shut-ins, as a leader in Christian Service Brigade, sand-bagging for various floods, as a MCC Relief Sale volunteer, and during one stint as a MDS volunteer repairing houses in Texas.

Almon’s children remember happy times of fishing trips, weiner roasts, almost yearly holidays at Clear Lake, road trips, and good family get-togethers. Almon and Annie felt privileged to travel coast to coast across Canada, to areas in the United States, Europe and Israel, where they “walked where Jesus walked.”

About ten years ago Dad was diagnosed with COPD. Almon’s life became progressively more difficult. The passing of his dear Annie in 2012 and the selling of the family home brought many changes to his life. He bravely made a new home at Parkview, enjoying the company of the other residents. On Dec. 3, 2017, Dad went into the hospital for the last time, being released from his suffering at 4:35 a.m. on Dec. 24. He was able to spend Christmas in Heaven.

Dad’s faith in God was always shown by his prayers, his godly living, his generosity and caring. He was a friend to all. Almon will always be an inspiration and example of how to live one’s faith.

Thank you also for the visits, prayers, and caring we experienced during the past few weeks.

The funeral service was held on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, at 2 p.m., at the Steinbach EMC with interment at Heritage Cemetery in Steinbach.

His Family

Holy Wanderings: A Guide to Deeper Discipleship

13-lesson guide available now

by CMC, EMMC, and EMC

STEINBACH/WINNPEG, Man.—Looking for a Bible study?

Your church holds classes for young people and adults interested in the Christian faith, baptism, and membership. After attending Christianity 101, Christian Foundations, Baptism and Membership Class, what do they study? Your conference has worked on an answer.

Holy Wanderings: A Guide to Deeper Discipleship is a 13-lesson guide looks at following Jesus together. It was published in November 2018. An effort that began in 2015, it is produced jointly by the CMC, EMMC, and EMC. Most of the writers come from within the three conferences, but outside expertise has also been called upon.

Holy Wanderings has chapters on the Bible and authority, the Bible and interpretation, Christians and worship, the role of the local church, an effective devotional life, stewardship and simple living, the Christian and vocation, everyday evangelism, a look at leadership, faith and culture, Christians and conflict, continuing and commending belief, and pilgrimage—a long, shared journey.

Quotes, discussion questions, and sidebar items will assist discussion and instruction. Ask for copies through your national office. Copies for CMC, EMMC, and EMC churches are subsidized at $5 plus postage.

Kevin Wiebe (EMC) was the pastor who suggested the project. The project’s committee members were Debbie Klassen (CMC), chair Bill Rambo (EMC), Lil Goertzen (EMMC), and Terry Smith (EMC). The book’s designer was Rebecca Roman (EMC).

Stony Brook: Special Service for Retiring Pastoral Couple

by Lisa Bergen

STEINBACH, Man.—On Jan. 27, 2019, SBF held a special service for Pastor Earl and Caroline Unger as they retire from serving at SBF. Pastor Earl has worked at SBF for 20 years and three months. We had an emotional and bittersweet kind of morning together as a congregation. We celebrated them at a come and go retirement party on Sunday afternoon. We wish them very well in their future endeavours. SBF says a great big thank you for all your service, dedication and sacrifices you made for us!

Loreena Thiessen: Something Old, Something New

by Loreena Thiessen

January is about new things. A brand new year has begun, 2019. The old year, 2018, is in the past.

A new year is exciting. A fresh new snow fall makes everything around you look new. You look forward to what the New Year will bring. You may already have new things, new mitts, a new scarf, and a new toque. Perhaps some new toys and books.

Now you’re back in school. A new term has begun. Perhaps you’ll make a new friend. You may learn a new skill. You’ll read a new book. And this year you’ll have another birthday. You’ll be a whole year older.

New things are exciting. But what about the old things? They are not gone. They remain as important as ever. What are these old things?

First, there are old buildings. Old buildings tell us of a certain time. They have history. What was happening when they were built? Why was a particular building built? Was it an important business that helped the community to grow? What is the style of the building, the architecture or design? What were the materials used to build it? Was it stone, or wood? All of these tell us about that time, perhaps long ago now.

Then there are old stories. Old stories you may have heard many times before. They make you feel good because you know them well. Maybe you feel you are a part of the story because you have experienced something similar. Take, for example, the stories of Winnie the Pooh. You may have had your own stuffed animal you took with you wherever you went. You thought of it as real, a real companion. You may have created stories about it.

Sometimes old things become new again. This means they have a new use. Look through a collection of old buttons. Your grandmother may have some. Is there a particularly pretty or unique button? Put it on a ribbon and wear it as a necklace. An old button can become a board game piece to replace a lost one. An old bottle can be used as a vase. An egg carton can be used to organize and store small items like a pin collection or stickers. Do you have old Christmas decorations? Each one will have a back story. How old is it? Where did you get it? Why is it still important to you?

Old things connect you to the past, to your history. They help build your story; they are a part of who you are, and what’s important to you.

Loreena Thiessen

What about old sayings? Old sayings have wisdom. They are as true now as they ever were. For example, Smiles are free, but they are worth a lot. Or this one, A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Both of these are to encourage you and show what has value.

There are many old sayings in the Bible that are important. One is in James 1:19: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise.”

Activity: Find an old item.

Need: an old item, camera, drawing paper, pencil crayons

Do: Choose one item that is old and is important to you.

What is its story? Find out what it was used for? Where did it come from? Who owned it?

Why was it important? You may want an adult to help you.

Take a picture of it or draw it.

Find a new use for it.