Category Archives: Features

‘I Have Decided to Follow Jesus!’

Rosenort Revival Celebrates 70 Years

By Leona (Plett) Friesen

On July 8, 2001, a group of us celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1951 revival in the Rosenort (Man.) EMC. Now, 20 years later, those of us who have not been promoted to glory celebrate 70 years since our dear Saviour sent a revival into our midst. Through the revival, we saw church members reconciled and many, many young people (as well as some parents) come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour!

What led up to that revival? Years of earnest praying by many deeply concerned parents; then a sad event hit our community when one of our own tragically died. Rev. Ben D. Reimer from Steinbach, Man., was invited to speak at the funeral. Rev. Reimer returned shortly after the funeral for two weeks of special meetings in our church.

He preached a week and a half with no visible results. It seemed no one was willing to confess “I’m at fault.” On the second Wednesday, Mom Plett said, “This very night I ask your forgiveness for the misunderstandings and fights.” After that Wednesday service, many came to our car to ask my mom for forgiveness. We got home way past midnight! (Mother’s German-Lutheran upbringing made it hard to fit into our community.)

The very next night, on July 5, blessings started to flow. Two of my sisters and a few others came to know the Saviour. Then on Friday night, 50-plus more youth surrendered to Jesus! (My late husband Edward and I were included in this Friday group.) By Sunday night, more than 70 in all had come to know the Lord! Our youth, homes, church and community were completely changed that weekend.

On March 19 of this year, I listened to “Back to the Bible.” The speaker asked, “Are you…am I…plugging the ‘flow’ of revival?” Thank you, Mom Plett, for removing the “plug” in our church on July 4, 1951.

My prayer, “Dear Lord, am I a plug that is blocking the channel of blessing of revival to my family, my church, my country and the world? “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23–24).

As a result of that revival, a burning flame for missions was kindled. The revival rippled on to our neighbours, friends, other towns, provinces and countries in the following years. And it still ripples on! (Revelation 7:9, 12)

Encouragement to those still around:

So, let us keep travelling, tho’ at times
     we stumble and fall
Till through death, or at the sound
     of the last trumpet call
We will be swept through that beautiful
    heavenly gate
Where we’ll forever and forever
     this Revival celebrate!

“No turning back, no turning back!”

Leona (Plett) Friesen with her late husband Edward is one of several missionaries (Frank and Marge Kroeker, Fred and Doris Friesen, among others) who ministered cross-culturally after committing their lives to Christ during the Rosenort revival of 1951.

You can listen to Leona reading her poem below.

 

I wrote the following poem and presented it on July 8, 2001, at the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1951 Revival at the Rosenort EMC Church.

We Decided to Follow Jesus

This celebration began at the cross of Mount Calvary
When our precious Saviour died for you and me.
For years we had spent in sinning and pride
Ignoring the fact that the Lord Jesus had died.

Concerning this date; well, some fifteen years prior
There were earnest prayers for a revival fire.
Also, a foursome of brethren who in spite of foul weather
For soul-searching prayer, would gather together.

But all of you present here I am sure will know
That in 1951, exactly half a century ago,
Our dear Lord did not leave us in a lurch
But wonderfully touched our own home church.

Numerous young people on sinning were bent
Then into our midst an awful tragedy was sent.
Our whole community with deep sorrow was filled
As one of our own was tragically killed.

To speak at the funeral, an evangelist came
After that, our community has not been the same.
Tho’ of the speaker’s intentions, many were not sure
Mr. Ben D Reimer preached God’s Word, clear and pure.
(Mr. Reimer returned shortly after the funeral for two weeks of special meetings.)

A whole week and a half, with no seeming result
Nobody was willing to confess, “I am at fault”
Till the second Wednesday, Mom Plett said, “This very night
I ask your forgiveness for misunderstanding and fight.”
(Mother’s Lutheran upbringing made it hard to fit in.)

The very next night, on July 5, blessings started to flow…
Two of my sisters and others, the Saviour came to know,
Then on Friday night, fifty more youth and then some!
By Sunday night, seventy in all to the Saviour had come.

Friday night a certain girl in the church foyer did wait
Against whom in my heart there had been a deep, deep hate.
In grade school us Plett kids were often called ‘half-price’
We did not accept this term as very flattering or nice.

That evening I was changed, my heart filled with love.
For me, this was an extra special gift from above.
I found that forever was gone, that feeling of ill;
Heavenly love took care of it and always will!

Our youth, homes and church were SO changed that week.
Forgiveness for sinning toward others, we all did seek.
We went to friends and neighbours to confess our wrong
‘Cause we were forgiven and our hearts filled with song.

Edward’s sister Bertha, also one who came to the Lord.
Nine years later, her tombstone read these words,
“Where I am now, there must you be
Prepare my friend to follow me.”

Others did follow: George Kornelsen, the husband of Rosie,
She’d still want him with her, in her home so cozy.
Our dear brother, Melvin Dueck, and there are several more
Who are not here with us; they’ve gone on before.

Some others could not be at this celebration today
‘Cause of other obligations; or simply lived too far away.
Then, there are those absent, because they are sick;
One that comes to my mind is, dear Ralph Dueck.

Also missing is Fred, always ready with his wit and a joke
Now being in public is difficult, due to a stroke.
Then, there is Tina Reimer, she was Tina Friesen
She is absent as you know… cancer is the reason.

Even though since that blessed and unforgettable day,
Most of us have turned either bald, wrinkled or gray…
Let’s still be faithful, sharing the redemptive work of God’s Son
So that many others, like us, to the Saviour will be won!

Anyone who wants a copy of this simple rhyme
Can come to me, it’s yours for a quarter or a dime!
Come soon … “Cause in another fifty years from now
I won’t write a very much better one anyhow!

… Or I’ll do it perfectly!

‘Cause our next celebration probably will be in glory
And there we will witness the whole perfect story!

So, let us keep travelling, tho’ at times we stumble and fall
Till through death, or at the sound of the last trumpet call
We will be swept through that beautiful, heavenly gate…
Where we’ll forever and forever, this REVIVAL celebrate!

My late husband, Edward Friesen, and I, and countless others, will forever be grateful for deciding to follow Jesus! Our theme song was “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” Only Heaven will reveal what the blessed results were of that Revival. There we will all know “the whole perfect Revival story”!!

God bless you all!

Leona (Plett) Friesen

Learning to Receive

by Kevin Wiebe

The familiar ding rang out from my computer notifying me of a new email. I went to check it and discovered an email money transfer, sent at an unexpected time from a very unexpected source.
The sender’s name was Shelley, a single mother from our congregation who worked three jobs in order to take care of her son. She was always busy, always juggling her work schedules, and desperately trying to spend time with her child while also providing for him financially. It wasn’t easy to do both, and now she was sending me money that she said was specifically for me, not the church. Continue reading Learning to Receive

From Generation to Generation

Understanding the Bible’s Use of Genealogies

by August H. Konkel

One of the few books that is a family heritage in our Konkel family is entitled The Descendants of OHM Abraham Wiebe 1831–1991. It is a genealogy, names of people in chronological succession with pictures. It is frankly a boring book, unless the reader happens to know the story of someone in the book. The more the reader knows, the more interesting and informative the book becomes. It may well be the most consulted book in the family library. This book is typical of modern genealogies. It is a condensed family story of generations. Continue reading From Generation to Generation

Mentoring and Moose Hunting: Why Relationships Matter

By Joshua Dueck

“We can go here because somebody has gone here before.” These were the words from my Cree friend and mentor as we made our way into the woods of northern Saskatchewan in search of moose. On both sides of the narrow “road” was a treacherous snowbank, one that easily would have consumed the front end of our truck and left us stranded many hours from any actual road.

As we pushed further and further into the forest toward our base for hunting, I would occasionally feel the truck pull out of the tire grooves packed from the previous hunters. Again I would hear him say, “Stay on the path that others have made, we can go here because somebody has gone here before.” Continue reading Mentoring and Moose Hunting: Why Relationships Matter

Creation Care: A Biblical Mandate

How teaching on creation is making a difference in DRC

By Kukedila Ndunzi Muller

At the beginning of this third millennium, humanity confronts serious ecological problems that threaten human life and all of creation. The consequences of global warming are perceptible in every country of the world: polluted air and water, serious flooding, extreme heat, etc. Continue reading Creation Care: A Biblical Mandate

God Camps With His People

Why Christians should care about the Earth

By Todd Wynward

Why should I care for the environment? We know it’s probably the right thing to do, but what’s a Christ-centred perspective?
Sometimes modern Christians, in our excitement about Jesus, think the incarnation of God first happened 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. Actually, we affirm that God has been inhabiting creation since time began. We monotheists believe that one good God created everything, and God’s blessing fills everything around us. Continue reading God Camps With His People