Category Archives: Heartland Community Church

Heartland Community Church

A Legacy for Landmark

By Merrilee Plett

LANDMARK, Man.—On Saturday, October 2, Legacy Children’s Centre celebrated its Grand Opening. It was a morning where years of dreaming and work finally came together!

In 2016, Heartland Community Church (HCC) asked the question, “How do we serve the community of Landmark in a tangible way?” As a community church, HCC believes we have a mission to reach out in our community. As we were challenged to “think big,” an idea was born to see what it would take to create a daycare. A team was assembled to research and develop a plan, with Marilyn Plett (my mom) as team leader. Continue reading Heartland Community Church

Heartland: What do Babies, Chowder, Photobombers and Romania Have in Common?

by Brigitte Toews

LANDMARK, Man.What do babies, Maritime clam chowder, peace-loving photobombers, and Romania have in common? Answer: Emma Woodworth and her short-term mission opportunity.

Fall socializing and fundraising go hand in hand here at Heartland after the summer holidays. Friends and family of Emma Woodworth helped her host a savoury soup luncheon for her trip to Romania in December 2017. A variety of soups were served after the morning service on Sept. 24, but the main draw was Pastor Andy Woodworth’s authentic Maritime clam chowder, a culinary skill he had honed while living in PEI.

Emma will be plugged in at the Rasa Family Centre, a mission of Gateway to Hope (Romania), where she’ll be a conduit of God’s love and compassion for needy infants. She will also be helping families who come there for support and care. Emma’s ministry connection was made after one of the founding couples of the mission was visiting family members who attend Heartland.

Only five days later, on Sept. 29, we gathered once again to be “Heartlandish.” Connecting with our neighbours, both old and new, over a hot meal of ham, scalloped potatoes, and baked beans, as well as fresh local produce and an assortment of homemade pies, has become a treasured tradition. We served 325 people and raised close to $3,000, which will go toward the purchase of a new fryer for the Landmark Arena. A special thank-you to our Missions Committee and co-ordinators, Clara Sawatsky, Marilyn Plett, and Deb Reimer for another successful event.

On the hottest Sunday in the month, on Sept. 10, our social committee hosted an old-fashioned wiener roast and bonfire at the Keating homestead. Though I could not attend, I heard it was enjoyable, and this type of evening may happen again next year.

Heartland: Bridging the Gap

by Brigitte Toews

LANDMARK, Man.—When Heartland’s musical men bridge the gap, that often widens when some of our elder church members move to Steinbach, something amazing happens. On Oct. 16, 2017, the band—Duane Froese (piano), Gary Toews (percussion), and Dave Andres (bass)—opened the first set with their musical rendition of Church in Wildwood and When the Roll is Called.

I settled in the back row of BridgePark Manor’s multi-purpose room and tapped my toes to the jazzy gospel beat. Dayton Plett led the congregation, singing choruses of victory and power and of longing and devotion toward God. The HCC quartet (Al Reimer, Bernie Neufeld, Dayton Plett, and Reinhold Wiebe) added their voices to the throng. 

Duane introduced us to a special guest, his friend Julio Cesar, a Christian man he had met three months prior and who is trying to emigrate from Bolivia with his young family. Though Julio didn’t speak much English, he sang familiar Christian tunes in his own language.  And Rev. Jake Froese expounded scripture and preached the good news in three short sermon segments throughout the evening.    

The hour flew by. The room was filled with the Spirit of God in the people of God. And after the service the men visited with attenders.  I am grateful for their willingness to serve.     

The chasm between affluence and poverty is wide, but the Christian band, The Color, ambassadors for World Vision, have helped bridge that divide through the well-known sponsorship program. The Band held a Saturday worship night and concert on Oct. 21 at HCC, which drew just over 200 people of various ages.  Through the group’s effort six first-time sponsors signed up during the concert. And during the intermission HCC social committee served up sundaes at their ice cream bar.

Resetting Our Priorities

by Brigitte Toews

LANDMARK, Man.—Heartland Community Church has sprung forward into a new season of ministry and service opportunities as we listen and follow God’s leading. Looking ahead, we have recognized the need to add a new part-time pastor of care to our pastoral leadership team.

Duane Froese has been our Prayer and Care service team leader for the past three years and he was affirmed in this new role on March 19. Duane will help mobilize the team at Heartland to encourage, serve, and help all of us connect to God and others in our church and wider community.

On Easter Sunday we hosted a travelling band of Christian musicians from Bellville, Ont., called FM Reset, who led our Easter worship. They have been touring Eastern and Central Canada, playing in schools and churches along the way, encouraging youth to live different. The band got their start as the young worship team out of Pastor Andy Woodworth’s previous church, and they said that Andy’s encouragement to keep practicing helped them stay focused and develop as a group.

On April 30 our church was formally introduced to the Dawood family for the first time since arriving in Winnipeg in December 2016. Al Reimer spoke on behalf of the Syrian Refugee sponsorship group, which is made up of Heartland donors, and a committed group of fellow Christians in downtown Winnipeg who live in the same area as the refugees.

Al said, “The Dawood family—father Mohamad, mother Aisha, daughter Mawlooda, son Mostafa—continue to make progress in settling in a new country, learning English, going to school, pursuing training for possible employment, and create a network of friends. They have maintained a positive attitude as they confront the seemingly overwhelmingly task of creating a new life.”

Mr. Dawood, with the assistance of Sultan Kittened, a translator who volunteered his service for this purpose, shared some of their family’s life experiences in war-torn Syria. He was a farmer by trade and when uprooted from his homeland, not all the Dawood adult children were able to come to Canada, they got separated during the crisis. After the service, we shared a meal with the family and an offering was taken for gardening tools so they can get started on their own urban garden project.

We look forward to more mission opportunities coming our way as we bear good fruit and remain rooted in Christ.


Heartland: Nine members Added

by Brigitte Toews

LANDMARK, Man.—Nine people at Heartland Community Church publicly chose to follow Jesus, eight through baptism (Kaitlyn Warkentin, Noah Keating, Josh Neufeld, Hudson Skjaerlund, Craig Sawatzky, Rachelle Sawatzky, Amanda Plett, Tiffany Froese) and one recommitment (Angela Storey).

Though each person expressed their desire to be a follower at different points along their journey, they were all here for the same reason: to be an example to others and obedient to Jesus, taking to heart his instruction in Matt. 28:18-20.

After each received a personalized comforter from our congregation, Pastor Andy Woodworth spoke words of wisdom and encouragement over each person to strengthen them. He then invited each one to listen and observe the leading of the Holy Spirit in their own lives as he handed them a symbolic gift to be opened with intention. They were invited to record their questions, prayers, answers, and unique experiences and words from God and others as they read their Bibles and pursue God wholeheartedly.

He also expressed the importance of character development in the process, like being trustworthy, authentic, and consistent in their relationship with God because it would be a life long pursuit that would require courage and strength.

Wow! It was a powerful service. But we are all invited into the same intimacy with God, so let 2017 be a time of personal revival that will, in turn, affect everyone else around you.


Heartland: Two Amazing Stories

by Brigitte Toews

LANDMARK, Man.—In May we had the pleasure of listening to Tim Hague’s amazing story. He was born of a white mother and black father during a time when racial tensions in the USA were at their peak and where inter-racial children were neither black enough nor white enough to be wanted for adoption.

He was placed in an orphanage with little hope of ever finding a family. After he was shuffled around from church to church in the southern states, a white Christian couple heard the call and took to heart James’ definition of pure religion: “to look after the orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27) and so took action.

Tim’s distress, however, continued while growing up. Once the family adopted him, their own church disowned them. He was then bullied as a child and ultimately rejected by the parents of potential girlfriends. Tim persevered in his trials; and he eventually met and a married a blond, blue-eyed woman named Sheryl and moved to Winnipeg where they raised four children and he became a registered nurse.

In early 2011, Tim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Instead of accepting the disease as a curse, he said he decided to embrace the next stage of his journey with joy and expectancy. After starting treatment, Tim trained and ran his first triathlon and continued to be open to whatever God planned for the rest of his life.

Through the encouragement of Sheryl, Tim and his son Tim Jr. auditioned for the Amazing Race Canada. Underdogs from the beginning, the pair pulled off a miraculous win on the very first season of the show.

As Tim Hague’s race continues, he shares his story and inspires others to “live their best.” He has become an advocate for Parkinson’s and an ambassador for Compassion Canada, continuing the legacy of his parents.

Early this year Gary and Mavis Unger (Heartland) also heard the call to look after the orphans in their distress. They went to Haiti on a short-term mission trip four years ago and carried back with them a burden for the orphans at the Maison Orphanage in Port Au Prince.

With much prayer, the couple quit their jobs and left their home and family for a time to pursue what God had planned for them. In the short term, they have taken on the role of working directors for the Orphanage.

Under their guidance, many projects have been planned and funded by their supporters back home. I look forward to their future reports to hear the rest of the story.

In the meantime, we are in this amazing race. Like a winning marathoner we must train and cast off everything that hinders us. And we must fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, enduring patiently so we too will finish well and receive the prize and give God the glory.