Category Archives: With Our Churches

Time Travel at Prairie Rose?

by Jayelle Friesen

LANDMARK, Man.—Time travel at Prairie Rose? It sounds unbelievable, but ask any kid who attended Prairie Rose DVBS this summer and you will hear all about their adventurous journey to first-century Rome to visit the apostle Paul, meet new friends in a Roman marketplace, discover the Early Church, and learn about God’s love and the spread of the Gospel in the face of persecution.

About 90 to 100 children from in and around the community arrived each day; and thanks to our hardworking planning committee and volunteers, every morning was full of games, snacks, crafts, and music. Some highlights included the weeklong skit, cooling off in the summer heat with water games, and learning creative new songs that related to each morning’s theme.

Even the thunderstorm that rolled in one morning could not dampen the excitement and energy. As an added bonus this year, DVBS fun lasted all summer long with special skits and theme songs presented every Sunday during the worship service, reminding kids of lessons learned during the DVBS week.

As summer turned to fall, programs also shifted at Prairie Rose. Sept. 10 was our “kick-off” Sunday, marking the start of another Sunday School year. This was also our annual Cradle Roll service, where six toddlers “graduated” from the church nursery into the Sunday School program.

Each one displayed their own precious personality as they walked up to the stage with the help of a parent to receive their hat, diploma, and a candy. Other programs started this fall include junior and senior youth, mom’s morning out, and boys’ and girls’ clubs.

God at Work in Redcliff and Beyond

by Verna Doerksen

REDCLIFF, Alta.—Amazing, awesome, powerful are words to describe some of this summer’s events.

The first was the May 28, 2017, chartering service of the Gospel Light Fellowship. With a larger meeting room rented, the exciting day began with as many as 120 attending, more than doubling our regular attendance. With singing in between the testimonies of those becoming members, the service went on and on. But nobody seemed to care.

Finally, at 1 p.m., we had to break for our potluck feast—barbecued burgers and hotdogs, and salads galore. No one had room for the desserts, nor was there time. Those could wait until later (faspa, a light supper).

At 2 p.m. we resumed the service for more testimonies. Specially there for the occasion was Charles Koop, church planting coordinator, from Calgary as an EMC representative to install Abe and Anna Bueckert as the pastoral couple. Abe Bueckert in turn welcomed 17 more into membership.

Also present were John and Joyce Dyck from Manitoba who have been involved here from the beginning; John was the speaker at that very first Sunday morning service in November 2014.

Several testimonies included the following verses: “All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (1 John 5:10-12 NLT).

God is bringing a church, a body of believers together!

In June we rejoiced at the baptism of Wili Koethler and Suzy Fehr down by the river. This certainly was another exciting day with visitors and a picnic to top it off. We finished the day with a communion service back at the church.

A huge thank you goes to the EMC for their financial support of the fourth annual gospel music jamboree in July, which was another highlight. Hundreds came to listen to the wonderful music and the gospel presentation. One person said this was his favourite Jambouree of all the ones he had been to. Another attendee was going to come back next year with more friends.

Then came the four-day VBS, not huge in numbers, but big in that mothers came to listen and one boy claimed this to be the best time of his life.

Last of the summer events was a church camp-out, a good time to connect with those in our church fellowship. Softball, volleyball, games, lots of yummy food, and singing were among the weekend’s activities.

We are indeed blessed. God be praised and given all the glory!

Hillside: Bible Study, VBS, and Breakfast

by Jennifer Driedger

Buffalo Head Prairie, Alta.—Okay, now where do I start? I only have 500 words. Well, let’s see. I can give you a summary of the year so far. From September to the end of March we have Family Bible Study on Wednesday nights at 7:30 at the church. Everyone is welcome. We start off by praying and singing. Then we kids, ages three to 15 depending on the day (normally there are only five of us), head downstairs.

From September to December we did it with Telita Janzen; then she passed away from cancer on Jan. 30 this year. So now we kids have our lesson time with Laural Ann Plett, Pastor Jeff Plett’s wife. We have a lesson downstairs while the adults do their Bible study upstairs. When Telita was here, we kids would tie bags for MCC school kits during our lesson time.

Sunday School runs from September to June. We have five classes: a boy’s class with three boys, a girl’s youth class with about five girls, the nursery class with six kids, a mothers’ class, and an adult class.

For Christmas 2016 the Sunday School classes practised songs or skits. The girls’ and mothers’ classes joined together and sang Star of The East in two-, almost three-part harmony. The boys’ class and the girls’ class, with some help from our dads, performed a skit on “Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego and the Fiery Furnace.” The nursery class also sang.

From July 31 to Aug. 4 we had VBS. Two girls who worked with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) came up from Edmonton and led the lesson part. The VBS started at 7 p.m. Kids ages four to 12 sang, memorized Bible verses, and got to hear stories about missionaries and the story of Jesus. After the lesson time, the kids got to play games with Pastor Jeff or go downstairs and have crafts with Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. Doerksen. After the crafts or the games, they had a snack before they were sent home hyper. We were blessed to have around 15 kids show up to learn about God.

Year-round there is a men’s prayer breakfast every other Saturday. Some of the men from the church get together at 8 in the morning at the church. They take turns making breakfast, and then they pray and fellowship before starting their day. I don’t know much about this because I never go, but my Dad does and so it made it in here.

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.

MacGregor: Russell and Shannon Doerksen are Commissioned

by Donna Thiessen

MACGREGOR, Man.—Sunday, Sept. 11, 2017, was an important date in the life of the MacGregor EM Church. On this morning, a dedication service was held for three babies: Austyn Guenther, daughter of Linden and Dakotah Guenther; Noelle Doerksen, daughter of Russell and Shannon Doerksen; and Tyler Sae-Phan, son of Chai and Bo Sae-Phan. The parents committed to raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and the congregation committed to supporting them in that role.

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Russell and Shannon Doerksen with their daughter Noelle

It was also an important date as we installed Russell Doerksen as our new pastor and commissioned him and Shannon in their roles of leadership in the church. Russell and Shannon were previously living in Otterburne, Man., where Russell was working for Providence University College and Seminary. They attended Fort Gary EMC in Winnipeg.

Conference pastor Layton Friesen brought the message and conducted the installation. “We’re excited to be a part of the community at MacGregor EMC and we’re looking forward to where that leads,” says Russell.

After having been without a full-time pastor for a number of years, it is heartening to embark on this new era. We wish the Lord’s richest blessings on Russell and Shannon as they carry out this important position.

 

Good News: Being Practical, Moving Beyond Silence

by Wally Doerksen

STEINBACH, Man.—On July 16 the group met at Dan and Helen Reimer’s for a pool party. There was the usual conversation and food and then one of the divers drew blood as a result of a dive. All turned out well, except for a bit of a headache for the diver. Just a small reminder of how potential accidents are around us and how easily one takes health and so many other things in life for granted.

A few weeks earlier Curt Reimer and his son Simeon spent four days hiking the Mantario trail with his brother-in-law and two nephews. They were out there in God’s country enjoying the woods and the lakes and so on, but his comment after the hike was, “I’ll never do that again.” (Seemingly there were flying insects and foot blisters present as well.) Apparently his older son, who was not on the hike, says he is interested in hiking the trail as well. Decision time, Curt.

In late April, at a brunch at Wally and Ruth Doerksen’s, Mark Reimer reported on his time in Puerto Lopez. He was with a work team that went to repair houses after the earthquake there last year. Mark retired from a lengthy teaching career at the end of January and is looking to spend a greater amount of his time in Puerto Lopez in the future. There will be another work team going out next February, which will include bricklayer Rob Wiebe from Kleefeld EMC and others.

Wally and Ruth Doerksen spent some time with a fellow cancer survivor and his family. He also has multiple myeloma and was going through the same procedures as Wally; and so we tried to be an encouragement to him and his family.

Ruth worked with them on some housing issues they had in May and in general we tried to be the neighbours that it is so important to be. The family has since moved to London, Ont., where they have family and the girls will go to university.

Also at the end of April, Dan Friesen spoke in the Mitchell Community Church as part of a group called Sharing Our Stories of Recovery sponsored by Manitoba Schizophrenia Society and Mood Disorders. Dan has lived with bipolar disorder since a teenager and knows well the efforts required to daily maintain mental balance.

Medication, counseling, mentors, and speaking on behalf of the society have led him to a useful and productive life. He is now in the process of a career change as he is attending the University of Winnipeg to obtain his Bachelor of Education with the goal of becoming a teacher.

The group was involved with a young couple where mental health issues led to a variety of crises. Mental health affects 20 to 25 percent of our society and should be taken as seriously as any other health issue. For too long it has not been spoken about except in hushed tones and that makes it difficult for those with mental health issues to talk about their situation to others, which, in turn, likely causes more potential issues.

I have lived with depression for over twenty years, and for me it is not something that “goes away.” Medication and counseling have also helped me, but daily and weekly I try to make decisions that will have a positive reaction for not only me, but the people around me.

Understanding family and friends are also helpful. There are so many varieties of mental illness that one should be careful not to lump people into a broad category. How we relate here as neighbours is as vital a part of what we do as Christians as anything else.

Picture Butte: Baptisms and Transfers

By Helen Enns

PICTURE BUTTE, Alta.—Picture Butte MC rejoiced alongside these young folks who openly committed their lives to Jesus Christ on Sunday, May 28, 2017. Two transferred their memberships; the other six were baptized. Each one had their unique testimony. Pray that these young people will fearlessly be able to live out their faith as they continue in this walk in His grace. They are Pete Hiebert, Susy Fast, Christina Penner, Sarah Siemens, Lisa Penner, John Reimer, Willy Enns, and Lena Harder.