Category Archives: With Our Churches

Aberdeen Seeks to Reunite Refugee Family

by Herb Heppner

WINNIPEG, Man.—Last October, with the help of MCC, Aberdeen EMC applied to sponsor an extended family from Iraq. In total, there are eight adults and two babies in the family. Our hope is to reunite a young couple we sponsored several years ago with their family. We want to invite churches and individuals in our EMC conference to help us with this sponsorship.

On June 3, 2017, Humam Shihab and his wife Sabreen celebrated two years in Canada. They are from the city of Bagdad in Iraq and were sponsored by Aberdeen. They were fortunate to find a home in Winnipeg. Both of them have learned English and are working in the public school system in Winnipeg.

But Humam could not forget about his family still in Iraq and requested that Aberdeen try to sponsor his family. His father has been housebound for years and the family feared for the father’s safety. Two of Humam’s uncles have been taken by militias and never heard of again.

Last October Aberdeen applied to sponsor Humam’s family. This includes his parents, three brothers, one sister, a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, as well as two babies.

The Shihabs have been living in Beirut, Lebanon, as refugees. There they waited anxiously for news about their sponsorship application. Finally, in early May, they were advised that they would be accepted to come to Winnipeg. Upon hearing this news, they were overjoyed that they were being given a new opportunity in a new land. They are now waiting for their visas to be processed and for a flight date.

We are presently preparing a home for them. It is big task for a small church to take on a sponsorship of this size. However, Humam and Sabreen have become a part of our community and we feel compelled to help reunite this family.

Note: Many EMC churches are currently sponsoring or co-sponsoring refugee families. This is in line with the compassion of Jesus as shown in Matthew 25. Aberdeen is a small congregation with a big heart. If your congregation is not involved in such a sponsorship, or if you are interested in helping personally, Aberdeen welcomes your help in this project. Donations may be sent to Aberdeen EMC, 265 Flora Ave., Winnipeg, MB R2W 2R2; aberdeenchurch2@gmail.com. – Tim Dyck, EMC General Secretary

Steinbach EMC: Jason Heide Blessed by the Comradery

by Pastor Jason Heide

STEINBACH, Man.—Jason Heide was asked by Terry Smith to tell us about his ministry as the youth pastor at Steinbach EMC. He began serving on June 1, 2008.

Tell us about where you were raised, educated, and served prior to Steinbach EMC.

I was born and raised in Winkler, Man. After high school I spent a couple of years at Briercrest College and then, after meeting my soon-to-be wife, transferred to Providence College to complete my Bachelor of Arts degree. Throughout high school and college I spent my summers serving at Winkler Bible Camp. After college I spent two and a half years working there full-time as the director of one of their satellite camps.

Tell us about your family. 

I am blessed to be married to my beautiful and supportive wife Paige for the past 11 years. She is such an integral part of our ministry to the youth at Steinbach EMC. God has blessed us with two wonderful boys, Logan (7) and Lucas (5). Over the past seven years they have helped me learn so much about what child-like faith looks like. It has been such a joy to respond to their surprisingly deep questions about God.

How did you hear about Steinbach EMC and what led you to serve here? 

Toward the end of my time at camp I felt God leading me elsewhere. I didn’t know where. I just knew that working with youth was what I wanted to continue to do. Paige and I had just built a new house and I was looking for job listings close to home. When I saw the ad for a youth pastor at the Steinbach EMC, I remember asking Paige (assuming she wouldn’t be interested), “What would you think about moving to Steinbach?” To my surprise she was very positive about the possibility and I applied. Six months later we sold our new house and moved to Steinbach. It’s been amazing to see the way God’s hand was at work in all the details that have led us here.

To understand you as a pastor, what do people need to know?

In 2006, while I was working at Winkler Bible Camp, I remember the director had asked each of the staff to complete the following statement: “I work at Winkler Bible Camp because….” My answer that day is the same answer I have today with the only difference being the place I am serving. “I want to be involved in work that will still be worthwhile in eternity.” One of the greatest joys in my life and ministry is seeing people come to know Jesus and give their lives to follow Him!

What do you think of the EMC?

I grew up attending a non-denominational church in Winkler and therefore had no first-hand experience of what a conference was like prior to moving here. Since joining the EMC I have found it to be a fantastic experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed the conference events I’ve been a part of, specifically TRU, the Young Adult Retreat, and Abundant Springs. I have also been very blessed by the comradery and the relationships I have been able to build with the other youth pastors in the region. It’s encouraging to know that we are in this together.

What else would you want to say?

I thank God for how He has graciously worked in and through me. It is a wonderful privilege to be able to partner with our Lord and Saviour in this significant work of reaching people for Him.

 

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.

 

Treesbank Invites You to Our 50th Anniversary Celebration!

by Janet Hamilton

TREESBANK, Man.—Treesbank Community Church invites you to our 50th Anniversary Celebration on July 22-23, 2017. There is fully serviced camping available in Wawanesa. Please book early by calling 204-741-0421 or srrd@mymts.net. There is also lots of space in the churchyard for unserviced camping. Our schedule will start with a bonfire in the churchyard on Saturday at 7 p.m. Our Sunday service will start at 10:30 a.m. with a lunch to follow. There will be an open microphone set up during lunch. TCC will provide snacks for Saturday and lunch on Sunday. Please RSVP to cjanhamilton@yahoo.ca by July 1.

Steinbach EMC: Additions to the Church Family

by Martha Kroeker

STEINBACH, Man.—We rejoiced on Nov. 20, 2016, as we listened to the testimonies of those who had decided earlier in their lives to follow Jesus and now chose to publicly confirm this decision by taking the next step in their spiritual journey and being baptized. With joy we welcomed them as part of our church family, together with several others who transferred from other churches.

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Members as of May 14, 2017: (back) Juan Peters (t), Markus Buhler, Dave Kroeker (t), Isaac Dyck, Abram Wall, (front) Agnes Kroeker (t), Helena Dyck, Conner Klassen, Anna Klassen, Hannah Drolet, Anna Radekop. Credit: SEMC

There was a special sense of joy and anticipation in the sanctuary on May 14, 2017, as we gathered, joined by many guests, for a celebration of baptism and welcoming new members as part of our covenant community. Seven young people shared their faith stories of God’s involvement in their lives and indicated their desire to be baptized as a public declaration of their commitment to follow Jesus. Another four people transferred their membership from other churches.

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A parent/child dedication was held on May 28: Rob and Sharon Steeves (Conor, Declan and Niamh), Margaret and Darcy Friesen (Dawson Thor), Jeremy and Adrienne Buhler (Thomas Elliott). Credit: SEMC

Mexico: Missions Trip to San Pablito

by Marcus Loewen

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man.—There were fifteen of us, including adults, that went for a missions trip from March 22-25 with Braveheart Ministries to San Pablito, Mexico. Six were from our church. We took vehicles from Mexico City, making a four-hour drive out to mountainous San Pablito, Four hours from Mexico City.

We lived among the people, observing the artisans and ministering to the youth through a worship night and a soccer game in the mountains.

There were a couple God experiences that I had. One was the worship night and, even though we spoke two different languages, it felt like the Holy Spirit was there and stirring in my heart.

Another was when we boys were walking back to the house; we spent the walk back praying for the town and for the light of Jesus to shine. On previous nights there would be wild dogs barking at us as we walked, but this night, as we prayed, it felt like they were backing off. It was almost like a physical display of what was happening in the spiritual realm.

Something else that I won’t ever forget was the enormous amount of hospitality that they showed. One family gave up their home and slept in one bed to let some of the group stay at their place. It blew me away to see what little they did have they willingly shared with joy.

Community Bible Fellowship: Ron Thiessen Says Pray for Your Church Leaders!

by Ron Thiessen

SWAN RIVER, Man.—Terry Smith sent questions to Ron Thiessen, who has served at CBF since October 2011. Here is his reply.

Tell us about where you were raised, educated, and served prior to CBF.

I was raised in the Mennonite Mecca of Winkler, Man. After grade 12 I landed up going to Millar College of the Bible for four years. Once I was married, we served in Martensville, Sask., as a Youth Pastor and then at two different churches while in Aylmer, Ont. The first one was as an Associate Pastor of Youth and then as a Lead Pastor.

Tell us about your family. 

God has given me the opportunity to marry my best friend Rita, and we have been married now for almost 27 years! WE have been blessed with three amazing kids: Kendra, Jayden, and Myron. Kendra is now done her first year at Bible School, Jay is graduating from grade 12 this year, and Myron is in grade 11 presently. What gives me the greatest joy is to see how each of them is walking in the truth.

How did you hear about CBF and what led you to serve here? 

I was without work for a couple of years when I felt directed to look at the EM Conference in hopes to find a church we could serve at. The Conference Pastor saw our resume and felt we would be a good match for Swan River, and are we ever glad that he did.

To understand you as a pastor, what do people need to know?

I am in progress just like everybody else. Far too many people think that pastors or missionaries have it all together. Just ask my kids and you will know that I am as far from perfect as they come. I have come to see that it is my brokenness that qualifies me to minister to others, for it is in weakness that we can minister the life of Jesus to one another.

What else would you want to say? 

I would really want to encourage church members to pray for their leaders in their churches. Being in church leadership is a very lonely place. If you pray for them and keep your heart soft and receptive to the Lord, then you will make their role of being a leader a joy and not a burden, just as it says in Hebrews 13:17.

What brings you the greatest joy in your role as a pastor?

To see people who are willing to change and move forward with God! Nobody enjoys a change except maybe a baby with a wet diaper; but when I see people young and old alike who are willing to say count the cost and say yes to Jesus , that fires me up like nothing else! That is undeniable proof that the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives; and as far as I am concerned there is no greater joy for me then to see people being transformed and becoming more like Jesus!

Wymark: Paul Little Says EMC Direction a Concern

by Pastor Paul Little

CHORTITZ, Sask.—Paul Little was asked questions by e-mail. Here are his responses. He has served as pastor of the Wymark EMC, its building located in Chortitz, since March 5, 2010.

Tell us about where you were raised, educated, and served prior to Wymark. 

Paul: I was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I was born into a pastor’s family. I lived in NB until I was four and then my dad took a church in Ontario. We lived there until I was 14 and then my dad took a church back in NB where he was until I went to Bible school. I was educated at New Brunswick Bible Institute. I got my theological diploma in 2000. I also got an undergraduate degree in Sociology at the Crandall University (formerly Atlantic Baptist University) in 2006. I was a youth pastor in Rochester, New Hampshire, at Rochester Baptist Church from 2001-2003. I also served at Jacksontown Baptist Church prior to coming to Wymark.

Tell us about your family. 

Paul: I have been married to my beautiful supportive wife Amy since May 5, 2000. We have three wonderful children for which I am so grateful to my Lord and Saviour. Jaedon is our oldest; he is 15. Keagon is our middle child who is 13, and finally our little girl Amareis is 11.

How did you hear about Wymark and what led you to serve here? 

Paul: My father-in-law [Pastor Dwight Munn, WCC, Grande Prairie] had told me about the EM Conference. He mentioned that there was a list of churches in The Messenger that were looking for a pastor so I pursued it. God clearly lead me to Wymark through His Word and the prayers of God’s people. I am so grateful for the people of this church and thank the Lord for leading me here.

To understand you as a pastor, what do people need to know?

Paul: I have a heart to preach God’s Word to His people. God has been so good and faithful to me, which leads me to strive to be faithful to Him. I have a desire for God’s people to take God at His “word” and strive to follow Him with all of their hearts. As a pastor, like all believers, I am called to serve God and His people. I love to help people and point people to their creator who desires to be their Saviour.

What do you think of the EMC? 

Paul: I believe the people in the EMC have a desire to serve God. I struggle with the direction the conference is heading. I struggle with the conference’s stance on women leading men. I also disagree with their stance on creation. I know we should celebrate the diversity of our conference; however, diversity that is not grounded on truth of God’s Word is not something that I believe I am called to celebrate. There are different cultures in our conference that have different worship styles and I gladly celebrate those differences.

What else would you want to say? 

Paul: God does not call us to be successful, but He does call us to be faithful (1 Cor. 4:2). This is my true desire!

 

 

Fort Garry: New Beginnings

by Elaine Kroeker

WINNIPEG, Man.—Our first potluck of the year was a Chinese New Year event on Jan. 29 with the Winnipeg Logos Church. We are thankful that we can share our facility and do joint events with them several times a year.

For our service that day, a man within the Logos congregation shared his story of coming to faith in God this past year and being baptized at Thanksgiving by Pastor Len Harms. He shared about the many ways in which following Jesus was helping him make changes in his life. He said he has changed from being judgmental to becoming a more gentle and gracious person.

The potluck lunch was a lovely mix of both Canadian and Chinese food. The Logos church had decorated the basement using Chinese New Year’s banners that translated read, “ We are celebrating the Chinese New Year by Praising God.”

A baby dedication was held on Feb. 12, welcoming five new babies to our congregation. Each parent read a prayer of dedication and Pastor David Funk said a prayer of blessing for the families.

We praise God for the confidence that people from all cultures, new believers, and young children can all take refuge and put their trust in the Almighty. All of us are welcome to find shelter under the shadow of His wings for life’s journey.

 

 

Crestview: Pastor Emerges as Chili Champion!

by Sharron Straub

WINNIPEG, Man.—The fourth annual Chili Cook-off took place on Friday, March 3. Nine tasty pots of chili were entered and our 2017 Chili Champion is Pastor Darrel Guenther. Congratulations! After dessert, coffee, and cleanup, we watched the movie “War Room.” Excellent film!

This was a great opportunity for outreach and there was much positive feedback about the movie. Several people commented that they would purchase the movie so that they could share it with others.

KingSeveral men from our congregation took the opportunity to attend Promise Keepers Quest Conference on March 10 to 11. Some comments about this event were:

  • The Worship Team was awesome
  • A great reminder of God’s love for us
  • A challenge to men who are in a position of power and authority
  • Many age groups were represented and each group has something to contribute

Sounds like it was an amazing weekend.

Pastor Darrell Guenther is our Chili Champion.