Category Archives: With Our Churches

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.

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.

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.


Braeside: Prayer Days, ‘Put on Love’ are Key Events

by Caroline Loewen

WINNIPEG, Man.—Viewing photos of other members of Braeside congregation helps us to know each other better, so a few times per year we are asked to send photos of Christmas functions; at another occasion things we are thankful for. Seeing others with family or friends gives us a quick look into their everyday lives.

A Lenten display near the front of the church can help us to appreciate the coming Easter season. A purple cloth stands for penitence, burlap for sorrow and mourning, sand and stone to remind us of Jesus in the wilderness, a candle to show God’s presence to us, and a cross for Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. As we ponder the meaning of this display, may it help to make Jesus’ sacrifice more real to us.

Several “Prayer Days” have been observed. When one shows up, one is given a prayer guide and each one works alone. This is a time of reflection, focusing on Scripture, and praying at several locations: the boardroom, a Sunday School room, the prayer room, and back to the sanctuary.

Nineteen people signed up with “compassion” when Jay Calder presented the great need for more sponsors. His guitar playing was fascinating; and when he told us his family is also supporting several children through “Compassion,” he showed they “practiced what they preached.”

“Put on Love,” a fashion show that attracted many who had perhaps never been to Braeside Church, was a stunning success, judging by the crowd that attended. Testimonies, good musical entertainment and lovely desserts were all a part of the evening. It was a special outreach to others.

Prayer was requested for the family of Kevin Davis: Shannon, Maria, and Joshua. Kevin passed away on Sept. 24, 2016. Linda Smith also needs our prayer, as her husband Denis died on Nov. 9, 2016.

Thanks to Layton Friesen, who filled in on Sundays while our pastor, Kim Stoesz, and her husband Jerry were on holidays.

Does your church have a family Sunday? Try this if you like: when a month has five Sundays, we designate that extra Sunday as a family Sunday. On this day we encourage children and young families to attend by having a sermon especially for children.