It was a life-long dream of Frank “Carl” Peter Zacharias to be on the radio, said his daughter, Lisa Zacharias, in the eulogy she gave at her father’s funeral on May 2, 2012. That dream became a reality when he started his own radio ministry about three years ago. Zacharias Fetalt, was a half-hour weekly Low German program that aired from 30 radio stations in seven countries.
God at work in Us
SunSelect Produce Inc., a family-owned vegetable producer with Mennonite roots, owns more than 28 hectares of greenhouses in Aldergrove and Delta, which they use to grow more than 9.5 million kilograms of vegetables each year.
More than a year after being diagnosed with lung cancer, Howard Willems is in the mood to fight. He’s not fighting the disease as much as the cause of his cancer, an illness that he believes could have been prevented.
Gerd Bartel retired from his position as Mennonite Church Canada’s western director of resource development late last year, a job he describes as primarily visiting and saying “thank you” to the generous donors who support national church ministries. Bartel officially served in the position since 2000, but he fundraised for the church and its institutions on and off for 30 years.
Christine Penner Polle used to turn off the radio when global warming was discussed. Now the former nurse, writer and self-described “climate-change avoider” volunteers full-time as a climate-change campaigner in the northwestern Ontario town of Red Lake. She and her family maintain ties to Hope Mennonite Church, Winnipeg.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).
Committee meetings have a reputation for being necessary but tedious. But at Foothills Mennonite Church, Calgary, there is a standout exception to the rule in the Women Intergenerational from Seniors to Kids (WISK) group.
“For me, the committee is the source of great excitement,” says Kate Janzen.
Kayla Thiessen bubbles with enthusiasm when she talks about her short-term service experience through Mennonite Church Canada in Nazareth.
Because Leon Kehl has been fostering friendships between Mennonites and Muslims, he was interviewed by Third Way Media when they were filming the recently released documentary, Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives. Kehl, a member of Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church, hopes the group of Muslim and Mennonite friends that he has worked with in Waterloo Region for several years
During a lunch gathering on their last day at AMBS, Irene and Robert J. (Jack) Suderman reflect on 40 years of ministry. A prevailing theme, Jack noted, is the important role of the church in the lives of Christians and in the world. ‘The peoplehood of God is the primary strategy God wants to use to heal the world,’ he said.
Robert J. (Jack) and Irene Suderman say it was a gift to spend five weeks at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), where they studied almost 40 years ago.
When the grey-haired set met the blue-jean generation of Emmanuel Mennonite Church at an evening gathering last year, both generations learned a lot about the other. And everyone agreed it was an experience worth repeating.
In 1979, Don Baergen was an orderly in a seniors home when a fellow church member tapped him on the shoulder. Would he consider a half-time salary/half-time volunteer position at a newly formed service agency for immigrants? His wife Joyce had a full-time teaching job, so he said yes.
There is a difference between doing well and doing good in business, Grant Unrau says. Doing good is something that Stun Collective, a strategic design company, strives to do on a daily basis.
Jeff Warkentin’s passion for God shaped a life defined by service and relationships. As son, brother, husband, father, teacher, pastor, mission worker, musician and friend, he reflected God’s grace and love to everyone he encountered.
“I’m really thankful for the farm,” says Justin Krahn, 13, great-great-grandson of Peter W. Rempel. He and his two siblings spend their free time playing in the century-old cottonwoods and willow trees planted by their great-great-grandfather, whose advice—“Before you cut down one tree, you plant three”—is still practised today by his descendants.
“I never had a question. There was never an alternative. I kind of envied the people who had to figure out what they had to do in their careers and lives. Me, it was clear as a bolt of lightning. It was the one thing I knew I had to follow and I was passionate about music. I remember my first passions since before I knew how to explain them, before I went to school.”
Walk into Pacific Flooring and Imports in Abbotsford, and customers will see a seemingly unlikely combination of laminate flooring, spices, international foods and charcoal for barbecues.
Jinhee Paik and Margaret Fehr are from different worlds, yet have found family with each other at First Mennonite Church, Calgary, Alta., through their shared love of children. Paik is a young mother from Korea; Fehr is 76 and moved to Calgary from Red Deer in 2007.
On a gorgeous summer afternoon, I willingly tumbled out of an airplane from more than 3,000 metres above the ground, entrusting my life to a piece of nylon, a ripcord and a stranger strapped to my back. It was the boldest, craziest thing I had ever done.
If you are out running errands in Saskatoon and your travels take you to the bank, a convenience store or your doctor’s office, there’s a chance you will encounter the work and influence of Nicole Tiessen in the various buildings you pass through.
Nestled in the bend of the Brokenhead River at the very end of a country road is a small Christian community trying to live responsibly and faithfully. Four family units are shareholders of this 58-hectare piece of land that was formerly a commercial strawberry farm.
Alfred Driedger and Andrew Dyck share a love of fixing things, and the fact that they are separated by 60 years or so only makes repair work more interesting. This seemingly unlikely pair was brought together by a set of circumstances that has proved beneficial to both of them.
Henry Paetkau strides out of his office to resounding applause.
If you visit a national park, you see them. If you work at winter construction sites, they keep you warm. If you were at the 2010 Olympic Games in Whistler, B.C., they took care of your garbage and recyclables. You might run across them anywhere in Canada or the United States, in Colombia or Venezuela in South America, or in China or Hong Kong.
Farming and education were two lifelong passions for Aaron Klassen, according to his daughter Sherri, who shared parts of her father’s life story and the “twists and turns” of his work life at his funeral in Kitchener on April 23. “Even more important than his work identity,” she said, “was his life in the Mennonite church community.”