Women walk through the wilderness

May 18, 2023 | News | Volume 27 Issue 10
Amy Rinner Waddell | B.C. Correspondent
Abbotsford, B.C.
Cyndi Nickerson (left) and Marie Haak (right)

Between conversation and quiche, B.C. women were inspired, touched and encouraged as they heard one another’s stories at this year’s Women’s Day. The Mennonite Church B.C. annual event took place at Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford on May 6.

Organizer Janette Thiessen said she chose this year’s theme—Triumph over Trials—in order “to encourage us that we are not alone . . . we can triumph over our trials.”

Two speakers shared how God had been present during life-changing experiences. Cyndi Nickerson told how she came close to serious injury when a house deck fell on her, nearly paralyzing her. Later she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, with surgery followed by painful treatments. Through both, she said, “The triumph in the story is that God showed up.”

Nickerson emphasized the importance of leaning on others. “Make sure you have your tribe,” Nickerson said. “I was never alone; I had support. If you enter wilderness, don’t go without a blessing.”

For Marie Haak, losing her firstborn to severe complications after a long battle with medical treatments brought untold agony. Haak shared her journey of grief, saying she, “used every Scripture in the Bible to claim healing,” but healing didn’t happen. That led to a crisis of faith she had to work through. “We all carry stories that deeply impact each one of us,” she said. “All are held in the hands of our Lord with equal care and tenderness.”

In response to what they’d heard, women shared their own life struggles with each other as they enjoyed brunch.

An offering of $1,387.55 will be divided equally among Camp Squeah, Myanmar emergency relief through Mennonite Church Canada, and Sardis Doorway, a weekly support group for single and high-risk mothers.

“I think resourcing women is always an important ministry,” commented Thiessen after the event. “For the 53 women who attended, I believe it was a worthwhile time of being encouraged in their faith journey with God and a reminder of the need to keep our ‘tribe’ involved in our lives. We need each other.”

Do you have a story idea about Mennonites in B.C.? Send it to Amy Rinner Waddell at bc@canadianmennonite.org.

Cyndi Nickerson (left) and Marie Haak (right)

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