Ed Zacharias started with Exodus, translating word by word into Low German (Plautdietsch). For a decade he worked at it, sometimes with institutional backing, sometimes as a volunteer hunkered in his home office, relying on help from interested Wycliffe personnel and a loose network of Low German promoters.
God at work in Us
While some might see Low German as the arcane language of people stuck in the past, Jehovah’s Witnesses have embraced it. For years, they have dedicated considerable energy to learning the language, translating materials and reaching out to Low German-speaking peoples.
After 23 good years as a teacher and principal, Cheryl Braun asked herself a simple question: “What does the last part of my career look like?” Would she stay the course or risk change?
As Braun (no relation to the author) considered this over several months with a small support group, she eventually asked herself, “If I’m going to make a change, why not explore a big change?”
A large group of family members and friends gathered in Markham, Ont., on March 18 to remember the life of Harold Reesor, who died at the age of 86, six days previous. Although his early and later years were lived in the Markham/Stouffville area, where his Reesor ancestors settled 200 years ago, he lived in Quebec for more than four decades, working as a mission worker and farmer.
Tributes and testimonials in honour of Alan F. Kreider, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) professor emeritus of church history and mission, and a long-time mission worker in England, have been pouring in via the seminary’s Facebook page and alumni Facebook group since his death on May 8, 2017.
Tilman Martin turned 90 on Jan. 3, 2017. He is the last of the four original church planters sent from Ontario to Quebec in 1956 whose work continues to pay dividends to this day. The other original planters were the late Harold (d. March 12, 2017) and Pauline (d. April 6, 1980) Reesor from Wideman Mennonite Church in Markham; and Janet (Mills) Martin (d. July 29, 2002) from St.
Gerald Neufeld of B.C. and Russ Sawatsky of Ontario have several things in common: they both served as missionaries in Japan, where they met their wives; and they both attended Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg at the same time. But the donation of a kidney for one and the receiving of a kidney for the other gives the two a life-transforming connection like no other.
From seafaring cowboy to Christian book publisher, Ken Schwartzentruber embraced life and adventure with a hands-on attitude and a commitment to God. Born to the late Allen and Elizabeth (Wagler) Schwartzentruber in Petersburg, Ont., on April 30, 1928, his light flickered out on Nov. 17, 2016, in New Hamburg, Ont., at the age of 88, with his family by his side.
Missions is not a very popular word in some circles these days, but when Masaki Higashiguchi visited Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C., on Oct. 30, 2016, it was a reminder that missionaries of the past have made an impact. Masaki is a high school teacher in Takachiho, Japan, who is taking a study leave in Canada.
As a young girl in Pennsylvania, where she was born, Janet Ranck’s interest in missions and supportive missions was nurtured by her family. Her father gave a house to the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions to house missionaries on furlough in the United States. These missionaries shared many stories of their work in East Africa, which impacted her as a child and teenager.
David Lewis began as the intentional interim minister of Niagara United Mennonite Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Sept. 4, 2016. Lewis has a bachelor of theology degree from Canadian Bible College (now Ambrose University) and has also completed several courses at Canadian Theological Seminary and Tyndale Seminary. He is certified in leadership coaching and is trained as a transitional coach.
Willard Metzger’s mother was the janitor at the Glen Allan Mennonite Church (now closed) northwest of Waterloo, Ont. Now executive director of Mennonite Church Canada, he remembers being in the parsonage with his mom and going into the pastor’s study. Barely able to look over the edge of the desk where a beam of sunshine shone on its surface, he thought, “Someday I’m going to be a pastor.”
Theodore (Ted) Friesen of Altona, Man., who died at the age of 95, left behind a rich legacy of service to Mennonites in Canada. A partner with his two brothers in D.W. Friesen and Sons (Friesens Corporation since 1976), a printing and stationery business founded by his father, Ted was also deeply committed to the church and its institutions.