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God at work in Us

Investment in ministry pays off in Argentina

Mario Snyder is pictured with his second wife, Egda, in 2001.

God at work in Us | By By Dave Rogalsky | Jul 04, 2012

In 1947, Mario Snyder was an inaugural graduate from Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, Kitchener, Ont.

Facing the mental health frontier

Chris Summerville in his executive director office at the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society.

God at work in Us | By Story and Photo by Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Jun 20, 2012

All the fear, stigma and social prejudice that surrounds mental illness recently surfaced again in the media when a review board granted Vince Li temporary passes to take supervised walks in Selkirk, Man., where he is hospitalized. Li made headlines about four years ago with the horrific psychosis-induced beheading of a fellow bus passenger.

The heart of a servant

God at work in Us | By By Karin Fehderau | Jun 06, 2012

Dale Schiele sees value and worth in that segment of society that most people would rather shun. At age 60, he’ll be retiring from a 30-year career as director of Person to Person (P2P), a volunteer-based prison ministry in Saskatchewan.

Beginning work with high-risk sex offenders at a time when many people could barely say the word without feeling uncomfortable, Schiele has often walked a lonely road. Raised in the United Church of Canada, he came into contact with Mennonites through a high school friend who encouraged him to attend Swift Current Bible Institute.

Sing a new song, and sing it well: A tribute to Bruno Epp

Bruno Epp

God at work in Us | By By Will Braun | May 23, 2012 | 2 comments

For Bruno Epp, school was an exciting place to be. Before he was old enough to attend the one-room Plum Hollow school next to his family's farm near Lena, Manitoba, he would slip onto the playground when the school kids were out and then sneak into class with them, staying until the teacher would notice him and shoo him back home.

Radio preacher witnessed to God’s love

Frank "Carl" Zacharias reassured others of God's love.

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | May 23, 2012

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.

Investing in environmental and social responsibility

James Redekop is pictured in one of SunSelect’s environmentally friendly greenhouses in Delta, B.C.

God at work in Us | By By Rachel Bergen | May 09, 2012

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.

The company’s greenhouses that grow red, yellow and orange bell peppers in its Delta operation recently began using a new environmental technology called Green Carbon Capture, the first of its kind designed specifically for greenhouses.

From tragedy to triumph


God at work in Us | By By Karin Fehderau | Apr 25, 2012 | 1 comment

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.

Learn, serve, play

Gerd Bartel thanks guests at a special fundraiser held on March 5 in Richmond, B.C., to honour his years of service as Mennonite Church Canada’s western director of resource development.

God at work in Us | By Deborah Froese | Apr 11, 2012

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.

Eco-mom addresses climate-change naysayers

Cartoon by Joel Pett. To view more of his work, visit

God at work in Us | By By Will Braun | Mar 28, 2012

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.

Canadian Mennonite: How were you converted?

Making room for faith in the corporate world

Barry Rempel is pictured in the new terminal building at Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport on the day of its opening, Oct. 30, 2011.

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Mar 14, 2012 | 1 comment

“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).

WISK women’s group bridges the age divide

Susan Nielsen, left, a member of Foothills Mennonite Church, Calgary, brought her neighbours Melanie and Kayla Beingessner to the “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” event last fall. “It was a great event,” says Melanie. “I hope she invites us to the next one.”

God at work in Us | By By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Feb 29, 2012

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.

“The WISK committee is really fun”, adds Becky Andres.

Nazareth service experience awesome!

Kayla Thiessen, right, with a fellow Serve Nazareth intern wear period clothing for their work at Nazareth Village. Thiessen’s service experience resulted from a Mennonite Church Canada advertisement in her church bulletin.

God at work in Us | By By Deborah Froese | Feb 15, 2012 | 1 comment

Kayla Thiessen bubbles with enthusiasm when she talks about her short-term service experience through Mennonite Church Canada in Nazareth. The University of Manitoba graphic design student, who attends Steinbach (Man.) Mennonite Church, experienced life far away from her Prairie home, learning about life in biblical times and sharing her faith with children and youths in the area.

Mennonite develops friendships with Muslims to build grassroots peace

Getting people around a comforter is a good way to foster conversation and friendship (Photo by Buller Films, LLC)

God at work in Us | By By Barb Draper | Feb 01, 2012

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 can grow to also include other Christians and Jews.

Sudermans find a gift in return to AMBS

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.

God at work in Us | By Story and Photo by Mary E. Klassen | Jan 18, 2012

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.

Seniors, youths break down age barriers

Eva Hofenk, left, chats with Tasha Janzen at an Emmanuel Mennonite Church senior-youth interaction night.

God at work in Us | By Story and Photo by Amy Dueckman | Jan 04, 2012

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.

A lifetime of joyful service


God at work in Us | By Story and Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Dec 14, 2011

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.

Doing well then doing good

God at work in Us | By By Rachel Bergen
 | Nov 23, 2011 | 1 comment

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.

Unrau is the co-founder and a contributing team member, along with his wife Janelle. Stun Collective, a Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) member with offices in Austin, Tex., and Saskatoon, Sask., has been around since 2006. It was born after the Unraus quit their respective jobs in the corporate world to do some good in the world.

A life devoted to God

Former Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker Jeff Warkentin passed away at the age of 32 following a brief struggle with meningitis.

God at work in Us | By By Deborah Froese | Nov 09, 2011

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.

Four generations farm together to feed the world

Posing under one of the trees Peter W. Rempel planted more than a century ago are nine extended family members: Jake and Sharon Krahn, Kevin Krahn, Susan Rempel, Helen Krahn, Cynthia Krahn, Shane Krahn, Matthew Krahn and Justin Krahn.

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Nov 09, 2011

“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.

Speaking to people through music

Carol Ann Weaver composes Kgalagadi Calls in Durban, South Africa, this spring.

God at work in Us | By By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 26, 2011

“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.”

Catering to immigrants

Hans Goertzen of Pacific Flooring and Imports operates the specialty store that caters to the needs of Mennonite immigrants in the Abbotsford area of B.C. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in Us | By Amy Dueckman | Oct 12, 2011 | 3 comments

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.

But, as proprietor Hans Goertzen says, the biggest selling item is yerba maté, a South American herbal tea popular with many Mennonites. Packages of the maté are prominently displayed at the front of the store.

“I grew up with my yerba,” says Goertzen, who immigrated to Canada from Paraguay in 1986. “When I opened at this location, that’s what I wanted to sell.”

Family from around the world and across the ages

Margaret Fehr, left, and Jinhee Paik are from different worlds, yet have found family with each other at First Mennonite Church, Calgary, Alta., through their shared love of children.

God at work in Us | By By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Sep 28, 2011

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.

Fly like an eagle

Amy Dueckman overcomes her fear and discovers newfound courage through the thrill of skydiving.

God at work in Us | By By Amy Dueckman | Sep 14, 2011

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.

Why would a relatively conservative middle-aged woman like me, someone who is definitely not a risk-taking adventurer, try skydiving?

Helping through interior design

Nicole Tiessen sits in the sample room in the design studio of Aodbt Architecture + Interior Design in Saskatoon, Sask.

God at work in Us | By By Karin Fehderau | Sep 14, 2011

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.

Getting back to the garden

Johanna and Sophia Nast-Kolb with two of their rabbits.

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Aug 31, 2011

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.