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God at work in Us

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.

Building a go-kart . . . and a friendship

Andrew Dyck, left, learned a lot about building and repairing things from Alfred Driedger, who also learned the art of patience during their weekly times together over a three-year period.

God at work in Us | By By Barry Bergen | Aug 17, 2011

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.

Paetkau leaves Grebel in Good Shape

Henry Paetkau has completed his term as president of Conrad Grebel University College.

God at work in Us | By By Dave Rogalsky | Jul 27, 2011

Henry Paetkau strides out of his office to resounding applause.

Faith, business welded together at Haul-All

God at work in Us | By By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Jul 05, 2011

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. “They” are the creations of Haul-All Equipment Systems/Sure Flame Products of Lethbridge, Alta.

A life of commitment and challenge


God at work in Us | By By Ron Rempel | Jun 22, 2011

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.”

Helping ‘the youth of today’

Nutana Park Mennonite Church member Lynn Driedger, left, has been mentoring Jamie Winder for about five years. They are pictured at a mentor/youth Halloween party in 2008.

God at work in Us | By By Karin Fehderau | Jun 22, 2011

Die Jugend von Heute.

Meaning “the youth of today,” this phrase used to be spoken with a sigh and a sorrowful shake of the head by German-speaking seniors in the church. At times, and certainly out of earshot, teens would teasingly mimic their grandparents. The phrase seemed innocent enough, but the underlying message went deeper: It felt like the church had just given up on its youths because the adults couldn’t understand the culture of the younger generation.

Baking is a privilege

Lynette Froese displays some of her Wheat Song Bakery products that are all made from organic, locally grown grains and natural yeasts.

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Jun 08, 2011

Lynette Froese is reluctant to call her unique career a business, or even a career. “I was raised to consider work as a form of service, so I try to see this work not just as a business, but as a way of offering a service,” she says.

Froese has a degree in nutrition and a life-long interest in creating healthy food. “In a world where so many do not have enough food, I wanted to give my children a sense of responsibility and of being faithful with how we treat food and produce it,” she says.

The smell of contentment

Tavis Weber checks on loaves of fresh-baked whole-grain whole-wheat bread at the Golden Hearth Bakery he owns with his wife Heidi in downtown, Kitchener, Ont.

God at work in Us | By By Dave Rogalsky | May 25, 2011

“There are some things I don’t understand,” opines Bruce Weber about his nephew, Tavis Weber. “The guy goes to school in music for four years and then he goes and buys a bakery.”

The path to forgiveness

Cliff and Wilma Derksen

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | May 11, 2011

It has been a very long and incredibly hard journey, but Cliff and Wilma Derksen of Winnipeg have finally come to a bright and sunny clearing in their lives.

Their journey began more than a quarter-century ago when Candace, their 13-year-old daughter, went missing on her way home from school. Almost two months later, she was found bound and frozen to death in an abandoned shed. In 2007, DNA evidence finally led police to a suspect. The jury trial in February lasted three weeks and concluded with a conviction of second-degree murder for Mark Edward Grant.

Playing with numbers

God at work in Us | By By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Apr 27, 2011 | 1 comment

Teaching may not be an unusual career, but Willi Penner has made a unique contribution to the field. Penner is the creator of Mathopoly, a curriculum-based math learning tool. The game is gaining the attention of educators and parents, and last October it was featured on the CBC’s Dragon’s Den, a TV show that gives entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their product to potential investors.

After teaching Grade 5 math for five years at Menno Simons Christian School in Calgary, Alta., Penner currently teaches junior high science there.

More than making a profit


God at work in Us | By By Karin Fehderau | Apr 13, 2011

Paul Tiessen answers the phone with a breathless rush of words. It’s 8:30 on a Wednesday morning and already he’s running to keep up.

Tiessen, 56, owns Action Office Interiors, an office supply store in Saskatoon that puts Staples to shame. It’s where people go to shop when they want quality that will last. That’s where First Mennonite Church went to buy an office chair for its pastor. Eight years later, it looks the same as the day it was purchased.

Connecting through God

Zachary Janzen, Jordan Moffatt and Olivia Siebert play a friendly game of crokinole with senior Corny Classen at Vineland United Mennonite Church, Ont.

God at work in Us | By By Andrea Epp | Mar 30, 2011

Marty and Chelsea Misener run church youth groups at either end of the Niagara Peninsula, and have seen the impact of youths on the elderly, and vice versa.

As Bethany Mennonite Church’s associate pastor since March 2009, Marty oversees the church’s young people’s group in Virgil, where they annually go carolling at Heritage Place, the local nursing home.

A heart for grieving people

Hank Friesen has followed his life’s passion, working in the funeral business in his retirement years.

God at work in Us | By By Amy Dueckman | Mar 02, 2011

When it comes to the business of death, Henry “Hank” Friesen has found life in his retirement years.

Friesen, 70, who spent most of his working life in sales, officially retired 10 years ago. But at an age when many seniors are content to take life easy, Friesen decided to follow his passion and offer his services in the funeral business. For the past several years he has worked about 20 hours a week as assistant funeral director for a group of funeral homes in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley.

Testimonies strengthen cross-generational bonds

The youth group at North Kildonan Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, Man., appreciates the in-home testimony nights with the church’s seniors.

God at work in Us | By By Rachel Bergen | Feb 16, 2011

Relationships between youths and seniors within congregations are often strained, as neither group understands the other. Sometimes both groups are content not to know one another at all.

Welcome on the other side of the fence

The Harms’ golden wedding anniversary celebration took place on June 19, 2010, at the Lowe Farm Community Centre, Man.

God at work in Us | By By Deborah Froese | Jan 19, 2011 | 1 comment

A deep love for aboriginal communities in Manitoba inspired Jake and Margaret Harms to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this past summer by honouring others. In lieu of gifts, they invited friends and family to contribute to Mennonite Church Canada Native Ministry.

“Our first love has always been the North and our brothers and sisters there,” Jake says. He remembers clearly the moment at age 11 when he realized he wanted to serve in the North at the same time he committed himself to God.

From program partners to friends

Gillian Mayers, left, was mentored by Maggie Martens for six years beginning in 2002 as part of an intentional intergenerational program at Edmonton First Mennonite, Alta. Although the mentorship relationship is now officially ended, the two remain close.

God at work in Us | By By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Jan 05, 2011

It is not normally an unusual sight, good friends finishing each other’s sentences and laughing, except that Maggie Martens and Gillian Mayers have something special, perhaps even rare. They have a true friendship that transcends age barriers.

The relationship began in 2002 as part of a mentorship program at Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church. In Grade 7, young people who wish to participate, suggest names of adults they want to get to know. A mentorship committee matches youths with adults who are willing to be part of the program.

Wenger Shenk inaugurated as seminary president

Sara Wenger Shenk, new president of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, invites the gathered congregation to declare with her, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb,” during her inaugural address on Oct. 24, at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church, near Goshen, Ind

God at work in Us | By By Mary E. Klassen | Dec 15, 2010

“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb,” the congregation called out, led by Sara Wenger Shenk in her inaugural address as the new president of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), on Oct. 24, at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church near Goshen, Ind.

“We have good news to share—the good news of Jesus Christ—with love and forgiveness and justice for all,” Wenger Shenk said.

The Crash

God at work in Us | By By Sarah Ens | Nov 24, 2010

Because it’s like driving cold and restless I put my arms up and out and feel
wind pushing me pushing me pushing me like an aching like a crumbling
like an
you ask if I’m conducting I am I am but
it’s like a pirate ship a sinking ship a spaceship half gone but people are on
the lookout and write about it in their news
I want to tell you about blue dot days about loss and everything happy I
have you could teach me how to be less unsure more cautious more in the

Faith seeking understanding


God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Nov 24, 2010

Senior year in high school is generally busy, but Sarah Ens managed to pack more activities and achievements into Grade 12 than many do in a lifetime, combining academic excellence while pursuing her passions for social justice, writing and volunteerism.

Last ordained aeltester remembered


God at work in Us | By By Barry Bergen | Nov 10, 2010

The passing of Henry Dueck has left a gap in the greater Mennonite community of Leamington, Ont., where he lived and served for many years. His health began to steadily decline about a year-and-a-half ago and he died of congestive heart failure at 79 years of age.

At his funeral, the Leamington tradition of having other ministers in the area lead the coffin into the sanctuary was a meaningful recognition of the collegiality and support of the community.

Peace activist strives for integrity in his life and witness

Jake Buhler of Osler Mennonite Church, Sask., stands beside a sign he erected on his land boldly declaring 'To Remember is to Work for Peace'

God at work in Us | By By Karin Fehderau | Nov 10, 2010

Jake Buhler is a man with a different pair of glasses. They reflect a steely determination to pursue peace and help others do the same. “Peace is the lens through which we see everything,” he says.

With that lens, he notices things that others may not. It colours his whole worldview, helping him see the world with different eyes. By nature a quiet man, Buhler looks for opportunities at every turn and on every level to live out his convictions as a peace activist. “Being a peace witness is all-inclusive, it isn’t just one thing,” he says.

Soli deo gloria

Ted E. Friesen holds the inaugural Blazer Distinguished Community Service Award presented to him by Canadian Mennonite University president Gerald Gerbrandt on Sept. 25. Looking on is Friesen’s wife, Linie.

God at work in Us | By Canadian Mennonite University Release | Oct 27, 2010

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) presented its inaugural Blazer Distinguished Community Service Award on Sept. 25, naming Altona, Man., citizen Ted Friesen as the first recipient.

The award recognizes distinguished achievement and service within the broader community or church, through business, leadership, artistic, political or volunteer contributions.

The train that never was

Ross Shantz shows off his Arizona purchase of a Mennonite Central Committee model box car.

God at work in Us | By By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 13, 2010

Ross Shantz, chair of the New Hamburg (Ont.) Mennonite Relief Sale, is an ardent model train enthusiast, so when he and his wife Sandra were on holiday in Phoenix, Ariz., this past winter, they went to a model train show. “What should I look for” among all the train cars, engines and memorabilia? Sandra asked her husband, who suggested Canadian cars, since “they might have something different here than at home.” Some time later, she called him over, exclaiming, “Look at this!” It was a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) box car.

‘Prayer always works’

Twila Lebold poses with Dr. Kumar, who performed liberation treatment to open blocked veins from her brain in an effort to relieve her MS symptoms. The controversial treatment is currently not available in Canada.

God at work in Us | By By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 29, 2010

“Did the prayers work?” was Twila Lebold’s first question after her liberation treatment in India to relieve her multiple sclerosis (MS).

Caring about how we deal with our money

Like most CEOs, Brent Zorgdrager finds his desk at the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union head office in Kitchener, Ont., filled with work.

God at work in Us | By by Dave Rogalsky | Sep 14, 2010

Brent Zorgdrager’s surname translates from Dutch to English as “sorrow carrier or caregiver,” an apt description of the new chief executive officer of Mennonite and Savings Credit Union.

Zorgdrager had been an assistant vice-president and CFO of group retirement savings in the Canadian division of a large insurance company before coming to the credit union as its chief financial officer in 2006.