Remembering Ana – One Year Later

Ana Marquez-Greene Trampoline

One year ago, Ana Grace Márquez-Greene’s “home going to heaven” service was held at The First Cathedral of Bloomfield under Archbishop Leroy Bailey. Three ministers spoke: Dr. Paul of Glory Chapel International Cathedral of Hartford, Ana’s great aunt Myrta from Puerto Rico, and Pastor Terry Janke of Whyte Ridge Baptist Church of Winnipeg, MB. Because of Jimmy’s participation in the music community and their tremendous love for Ana, the music was provided by a Hartford Symphony Orchestra chamber group, Harry Connick Jr., Javier Colon, Latanya Farrell, and The First Cathedral Mass Choir led by J.J. Hairston.

They tell us that nearly two thousand people attended… Not because we all agreed on the same thing but because our hearts were broken. We thank all of you who came so graciously to stand with us, despite our differences, to pay tribute to a little girl whose life stood for this very principle.

Jimmy & Nelba

Here is the message Pastor Terry shared at the service:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled… Trust in God, Trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms… I go to prepare a place for you.’ John 14:1-2

Jimmy, Nelba, Isaiah… and the entire Marquez-Greene family – it is a treasured privilege to be able to share with you in this “Home Going Celebration” for sweet little Ana. And it is with the deepest sympathy that I stand here on behalf of your Canadian church family in Winnipeg (Whyte Ridge Baptist Church); who is also standing with you in prayer before the throne of grace and beseeching the Lord to pour down mercy upon you and unshakable faith in the face of this loss. I cannot begin to tell you how many people from our church and community have conveyed their heartfelt love for you through the pastoral staff of our church and through Linden Christian School. We have talked and prayed with many people in Winnipeg who have been impacted by your family and the news of Ana’s death.

I also know that the communities of the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba, where you have so many friends, have been deeply impacted and that they have been walking with you in your grief. Know that God is multiplying His manifold graces upon many, many people; that He is not wasting your sorrows, and that the truth of His living presence is closer to the surface in countless conversations about eternal things.

I want you to also know that from the very moment we heard the news of Ana’s departure to be with her Lord, our prayer has been for God to sustain you, support you and display through you the wonders of His matchless love through your Savior, Jesus Christ. His light is shining through you, who have become such a witness to the living hope we have in Christ.

Ana was such a sweet girl. My wife Pat and I remember many times shared with your family, and we have spoken with friends who knew her well from church or school. One staff member from Linden Christian School wrote to me that Ana always loved reading and singing, and could out-dance anyone. “She was so much personality packaged in such a small bundle. I am blessed to have had even a little time with God’s special ray of sunshine.”

Someone else said; “She was a happy girl that lived in the moment. I love it that Ana celebrated who she was; her African-American heritage and her Latin-American heritage… and even living in Canada. She celebrated WHO she was, WHERE she was, WITH WHOM she was, WHAT she was, WHEN she was… and at some level, even WHY she was!”

Jimmy and Nelba, you will remember last January our church studied the book of Job. Job is a theodicy; an attempt to understand God’s involvement in our suffering. It is the testimony of a man that suffered greatly and for no apparent reason, losing his entire family and all he owned, yet hanging on to his faith in God through it all. Except for the opening and closing words, the entire book (42 chapters) is poetry. Someone took the time to make the whole story move to the beat and rhythm of Hebrew poetry. To understand its message we have to slow down and get in sync; something we are not good at.

When I started preaching through Job, I began with these words:

Part of my responsibility as a pastor is to prepare you to face your own theodicy – when the day of evil appears on your calendar, when calamity comes knocking at your door; when suffering finds your address, when your faith is no longer just theory about God held in your mind, but is forced to decide what you really believe about Him… in that moment, in the middle of that conflict… my goal is that instead of cursing God and losing faith, your trial will cause you to bless God and strengthen faith.

Jimmy and Nelba – that day of evil came last Friday… and it has been our prayer, that your faith would remain unshakable; and would reflect the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus to sustain you. Peter writes, ‘Now, for a little while, you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold… may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.’ (1 Peter 1:6-7)

To understand the book of Job, you need to study its key questions. The first one is found in chapter one. The scene is the courts of heaven. Satan is standing before God and he poses a sneering question: Does Job fear God for nothing? Oswald Chambers writes that the devil was saying to God: ‘You are infatuated with the idea that man loves you for your own sake; but he never has and he never will. Job loves you because you bless and prosper him, but touch anyone of his blessings and he will curse you to your face and prove that no man on earth loves you for your own sake.’ (Baffled to Fight Better, p.9)

You see the purpose of the book of Job is not just to instruct us about patience in the face of suffering. What is on trial in Job is faith in God itself, and whether God is worthy of being trusted. Job understands this and so in chapter 2:10 we get the second important question in this book.

Job says to his wife, ‘Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?’ (Job 2:10)

Is God only worthy of being loved when He treats us the way we want to be treated; when He gives us what we want? Is He worthy of our devotion when He seems silent and far away; and when He allows sorrow and pain into our lives? Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?’

Job’s conclusion to these questions reflects a robust, gutsy and rugged faith. He says things like:

‘Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.’ (Job 13:15)

‘My advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God.’ (Job 16:19-20)

‘Oh that I had someone to hear me... let the Almighty answer me.’ (Job 31:35)

‘I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.’ (Job 19:25)

‘My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.’ (Job 42:5)

In all that he went through, Job did not lose faith in His God!

Others in Scripture evidence this robust faith. The psalmist says… ‘Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ (Psalm 73:25-26) The Apostle Paul said, ‘if only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.’ (1 Cor. 15:19)

Jimmy and Nelba – many people will not understand this kind of faith that clings to the love of God and the goodness of God and the sovereignty of God in the midst of what feels like being hopelessly abandoned by God! It was the same for Job. His friends judged him as having sinned somehow. His own wife judged God and told him to curse God and die! She could not see God as yet a loving God because of the blinding pain!

But oh, dear friends, God could not love you more than He already does; and He has never loved you less. The measure of His love for you was demonstrated when He gave up His own dear Son on the cross so that you could be forgiven of your sin and have eternal life with Him. Ana has already entered into that fullness of eternal life because of God’s matchless love.

Let it be clear today, that though Ana was such a sweet little innocent girl, and so full of joy and love – she nevertheless needed a Saviour. There was nothing inherent in Ana that made God love her. God set His love on her because God is love, and she received that love in Jesus Christ and became a child of God. Jimmy and Nelba, you told us last night about how Ana prayed and how she loved reading Scripture. God put her in your home for these six years to nurture living faith in a living God! What a trust you were given… and you were faithful in that trust! And now Jesus has cleansed her soul and received her into the eternal home that He has prepared for her. And people, He can do the same for you… for everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.

In the last message Jesus shared with His followers before he died, He said: ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ (Jn 16:33) But He also said: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me.’ (Jn 14:1) In this world you will have trouble… but do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God.

Jimmy, Nelba – I remember your first winter in Winnipeg. Oh what an adjustment it was to that climate, and how you loved getting away to Puerto Rico! The winter season in Canada is harsh.

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that seasons are not just about the earth’s rotation and our climate. He says, For everything there is a season and a time for every activity under heaven. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance. Our hearts and souls have seasons as well.

Ana’s departure signals a season of winter for your souls… it feels frozen, numb. But because of your three years in Winnipeg, you know a little bit about winter. It can be cold and lonely, but it does not last… and it passes easier when you share it with others who are also in winter.

Mark Buchanan has written a book entitled, Spiritual Rhythm in which he discusses how to be with Jesus in every season of your soul. And about the spiritual season of his own winter that he passed  through, he writes this: “It would end, in time – but not by my own doing. My responsibility was to know the season and match my actions and inactions to it. It was my season to believe in spite of – to believe, in the absence of evidence, when there was nothing, no bud, no colour, no light, no birdsong to validate belief. It was my time to walk without sight.” (p. 17)

Friends, the natural assumption about the winter season’s of our souls is that God is not there; life is not there. Either He has abandoned me, or I have strayed from Him. It is bleak and fruitless. Surely God is not in the winter!  Yet He is!

There is growth and work that God does in our souls that can only be done in the winter. And you will find that Jesus is a Saviour for all seasons, especially the winter. For He is a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.

In a Cathedral in Milan, there is a doorway with three inscriptions over it.

Over the right-hand door, there is the motto: “All that pleases is but for a moment.”
Over the left-hand door, it says: “All that troubles is but for a moment.”
And over the top of the centre door: “Nothing is important, save that which is eternal.” (p. 51, A Chance to Die, biography of Amy Carmichael by Elizabeth Elliott)

Dear friends – live in the assurance of the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13); who, when He appears will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away. (Rev 21:4)

‘To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.’ (Jude 24)

God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform,

He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs and works His Sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread,
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessing on your head.
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his work in vain,
God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.
                 – William Cowper, 1731–1800

Greene Family

Love Wins Memorial Page

For the full family tribute visit Love Wins – Remembering Ana Márquez-Greene, the official family endorsed memorial Facebook page.

Ana Grace ProjectLearn more about the Ana Grace Project established for the purpose of promoting love, connection, and community for every child and family.

Marriage Wins The Amazing Race Canada

Tim Hague Sr. shares a key take away from competing in The Amazing Race Canada.

Tim Sr. Tim Jr. Hague10,000 applicants, seven provinces, three territories, 23,000 km traveled, eight other highly competitive teams, navigationally challenged, Parkinson’s. How does one go about winning the inaugural The Amazing Race Canada? I’m not sure I know how to answer that question entirely but I do know that it requires a fair bit of muscle, a bit of smarts and a fair bit of what some would call luck but I’ll refer to as blessing. Clearly Someone had our back!

So having had the opportunity to participate in something that is a once in a lifetime, if not multiple lifetime opportunity, what does one take away from it? Well, one is having Parkinson’s and trying to climb a mountain is not fun. Yes it’s true, Parkinson’s impacted my race, sometimes significantly. However, there are three salient truths I take away from the race in regards to this line of discussion. One is, in the long-term, without a cure, Parkinson’s will win this war that I battle with it. I’m OK with that. I know my ultimate home. Two, Parkinson’s does slow me down. It impacts my life, it impacted my race and it makes life slower than I would otherwise like it. Three we none-the-less won The Amazing Race Canada with Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s could not take this opportunity away from me and it did not prevent us from winning. Therefore, I am determined to not let it take an ounce of my life today. What it ‘wins’ tomorrow is not important but what I win today is. And, really, does it ever actually win? 2 Corinthians 5:8.

Then there’s the intriguing thought of how a marriage wins The Amazing Race Canada. Now, you know that Tim Jr. and I did all the heavy lifting on this (insert laugh track) but the brains of the team stayed at home in Winnipeg! Sheryl has been an avid fan of the show and prior to our leaving she had us studying all kinds of hopefully relevant trivia which included flags and flowers. Thus, her knowledge and encouragement to be prepared even before leaving proved vital to our overall success. So, in fact you could say we were effectively a three person team.

Now, how effectively do you listen to your spouse? I think there is a fascinating analogy here for how marriage is intended to work. My spouse, help mate, team mate, wife, made an invaluable contribution to our overall success even though she never ran a leg of the race. When it was said, “and the two will become one” (Genesis 2:24), I think this is a bit of what was in mind. The two are still two; independent in thought, action, ability, autonomy, but now one in life, partnership and direction. What if I had chosen ‘to be my own man’ and ignore the advice of my wife? What if she had felt that this was ‘their thing’ and chose to not be involved? By participating together on the same team (marriage) yet in very different roles we have experienced success together.

These are two of my favorite takeaways from The Race. I could regale you with tales of muktuk, dogsleds, zoo’s, navigational errors and the like, but I will leave you with these thoughts; we consider ourselves to be so incredibly blessed in life and so much more for having been given this experience. What a complete joy it was to run with my son and to win with him. It’s truly more than a father could hope for.

A heartfelt thanks to WRBC! The outpouring of support and encouragement has been wonderful. You make it so easy and delightful for us to call this place home.

Welcome to Our New Website

New Website Welcome

The five main menus at the top of each page are your “window” to the majority of the content on the new website. When you click on one of these main menus, a drop down box will appear offering you different options to explore the website further. Here are few of the key features of the new website:

  • Visit MenuThe site is designed to be user friendly for people looking for a church or are new to Whyte Ridge Baptist. By clicking on the very first main menu “Visit“, they will be presented key information sought after by people looking for or planning to attend a new church.
  • On the home page, just below the main image, are four buttons. These give you access to services and content that will be of interest to the majority of people.
    • The first button is self explanatory – Sermons! Here you find audio files (and in the future video files) of Sunday’s sermons as well as the sermon study resources used by LifeGroups.
    • The second button introduces a brand new feature of Whyte Ridge’s website, the Prayer Wall. You will be able to post prayer requests here and experience the support of our church community through prayer. Once you post a request, it will appear on the Prayer Wall and be sent out to all who have signed up to receive prayer requests. The Prayer Wall uses the latest in technology to get your prayer request to people. You can sign up to receive, through email, a daily list of the requests posted to the Prayer Wall.
    • The third button titled Stories will lead you to the “God stories” of people at Whyte Ridge Baptist. These will not be complete faith stories as much as individual instances where an individual has experienced God’s presence and involvement in their life in a special way. The website will also include a God Story Submission Form for you to share your story with our pastors. Some of these stories will be posted on the website.
    • The final button titled WRBC Future will provide information on where we believe God is leading us as as church.
  • Below these four buttons you will find the latest news and announcements of the church. Click on a news item to read the full story. This section of the home page is dynamic in that the stories listed will constantly be changing as new events and news are posted.
  • In addition to the news and announcements on the home page is a list of events found under the title “Coming Up”. You will find this list throughout the new website on the sides of pages you navigate to, but, depending on the page you land on, the events listed may be different. For example, on pages pertaining to Children’s Ministries, “Coming Up” will only list Children’s Ministries events. You can also subscribe to a particular category specific events so when a new event is listed for that category – say Children’s Ministries – it will appear on your calendar on your computer, iPad or tablet, or smart phone.
  • You can now signup for all kinds of content posted on the site so that it is delivered to your email inbox. If you are looking for news and updates just about Children’s Ministries, we’ve got that. If you want be notified when new opportunities for service come up, either at the church or in our community, we’ve got that as well. Go to the Email Signup page to sign up for those news categories you would like to be notified about when new content is posted.
  • Iphone Screen ShotWhyte Ridge’s new website is “mobile responsive”. What this means is when you view the site on your smart phone, iPad or tablet, it will scale and adjust in size so it is easier to view. It doesn’t matter what size of screen you view our website on, it should be readable and easier to navigate to the content you want.
  • Be sure to join our Facebook page by clicking on the link at the bottom of each website page. Also, on each page you navigate to you, you will find a Facebook link in the sidebar. Click on this and the most recent posts to Whyte Ridge’s Facebook page will be displayed along with pictures of those who are following the page.
  • We are going social with our new site in two ways:
    • On pages you will find a row of social sharing buttons – you can see them right below the content. You are encouraged to use these to share our site with your friends.​​
    • On news stories, updates, ministry news pages, etc., you will find a Facebook Share and Discus comment box at the bottom of the page. (There is one at the bottom of this page.) Here you can comment on or discus what is posted. In addition, you are given the option to share the article and your comment on your Facebook page. Others can join the conversation, either on their Facebook wall, or on our website. Whatever is posted on the one can, if you choose, show up on the other. Those who do not have a Facebook account will be presented with several social sharing options to comment on articles in the Share and Discuss comment box.

Our new website is, well, new. There will be more content added over the next weeks and months. And of course, there will always be current news and announcements, sermons, bulletins & newsletters, and LifeGroup study materials added to the website each week as they come available.

Let us know what you think of the new site on Facebook or email us using the contact us link at the bottom of this page.

Sovereign God

The song Sovereign God is part of a Worship CD compilation – To Bring You Glory, written by Kevin Klassen and performed by various gifted members of Whyte Ridge Baptist. This video was inspired by all the hard work that went into it. May it bring honour to God!

If you like this song and would like a copy of the CD, please contact Whyte Ridge Baptist. We would love to send one your way!

“When we consider that everything on earth exists for the purpose of bringing honour to the Name of our great God, and that in fact our very lives are meant for the worship of God, then everything falls into perspective. I wrote the first three verses of this song during a challenging time in the life of my church. It was important for me to be reminded that, no matter what we experience, the God-given purpose of life has not changed, and most of all, God never ever changes. He is always to be loved with all of our heart and all of mind and all of our strength. The last verse was written for a church covenant celebration service led by Pastor Alf Bell in early 2009.”  – Kevin Klassen

 Video by Girish Manuel

Sovereign God – written by Kevin Klassen
From the album: “To Bring You Glory: “Songs of Worship from Whyte Ridge Baptist Church”

Vocals: Kevin Klassen, Lindsay Hiller;
Electric Guitar: Matt Janzen;
Piano: Andrea Streuber;
Acoustic Guitar: Kevin Klassen;
Bass: Girish Manuel;
Drums: Joey Siemens