Prayer@WhyteRidgeBaptist: Attawapiskat Suicide Crisis

Attawapiskat-youth

Attawapiskat is a Cree First Nation Community in northern Ontario with a population of approximately 2000 residents. The community has declared a state of emergency as they deal with an epidemic of suicide attempts among its young people. Since September 2015, over 100 suicide attempts have been made with 28 being in the month of March alone. Both provincial and federal government response teams have been sent to the community to deal with the crisis. While these measures will assist the community in dealing with the emergency situation that exists today, a long-term plan must be developed to address the suicide problem.

CLICK HERE TO READ ARTICLE ON THE WRBC PRAYER WALL

What to pray for….

*The people of Attawapiskat particularly young people who have a sense of hopelessness and consider suicide a solution to feelings of desperation.

*Health workers in the community who have been working tirelessly in the community. Pray for strength, wisdom and insight as they address the immediate needs facing the community.

*Long term solutions to address the problems faced by Attawapiskat and so many First Nations communities which include poverty, inadequate housing, contaminated water and a lack of educational and employment opportunities.

*Sensitive and compassionate hearts for those of us in the non-Aboriginal community toward our fellow First Nations citizens.

CLICK HERE TO READ ARTICLE ON THE WRBC PRAYER WALL

Revised Pre-Authorized Debit Offering Form Now Available

 

Pre-authorized withdrawal from your bank account is a convenient way to maintain regular giving of your tithes and offering.  We have recently updated our pre-authorized debit offering form, which is now available on our website at http://www.whyteridgebaptist.ca/giving/.  For those who wish to take advantage of this option, please visit our website or pick up a paper copy of the form at the church welcome centre.

Please note that completion of this new form is not required for those currently using this service. If you have any questions regarding tithing or offerings, or the pre-authorized withdrawal option, please contact Dave Barton (Chair of Finance) or Shirley Wynne (Financial Secretary).

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Update

For those looking for additional information on the EFC ‘Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide’, details can be found at the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada site.

‘The Nature and Function of the Church’ – Pastor Doug Friesen

An excerpt from Pastor Doug Friesen’s article, ‘The Nature and Function of the Church’, as referred to during his January 24th message:

What is the nature of the church? In today’s society there is a lot of confusion as to what a church actually is. By no means does the word “Christian” exclusively come to mind when people hear the word “church” in causal conversation. For the term “church” is used for a wide variety of religious groups (such as Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, etc.) and thus the Biblical use of the word is often not known. In fact, if most people were asked today what a church is, the most common response would be that it is type of building in which a variety of religious groups meet in order to have their services. But what does the Bible say the church is? What is its nature? By looking at various biblical images used throughout the Scriptures, this paper will shed some light on the nature of the church.

Other questions about the church which arise today are: “What is the function of the church?”; and “What exactly are we put on this earth to do?” Once again, the answers to these questions are readily found within the Scriptures and are just waiting to be explored!

Click HERE to Download the Full Article

Our God Story – The Oeste Family

Hi, my name is Marsha Oeste, and this is a story about how my life got turned upside down, and inside out – and how God has used this to grow and challenge me AND make me more dependent on Him.

On September 3rd 2003, my husband Andrew and I welcomed our first daughter, Jenna Elizabeth, into the world. We were very excited to be first time parents and had many dreams and wishes for our daughter. Much to our surprise, Jenna was diagnosed with Spina Bifida. Her spine had not developed normally in utero, and she had a big opening in her back. The Neurosurgeon closed her back the day after she was born, and put in a shunt in her brain to manage Hydrocephalus.

We were told that our daughter would likely not walk, and that we would have other health issues in our future with her. Jenna spent a month in the hospital, and then we finally got to bring her home and have a more typical day to day life with her.

During that first day, and the month following, we relied on God in a way that we never had to before. He was our strength and our shield. We had so many people from our church and my home community loving us and encouraging us and helping us. That support has continued through Jenna’s 12 years, and there have been easy years and hard years when it comes to Jenna’s health and our care of her. She has had many hospital stays, doctor appointments, and surgeries, and through it all, God has provided and carried us through.

Jenna and Marsha Oeste

Right now, we are at another point in life where we are being stretched in our faith, and where our needs are pretty significant in taking care of Jenna. As Jenna grows, we are struggling with transporting her in our current van. We have been physically lifting her in and out of the van, but it is becoming dangerous to Andrew and I to continue doing this. We are in need to a wheelchair lift van, which are very expensive to buy. We have applied for funding from the government and from two other charities, but this means waiting and also no guarantee of funding.  Time is not on our side in this situation, so we have started doing our own fundraising.

Please keep us in your prayers for safety and physical strength, to keep going until God blesses us with enough money to cover the van modification for a lift.  Thank you and God bless.

For the CTV interview featuring the Oeste family, click here.

Highlights from the Women’s Retreat

2015 Women's Fall RetreatThe Women’s WRBC Retreat was located in Whiteshell’s beautiful setting at Pinewood Lodge. The weekend offered the opportunity to take some special time off, enjoy indoor and outdoor activities, with emphasis laid on the women’s connection to one another and to God. Women were also free to spend time alone in reflection surrounded by creation, disconnected from the everyday distractions. Our intent was to grow stronger in our prayer life and practices. As we focused ourselves on God, we ended up experiencing indelible lifetime experiences with our sisters in Christ, while at the same time we also managed to have a lot of fun.

The retreat theme of prayer was woven into the teaching, testimonies, and small group time.  The women were provided resources to carry this discipline on at home following the end of the retreat. Along with our teaching sessions and our powerful sharing sessions, lead by Zarifa Salzgeber and Lorraine Demonye, we enjoyed countless other experiences like:

– Tanya Humphries’ presentation on ENERGY

– Mel Fillion’s tap dance class (the women even got to enjoy a mini dance recital at the end of the evening on Sat)

– Brittany Morris’ make up lesson

– The craziest was our game time, created and executed by Sheryl Hague and Barb Brewer

Our hope was to create intentional community building. The retreat was all about connection. Connection to our multi-age group of women (from 7 months to 73 years!) This allowed retreat attendees to interact with many different women whom they might not interact with otherwise. It was about connection to creation and to God. We drew close, we shared and we learned.

Below are some of the responses to the question “What was the most significant thing you took away from the retreat this year?”

  • “I was lacking in my prayer life so what I got was a renewed sense of going back home with new strategies for my prayer life – RENEWAL.”
  • “A renewed desire to deepen and strengthen my payer life.”
  • “The videos really helped in suggesting very practical ways we should/could make prayer a greater priority and in how specifically we should pray.”
  • “Hearing others sharing their faith in Christ brings me closer to God.”

Below are a couple experiences shared:

  • “I loved hearing Lorraine’s testimony. I think this retreat found a perfect balance and fullness with the video sessions on the one hand and the two personal deliveries of Zarifa and Lorraine on the other. — I LOVED the weekend and am buoyed with new ideas and tools to put into practice (which I’ve already started this morning) in my prayer life. Thank you so much to you and your whole committee for your wonderful work and dedication in putting on this excellent retreat.”
  • “I’m reflecting on these 4 years of retreat experiences I had. All of them have been a highlight of my year here in Canada, and I’m sure it’s the same for many ladies from our church. My thankfulness might not be enough, but I’m sure God is well pleased with all the hard work you have put into it. And I pray He blesses you abundantly.”

Helping the people of Nepal

Helping the People of Nepal

On Saturday, April 25th, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake pounded the city of Kathmandu, Nepal.  The death toll has passed 5,500, with many more thousands injured and homeless. Some are still trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings. An estimated six million people are in the impact zone of the quake, and the 6.7 magnitude aftershock that hit this past Sunday.

The most immediate needs of the people of Nepal are clean water, food, household supplies, temporary shelter and protection for children. Many children have been left vulnerable, missing homes and caretakers, and their safety is paramount.

In light of this, Whyte Ridge Baptist Church will be helping the people of Nepal by providing a donation from our Emergency Relief fund to support World Vision’s relief efforts in Nepal. For information on how these funds will be used, as well as updates from the hardest hit areas of Nepal, visit World Vision’s Latest news update page.

Please pray:

  • That God’s comfort and peace would be with the loved ones of victims
  • For protection for children who are left vulnerable
  • For speedy reconstruction efforts so that the people of Nepal can return to homes and families
  • That aid workers and first responders will be able to reach those affected in remote, hard-to-access communities

As we pray for Nepal, we remember David’s words:

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

This same God also says,

“In distress you called, and I delivered you…” (Psalm 81:7a)

Join with us in asking God to deliver the people of Nepal out of their distress.

Love and Respect resources available in the Church Library

by Pastor Kevin

Love and Respect resources available

Love and respect resources availableWe were blessed to have 110 people attend last month’s Love and Respect marriage seminar. What a wonderful thing it was that so many couples in and around our church were willing and able to take the time to focus on building more Christlike marriages! I have heard from numerous couples that this was a helpful weekend for them. I trust God will continue to use what we have learned for the deepening of our relationships.

Love and Respect Ministries provides a variety of great DVD and book resources for further learning and growth. We have purchased three of these resources for our church library:

Love and respect resources availableThe Love and Respect Book – Much of the material of the conference came from this book. In it, Dr. Eggerichs explains how, in times of conflict, women often tend to react to feeling unloved while men often tend to react to feeling disrespected. This is a very insightful perspective with helpful advice about how to communicate in a more helpful way, especially in times of disagreement or tension.

Love and Respect Experience – This is a devotional book for couples, cited as “a husband-friendly devotional that wives truly love.”

Respectfully Yours – This is an 8-week Women’s DVD Small Group Study. It includes 2 DVDs with 8 teaching sessions as well as Leader’s Guide and Study Guide.

These resources are in the library now, ready to be accessed by you!

The story of how God provided the McGillivray property

by David Wynne – Church Moderator

I have been asked to share the story of how Whyte Ridge Baptist acquired the McGillivray property. Many of you, maybe even most of you, do not know the story behind how we acquired the land. I believe God provided the property so we can continue with and grow our present ministry.

Let me share with you the way God provided this amazing gift.

Facilities Planning Committee Formed

In 2002 our church was fairly full (not as full or busy as it is today, but still fairly full.) We put together a Facilities Planning Committee to look at our options. The committee was made up of Ralph Dyck, Milton Kelm, Eric Bergmann, and Al Donald. They conducted a survey very similar to what we did in 2013, and interestingly enough, with many of the same results and conclusions. The major outcome was to find land that would allow us to grow and increase and expand our ministries. The desire was to stay close to this locale because we had built up a very strong presence and relationship within Whyte Ridge.

Search for Land

So the search started. They estimated we would need about 10 acres for a building and to provide all the required parking. There weren’t a lot of options in order to stay close and the cost was going to be fairly high. If you drive out to the corner of Columbia and McGillivray you will see a new Roman Catholic church built on the south-west corner. The Facilities Planning Committee started looking at the land immediately west of there and extending almost all the way to the railway tracks.

God Provided

Original parcel of land considered for purchase

The committee discovered there were 16 different parcels of land owned by 16 different groups or individuals. It became quite the challenge to try and pull these parcels together. Some of the people, including a couple who attended our church, lived in houses on the land. They were reluctant to leave their home of many years. Others were speculating on the land and were willing to sell, but at inflated prices. Some were owned by developers to build homes. They were not that interested in selling to a church. The negotiations were complex, very time consuming and looked like they were going to be quite expensive.

A God Moment

Almost 2 years later, in 2004, Ralph Dyck, Chair of the Facilities Planning Committee, was walking across the package of land. He was trying to decide how they might move forward because things had bogged down. He wasn’t sure they were going to be able to accomplish the task. As he stood there pondering, he was looking across McGillivray at the Lafarge Cement office building. Ralph had a thought, or maybe, guidance from the Lord. He walked across the road, into the office, and asked if the manager was in. It was unusual for the manager to be in because he travelled a lot. This day, however, he had a few moments to talk to Ralph. When Ralph sat down with Ken Ross, he asked if perhaps Lafarge was thinking of selling any of their property. Ken was surprised and asked Ralph how he knew they were considering selling off some land. Ralph replied, “Because you just told me!

A new relationship was started. Notice I didn’t say negotiations. Ralph cultivated a friendship with Ken. They started looking at how things could be worked out. Not everything was straightforward. Lafarge employees had started the FortWhyte Alive Centre, now called Fort Whyte Alive. Lafarge still had an attachment to Fort Whyte and wanted to protect the Centre from anyone who would be on adjacent property. The negotiations were three way – Lafarge, ourselves, and making sure Fort Whyte Centre was happy with the terms of sale. This led us to another relationship wherein we agreed not to build a multilevel building that would detract from their nature setting. It also involved putting into the registration of the property that it could only be used for church use. That was our suggestion, not theirs. It was aimed at continuing to build the relationship.

God Provided

As the negotiations were close to being finalized, Ken received a call from his head office. They wanted the new Lafarge office to be located on McGillivray. That meant an end to the sale of the property. However, as the team sat with Ken to discuss this latest development, Ken was called away to the phone. The head office had changed their mind and the sale could proceed. Was this God’s will intervening once again?

How God Provided

Parcel of land purchased from Lafarge

Lafarge agreed to sell us the land for around $52,500 per acre – well below the going market rate. Then, as we went through all the checks and balances on transferring the property, it was discovered there were a large number of kiln bricks from old ovens spread over the property. Lafarge immediately took responsibility. They brought in crews, at a fairly significant expense, to clean up and remove the bricks before the sale was finalized. When the sale was finally settled, we were hit with another ugly surprise. The City of Winnipeg required a development tax on the transfer of title in the amount of $164,000. This was not something we had foreseen and was quite a shock. But our friends at Lafarge stepped forward once again. They contributed $75,000 towards the tax bill and the sale went through.

There were many other little things that happened but I’ve tried to give you the highlights of what transpired. Through all this, as one thing after another fell into place, I saw the Lord’s hand in it. He directed the Facilities Planning Committee. He seemed to work on the hearts and minds of those we dealt with in pulling everything together. This is why I believe God gave us this land and that we need to use it to His honour and glory.

An addendum to this story is that the “church use only” designation is the main reason for our tax adjustment to reduce our taxes.

Land is Purchased

Overall, we purchased 14 acres of land. However, the first 100 feet of property off of McGillivray Blvd. cannot be used by us. The City of Winnipeg has a variance on it for the twinning of McGillivray at some time in the future. This will reduce the usable portion of the land by 2.3 acres. We will have 11.7 acres for development.

Cost of the Land

Property$ 710,000.00
GST$ 49,700.00
GST Refund$ (24,850.00)

Sub Total

$ 734,850.00
  
City Development Fee$ 164,430.00
GST$ 11,510.10
GST Refund$ (5,755.05)

Sub Total

$ 170,185.05
  

Total

$ 905,035.05
  
Lafarge Donation $ (75,000.00)

TOTAL COST OF LAND

   $ 830,035.05
  
Cost per acre$ 59,288.22

 Through the generosity and faith of our people, the land was paid off within two years.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  — Ephesians 3:20–21, NIV

For a history of Whyte Ridge Baptist Church, go here.

For a graphical representation of White Ridge Baptist’s history, check out our Timeline.

Our History

Our History – God’s provision and the faith of his people

From its start in the early 1960s to the present, Whyte Ridge Baptist’s story—”our history”—is one of people experiencing God’s leading, stepping out in faith and then relying on His provision. A church plant of the Manitoba Baptist Association of Churches, we began ministry under the name of Central Baptist Church. However, on March 15, 1961, we officially became Grant Park Baptist Church with 27 charter members. These 27 individuals moved from McDermott Avenue Baptist Church to start the new work—McDermott became the “mother” church. One year later, the first building was erected on the corner of Grant Avenue & Wilton Street in south west Winnipeg.

Growth & Building

Our History - Children 1960s

Daily Vacation Bible School — circa 1963

We experienced significant growth in the early years. By 1964, attendance reached 150 with a strong ministry to children, youth, and college & career age groups. With growth came the need for more space. Four years later, in 1966, an addition was constructed to accommodate the growth.

Our History - Construction

Whyte Ridge Baptist Church — Spring 1988

The next two decades were marked by times of growth, to the point of being full, and then times of decline. In 1984, with ministry space once again becoming an issue, building discussions were initiated. The end result of the discussions was the decision to relocate to the community of Whyte Ridge. Being land locked at the Grant Avenue property, a new building was constructed on Scurfield Blvd.. Our people were committed to relocating the church to this new community and provide a gospel witness. Four of our families even sold their homes and moved into the Community of Whyte Ridge, in large part, to be closer to the church and its field of ministry. We celebrated the completion of the building on November 20, 1988 and a new name — Whyte Ridge Baptist Church.

Over the next 10 years, we experienced steady growth to the point where space limitations were becoming an issue again. A Building Committee was formed in 1998. A 14 acre parcel of land on the north side of the Community of Whyte Ridge was purchased in 2003. In 2007 the building plans were put on hold due to some struggles we encountered as a church.

In 2012, with space continuing to be a limiting factor for greater ministry, building plans were revived with the appointment of three committees: Prayer, Capital Funds, and Building.

God’s Provision

It is said…

Any plans we can accomplish with our own strength and resources are not God’s plans.

God’s plans are always greater than we can ask or imagine and require a step of faith on our part.

At Whyte Ridge Baptist, we have discovered this to be true over the course of our 50 plus years of ministry. Each of the building programs, at the time, appeared to be beyond our ability to accomplish. And this was true, because each one of them required God’s provision. Over the past 20 years we have hired staff to help us grow. This involved a significant step of faith since we were not sure where the funds would come from to pay salaries. In hindsight, He always provided what we needed, when we needed it.

Ministry Focus

In our early years, we focused on 3 main areas of ministry. The love and passion to reach  children with the good news of Jesus Christ resulted in overflowing Sunday School classes and Vacation Bible School programs. Very early on, a high value was placed on music in our aspirations to worship God. He consistently brought gifted musicians and singers. And finally, a commitment to reaching our community and cross cultural ministry (missions), was consistently and thoroughly woven into the fabric of the church.

WRBC Sanctuary

Sunday Morning Worship — 11:00 am.

Today, more than 350 people call Whyte Ridge Baptist home. Many of today’s goals of ministry remain the same as they did in the early years. There still is a passion to reach children. Music and biblical preaching play huge a role in our worship of God each week. And, whether it is those in our neighbourhood and city, supporting missionaries around the world, or sending people on short term mission trips, a commitment to reaching our community and cross cultural ministry is stronger than ever.

For over 50 years, the people of Whyte Ridge Baptist have placed their faith in God to direct their steps and provide the needed resources for ministry. He continues to be faithful beyond what we ask or imagine.

For the story of how God provided Whyte Ridge Baptist with the McGillivray property, go here.

Breast Cancer – a Transforming Experience

Breast Cancerby Irene Toews

I have attended Whyte Ridge Baptist Church for about 7 years. I was originally asked to share my story at the 2014 Ladies Retreat. The theme for our weekend was Transforming Encounters with Jesus. 

Well, for the last 14 months I have been experiencing a transformation in my life, also known as breast cancer. When asked if I would consider allowing my story to be put on the website, I had to take a deep breath. Once its “online” it’s out there. When I got home I remembered I had promised God I would share whenever and with whoever asked. 

When I think of the word “transforming” I am grateful that it is not Transformed. I believe no matter where we are in our life, we are in a perpetual process of being transformed. There are some days I say to God, “really, we are still working on that area of my life.”  I picture God and its like he rolls his eyes and says back to me: “Yes Irene, we are STILL working on that area of your life.” 

The Day My Life Changed

On Wednesday, July 24, 2013, my life changed. I thought “I haven’t done a breast check for a while.” So as I sat on my couch, I did a quick check. First the right, and wait…, what was that? Quickly I checked the left, no lumps. Again I checked the right. My heart sank and my mind raced with questions. Maybe it’s the way I’m sitting, or I know, I’ve gained weight. However, I knew what it was by the size of the lump. When I pressed on it, it didn’t hurt. I tried to push the all the crazy thoughts out of my head trying deny what I already knew. That didn’t work well so the next day I called my doctor for an appointment. I was scheduled for a mammogram and the following week a biopsy.

During this time I was in a bit of a fog. I can’t remember who I told about the lump or if I asked for prayer. I know I was praying.  On September 11, 2013, during the biopsy, I was told I would be immediately referred to a surgeon. I asked if it could be removed with a lumpectomy. The doc said “not with this type of malignancy”.

It was strange hearing the word malignancy, aka CANCER, spoken and it was referring to me and my body. How could this be? I have worked in Medical Administration for 20+ years and have had to call people in for appointments so the doctor could tell them they have cancer, but ME! Again the fog and survival mode kicked in. I got dressed and walked out of the clinic. A friend had driven me to the appointment, and as we walked down the street to the car I said “I have Breast Cancer.” I said it so casual it was like I just asked, “so you want to go for coffee.” I was trying to be normal, not fall apart right there on Tache. But then it would be normal to fall apart after being told you have cancer, right?

Independence is a Hard Thing to Give Up

Be normal. Be Strong. Be Independent. I was thinking how do I tell my family? What will happen to my job? Is this a hereditary thing—do the women in my family have the gene? I was glad my parents were not around anymore to see me go through this. And yet, I needed them at this time, …and will I die? My independence and life were being threatened. I was scared and lonely, more now than ever. I am a 54 year old single woman. What will I do? Where will I go? Who will be there for me?

The next hard step was to call my family to let them know. I had told my oldest brother about the biopsy. Now I had to confirm the diagnosis — I have breast cancer. I also called a few friends and cousins and the word spread quickly. Every time I say the words breast cancer, even to this day, it did not and does not feel real. I am still processing so much. 

Oh yes by this time there were many tears. Yet there were things that had to get done before life was no longer normal. I wanted someone to hold me while I cried into my pillow in the middle of the night. One of my nieces said to my brother will she never catch a break. My family and friends were sad, angry, and concerned. This cancer didn’t just affect me.

I’ve use the analogy of a freight train to describe how I felt about this cancer thing. Remember in cartoons the damsel in distress tied to the train tracks waiting for her rescuer to come and save her from getting run over by the train. Well, that’s what I pictured. Me, standing on the tracks, tied tightly by cancer. All the while my friends and family were standing beside the tracks yelling, trying to get the train to stop. Yet it still came barreling down the tracks towards me. 

When it hit me, amazingly, it didn’t knock me down. Yes, I may have swayed with each car hitting me, but to me, each car was a phase or step in the process. It was hard to watch those on the side of the tracks being concerned for me, worrying, praying, and watching me go through all the surgery, the treatments. I felt sometimes I needed to be the strong one in this and not let them know how scared I really was. Being independent is a hard thing to give up.

During this time I prayed or inwardly pleaded—some may have called it yelling—with God to give me strength to do what I had to do and get me through this and, oh, by the way, WHY ME? I never liked when I asked my parents “why” and they came back with “because I said so.” I had to trust God, my Father, in this and everything, because HE SAID SO.

Fast forward through medical tests, appointments, and decisions. The big one, do I have one mastectomy or two? 

Surgery

October 29, 2013, at 5:45 in the morning, my brother and sister drove me to the hospital. I walked in knowing within a few short hours I was going to have my double mastectomy and reconstruction. This was a very surreal moment. Yet as I walked in I wondered how am I walking without grabbing on to the exit doors to avoid going into the hospital.

I know there were many people praying for me at this time. I remember praying just as they were putting me to sleep, asking God to guide the hands of the surgeons and to keep the cancer cells out of the lymph nodes. The cancer they did find in the first lymph node was so small it was not measurable. Praise God, I was released from the Health Sciences Center after a few days. 

During all of this, somewhere in my mind, I knew chemotherapy and radiation were in my future. This scared me. 

Home

Once I got home it was nice to be in my own safe place. My cousin had sent over a Tempur-Pedic bed and this allowed me to sleep in a sitting position with my knees bent. Due to the surgery this is how I had sleep for 2 months. My Christmas present to myself last year was to sleep in my own bed on Christmas Eve. It felt great — it felt normal.

After 8-10 weeks of recovery I started getting ready for my next step in treatments. Chemotherapy, losing my hair and toenails, feeling sick, and food tasting like sand for 4+months. I joked, at least my taste buds got to go to the beach last winter. I needed 24/7 care for 4-5 days after each treatment.

Cared For

I’m a little independent in case you haven’t noticed a theme here. However, being dependent rather than independent was a pleasure and a challenge for me. My caregivers made my meals, cleaned my house, sat with me. They distracted me with humour and what was going on in their lives. I was learning to be dependent on others. 

When we are independent we do not ask for help quickly or easily. I had learned from a young age to fix it, figure it out for myself, put myself last. Now this may be a bit of a Mennonite thing — help others, fix others, do for others first. My mom’s test to see if we were really sick was if you’re staying home from school, then you can do the dishes or vacuum, or clean the bathrooms. We went to school a lot.☺ It was hard to feel helpless. I had people say they were surprised at how healthy I looked and sounded during this time. Yet trying to do things that would normally take a short time was a daunting task for me.

After my first treatment of chemo I did okay for the first few days. Slight flu-like symptoms. Days 3-5 kicked in and I had already sent my “care-giver” home. Why keep her here when I can do this myself. Bad decision. Again I was fighting with my independence. 

I was so sick. The anti-nausea drugs kept the nausea away but the side effects were awful. I was weak. I was able to get my coffee, water or a piece of toast. I didn’t eat much those days and I was so doped up I couldn’t talk much. I remember a friend called to see how I was and all I said was too tired to talk and hung up. During that week I prayed to die! Really I did. I pleaded with God to take me home. I did not think I had the strength or ability to do another day, never mind five more rounds of chemotherapy. He obviously did not answer that prayer. 

I started losing my hair on day 12 after my first treatment. My friend Sue is a former hairdresser so she came over and shaved my head for me. We both cried that night. 

Rounds 2-6 were better. I stopped one of the anti-nausea drugs. I was able to arrange for people to stay with me till day 5. They tagged teamed a lot. Some of my neighbours mentioned that I must be popular; they had never seen so many people going in and out of my house. I did assure them I was not popular, just well cared for.

I am still amazed at the many people that came to take care of me. I felt I didn’t deserve it. I’ve not done enough for these people for them to care so much. I know I am loved by God, not by how much I do, He just loves me. Again, at times it’s hard to get my brain/heart around this concept. Satan loves to tell me I’m not good enough to be loved. I’m learning to take a deep breath and a brave step forward out of my comfort zone to ask for help. I can testify to the fact that the blessings I have received in allowing people to care out-weigh the fears of asking for help or being thought of a burden to others.

During my treatments and recovery there were so many friends from church, my Life Group, and my family that were there in body and prayers, phone calls, emails, food, snow shoveling, and so much more. I missed going to church on a regular basis; when I did go I was amazed and so blessed at the many different people that came up to me and said we pray for you every day. I wanted to say who are you people to care so much. I sometimes wanted to ask who are you because I didn’t know their names or couldn’t remember. 

God’s Plans

Through all of this, I sometimes found it hard to pray, read my Bible, focus on God and His will. I knew God had a plan. I knew this from verses like Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you, DECLARES the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. 

And Hebrews 13:5: 

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

Back when I first knew I had cancer, I drove to a quiet spot and opened my Mom’s bible. Now my parent’s had passed way 1 1/2 years earlier and I had been the main go-to child during the last years of their life. That was and is a whole different transforming experience in my life. Anyway, Mom’s Bible had been in my car since her passing. I opened her Bible and read where it fell open to Ezekiel 37:4-5

Dry bones, listen to what the Lord is saying to you, “I, the Lord God, will put breath in you, and once again you will live. I will wrap you with muscles and skin and breathe life into you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” 

Whenever, I would share a concern or problem with my Mom or Dad, Mom always would have a verse of comfort or encouragement, not to mention their prayers. Please know, I don’t adhere to crossed over loved ones speaking to you, but I felt that this is a verse she would have shared. I know it is out of context, but it was a comfort all the same. 

In my darkest moments, a song or verse would come to mind and I would contemplate or sing the words till they penetrated my heart and mind and soul. “When Peace like a River, attendeth my way, When Sorrows like sea billows roll.  IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL”. That was my Dad’s favorite song. 

Philippians 4:4-7 says:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice…. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

So I kept saying and singing, to God be the Glory. Sometimes over and over till it penetrated my being.

It helped me to pray for friends and family going through their own issues and many others who needed God to touch their lives.  I know have a God who loves me and is not surprised by my circumstances. He knew before I was born what I would go through in this life.

When asked am I mad at God, I often tell people I was angry at times, yes. But I know in my heart He loves me and will never do anything to pull the rug out from under me just for fun. So I trust Him.

God is Still Working

So where am I in this transforming encounter with Jesus? I’m still transforming, he is still working on me. I’m still learning to trust, ask for help, and make prayer and study a bigger priority. I am apprehensive for what He will ask of me, where I will share this experience, and what the future holds health wise.      

In closing, one of the books I read this winter was the Prayer Box, by Lisa Wingate. It has this prayer about God’s Grace. 

“Yet amid all of this, there is the water of Grace. It flows in all directions, seeping into the hidden crevices, the darkest spaces. The water of Grace, is a sponge to the lips. A trickle and then a flood of hope, the river moves into the mountain stone by stone slowly widening its path, going over each of us, cutting into each of us, washing the places that are hard, that would separate us from one another, from you, among us and within us. After the Storm all are equal, all wanting, all needing, all in need of the water of Grace from one another and from you.”

I praise God and thank Him for loving me enough to give me family, friends, and a church family like Whyte Ridge. It’s your love and prayers that helped get me through this year. And I thank God He is NOT finished with me yet.

Loss and Gain through Illness

Loss and GainDealing with the subject of loss and gain, Whyte Ridge Baptist people were challenged, encouraged, and moved in a very special way this past Sunday morning.

Pastor Terry Janke spoke on the theme–Living in Christ–based on Philippians 1:12-26. The sermon was a call to weigh our losses and gains in light of what Paul teaches, particularly in verses 21-24:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ,which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (Phil. 1:21-24, NIV)

Loss & GainTo conclude his sermon, Pastor Terry interviewed Melanie Penner. Melanie was diagnosed with cancer one year ago. She has written with refreshing candor about this journey in her blog Our Hope Adventure

Melanie shared briefly about her diagnosis and then spoke about the loss and gain she has experienced as a result of the diagnosis.

Listen to Melanie’s Story

How to Authenticate the Gospel

Authenticateby Pastor Terry Janke

How do we authenticate the Gospel? 

Someone reminded me the other day of a document that the Board and Staff discussed five years ago when I first arrived at Whyte Ridge. It was called The ABC’s of Best Practice Policy. In a nutshell it calls us to:

  • Assume good intentions behind everything, unless proven otherwise.
  • Believe the best in another to fulfill their job with support, not interference.
  • Communicate authentically all mutual concerns that might affect the ministry.

The document also addressed matters such as e-mail etiquette, resolving conflict, how to receive a bad report and what to do with careless words.

Relationships Are Key

It occurred to me as I read the document it was simply an attempt at defining our relational theology, or how we live out the gospel together. We either betray or we authenticate the gospel in our relationships, especially the difficult ones.

To ‘authenticate’ means to establish or prove that something is real or genuine. If we apply this to our relationships – to authenticate our faith in Christ means to show that it is real. Our profession of who we are and what we have in God is authenticated by our possession of the graces we offer to one another.

Paul uses a word for this in several of his letters. He calls believers to live lives ‘worthy’ of their calling (Eph. 4:1), to conduct themselves in a manner ‘worthy’ of the gospel (Phil. 1:27). He prayed for believers to live ‘worthy’ of the Lord (Col. 1:10), and he spent his ministry encouraging, comforting and urging others to live ‘worthy’ of God (I Thes. 2:12).

A Worthy Life

A ‘worthy’ life authenticates what the gospel is all about – humbling ourselves as Christ did and doing all we can do to be at peace with one another. Our membership covenant reflects this:

With respect to our interpersonal relationships, we agree to walk together in Christian love by remembering each other in prayer, aiding each other in sickness and distress and being courteous in our speech. We further agree to be slow to take offence, always ready for reconciliation, and mindful to seek God’s Word without delay.

We believe God calls us as a Church to nurture followers of Jesus Christ through healthy relationships. This is the arena of our discipleship, both individually and collectively. The measure of our maturity is reflected in how we authenticate the gospel with each relationship God sends our way. And when we stand before Him one day, the final exam will not be a written one. It will be the exam we have already written with our lives by faith and entrusted to Him for that day (2 Timothy 1:12-14).

Teen Challenge Ministry Report

Teen ChallengeWhyte Ridge Baptist people were honoured to host the Winnipeg team of Teen Challenge on Sunday, September 14, 2014. The team of 11 was led by Terry Thiessen, Teen Challenge’s Outreach Pastor. The group led in singing several worship songs and two young men shared how Jesus Christ has enabled them to find freedom from drug addition.

Be sure to listen to their Ministry Report.

Teen Challenge Mission

Teen Challenge provides a discipleship program for men and women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Their mission is to:

Develop and nurture the transformation of restored individuals into useful, productive, law-abiding citizens by creating a framework that challenges them to reach their fullest potential in all areas of life. 

Teen Challenge Roots

Teen Challenge was founded by the late David Wilkerson in 1958. His best selling book (16 million copies distributed in over 30 languages) The Cross and the Switchblade, tells the story of the first five years of his ministry to teenage gang members and socially marginalized people in New York City. From this initial vision to help teens trapped in gangs, Teen Challenge today operates more than 1000 programs in 80 countries around the world.

The Key Player

Key Door

by Emmie Dryjski

In my testimony on March 9th I made several references to the missionaries with whom I lived and worked. After my baptism service, I spoke with Dan Penner, a member of our church, and we discussed that it was his father, the late Richard Penner who was the key player in my journey to Christ. Sadly, Richard was killed in a plane crash on his way to a meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2004.

It was Richard who arranged a teaching position for me for PAD (Partnership in Academic Development), in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan, where he worked as a director for World Concern. He also arranged an entry visa for me and met me at the Afghanistan border. As a woman travelling alone to a war torn country I was extremely thankful for this. It can be very stressful entering Afghanistan due to all the military check points and language barrier. Not only was Richard fluent in Dari, but also very familiar with all Afghan customs and procedures.

While in Mazar-e-Sharif, Richard kept a watchful eye over me. He would assist me to the market and showed me what food I must not eat. He also reminded me to follow daily the Afghan tradition of covering myself from head to foot. During the two months there, I was cut off from my life in Canada because there was no means of communication. However, Richard would deliver news from Winnipeg to me, including email from my family whenever he attended a meeting in Tashkent. Most importantly, he took me to the worship services on Fridays and introduced me to all his missionary friends and colleagues. From them I learned what it means to be a servant of the Lord.

Richard’s life was a witness to me in his love for God. This same love was also demonstrated in his genuine interest in helping the Afghan people and his care of me.

It has been a real gift to have worked with Richard and to call him my friend.

Making a Difference in Garden Hill

Garden Hill Banner

by Wendy Bergmann

Pathway Camp Ministries, led by Rick & Elizabeth Greer, was founded in 2007 and provides community and youth programs in Aboriginal communities throughout Manitoba. Whyte Ridge Baptist has partnered with Pathway to serve Garden Hill First Nation for a week long camp during the summer.

Whyte Ridge has a team of 11 people heading out to Garden Hill this summer from July 26th to August 2nd, 2014. Team members are: Janna Banman, Wendy Bergmann, Matthew Brown, Juanita Enns, Daryl Fillion, Jordana Hague, William Hildebrand, Kevin Klassen, Matt Litke, Wayne Litke, Denise Naim. These individuals committed to going have a heart for God and have the opportunity to lead the kids in story or worship time, act out skits for them, play indoor and outdoor games, do crafts or are ready to take on one of them in speed cup stacking! All these children need is lots of love by someone taking the time to play, listen, or share a little bit of their life with them.

This ministry is making a huge impact on our northern Aboriginal children who do not have the same opportunities children in our community may experience. God is doing great things and we look forward to seeing what He has in store for us this summer and beyond!

From Kingdom Hall to the Kingdom of God

by Kelly Karam

My spiritual journey started in a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was born and raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was taught about a God named Jehovah, my Father. He was the God my family served, prayed to, studied about, and ultimately feared.

We spent a lot of time in personal Bible study and in church, we had meetings 3 times a week plus put in service hours, like going door to door (what they were and still are famous for). Those service hours were all recorded and handed in to the elders at the end of every month. Despite all the study and service, I never felt as close to God as I wanted. He seemed distant or somehow disconnected from me.

Growing up I spent alot of time feeling like I didn’t belong in the church. I always had a sense I never measured up. I didn’t have a perfect attendance record, others had more service hours than me, my dad wasn’t an elder, my best friends’ dads were, I didn’t have it all together. The list goes on and on.

I never felt secure in my salvation. It seemed I could never do enough. From a young age until I was 20, I remember having reoccurring nightmares of finding out at Christ’s return I simply didn’t cut it.

At the age of 20, I met my match – literally.

I started dating a Baptist boy. Things got serious. We knew we had to sort out our religious differences if we wanted to move forward. My soon to be in-laws also recognized the importance of being evenly yoked, so they put us in touch with a gentleman named Ray from the Navigators. He set up a bible study with the two of us.

I viewed this as the perfect opportunity to convert the both of them. Our studies were uneventful in my humble opinion. Ray seemed wishy washy to me, he had no concrete, definite answers, which is what I had always been used to. Jehovah’s Witnesses have an answer that makes sense for any question one could ask. In Ray’s quiet way, he would let me preach my interpretation of the scriptures and then respectfully say, that’s one way to look at it, here’s what I take from it…. I remember him pointing out the importance of reading scripture prayerfully. I was used to being told what the scripture meant – No Questions Asked.

In the weeks that followed, Chris and I would go to the downtown library to look up the Greek and Hebrew origins of words. I started to discover there was more than one definition. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we were only ever allowed to read spiritual material that was published by our Watchtower Society. So these library dictionaries and concordances were creating small cracks in my belief system.

Still focused on converting Chris and Ray, I agreed to attend a Ralph Bell Crusade night in lieu of Chris attending a service at my Kingdom Hall.

I distinctly remember being very unimpressed by the sermon and looking forward to going home. Then came the alter call. I recall Chris bowing his head in prayer, me thinking you can pray all you want, I’m not going up. I wrapped my hands around my chair to hold myself down in my seat.

I remember being in awe of the power of God as I was being physically moved to the front.

As I walked, I felt all my burdens being lifted from me completely. Those burdens were the burdens of works.

What I know now, that I didn’t know then:

  • I know I didn’t know Him as I do today.
  • I know He 1st loved me and sent his son to die for me and because of that I don’t have to try and earn my salvation.
  • I know I belong to Him because he says – I am His child

My study of Ephesians this summer reminded me of my identity in Christ. I encourage you to read it if you haven’t lately. Here are my Coles notes:

  • Eph. 1:7 – our sins are taken away and we are forgiven
  • Eph. 2:5 – says, it’s by Grace you have been saved.
  • Eph. 2:8 – for its by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
  • Eph. 3:12 – we can come with freedom and confidence into God’s presence. No more nightmares since he brought me up that aisle!!

Charles Stanley once said, “Salvation is not a reward that God has given to us for works or for good behavior.  Salvation is the result of grace and goodness and the love of God. It is a Free gift from God to those who trust him as personal savior”

I want to encourage you to make that decision to trust Him and make Him your personal Savior if haven’t already.

To learn more about making this decision that Kelly speaks of – read about the Good News on this website.

Lessons from God Through Cancer

God and Cancer

by Melanie Penner

Most of us fear the diagnosis of cancer. I grew up fearing cancer even more then the average person. When I was four years old my brother died of cancer. I honestly believed that since my family had suffered from this loss, I would always be spared of having to live through the trauma of cancer. However, God decides, not me. In October 2013, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer. My journey of getting diagnosed, being treated and recovering has not been easy. Here is my story…

I had day surgery in mid-October in order to determine if I had cancer or not. Three days after that surgery, I developed a deep vain clot in my leg and was admitted into the hospital. During this stay, I was told I most likely had cancer and that we didn’t need to wait for pathology to confirm my diagnosis. My clot was reinforcing what the doctors had predicted; I quickly became a cancer patient. I remember crying and feeling sad, but not devastated. I completely believed that God would make it all better quickly. I had been in a cancer-screening program for 18 months prior to being diagnosed, so I was certain that a quick surgery would take care of things. Wrong again. A month later, I was officially diagnosed. I was told that the tumor in my cervix was very large and had probably been there for up to 2 years. Apparently I had slipped through the cracks of the cancer-screening program that I was a part of. Mistakes had been made and my cancer had been missed. My biggest nightmare would come true: chemo and radiation. The tumor inside of me was too large for a successful surgery.

I remember crying out and asking God, “How could you let this happen?” It felt like it was more then I could handle. God’s response to me was, “I am with you.” I didn’t want Him, I wanted Him to fix my problem. Looking back, I had so much to learn. My first lesson was a hard one: God allows big, bad things to happen in our lives. He allows things to hit us that we can’t handle, so that we learn to lean on Him completely.

Two weeks after my diagnosis, treatments started. I got sick instantly. Nausea hit me like a punch in the gut and all the medication I was taking, was a shock to my body. So many nights I lay in bed and couldn’t believe this was the journey God was leading me on, and at the same time, I marveled at the strength He gave me just when I needed it. After my first week of treatments, I felt so incredibly overwhelmed and thought I could not survive 6 more weeks of this. I went to the hospital 5 days a week. I had radiation Monday through Friday and chemo every Tuesday. This was an intense treatment plan; however, God provided ways to cope. A group of friends offered to take turns driving me to the hospital everyday, so I was never alone. When I didn’t have energy to physically get there, I was escorted. God would bring verses into my life everyday through friends, devotions, and just in my mind to help me carry on. Somehow, I managed to get to every treatment. I was learning to rely on Him as my refuge and strength at all times. I learned that He will give me what I need, when I need it. I often felt like I didn’t have the strength or courage to get through each day, but I did for each moment. God often doesn’t give us beyond what we need, just enough. But enough is enough; and He is always dependable with enough.

There is another part to this story. I was sick, but so was my husband, Darryl. 4 months prior to my diagnosis, we learned he had a tumor behind his right eye that was the cause of severe headaches. In early January, when I was half way through my treatments, Darryl had to have major brain surgery to remove the tumor. The surgery was risky: there was a high chance he would lose his sight in his right eye. When the person you love the most is in pain or in any kind of jeopardy, all you want is to be with them and take care of them. But I couldn’t because I was too sick. We relied on friends and family to take Darryl to the hospital for his surgery and to be with him during his hospital stay. The morning he left for the hospital, I lay at home in bed begging God to carry Darryl through and to keep him safe. I did manage to get to the hospital in the afternoon of surgery day. In fact, I had an appointment with my oncologists that day to give me a progress report (my first one since treatments had started), had my daily treatments, and was sent for a chest x-ray in preparation for more treatments. Then I went up to the surgery ward to get the results of Darryl’s surgery. I think back on that day; it was way too much for me, but God was there. Because He was there, I made it through.

The surgery went extremely well; the first thing Darryl asked his nurse after waking up was, “How is my wife today; tell her I love her”. I was so relieved he remembered me! One of my biggest fears was having Darryl in the hospital. I didn’t have the energy to visit him each day, and I needed him at home to cheer me on through my treatments. God knew this. Darryl was discharged from the hospital 24 hours after major surgery. We couldn’t believe it, but were so thankful.

Not everything became easier after Darryl came home though. Now I was more on my own. He couldn’t come to the hospital with me for doctor’s appointments, even on days when “big news” would be given. I quickly learned how much I depended on Darryl and learned to depend on God instead. I managed to complete 5 rounds of chemo, 28 radiation treatments, numerous blood tests, and weekly doctor’s appointments. God carried me through all of this and has continued to be faithful to me.

My recovery from treatments has gone very well, quicker then expected. However, I have been told that my cancer did not respond to treatments as well as my doctors had hoped. So, I’m waiting for 12 weeks, to let the treatments finish working. Then, I will be reassessed to determine if surgery and more treatments are needed.

Waiting can be a very scary place, but I have learned that God is in control. He allowed me to get cancer, and He gets the last say as to whether I am cured or not. He gets to choose how I’m healed and when. God has also taught me that He is always present. He will never leave me nor forsake me. But it is my responsibility to acknowledge His presence in my life. I know God is taking me through this journey to change me and prepare me to serve Him. I’m not sure how, or where or when. But I can’t wait to see what is in store because now He is directing me and I am learning to follow.

Who Am I in Christ?

Who I am in Christ Slider

Everyone longs to belong and be known.

While God has created us to love Him and each other, as we love ourselves, we often find that hard to do. Why? In part, it is because we lack self-knowledge. True self-knowledge is to see ourselves as God sees us. If God sees us differently than we see ourselves, our self-knowledge is incomplete and inaccurate, a state which inhibits our ability to be recipients of God’s love and to be able to truly love others.

In Christ, relational connectedness is not a luxury—but a necessity of the Christian life. We need each other in order to mature in our faith and honor God.

In Christ, identity and intimacy are intricately linked.

Finger PrintThe Who I am in Christ seminar is designed to help you come to a greater understanding of your identity in Christ by connecting six teaching sessions, which only you attend, along with six intentional conversations with a close friend chosen by you. (Who Should I Invite?)

The classes will take place on Saturday mornings from 9 am – 11 am at WRBC, usually every other week. On alternate weeks, you’ll arrange the times and places to meet with the same close friend, for 60 – 90 minutes, to discuss the personal impact of the preceding seminar’s content in order to gain your friend’s insights and foster your relationship.


Course Details

Dates:

  • Orientation (with close friend) • Sunday, February 9, 7–9 pm At WRBC.
  • 6 Seminars • Saturdays, 9–11 am at WRBC.
    Feb. 22, Mar. 8, 22, Apr. 12, 26 and May 10.

Cost: $25.00. Includes…

  • Christian Life Profile
  • Steps to Freedom in Christ
  • Discovering Your God-Given Gifts
  • Beverages and snacks

Registration Deadline: Sunday, January 26th.

Download the course Brochure & Registration Form.

All sessions take place at Whyte Ridge Baptist Church.


Outline of Sessions

Orientation Class (to attend with your friend)

The goal of this class is to prepare you and your friend for the times you will meet throughout the Who I am in Christ course.

Session One – Who I am in Christ – Overview

The goal of this session is to help you gain a deeper understanding of who you are in Christ and how growing in that knowledge can positively impact, and is impacted by, your relationship with others.

Session Two – I am Dead to Myself and Alive in Christ

(Mk 8:34-35; Gal 2:19-21)

The goal of this session is to help you discover that, at the core of your identity, life is no longer about you – it is about Christ and allowing His Holy Spirit to live in and through you.

Session Three – I am in a Covenant Relationship with God

(Heb 8:10; 2 Cor 3:6)

The goal of this session is to help you see that Christ has always been the initiator in your relationship with Him. He pursued you and you have responded to His love!

Session Four – I am a Lover of God and Others

(Mk 12:29-31)

The goal of this session is to help you embrace the reality that, at the core of your being, you are a “Lover of God” and a “Lover of Others”.

Session Five – I am Unique and Unified within the Church

(Rom 12:3-6)

The goal of this session is to help you recognize your uniqueness in Christ that is made possible by, and enhanced through, being unified with other believers.

Session Six – Who I am becoming in Christ

The goal of this session is to bring together what you have learned about Who You are in Christ and to consider the next steps you might take.


Who should I invite?

The close friend you invite to join you for the Who I am in Christ seminar should be:

  • a maturing believer in Christ.
  • someone with whom you share mutual trust.
  • someone you feel comfortable being open with.
  • someone who you know speaks truth in love.
  • some who will have the courage to tell you things you may not like to hear in order to see yourself more fully.
  •  willing, able, and reliable to make the required commitments for the Who I am in Christ seminar.

These commitments include:

    • being willing to meet bi-weekly with you,
    • being willing to the complete the Consent form given at the Orientation (Feb 9th) which covers their approval to be part of this study.
    • completion of both the pretest (part of the Orientation) and posttest (during last class on May 10th).

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