I have just become the new regional director for Men for Missions in Canada. My wife, Penney, and I have been married 32 years, and those years have truly been a blessing for both of us. We have four wonderful daughters – Julie who is married to Chad, Amanda, Shari, and Emily. There have been struggles and challenges along the way, but it has been an incredible experience to share with Penney.
My entire life has been spent on a grain farm in southern Alberta, Canada. It is a third generation farm. My grandfather started it, passed it down to my father, and then Penney and I got heavily involved in the farming operation. About a year ago, we sold the entire farm. What a change! It has been tough, but it was the right thing to do, and we know that God was involved in the whole process. In hindsight, I strongly believe that He has a very special purpose in all of this.
In 2004, I went on my first Men for Mission trip to Haiti. That awesome experience totally changed my life! Many things in life that seemed so important to me – such as doing well in farming and making a positive name for myself in the business world – seemed to vanish. Even though I was just an ordinary layman, I could make an eternal difference in people’s lives. Since then, I have been on about 15 short-term trips with MFM. Many of those trips I have had the privilege of being with Penney. Together, we had been in Haiti numerous times, as well as to Cuba and Colombia.
I grew up in a very good Christian home and realized my need for Jesus Christ at the age of 10. My teenage years had their spiritual ups and downs, and after high school I attended Bible school for three years. At that time, I realized the need to make a full commitment to follow God, but after school was finished I got very involved in the farm and rearing our family. When I was around the age of 40, I wanted more for my Christian life. At that time, I had a friend who got me involved on an MFM trip to Haiti.
In the fall of 2015, I went to Colombia on an MFM maintenance work and door-to-door evangelism trip. I could paint walls and do other small, practical things, but EVANGELIZE?? I didn’t have a special testimony to share with people. I was just an ordinary guy with no exceptional talents or stories to proclaim. WAS I WRONG!! I very quickly realized that people wanted to hear my story – however insignificant I thought it was. But it was much, much more than that. God’s story for mankind needs to be proclaimed. People everywhere want to hear about a God who loves them so very much that He sent His beloved Son to be the perfect sacrifice for them so that they could have an eternal, personal relationship with God. Incredible lessons I learned in Colombia were to allow God to use me and to rely upon Him.
I would like to encourage all those who are considering a short-term mission trip or stepping outside of the box to do something for God. Be courageous and do it! The positive changes it will make in your life are amazing.