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My wife and I went to Germany with two little boys and we came back with three teenagers! It was a good time of pastoral ministry and we loved it. 

We loved Germany dearly, but we had to come back to Canada. We came back sick and tired. My wife was sick and I was tired. Her health was challenged and she was basically bedridden for the last two years of ministry in Germany. Back in Canada, I went through culture shock and mid-life crisis, and by God’s grace survived. Eventually, I took my Masters degree and began a career as a chaplain in Fraser Health. It was a good time, where I specialized in Hospice and Palliative care. 

Then came a severe life crisis, and I lost my footing in life. I was a broken human in a broken world which made no sense at all. I was out of commission for several years. But God, who is rich in mercy, had not forgotten me. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.
 
Together with my family and friends, I eventually found my footing again. And learned from Brennan Manning the daily prayer: Abba, I belong to you. At the time, that was all that really mattered. And it still is. 

Over the years, I specialized in doing funerals and memorial services, and also became a care giver for the special people in the community. What a blessing! They taught me more than I had ever learned before. We all have handicaps. Some of us just hide them better. 

This job? I wasnt looking to get back into chaplaincy. I was doing okay, but feeling restless. One day, a friend tapped me on the shoulder and let me know that Menno Place was looking for a part-time chaplain. The rest is history. It feels so completely comfortable to me. I worked for years in Hospice care, so being a part of the end-of-life here at Menno Place is a really good fit for me. Its Gods work to bring me here. We are all broken people, needing God and needing each other. Im grateful to serve here in this way.

I cant believe how many times Ive been able to use my German. Besides the Mennonite people, there are also many Lutherans and Germans here. Today, I sang auf Deutsch to a woman in her last days... in her first language: Gott ist die Liebe. God is Love. 

Im grateful... and privileged... and I thank God for bringing me back into this ministry of spiritual care. It feels a bit like redemption.

My wife and I went to Germany with two little boys and we came back with three teenagers! It was a good time of pastoral ministry and we loved it.

We loved Germany dearly, but we had to come back to Canada. We came back sick and tired. My wife was sick and I was tired. Her health was challenged and she was basically bedridden for the last two years of ministry in Germany. Back in Canada, I went through culture shock and mid-life crisis, and by God’s grace survived. Eventually, I took my Masters degree and began a career as a chaplain in Fraser Health. It was a good time, where I specialized in Hospice and Palliative care.

Then came a severe life crisis, and I lost my footing in life. I was a broken human in a broken world which made no sense at all. I was out of commission for several years. But God, who is rich in mercy, had not forgotten me. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.

Together with my family and friends, I eventually found my footing again. And learned from Brennan Manning the daily prayer: Abba, I belong to you. At the time, that was all that really mattered. And it still is.

Over the years, I specialized in doing funerals and memorial services, and also became a care giver for the special people in the community. What a blessing! They taught me more than I had ever learned before. We all have handicaps. Some of us just hide them better.

This job? I wasn't looking to get back into chaplaincy. I was doing okay, but feeling restless. One day, a friend tapped me on the shoulder and let me know that Menno Place was looking for a part-time chaplain. The rest is history. It feels so completely comfortable to me. I worked for years in Hospice care, so being a part of the end-of-life here at Menno Place is a really good fit for me. It's God's work to bring me here. We are all broken people, needing God and needing each other. I'm grateful to serve here in this way.

I can't believe how many times I've been able to use my German. Besides the Mennonite people, there are also many Lutherans and Germans here. Today, I sang "auf Deutsch" to a woman in her last days... in her first language: Gott ist die Liebe. God is Love.

I'm grateful... and privileged... and I thank God for bringing me back into this ministry of spiritual care. It feels a bit like redemption.
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Kelly Foster, P Jane G Rempel and 244 others like this

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Chris HarmsThis is so inspiring- God has led you through difficulties and has turned your experiences into a tool for His glory and the comfort of others. Thank you for your faithfulness to keep obeying as He calls.

4 months ago   ·  3
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Elma Anne Nickel VothSuch an important position that you have. My father was the chaplain at Menno Hospital years ago.......he loved what he did, and he, too, was fluent in German.

4 months ago   ·  7
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Nellie TaylorHey there Cuzin... bless you!

4 months ago   ·  1
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Velma Fern FroeseThanks for your story. Our group goes to the Menno Chapel monthly with a service . Glad you are using your talents there.

4 months ago   ·  1
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Carrol ChaceThank you so much for visiting my mother in hospital. You sang to her both times. I enjoyed the songs and thank you for the prayers.

4 months ago   ·  1
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Sue WestJohn, you are the perfect person for this job!

4 months ago   ·  1
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Della ConnerGreat story.You are doing God"s work. .

4 months ago   ·  1
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Nancee FriesenSuch a blessing!

4 months ago   ·  1
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Jill TurkinHow beautiful! What a gift for people to be ministered to in their first language.

4 months ago   ·  1
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Joyce KehlerStill cannot believe that the cut the chaplains positions in Fraser Health. Sounds like you are just in the perfect job now

4 months ago   ·  1
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Agnes FroeseOur family is thankful for you and all you do at Menno. We appreciated you coming to visit our mom in the hospital. When you sang (at moms request) "Gott ist die Liebe" many nurses were also blessed. It was fun for my sister, mom and me to chirp in at the end. 🐥🦆🎼 Thank you

4 months ago   ·  4
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Jolene MackesyHello John from Colin and Robbie!

4 months ago   ·  1
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Perrie PeverallJohn great to see u on Facebook. All the best

4 months ago   ·  1
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Marilyn SawchenkoBeautiful story. Thanks.

4 months ago   ·  1
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Jeanette LeePraise God for His mercies in your life. We are.so blessed to have you serve at Menno!

4 months ago   ·  1
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Joanne-jody Griffin AubryYour a Schweeet!!!!🍧 man and Menno is Blessed to have you!

4 months ago   ·  2
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Sandy NewellIt is nice we have people like pastor at our place we have a lady pastor

4 months ago   ·  1
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