Meet Our Workers

Jason Mandryk

Jason Mandryk, from Manitoba, joined WEC in 1997. He has a Master’s degree in global Christian studies from Providence College and Theological Seminary. During his studies, Jason sensed that God was putting in him a more global calling to see the big picture, to analyze the trends, and to communicate the global challenge to the church. Jason worked alongside Patrick Johnstone to coauthor the sixth edition of Operation World, released in 2001 and then authored the 7th edition released in 2010. Jason is a regular speaker at mission events and, along with Molly Wall, continues to head up the Operation World team based in the UK.  Next on the horizon is a new edition of Operation World and work is being done right now to improve the data base.

Jason asks prayer for God to send the Operation World team capable members who are gifted in the areas of administration, management, and planning. Provision of such a team would not only bring much-needed people with these important gifts but would free up the researchers, analysts and writers to do what they do best.

Nick Mason

Nick Mason, from Ontario, shares his testimony. “My journey to missions started with feelings of emptiness in my chosen life path. Right when everything was feeling meaningless, I came to Ecclesiastes in my Bible readings. This connection with what was happening in my life led me to consider God’s will for my life. I quickly felt the call to missions. Praying about where to go, I started to see Japan pop up again and again. It was like everywhere I went, Japan came up. However, the thought of mission to Japan never entered my mind until I looked up Japan on Wikipedia and saw that the population was over 125 million and less than 1% were Christian! Seeing this, I suddenly felt that this is where God wanted me to go. I attended WEC’s Gateway missionary training course in January 2012 and went to Japan for a three-month internship as part of the program. This time really helped to affirm my call to serve long term in Japan. I joined WEC in December 2012 and returned full time to Japan in June 2013.” 

Nick works in evangelism and church planting and longs to see the people of Japan turning to Jesus.

P & D with M & J

D, from Ontario, met her husband P, from South Asia, while attending Regent College in Vancouver. They were both working towards a Masters degree in Christian Studies. They got married in Ontario in 2002 and joined WEC in 2003.  Both P and D had a vision to return to P’s home country to encourage the church and train leaders. P teaches at a theological seminary of over 200 students and is currently vice-principal. He also heads up the publishing department, actively working to write and translate suitable material into the local language. He completes his PhD this year, and the seminary celebrates 25 years since its foundation. D has a full time position in the international school where their two boys, M (15) and J (12), attend. She teaches, counsels and organizes community service clubs and projects with students. She also leads a Ladies Bible Study one morning a week. D enjoys a sporting challenge and excels in swimming. She is grateful for the open doors this sport creates to meet people in the community. She recently guided a blind athlete for the swim portion of his Ironman competition — 1.9 km in the sea! The boys also enjoy and excel in sports, especially football. Pray for this gifted and dedicated family shining for Jesus in South Asia.

Jason

Jason, a young man with a buoyant spirit, came to WEC from Manitoba. He had completed two years of study at Millar Bible College and was eager to get experience in missions. He went on a two-month short term to the Middle East with WEC. On his return he was more determined than ever to follow God’s leading and return to the same area. He joined the 2017 fall Candidate Orientation class in Hamilton and is now in language study in the Middle East, building relationships with people he desires to lead to Christ.

Priscilla Kok

Priscilla was born in Toronto and moved back to Hong Kong with her parents at age 5. When she was 13 they returned to Canada. Priscilla heard about WEC while volunteering at an orphanage in Hong Kong. She began her preparation for missions at Eastwest College in New Zealand, a WEC missionary training college, and returned to Canada to do her Candidate Orientation with WEC in 2011. Priscilla has been very involved in outreach activities with a church in Japan.
Priscilla recounts how she was called to Japan:
Since I was young I wanted to go to China to be a missionary. However, one night in Bible college, while looking at the world map I asked God for confirmation about China. Suddenly I heard a voice inside of me saying, “Does it matter?”  I was quite surprised to hear this question and I thought, ‘no, it doesn’t matter at all’. And from then on, I relaxed and let things be. One day while reading one of the textbooks, again I heard a voice, “You’re going to Japan!”  I quickly put down my book and felt my heart pumping hard.  I was very surprised because I had never thought of going to Japan. 
I had a Japanese classmate in Bible college. While everyone else was complaining about having too much homework, or the food not being good, she was always very happy.  She then shared with me that she had never been with so many Christians before (my college only had about 40 students).  Back in Japan, she had no other Christians at her workplace, and she had been having meals by herself for almost 20 years. Now she felt like she was in heaven.  I didn’t have a huge vision about what to do coming to Japan, but after hearing from this classmate, one of my desires was to give the Japanese a chance to meet a Christian face to face.   
I had many fears before I came to Japan, but God encouraged me through the story of crossing the Jordan in Joshua 3– Go and stand in the river. He only wants me to be in Japan, to stand here with faith, like the priests who carried the ark standing firmly on dry ground.  And He will part the water; He will take care of the rest, in a mighty way. 
It has been a great privilege to get to know and journey with my Japanese brothers and sisters.

Shane & Michelle Cooke

Shane, from Ontario, and Michelle, from Texas met while serving as single workers in Central Asia. They married in 2003.
Michelle had been wanting to start her own mission with a multinational, multicultural, faith-based pro-evangelism approach. On meeting Shane and seeing WEC had all these distinctives, she knew there was no need to remake what was already done.
Shane joined WEC in the fall of 1996. Michelle completed her Candidate Orientation with WEC in the spring of 2004.
Shane felt called to WEC because of the daring nature of the WECers he met, going to far-off lands to people who had never heard the Gospel. He ended up in a remote part of Central Asia for two decades. Shane and Michelle have two lively children, Liberty who turns 12 in March this year, and Van who just turned 9 last November.
The children share their parents’ love of travel and adventure, and do so with an understanding that their family is following God, trusting Him to provide all they need.
They all moved to France in 2018 to share the Gospel with French people and are now studying French at a university in the north for up to two years, before moving to the south of France to join a couple reaching out in a region where there are very few Christians.
Michelle loves cycling and getting out, and will meet ladies at a moment’s notice for coffee. Shane enjoys building his Instagram portfolio, swimming, and reading. Liberty has a love for horses, drawing, and thrives on the competition of running and sports in general. Van enjoys building his Legos, collecting Pokemon, and has found a love for the Beautiful Game – football/soccer. If you want to contact the Cookes their email address is: news@cookesoverseas.com

Julie Gibson

Julie Gibson: Born in the Middle East to missionary parents, Julie has lived in a number of Middle Eastern countries. She made the decision to follow Jesus at an early age. In 1988 her family moved to Hamilton to serve with WEC on home staff for five years. Julie was twelve when they returned to the Middle East. She struggled as a teenager with this move, and fell into depression. One night, with the weight of darkness heavy on her, she cried out to God in prayer and He lifted the weight from her spirit. Julie says, “I heard the call to prayer from the mosque and looking out my window I saw the darkness spreading from minaret to minaret all over the city. I knew I was free and safe from that darkness but the people, the children, around me were not.” Julie realized at that point that God wanted her to reach out to Muslim children. In 1998 Julie returned from the Middle East to finish her last year of school in Canada. The following year she enrolled at Bible School in Nipawin, Saskatchewan. Julie went to the Middle East for two years, before returning to complete Bible School. When her family moved back to serve at Gateway, our training centre in Langley, BC, Julie joined them and volunteered there for five years. During that time God spoke to her about Albania. Julie went with WEC to Albania in September of 2010.  God is using her experience and talents to reach children for Christ. Julie’s days are full of preparing materials and teaching lessons for the children’s clubs, youth camps and other outreach events to reach Albanian families.

Dirk

Dirk’s burden for missions came when he left Saskatchewan for a short term trip to a country in the Middle East. Returning from that trip he focused on preparing to serve overseas. He attended WEC’s training school, Gateway, in Langley BC and joined the Candidate Orientation course in Hamilton the fall of 2012, moving on to the Middle East the following year.  Dirk says, “By God’s grace I’ve been able to learn the language well enough to preach the Gospel and make disciples. I’ve seen some fruit.” Dirk is happy to keep focussed on the main task at hand, seeing God’s kingdom come on earth.

M

M spent ten years of his childhood in the Middle East with missionary parents. Seeing the needs around him, he too had the desire to share Jesus. Back in Canada he took courses in computer programing at university and later got his degree. He attended Bible School in Saskatchewan.  M joined WEC for full time service in 2014 and now serves in the Middle East. M is gifted in IT (Information Technology) and has been a great help to several ministries. Prior experience with the language and culture opens doors for meeting people. M desires to reach nomadic people and has been involved in a research project He is praying about what kind of door God will open for reaching them in the future.

We Celegrate the Life of Peggy Aitken

Jan. 22, 1920 – Sept. 5, 2018

Cheerful, loyal and prayerful worker are words that describe Peggy.  Peggy and husband Jack, who predeceased her in 2014, joined WEC Canada in 1980 to be responsible for Public Relations. They put many miles on their car traveling across Canada to promote WEC and missions.  This was at the end of a fruitful ministry with WEC in India and the UK. We admired their stamina and vision to see workers join WEC and move out to the unreached areas of the world.  Peggy shared with us her stories of early years in India and how they reluctantly had to leave in 1955 and return to the UK, their home, because of the serious illness of their son, Jonathon.  Daughter Liz was born in the UK. Jonathon passed away in 1982.

 In between travels in Canada Peggy served as receptionist at the Canadian base.  She retired at age 89, but continued to host a prayer group in her home, attend WEC meetings, and keep in touch with workers in the UK and around the world. Peggy modelled strength of character, courage to face crises and a deep love for Jesus. She remained active to the end. We miss her.

Roly and Cristina Grenier

“Looking back, we can see the Lord preparing us for the future. I, Cristina, am from Colombia. Roly is Canadian.  As a young man he attended a youth exchange program in Guatemala where he learnt Spanish.  We met when I was studying English in Canada and so we’re both fluent in Spanish and English.
“We got married in 1982.  Both Roly and I came from a non-Christian background but in wanting to be the best parents we could before God, we found the Lord. We figured that if we wanted to know what God wanted from us, we should read the Bible, and so we did.
“Once we found this new life in Jesus, we were so filled with joy, we just couldn’t contain ourselves. For us, it was the natural thing to go and tell others who had never heard the good news of a new life in Jesus Christ. We joined WEC in 1992.
“First we went to Spain, and then to Equatorial Guinea (the only Spanish speaking country in Africa) where we lived for 20 years during which the Lord taught us and molded us. We lived in a small wooden house with no running water or electricity and the whole jungle as our back yard. Our three children loved it.
“We were involved in leadership development, helping the small churches to have pastors well rooted in the Word of God and evangelizing villages where there was no church.  It was a joy to see one small tribe being reached with the Gospel for the first time, and believers with a passion to share their faith and freedom in Christ. Today, we see Africans with the same call, passion and desire we have.”
In 2016 God led Roly and Cristina into a new, exciting stage of their lives – recruiting Africans for missions. Through them the ACTS 13 program has been launched with the goal of helping the African church to identify, prepare and send out their own missionaries. They are forming a team to develop the work and also planning their first Candidate Orientation in Ethiopia in November 2018. Roly and Cristina are based in Ghana.

Fred

Mention Fred and we think evangelist. Fred loves people and he loves Jesus. People are drawn to Fred’s open, friendly manner. He would be happy to stay in Canada to win souls for Christ, but God gave Fred a definite call to serve Him in the Middle East. Following Bible School at Briercrest, Fred applied to WEC in the spring of 2015 and went on to the Middle East that fall. Fred comes from a hard working Dutch family in Abbotsford BC from whom he learned the building trade.  Fred’s desire is to live in obedience to Christ and win souls for Him. His motto is: Christ must increase and I must decrease. John 3:30

Partnering with the Church in Africa in sending cross-cultural workers to make disciples of Christ amongst the unreached in the region and beyond.

Pete and Cathy Dyck with CristyAnn and Josiah

Pete was born in Belize, Central America. Raised in a Christian family he accepted the Lord at the age of 13.  In 1984 Pete’s family moved to Aylmer, Ontario and he attended Bible School there.
Cathy, from Saskatchewan, gave her heart to Jesus at the age of ten. She trained to be a school teacher at University of Saskatchewan. During her studies God challenged her with a message given by a preacher at church on being willing to launch out into the deep, Luke 5:4. Cathy applied to WEC, but before coming to Hamilton she enrolled for a year of Bible School in Aylmer, Ontario where she met Pete. And, as they say, “The rest is history.”
Cathy completed WEC’s Candidate course in 1990 and went to Texas to study Spanish and on to Mexico for ten months. Pete joined the 1992 fall Candidate course where his call to Mexico was confirmed. Pete and Cathy were married in May, 1993 in Saskatchewan.
Pete had a vision to see a Christian camp established in Mexico and they played a key role in seeing El Monte, a multi-ministry centre, started.  During their time at El Monte the Lord laid on Pete and Cathy’s heart an unreached people group in Mexico, the Purhépecha.  In 2013 the family moved to Michoacan, a central area of the Purhépecha. Two years later they returned to Canada so that their children, Josiah and ChristyAnn, could finish secondary school and prepare for College.  Pete and Cathy are getting ready to return to Mexico in September 2018. Their vision to reach the Purhépecha for Christ has not diminished.  Pray with them to see a strong church formed among the Purhépecha that can withstand persecution and be a bold witness to their own people.  And pray for their children as they remain in Canada without their parents.

J, a young single man, came to WEC from Vancouver Island. He had completed his Bible training at Briercrest College and spent several summers in tree planting. God answered his prayer to pay off school debt in time to join the candidate orientation course in the fall of 2014. J now serves in North Africa, reaching out to young men with the message of God’s love.  J has a heart for broken people and knows that God has a purpose for him being in this country. He says, “I want to join Jesus in loving those who are not so loveable.”

L, also a graduate of Briercrest from Ontario, has a heart for missions. She joined WEC in the spring of 2016, going on to North Africa at the beginning of 2018. L doesn’t find language learning easy but is determined to keep at it until she can communicate well with the local people. She was delighted to meet a young woman at a bus stop who is willing to help her with her language. People are drawn to L’s bright smile and cheerful honest attitude.

 

A short story from L in North Africa

I was riding in the taxi the other day and got to talking to my taxi driver. Somehow the topic of religion came up, and I thought ‘hey, here’s my chance.’ I mean he was practically begging me to tell him what I believe. Unfortunately, with my limited vocabulary in religious terms we didn’t get as far as I would have hoped. I did however encourage him to read the ‘good book’ and he said he hoped we would meet again so we could discuss this further. This situation got me more excited about language learning and gave me motivation to improve so I can take advantage of these sharing opportunities every chance I get.

L grew up in a Christian home in Ontario. Following Bible College at Briercrest, L worked in Regina for several years assisting a young church plant in the city. Feeling called into missions, L served for six months with WEC Betel in South Asia.  During his time in South Asia God affirmed L’s vision to reach the people of this area for Christ. He returned to WEC to take the full Candidate Orientation Course in the fall of 2015 and went to the field in 2016. L has persevered in language study and loves to chat with locals. He teaches English to several young men and disciples new believers. His passion is to win souls for Christ.

Meet our Workers

John & Alice Grenier
Alice, originally from Mauritius, trained for cross cultural missions at Worldview, WEC’s Missionary Training College in Tasmania. She then attended the candidate orientation course in Sydney, Australia, and was accepted into WEC in 1988.  Her first assignment was Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, where she spent three years in youth work in an urban centre. During this time, Alice’s family immigrated to Canada. Alice joined them in Canada and served on home staff in Hamilton for three years while applying for Permanent Resident status.
John served 2.5 years with OM and then a short term in the Gambia before coming to join WEC for youth ministry in The Gambia, West Africa. While in Candidate Orientation in Hamilton in 1994, he met Alice and during this time a relationship began.  John went to Fuller School of Intercultural Studies in California for three months as part of his preparation for missions.  John and Alice married in 1995. They spent 21 fruitful years in The Gambia, in youth and agricultural work. They returned to Canada in the summer of 2017. Their son, Jed, just started his first year at McMaster University. John now serves as maintenance man at the WEC Branch in Hamilton and Alice gives assistance in the finance office. WEC Canada is very pleased to welcome John and Alice on home-staff.

Heather & Randy Barnes

Randy and Heather Barnes joined WEC in 1985, coming to us from Saskatchewan–they met at Millar College of the Bible. Randy and Heather spent 16 years in evangelism and church planting in Central Asia. In 2001 they joined the staff in Hamilton and since that time ably fill the role of Candidate Directors.

Heather is a gifted pianist, often playing for our morning devotions and WEC meetings. Both Randy and Heather’s practical skills make a valuable contribution to the running of the home base. Randy and Heather teach classes at the annual Perspective courses held in the area. They have two grown children.

Grace Williams

Grace Williams moved to Ontario from Calgary to answer the call of another mission that needed help in their accounts department. She filled that position for two and half years before joining WEC in 2001. Grace’s careful attention to her work in the finance department is much appreciated. Prayer is a priority in her life. Grace leads a WEC prayer group and faithfully joins a friend on a ‘Jericho Prayer Ride’ by car around the city of Hamilton once a month. She is an avid photographer. Grace has two grown daughters and a grandson.

Jon & Patty Hines

Jon grew up in WEC, born in Colombia to pioneer missionaries, Ralph and Martha Hines. He returned to Three Hills, Alberta for high school, where he met his future wife Mona Charter. They married during Jon’s work and studies in Calgary; he graduated as a Certified General Accountant. Their first son  onathan was born in Calgary and their daughter, Lisa, in DR Congo during a two year short term with WEC. On returning to Canada God gave them another son, Daniel. Jon and Mona joined WEC full time in 1991 responding to the need for a treasurer at the WEC base in Hamilton. In 1994 the Lord chose to take Mona home. Jon married her sister Patty in 1995. Jon and Patty are faithful and dedicated workers, Jon as treasurer and Patty currently filling the role of kitchen manager. Jon is also a good source of financial information while Patty is a gifted organizer of events. We have all been blessed by their hospitality. Their two grandsons bring them great joy.

Linda Nagel

Linda Nagel joined the staff in Hamilton in 2006. Linda heads up the Prayer and Mobilization department and is the Deputy Director of WEC Canada. If you receive the monthly Prayer Front*, Linda is the editor. She also leads the editorial committee for RPM. Linda served with WEC in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) West Africa for 38 years. During that time she taught Bible in the public schools, pioneered a work among unreached peoples and served as Field Leader for nine years. Linda would be slow to acknowledge that she is in the midst of writing of her experiences in Côte d’Ivoire. We are looking forward to reading this when it’s published!   

Ruth Brandon

Ruth Brandon is that welcome voice at the end of the line when you call our WEC number, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. She retired from full time teaching in Ontario schools in 1998 but wasn’t prepared to sit back and take her ease. In 1999 she joined WEC and went to Asia to train national school teachers how to teach English. She also did a lot of community work and helped plant churches. She served as a witness for Christ in that nation for over ten years. Ruth puts together the Weekly Prayer News* that goes out by email. She has four children and three grandchildren.

Karen Woods

Karen Woods came to us from Williams Lake BC as a volunteer in 2006. After a few months she decided to join WEC full time. She is responsible for receipting and other duties in the finance department. Karen is the go to person when we can’t figure out what’s wrong with the photocopier, computer or stamp machine! In other words she is very practical and is called on for many extra jobs. She does the layout of RPM for email, website and print. Karen is a widow with children and grandchildren and also a talented amateur artist.

Introduction to our Canadian Directors

Mick & Caroline Brown

I met my wife, Caroline, at St. John’s College, Oxford University longer ago than I care to remember. We were both doing our doctorates there, she was studying insect viruses and I, synthetic chemistry (smelly!!).  We were both from non-Christian backgrounds but had come to a personal relationship with Jesus, our Saviour, during our early teens. Even before we married we wondered whether the Lord was calling us into missions and went for a weekend put on by BMMF (Interserve). We felt the answer was “not at this time.” There we left it, we got married and worked. In 1991 I was offered a job in Calgary and we immigrated (and later became citizens). I worked in research and marketing associated with the Oil Industry and Caroline had two babies, two dogs, two cats, five lambs, and a bunch of chickens and ducks to keep her busy. We had a lovely view of the Rockies from our living room window and mountain blue birds; swallows, red tail hawks, bald eagles, the occasional deer, coyotes and innumerable gophers to complete our country living experience. Then God started challenging us and after a while He convinced us to give up our job, house and all the animals (the dogs were the hardest) and move to Hamilton to do Candidate Orientation with WEC and then we left for Turkey at the end of 1997.

We spent 15 1/2 years in Turkey involved in church planting, camp ministry, and various other things. For the last six years we also lead the 70-80 strong field. The Turks are lovely friendly people although not very responsive to the gospel, but we were encouraged to see many growing in their faith. Our children went to a local Turkish school for most of their primary education but when Peter was ready to go into grade 6 we switched to using a home school cooperative that Caroline helped with (she had worked as a science teacher and was well qualified) and later an  international school. I also had a secular role there working as a consultant for the company that I used to work For in Calgary. After I left the company it was bought out by a Palestinian couple and so I was working for Muslims. They wanted me to I return to Calgary and warned me that Muslims do  awful things to people who do work like us!!

A Few years ago we were asked to become Sending Base directors in Canada. Our response took about 5 years because of commitments we had in Turkey! We returned to Canada in 2013 and are delighted to live and work at the Canadian HQ in Hamilton. Although we miss Turkey at times, the challenge, excitement and busyness here more than compensates.

Also, it is nice that we now see our children a bit more. Our son, Peter, is quite close in Waterloo, where he is doing an MASc in Systems Design. Katerina is in her Fourth year of Animal Science at the University  of Saskatchewan.

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