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Moving Truth into Action: Falling in Love with Jesus PEACE RIVER BIBLE INSTITUTE

President’s Message: Waldie Neufeld

President’s Message Spring is in the air, which brings change with it once again. Oh, if spiritual change came that easy! My topic over this school year has been how we change or grow spiritually. Spiritual growth or change is expected. Paul instructed his readers to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Ro 12:2), and Jesus commanded disciples “to cut off” anything that causes anyone to stumble (Mk 9:43ff ). But as we all well know, change can be exceedingly slow at times, and challenging. The challenge to growth will arise on a number of fronts. We will have to be honest about the state of our heart, paying attention to its deceitfulness (Je 17:9-10), yet its yearning for God (Ps 84:2). We also have to distinguish between what we know about God in our heads and what 1

Waldie Neufeld

we know in our hearts. I am amazed at what we can know about God and yet be so unaware of how little we know him in our heart. Our spiritual path to change is not “self-improvement,” rather conformity to Jesus Christ (Ro 8:29), which requires mortification, crucifying self (Ga 2:20). We begin and can remain as “men of flesh” or “infants in Christ” (1 Co 3:1-3). Thus, Paul passionately challenges growth (Cl 1:28-29) and pursues further spiritual growth in his own life (Ph 3:12). Jesus indicated spiritual growth requires intentional personal involvement on our part. In this regard, the law, a list of things I do or not do, is useless as a change agent,1 yet the law does reveal our need (Ga 3:24). The challenge of course is hearing the truth and applying it, as Jesus made ever so plain at the end of the “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus does

Moving Truth into Action: Falling in Love with Jesus though give us the keys to spiritual change. What follows is not a linear method and may take on a different order at various times in our life. Change begins with, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). In this, he references Old Testament passages that focus on the value of a humble spirit (cf. Pr 29:23; Is 61:1). So this has nothing to do with the poverty of things, rather poverty of the spirit. When we are willing to acknowledge nothing good dwells in me, life begins. No wonder then that Jesus called us to deny self, take up our cross, and follow him! The problematic words of course are deny, cross, and follow. Would have been much easier if he would have said, love self, wear a cross, and follow your heart. Hidden though in the midst of all this is seeing my own heart. How do I come to acknowledge the poverty of my spirit?

Change involves truth!2 Jesus pointed out “. . . the truth shall set you free” (Jn 8:32) and David wrote, “You desire truth in the innermost being” (Ps 51:6a). The challenge of course is receiving truth or maybe finding a friend who will speak truth into our lives. In this regard, I find Paul’s words interesting. He held that “Scripture is . . . profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tm 3:16). So when was the last time we were “reproofed or corrected”? Yet the author of Hebrews encouraged us to spur one another on to love and good deeds (He 10:24). We need truth, Scripture, and we need that friend who is honestly “speaking the truth in love (Ep 4:15a). But we must remember God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Ro 2:4). God’s grace is necessary to change. One big lesson I have had 2

to learn is that God is for me and not against me (He 4:16; Ro 2:4). He is even for me when I am not for him. While I am being wrongheaded, etc., it’s safe to turn myself in. God created us to be dependent upon him and interdependent upon each other. Why do we find it so hard to turn to him? Is it not ironic that we avoid the two relationships that help us grow, God and concerned friends (Ga 6:1-2)! As we miss the learning, God introduces us to another friend, named Trials (Ja 1:2ff ). He pursues us gently but persistently. The other change agent of course is the Spirit, the Hound of Heaven, whom we access through faith (Ga 2:20). Change or growth takes place under the convicting of the Spirit which should lead to our confession of sin and hurt to God (1 Jn 1:9) and others (Ja 5:16). Something happens when we share with others our deep struggle(s). This also involves both asking for forgiveness from God (1 Jn 1:9) and others, letting go of hurts by others (Mt 6:14-15), and letting God take care of things (Ro 12:19). Since Paul constantly pursued after God (Ph 3:12), may we pursue the same passion to obtain a righteousness by faith. This will require us to ask the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to reveal what’s within like the Psalmist when he wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.” Jesus also explained that the Holy Spirit convicts, so let’s ask the Spirit to reveal what needs exposing in our innermost being. Further, let’s invite the spiritual mentors to spur us on to spiritual maturity. Yes, this opens us up to hurt, but it is also the 3

only path to healing and spiritual growth. This path is also arduous. Change takes the process of training (2 Tm 3:16) like learning how to type. As a young man intent on farming, I avoided typing class because typing skills would never help on the farm. Ah, yes, and then God calls me to Bible school and then to seminary with all its papers. So at one point, my wife Sharon sat me down in front of the typewriter and said, “Here is where your fingers go.” At first it was agonizingly slow, but eventually I did not have to look at the keyboard. So then with Paul let’s be of the same mind. “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Ph 3:13-14). Through a mind-set of personal spiritual growth, we will have life and life abundantly (Jn 10:10) and become effective agents in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Co 5:18-19). As we all are challenged with our own interior spiritual growth, think of the challenge our students face. Most of them, like us, find it easier to focus on a works-based spirituality, which makes a move towards “denying yourself” difficult. Please pray that staff would clearly present spiritual growth, and pray that students would understand and be willing to walk down the path of conformity with Jesus Christ.

2016-2017 Graduates

Waldie Neufeld, Ph.D. President [1] Henry Cloud and John Townsend. How People Grow (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 72. [2] Cloud & Townsend, How People Grow, 105.

Please pray for the Graduates of 2016–2017.


From Our Faculty A few years ago I was driving into town when suddenly my truck started losing power. The engine started making noises that no engine should make. A moment later, my worst fears were revealed; the check engine light came on. So off I went to a local mechanic shop to see if they could determine just what happened. As I waited for the diagnosis, I was hoping and praying that this problem would be an easy fix. All I wanted to hear out of the mechanic’s mouth were words like, “bad sensor” or “failed spark plug.” Unfortunately the mechanic told me that my truck engine needed major repairs. When one thinks about the different challenges that life throws at you, seldom has the solution been a simple one. There isn’t a quick fix solution when a family member is diagnosed with cancer, a spouse loses their job, a child is bullied at school, 5

Shane Dell

a vehicle needs repairs, or when it seems that God is distant. When these challenges are presented to us, and they will be, it is the quick, easy, painless solution we long for and often look for first. For instance, whenever my son, Jack, falls and scrapes his knee, we put some Polysporin on the cut, and follow it up with a bandage. “Cream and BandAid” as Jack puts it, fixes all his owies. But when Jack comes to me with a sore tummy, he becomes very confused as to why cream and a bandage won’t help his tummy ache. Many think along the same lines, believing that, as leadership guru Ronald Heifetz puts it, “We can treat adaptive challenges as if they were technical problems.”1 A technical challenge has a very clear problem and a very clear solution to that problem.2 Again to use Jack as my example, his scraped knee is a clear problem, and the cream and

Embracing Change bandage are his very clear solution. But an adaptive challenge is a challenge where understanding the problem requires learning and exploration and the solution requires learning and exploration.3 Heifetz continues to say that, “Adaptive challenges can only be addressed through changes in people’s priorities, beliefs, habits, and loyalities.”4 So, say Jack comes to me with a sore tummy, I would not immediately have a clear solution for it. I don’t really even know what the problem fully is. Did Jack eat too much candy, making his stomach upset? Is it a flu bug? If through learning and exploration I was able to find the problem, that being, a little too much sugar for my little guy, I still need to sort out a solution to that problem. How much candy then can Jack handle? Does the time of the day when he eats it make

a difference? The solution to an adaptive challenge is seldom clear cut. One crucial word really differentiates between a technical challenge and an adaptive challenge; change. A technical problem rarely will ask for any level of transformation on our part to gain the solution. These types of challenges become so ordinary that working through them can be quite robotic, almost like solving a simple math equation. But an adaptive challenge almost always asks the question, “What needs to change in order to find the solution?”5 For instance, a student may reveal that he is angered by a fellow student. The technical solution would be to limit his interaction with that student. But the adaptive solution really has to work through what is going on. What is behind this anger? What needs to change internally or externally to 6

properly deal with the challenge? This is the way we, the Student Life Department, are trying to get our student leaders to engage, not only with their own challenges, but with their fellow students as well. We are trying to see the challenges that each other face, not as technical challenges that have easy answer solutions, for rarely is this actually the case, but as adaptive challenges that can constantly have us wrestling with the idea of change. What is quite ironic about this idea of change, is that there are unlimited opportunities in which the prospect of change will present itself. This though, does not make the idea of change an easy sell. I’m not writing anything profoundly new. In numerous passages of Scripture Paul addresses this concept of personal change (Ep 4, Cl 3, Ga 2, 2 Co 5, Ro 6-8). The very words of Jesus in Luke 9:23 demand change when He says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Even the ministry of the Holy Spirit is intent on changing us (Ep 4:21-24), but for all the encouragement from Scripture to embrace God’s transforming power, we are quick to reject it. Tod Bolsinger in his book, Canoeing the Mountains, writes, “Leadership is taking people where they need to go and yet resist going.”6 I believe what Bolsinger is really saying here is that we need to look at the challenges of life as presented 7

opportunities to change; to change bitterness into compassion, change our language from degrading to uplifting, change our inward focus outward. But there is always something within that wants to hold on to the status quo. We all like to hold on to the brokenness of our humanity even though change may present a far superior outcome. This is also the challenge that the entire PRBI staff continues to present to our students: God wants us to change. He has designed us to change. We all need to embrace change. Our journey of faith will have a never-ending supply of adaptive challenges that, if viewed correctly, can cause one to wrestle with who they are, who God is calling them to be, and what needs to change in order to move towards that destination. This is our mandate. We as an institution are preparing our students to not only engage their own challenges with this in mind, but to learn to walk alongside others in the midst of life’s challenges; to be a part of the change. Shane Dell Dean of Men

President’s Message:

Financial Update

Waldie Neufeld

Peace River Bible Institute Statement of Operations and Budget Jul 2016 - Jan 2017 Revenue Student Revenue Student General Income Sales

Fees & Other Programs

& Non-Program Fees & Services

Residence Rental Rental


Donation - Undesignated Donations

- Undesignated - Designated Total Donations

Donation - Designated Donations

Total Revenue


Income To Date

Annual Budget

% of Budget To Date










439,701 43,985 483,686

791,000 77,500 868,500

56% 57% 56%




Expenses To Date

Annual Budget

% of Budget To Date






Student Life

Student Life







Food Services Food



Promotion & Development























AdministrationAdministration Maintenance

Facilities & Maintenance

Student Aid

Special Project

Student Aid

Student Aid



Shane Dell has been the Dean of Men for 5 years. He and his wife, Danni, have two young children.

Total Expenses

[1] Ronald Heifetz, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, (Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Publishing), 19. [2] Ibid, 20. [3] Ibid, 20. [4] Ibid, 19. [5] Ibid, 96. [6] Tod Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains, (Downers Grove, Il, Intervarsity Press), 124.

Excludes Amortization Expense

Net Income (Loss)







Grad Testimonies Living Truth The Lord has graciously shown me more about who I am during my time as a student at PRBI. As the years have progressed so has my depth of learning. My journey began as a freshman who entered the school expecting to be on top. I come from a Christian home and my father is a pastor, which to me meant that I was ahead of the game. I was proud of my reputation as the nice guy who was caring and always “did the right thing.” However, I did not realize that I clung so tightly to this “good” image, that I was willing to protect it by any means necessary. As a result, my relationships were superficial and I was reluctant to expose my true self for fear of rejection. Leadership roles in my second year provided a great catalyst for change. Walking alongside others on 9

their personal faith journey was an extremely humbling and challenging experience for me. God revealed to me numerous internal issues that were having a great effect on my leadership skills. He also provided me with opportunities to practice servanthood; looking first to the needs of others rather than focusing on what others would be thinking of me. I have been (and continue to be) broken down and exposed. In Romans 8:1 it says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Do I truly believe in the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and live out of its truth? Now, day by day, I must choose to believe these words. The Lord has shown me grace as I journey towards self-acceptance and allow God to build my reputation. Ben Senft Associate of Christian Studies

Let God Be God

Loving God

I came to PRBI thinking that I did not have many issues to work through in my life. As my time at PRBI went on I began to have issue after issue snake its way into the forefront of my life. During a discipleship time I realized that my heart did not want them to be exposed. The issues were like seeds growing and becoming more prominent. It honestly scared me and I knew it was time to deal with each issue—through God’s guidance. One such issue revealed itself through a common pattern that I was beginning to see emerge. When I was struggling or confused in life I would often find myself going to people first instead of to God. I would go to God when it was a convenient time or if I thought He might have some truth that could help me at the moment. If I was going to allow God to be God in my life I would need to learn the discipline of going to God first about everything. Looking back I see the growth that God has accomplished in me during my time at PRBI. Having the close-knit community of fellow believers around me helped me in my walk of letting God be God. I still struggle with wanting to go to people first. However, I have slowly learned how to find joy in going to God for my every need. The most amazing thing I learned though is that in allowing God to be my God, I have all my needs fully met.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV). That verse seems pretty easy to understand, right? We are to love God with all our being. Not 50 per cent or 90 per cent, but 100 per cent. It is this idea that I have been struggling with throughout this year. Do I love God with all my heart and with all my mind? When God says that He loves and accepts me, do I live as though I believe it? The hard answer is that I don’t. At least not when I really look at the way I live, the desires of my heart, and the state of my mind. I have to come to the tough conclusion that I am not living as one that truly believes God loves and accepts me. I live as if I need to earn God’s love and acceptance, and that I need to keep working at it or I could somehow lose it. I have discovered it is only when we start to understand our depravity that we will find there is nothing we have that can earn God’s love. It is only by His grace that we are loved by Him. I’m sure I will spend the rest of my life learning this, but it all starts here. Understanding God’s grace is the beginning of loving Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength.

Joslyn Fousert Associate of Christian Studies

Michael Giesbrecht Associate of Christian Studies


President’s Message: Waldie Neufeld

Development Message A few days before our Circle of Friends banquet I had one of those “What have I done?” moments. Without getting into the particulars, I accidentally created all the video content for the banquet in the wrong dimensions. The 20 hours of work that was done was now needing about 10 hours of work to remedy. I was angry with myself. I came back to my office, closed the door and said to myself, “I guess I better get to work.” So I opened my video editing software and began fixing my mistake. Frustrated at what I found, after just two minutes of fixing, I quickly closed the program because the task was just too overwhelming. There was just not enough time or gas in my tank to fix this before the banquet. So, though angry, I closed my eyes and prayed a two sentence prayer asking God for wisdom. 11

Jeremy Johnston

When I said, “Amen,” I opened my eyes and while still sitting at my desk, the solution immediately came to me from God. All that needed to be done was a minor adjustment to the screen setup. It was a hardware change, not a software change, which was much simpler. After just an hour of adjusting the hardware, my problem was solved and my prayer was answered. As I have been reflecting on that moment, I was reminded of two things: 1) God does listen, and, 2) He does answer prayer. Perhaps what intrigued me most was that God does not require a long prayer, and that He sometimes answers immediately. It reminded me of James 1:5 that says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Many times, a story like this would have ended here, but at PRBI

these stories tend to have a different ending because our disciple-making vision prompts further questions. Let me explain. As I shared this story with a co-worker, recounting the details to share how marvelous it was that God answered prayer, he was not struck by just that theology. He was also struck by the anger I had towards myself. When my co-worker broached this idea of “Why did this make you so angry, Jeremy?”—that question too made me angry. He was missing the point of my story! At least that is what I thought at the time. To be honest, it took a couple of weeks to capture what had happened that day in my co-worker’s office. I did not dwell on that day long, but the Holy Spirit did keep it on the back burner of my mind. The reality was that my co-worker was not just concerned about the theology that I was learning, but he was concerned about my heart too. He realized there was an opportunity to address my anger. So he did. He also recognized where my anger was directed—at myself—and questioned that too. While I wanted him to hear the story, he heard my heart and noticed that I had some growing to do. While this story is about me, it is a common storyline that happens often at PRBI. This is what our vision of making disciples looks like in real time. Addressing these types of issues is what helps us bring the truth from the head, to the heart, to the hands. We strive to be a theological institution that fills the head with truth, but also cares for the heart as well as the hands. This is what sets us apart; our theological emphasis being back-stopped with discipleship.

With that focus in mind, I would like to once again invite you to participate with us financially in this type of training that we are doing with our students. As you can see in the Get Involved section below, there are many ways to partner with us. Donations can be given online at give, over the phone (780) 569-3962, or by mail addressed to PRBI, PO Box 99, Sexsmith, AB, T0H 3C0. Thank you for your partnership with us. Jeremy Johnston Director of Development Jeremy (g ‘09) has been on staff at PRBI since 2009. He and his wife, Leah, have two young children.



President’s Message: Waldie Neufeld

Recommended Reading We live in a time when the Christian faith is openly challenged, and it is often difficult to know how to respond. Some of us, unsure of our ability to articulate and defend our beliefs, prefer to avoid conversations that require us to “give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Pe 3:15). Others of us may become argumentative, trying to convince people by the sheer force of our words. We need to learn how to engage in bold and skillful, yet gracious, conversation about Christ. This is the quest addressed by Gregory Koukl’s book, Tactics. 1 While most apologetics books focus on the critical task of establishing philosophical and evidential support for Christianity, Tactics focuses on the equally crucial issue of engaging in effective conversation. Most of us will not engage regularly in academic debates with renowned skeptics; rather, 13

Brad Cowie

we will engage in casual conversations with ordinary people. This is where Koukl’s advice proves most useful. Koukl, who is the founder of the apologetics organization Stand to Reason (, and adjunct apologetics professor at Biola University, wishes to equip readers with “tactics” for sharing one’s faith in a bold yet respectful manner. To accomplish this, he proposes a three-phase approach—based on the classic television detective Columbo— that harnesses the power of strategic questions and meticulous reasoning. The first phase focuses on gathering information and revolves around the question: What do you mean by that? Starting with this question helps you enter the conversation in a non-threatening manner. It also provides the opportunity to understand what the person actually believes, reducing the risks of unfair

assumptions or unnecessary tangents. We ask, “What do you mean by that?” in various ways by asking for explanations and clarifications of a person’s beliefs. For example, if someone says, “It’s not rational to believe in God because there is no proof,” you might ask, “What, specifically is irrational about belief in God?” or, “What kind of proof do you think is necessary?” By starting with fact-gathering questions, we lay the foundations for further conversation. The second phase—“How did you come to that conclusion?”—asks for the reasons behind someone’s belief. Often, Christians feel like we are the only ones who must give reasons for our beliefs, but non-Christians should be expected to give the reasons for their beliefs also. Furthermore, most people have never really thought deeply about the rationale for their beliefs. Sometimes just being asked for an explanation can cause the person to realize that they have never really thought about why they believe what they believe, or that their reasons are rather superficial. If the person does give a reason, Koukl recommends three follow-up questions: Is that possible? is that plausible? and, is that probable? In asking these questions, we begin to probe the quality of the reasons given. The third phase is the turning point of the conversation. Here, following the classic Columbo tactic, we ask “The Question” that turns the conversation on its head by pointing out the flaw in the other person’s reasoning. This is done subtly by means of questions rather than frontal attack, but it is effective because it compels the person to face the inconsistency of what they are saying. This is the most

difficult of the three stages because it emerges from the conversation itself, and we must be able to spot the flaws and inconsistencies as they emerge. Navigating this final phase of the conversation requires that we have some working knowledge of standard apologetic arguments and basic logic (which is why Koukl’s tactics should be considered a supplement to standard apologetics, not a substitute for them). To help the reader, the second half of Tactics explores some of the common logical and evidential errors that we must learn to identify and skillfully respond to. Koukl covers a sampling of common errors including contradictory or unrealistic beliefs, verbal aggression, misuse of experts, and faulty facts. In each of these cases, he offers helpful hints for spotting the flaws and responding with truth and grace. Tactics is short (200 pages), readable, practical, and a perennial favourite of students in my Christian Apologetics class. Koukl offers straightforward advice about how to engage in effective dialogue about the Christian faith. As a bonus, his examples and illustrations address many of the most common apologetics questions, and integrate solid apologetic information with practical conversation strategies. If you desire to grow in your ability to explain and defend your faith in everyday conversation, Tactics has much to offer. Brad is an alumnus of PRBI (1984-88) and has served as PRBI faculty since 2008. Brad and his wife, Barb, have two children. [1] Gregory Koukl, Tactics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).


Alumnus Honour Recipients Dave Schmidt Memorial Dave was born and raised on a farm in LaGlace, AB, where he grew up with two brothers and three sisters. He came to know the Lord when he was 12 years old and was baptized at 19 in a nearby creek. He joined the Mennonite Brethren Church in La Glace where he attended all his life. He attended Bible school in Coaldale, AB, for three years. Dave met Evelyn in a grocery store in Abbotsford, BC, and were married in 1959. They settled and farmed south of La Glace. Dave loved beekeeping, growing his apiary up to 900 hives, which he ran for over 30 years. When his father suddenly passed away in 1967, he took up farming as well. Dave & Ev have three daughters, Beverly, Barbara, and Bernice, who are all married, one granddaughter, nine grandsons, and five great-grandchildren. Dave became interested in Peace River Bible Institute through attending the spring and fall conferences held at the school. In 1971 Dave came on the PRBI Board when President Wilf Johnson asked him to join. During this time the student body was very small. While he never attended the school as a student, he was convinced of the value of Bible school training from his own personal experience. When the old campus buildings had to be replaced 15


and new buildings erected in the 80s, the board had a big decision to make— whether to borrow a large amount of money to rebuild the campus, or close the school. The Lord gave unity, peace, and together with the sacrificial giving of many people remained open. Dave was one of the key builders in the process of reviving the campus and remained on the board, and involved with PRBI right up until his passing. As a board member, Dave felt very strong about the direction the school had taken in the discipleship program. He stated that it has had a positive influence in the lives of many students and through that, a ministry impact in many areas—locally and globally. He always encouraged the school and staff to continue in the direction they had taken. In an earlier interview (ca. 2009) he said, “In retrospect, when I joined the executive board in 1971, I was one of the youngest members (37 years old) and today I am one of the oldest (my 37th year as a member). I have sat on many different boards (secular, Church, school) and none of them have been as rewarding as this one.” He will be missed.

PRBI’s history is full of men and women who have served the college well. Each year the PRBI Board of Directors selects a recipient, or recipients, that has made an outstanding contribution to Christian ministry, even as it impacts PRBI. The board unanimously chose Bob and Ruth Balisky as PRBI’s Alumni Honour Recipients for 2017. Bob was the ninth of ten children born to George and Nellie Balisky, who were heavily involved at Peace River Bible Institute and Bear Lake Bible Camp. He grew up on the Emerson Trail, attended Canuck country school, high school, and one year of college at PRBI. He also graduated from Olds College in 1960. Bob married Ruth Peters on July 14, 1962. Ruth was born in Bassano, AB, and raised on a farm near Rosemary, AB. She grew up the youngest child of eleven children. After graduating from high school and Bible school in Coaldale, AB, she took nurses training in Lethbridge, AB. Ruth then came north to nurse in Grande Prairie, AB, where she came under Bob’s watchful eye. Bob, with Ruth and several of his brothers, homesteaded in the Goodwin area in 1964. He and his youngest brother, Terry, farmed together for 40 years along the Emerson Trail and then worked together in other business ventures. During some of the homesteading years, in order to support their dream of

farming, Bob and Ruth lived in Arizona, working on John Wayne’s Ranch, among other jobs. In the Grande Prairie area, Bob was involved in many businesses, including PrairieCoast, and served his community on many boards. Ruth served on the Health Unit Board and volunteered in many capacities at their church in Bezanson. Being a farm wife, and mother of four, her involvement in all areas of life together with Bob ran deep. They raised four children; Lois, married to Tim Toews; Celeste, married to Dale Emerson; Susan, married to Terry Emerson; and Wade, married to Aubrey (Warkentin). All live in the peace country area. Their family has grown to include 13 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Together they had a great love and heart for youth. Much of this passion was expressed through the Annual Balisky Rodeo for the support of Peace Country Wilderness Camps, and PRBI. They had a unique way with people, making everyone feel valued and welcomed. The coffee was always on. Bob and Ruth also gave themselves fully to the ministry of PRBI, right from the building of the first gym though to the second gym in 2016. They have encouraged the college staff every step of the way. They also have contributed greatly to the Bezanson Community Church. Their lives are a testament to God’s faithfulness. 16

College News GYMNASIUM & FITNESS CENTRE “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” •

On October 14, 2012, at our corporate board meeting we began dreaming about building a new gymnasium, voting to explore the possibilities.

At PRBI’s March 9, 2013, corporate board meeting, a motion was made to proceed in faith with the Gym Project. By the fall of 2013, PRBI had commitments of $1,000,000 from the board members and two donors.

It was also noted that an alumni had passed away and that PRBI would be receiving a donation from the estate. As it turned out, that estate was larger than we anticipated, valued at around $2.5 million. This provided a strong foundation for the fund-raising process as many others stepped into the project.

Our grand opening was on September 5, 2016, where we dedicated the facility for God’s purpose of making disciples for generations to come. At that point there was $800,000 still owing. God had, and was providing, but He was not done yet!

As of February 17, 2017, the final donations had come in. The building is paid for.

We currently have 130 active community members using our facility and even more coming for our drop-in sports nights.

Praise God for His marvelous provision through His people.


Highest Call and Earthen Vessels are going to be traveling this year through Alberta and Saskatchewan promoting PRBI from April 24 – May 8. Their itinerary can be found online at If you are interested in hosting one of our teams, please email or call the college (780-568-3962) and ask for Jeremy.


We had 20 Bible camps join us this semester for our annual Camp Days event to promote camp ministry.

The Circle of Friends banquet this year was held in our new gymnasium. We received over $80,000 in donations.

Our 7th Annual Family Day Winter Carnival welcomed over 750 guests and was hosted in our new gymnasium.

eView was well attended this year. Many prospective students decided that weekend to apply for fall.


Our first REACH Team will depart for Asia in May, under the leadership of Mark Sorell of Action Ventures. The team will be doing outreach with students through camps, street performances, and small group activities. Pray for Alex, Caitlyn, Christina, Jacob, Natasha, and Shari as they prepare to serve. Pray for Roy, their host, as he prepares an itinerary for the students.



Alumni & Staff News BIRTHS

THIELMANN, Danny (g ‘12) & Tasha (g ‘15) are excited to announce the birth of their baby girl, River Cherish. She was born February 6, 2017, at 2:23 a.m. Being first time parents has been an adventure so far. Our little River has already been a blessing in our lives. We are in the process of building our new home in Debolt, AB. We are thankful for new life experiences, and are grateful for a God who is faithful with all the unknowns ahead. VIEL, Dan (g ’05) & Heather (g ’05) are proud to announce the birth of their son, Donovan Daniel, born August 17, 2016. His three older sisters, Maddison (7), Brooklyn (5), and Kendall (3) were excited beyond words to finally have a baby brother and they continue to be thrilled with every single thing he does. Once he starts crawling that may change! Donovan is a dream baby who is very chill about life. He loves smiling, sitting, and watching his sisters. Dan accepted a foreman position with Atco Gas in 2015 so in August of that year we moved to Spirit River. We have settled nicely and are enjoying becoming involved in the community. Heather continues to teach piano from home, as well as chase after the girls and Donovan on a daily basis.


SYME, Deborah Geraldine “Debi” (nee: Bueckert, ug ’81-82) of Wake Forest, NC, passed away at the age of 54 on January 25, 2017, at UNC Rex Hospital, Raleigh, NC. Debi was born on September 1, 1962, in Burns Lake, BC, to the late Jacob Bueckert and Agatha Bueckert. Debi grew up in Burns Lake and after graduating from high school she attended Peace River Bible Institute. Later she moved to Wetaskiwin, AB, where she worked as a florist and in retail. From there Debi moved to Edmonton, AB, where she met her future husband, Dave Syme. Debi enjoyed the many summers and times she spent with her nieces and nephews, building fond memories. In 1993, Debi married Dave and moved to Saskatoon, SK, where they were blessed with two children, Jennifer and Craig. The family moved to the Raleigh, NC area in 2013 as Dave was offered a new role in the company he worked for. Debi had a passion for helping and encouraging others. She was faithfully involved in their home church where she was always willing to step in and help out with whatever the need may be. Debi was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend. Her presence and love will be greatly missed by everyone that knew her. A celebration of Debi’s life was held Saturday, January 28, 2017, at Lifepointe Church, Raliegh, NC. The family has also planned a celebration of Debi’s life to be held in Canada at a later date. Debi is survived by her husband of 23 years, David Syme; children, Jennifer and Craig; brother, John (Lorraine) Bueckert; sisters, Marie (Wes) Tarry, and Anne (Larry) Berg; and 14 nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brother, Hank (Janet) Bueckert and her sister, Kathy (Melvin) Tarry.

WEDDINGS RICHARD, Cody (ug ’16) & HIEBERT, Alisha (ug ’16) were married on December 23, 2016, and are living in Sexsmith, AB. Cody is a carpenter for Home Hardware and Alisha is an early childhood development assistant at Wee Care, both in Grande Prairie, AB. RICHARD, JC (g ‘16) & FRIESEN, Katie (g ‘13) were married December 31, 2016, and are currently living in Abbotsford, BC. JC is working for Lumon Canada in the Fraser Valley area. Katie is attending Columbia Bible College, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. They would like to work in ministry together in the future. 19

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About PRBI PRBI exists to train believers to become disciple-makers who know God, model His character, and are able to build into others the life-changing principles of God’s Word. PRBI is a Canadian Degree Granting Bible College in Sexsmith, Alberta, founded in 1933. PRBI is known for quality academics and its highly relational culture that purposefully fosters an atmosphere of spiritual growth. PRBI has a distinct commitment to train students in a thorough knowledge of the Word of God and to train students to become disciple-makers whether at home or abroad. PRBI’s educational model purposefully integrates the academic learning experience with an experiential learning component making us a Bible College for Life. CONTACT US 780-568-3962

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The TRUMPET is the magazine of Peace River Bible Institute that is comprised of contributions from faculty, staff, alumni, and students who are passionate about making disciples in their churches and communities. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are from the Holy Bible, New American Standard Bible (Copyright 1995 by The Lockman Foundation). All rights reserved. If you would have any comments please email us at Printed in Canada.


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