Eye Witness: The Magazine of Providence 2022

Page 1

HIGHER ED: A DOORWAY TO OPPORTUNITIES An interview with three university grads pg. 9 SEEDS OF GOD’S PROMISES Words of encouragement and hope from Rev. Emily Summach pg. 31 COUNSELLING SURVIVORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING Read about Seminary alum, Shon McLaren, and her work with traumatized women and children on pg. 14 EYE WITNESS THE MAGAZINE OF PROVIDENCE 2022 EDITION pg. 21 WHY STUDENTS CHOOSE PROVIDENCE
PROVIDENCE | 10 College Crescent, Otterburne, MB, R0A 1G0 | Prov.ca | 1-800-668-7768 EYE WITNESS 2022 EDITION Editor: Kathryn Mulolani, Director of Marketing Copy Editor: Lindsey Post, Executive Assistant for External Relations Photo Layout: Abigail Winkler, Visual Media Coordinator Designer: Chez Koop Contributors: Karen Anderson, Kenton Anderson, Doug Cook, Madison Franks, Dennis Hiebert, Zeta Lee, Shon Louise McLaren, Janice Priess, Grace Sandulak, and Jasmine Wiens Publication Mail Sales Agreement No. 40010809 | EYE WITNESS is published once annually. Discover an education designed to prepare you for a meaningful career. Explore the possibilities in vocation areas such as aviation, business, health science, psychology, and theology. Learn more at PROV.CA YOUR STORY STARTS HERE 2 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca


I’ve been thinking about precipitation lately. This year, in Manitoba, we’ve experienced record amounts of snowfall and rain. In the spring, parts of our province were flooded with water, in stark contrast to the previous summer when we experienced drought-like conditions and forest fires.

In some ways, it feels like we are on a precipice with all that’s going on in the world around us – ongoing reports on the Ukrainian war, food shortages, inflation, sky-rocketing prices on gas and housing, and the list goes on. The world feels like it’s going out-of-control. It feels like a precipice – a hazardous place. It feels like we are on the edge – on a high, steep and overhanging place. The question is: Will the precipice lead us to breakthrough or downfall?

I think it all depends on how we’re positioning ourselves with God. These days, faith is rising

within me, deep in my spirit. And it speaks of promises, possibilities, breakthrough and miracles. It reminds me of the stories of Elijah throughout the book of 1 Kings.

A Mighty Rainstorm Coming Israel had experienced more than three years of drought (no rain). Elijah, after the Mount Carmel experience with the prophets of Baal, tells King Ahab that he “hears a mighty rainstorm coming” (1 Kings 18:41). It was a prophetic declaration, calling something that didn’t exist into place. And while Ahab ate and drank, the Bible tells us that Elijah climbed the mountain to bow down and pray. I believe it was in this position on his knees before God that his faith was strengthened again.

And so, he was able to tell the servant to go back seven times to look for the formation of a cloud (1 Kings 18:44). The precipitation started with a little cloud like the size of a fist, and it brought about the end of a drought. It brought the sweet joy of a long-anticipated rainfall. The rain held the promises of wet soil, water for the fields and gardens. It represented growth and sustenance for a nation. It was a triumphant moment!

4 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca

Open Your Mind and Heart to Possibilities

In the same way, it’s not time for us to quit. It’s time to press in. This applies to us as individuals, but also to Providence as an institution. Has there ever been a time when Christian higher education was more needed? A time when we must raise up a knowledgeable and faith-filled generation of students? Students who will enter into careers and vocations where they can impact communities and develop solutions for the world we live in?

You will find the theme of ‘possibilities’ throughout this 2022 edition of Eye Witness. We spoke with Providence alumni, who graduated from our university with a Social Science degree and are now furthering their studies in social practice and transformation change, volunteering in humanitarian/environmental projects and providing psychiatric care for the imprisoned (on page 9).

You will find Shon Louise McLaren’s story on page 14 and how her counselling degree from our seminary led her to start an inner city ministry for women to counter the effects of human trafficking. Providence is proud to have played a part in the lives of men and women who are working to heal our broken world.

You can also read Emily Summach’s devotional on page 31 that encourages us to trust God who brings new possibilities and fresh reasons to hope. And you will hear that hope resonate in the voices of our current students on page 20 as they describe their Providence experience.

It Only Takes a Raindrop

We must not lose sight of hope. For me, a rainbow represents everything that is hopeful and promising. Did you know that a rainbow forms when light enters a raindrop? The light reflects off the inside of the raindrop and separates into colours. It’s when the light exits the raindrop that it makes a beautiful arch in the sky.

It seems like I always see a rainbow in the most meaningful of times.

• On a trip to Israel, while in a boat on the Sea of Galilee with my husband, just before an opportunity (unknown to us at the time) to live and work in the Middle East came our way.

• On my brother’s wedding day. Little did he know that his marriage would see some storms.

• On the Providence campus, captured in a photo taken by a colleague, after a round of COVID-19 layoffs. We were all dispersed home to isolate, and everything was feeling uncertain.

That’s just like God. He sends us rainbows – promises of provision, fortitude and encouragement when they’re most needed.

“It’s not time for us to quit. It’s time to press in. This applies to us as individuals, but also to Providence as an institution. Has there ever been a time when Christian higher education was more needed?”
EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 5
6 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca



“Anything is possible.”

That expression sounds cliché, like the kind of thing you might see on a cheesy T-shirt or bumper sticker. But these are words of Jesus, responding to his disciples who were having a hard time believing some of the things that he was saying.

Jesus had a way of astounding, suggesting that camels could go through needle eyes, or that rich people could sell everything they have and give it to the poor. When the disciples heard his words, they were astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

He replied, “With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:25-26 NIV).

Years ago, a certain television preacher grew to prominence preaching “possibility thinking” by which he encouraged Christians to think in terms of what was possible by God’s grace and power, instead of what might limit us in our service to Christ and to the world.

I still find myself growing nervous by this sort of preaching, sensing there is a short distance to the kind of prosperity gospel that has weakened the witness of the Church. On the other hand, it is hard to argue with Jesus who reminded us we serve an omnipotent God who will not fail in his saving purposes.

As I think about the work of Providence, one year into my role as President, I am struck by the possibilities we are offered as a university, which are literally universal. This is both wonderful and daunting.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 7

When people have asked me how I am finding things here in my work at Providence, I have often said that the possibilities are endless, and so are the challenges. Everywhere I look I see opportunity. The hard part is discerning where God is leading and what he is truly calling us to be.

On one hand, as a Christ-centred institution of higher learning, our calling is clear. Our mission is to form students in Christ with knowledge and character for leadership and service. That much is clear and well established. Providence will never vary in its commitment to the core elements of Christian formation: the primacy of the gospel, the centrality of the Word, and the importance of the Church.

truth of God’s Word and the good news of the gospel. It feels there is no end to the possibilities.

Of particular interest is the development of our new Centre for On-Demand Education (CODE) which will allow us to customize the educational process to the exact specification of employers, agencies, and individuals. This initiative is going to take us beyond the limits of our Southern Manitoba region to embrace the possibilities of an entire globe. We are just beginning to appreciate what this could mean as God uses us to see his Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

Some of our most profound possibilities are present to us here at home, at our beloved Otterburne campus. As we emerge from the worst effects of the pandemic, our team is awakening again to what God can do through our classrooms and student life initiatives.

On the other hand, the possibilities for our stewardship of this mission are universal, seemingly beyond our imagining. Currently, we are working on collaborations with major airlines to meet the critical pilot shortage; degrees in business for international students; partnerships with community colleges for the development of practical nurses; programs in Indigenous identity, leadership, and reconciliation; development of counsellors who can attend to the epidemic challenges of mental health; and so much more, all in the name of Christ, with an interest to the

This past semester, we have seen a significant group of students waking early on Monday mornings to gather in residence for prayer. Our student-led chapel services grew dramatically in attendance and in passion. The quality of our student leaders and those they serve is a testament to the effect of the work of our devoted faculty and staff. I get goose bumps thinking about the possibilities these students will achieve by God’s grace and power as they go into the world.

Anything is possible as God empowers it. It is by his gifting and calling that we serve, and by his power that we realize these possibilities.

“Everywhere I look, I see potential. I believe that God is preparing to do great things among us for His glory and for the good of His Kingdom.”
8 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca



At Providence, we are so proud of our alumni and the meaningful contributions they make to their communities and workplaces. In this article, we interview three graduates from our Social Sciences program to see what they’ve been doing since they’ve left Providence.

We think you will be interested to learn the diversity of areas that they’ve pursued: from working with impoverished Indonesian women to tackling deforestation and other environmental issues in Madagascar; from supporting adults with developmental disabilities to practicing psychiatric care in a federal penitentiary. As you can see, there are so many possible paths after graduation


Janna Martin

BA (Honours) Sociology, 2015

Jonathan Breitkreuz

BA (Honours) Sociology, 2016

Samantha Bridle

BA Social Sciences, 2018

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 9

PROVIDENCE: Since you’ve graduated, what have you been up to? What career and/or volunteer area(s) have you pursued?

JANNA: I did a one-year volunteer service trip with the Mennonite Central Committee in Indonesia, in an Indigenous-led women’s empowerment centre, before returning home to Ontario and completing a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. For the last three years, I have been working at the Centre for Community Based Research at the University of Waterloo, researching topics such as refugee resettlement, social inclusion, and food security. I am especially passionate about qualitative research which I first discovered in Dr. Val Hiebert’s class at Providence. This fall, I will begin a PhD in Social Practice and Transformational Change at the University of Guelph.

JONATHAN: Immediately after graduating, I spent three months volunteering in forest conservation in Madagascar. This was an eyeopening experience that brought to life many of the environmental issues our planet is facing –bleached coral reefs, loss of forest habitat, and the resulting food scarcity – and was a fitting capstone experience to my honour’s thesis at Providence. I, then, worked at a non-profit organization

supporting adults with developmental disabilities for several years before going back to university to become a Registered Psychiatric Nurse with Alberta Health Services.

SAMANTHA: I too pursued a career in Psychiatric Nursing because I thought it was the perfect mix of sociology (my first academic love) and mental health care. I have just finished my senior practicum at the federal prison in Stony Mountain, Manitoba, where I saw first-hand how wellness is connected so deeply to social circumstances. I have had the chance to understand inmate dynamics of the drug trade, what it means to be “muscled,” sexual assault, being transgender in a men’s prison, etc. I have also had the opportunity to understand correctional officers’ points of view. My Providence degree has made me a lot more curious and compassionate, and the sociology of prison fascinates me.

PROVIDENCE: In what ways has your Providence experience had an impact on your career and who you are today?

JANNA: In my first year, I did not know what I was passionate about, or what I wanted to do in the future, but when I entered the Sociology

10 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca

classroom, I felt alive and intrigued by every concept my professors talked about. They introduced me to theories and concepts that spoke truth to my reality. For example, in high school, I felt like there was something wrong with how women’s bodies were scrutinized and how we are told to look a certain way. Sociology gave me the language to talk about and understand social problems which gave me meaning and purpose. When I left Providence, I felt a sense of direction to continue pursuing social justice initiatives that gave me life.

JONATHAN: The Sociology program at Providence gave me a safe space to think through a lot of tough issues. It provided a framework for thinking about the social world and has allowed me to become a more skilled critical thinker, which has helped me on a daily basis as I work with people. My education also helps me to view my patients in a holistic way with a greater understanding and appreciation of how and why they suffer as they do, understanding the influences of the media, stigma, and social norms and expectations.

PROVIDENCE: How has your experience at Providence opened new ways of thinking? In other words, how has seeing life through both a sociology lens and a faith lens helped you?

JONATHAN: It’s become increasingly evident to me how an understanding of sociology is useful for enhancing any life or career path. My education has given me a greater understanding and therefore a greater appreciation of the nuances of my faith and the church. It has given me an appreciation for diversity which has aided me in my career, and in attempting to build bridges with others in an increasingly polarized society. In turn, my faith has informed how I think about and utilize sociology in my career, viewing each of my patients as deserving of respect and healing.

SAMANTHA: I attended university to play volleyball, but I had no idea where my life was headed after that. I hated learning in high school and thought I was lacking intellectually until I felt empowered by Dr. Dennis Hiebert’s courses. His teaching and mentoring are some of the only reasons I stayed because I acquired confidence in myself and my studies through his courses. I learned so much about myself, our world, and Christianity by being welcomed to question the intricacies of it all. There, my deep love for education began. I found my passion for people and discovered a career. Without curiosity and a willingness to question social norms, including those related to Christianity, we can so easily become passive participants in religion. Sociology activated my faith journey.

SAMANTHA: Sociology gave me the power of explanation, and eventual understanding and acceptance of Christianity. I was often confused and pessimistic about Christianity before attending Providence until I began to understand the sociology of religion. It is incredibly empowering and helpful to understand our world through the continuous interaction of sociology and faith. Receiving a sociology lens helped to develop my faith lens, and from there I began to discover deep personal truths that I once could not define. Sociology has shown me that faith is so much more than what meets the eye, and that questioning actually helps strengthen it and overcomes stagnation in growth.

PROVIDENCE: Any memories of your classes and student life at Providence that you’d like to share?

JANNA: Beyond the classroom, my professors hosted several events to engage students in discussion. They hosted a regular ‘Sociology Lunch’ in the cafeteria about various hot

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 11

topics, and students from a variety of disciplines attended. They also invited us to their homes for documentary nights which I found very meaningful. They really cared about hearing our stories and our ideas. In upper year sociology classes, I enjoyed the discussion-based style of digesting readings collectively.

JONATHAN: I will always cherish the community at Prov from professors who knew my name and invited me to their houses, to friends from dorm with whom I still keep in contact. The communal environment at Prov allowed me to feel accepted, to feel comfortable asking hard questions, and to learn that it is okay to not have all the answers. I’m getting married this summer, and my fiancée and I recently read Dr. Dennis Hiebert’s book Sweet Surrender: How Cultural Mandates Shape Christian Marriage in preparation. It brought back memories of Dr. Val Hiebert’s class on Marriage and Family and opened conversations that will enhance our relationship.

JANNA: Listen to what excites you in the classroom and pursue a career that gives you life and meaning.

JONATHAN: Keep an open mind! When I arrived at Prov, I had no idea that I would major in sociology, but I’m grateful that I did. Also, take advantage of the experience by asking lots of questions. I have never experienced another community exactly like Prov.

SAMANTHA: Be open and follow your own path. I think of sociology as the key to understanding who you are, who you want to be, and everything in between. It’s enlightening and refreshing to the human spirit. I found myself and my faith. For that, I will be forever grateful.

SAMANTHA: I remember my first year being told by one of our fourth-year volleyball players that “we should cherish our time at Providence because it will come to an end much earlier than we expect, and we will miss it when it’s gone.” Like any young kid, I thought, “Yeah right,” and now I wish more than ever that I could go back. Providence gave me confidence to continue with education and brought me lifelong friendships and mentors. Providence is full of great people and wonderful educators that hold a very special place in my heart.

PROVIDENCE: What advice would you have for anyone who aspires to follow a similar education and career path?

We, at Providence, would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the work and service of Dr. Dennis Hiebert and Dr. Val Hiebert. They have served our community and invested in our students faithfully for many years. They are both moving on from Providence and we wish them many blessings as they continue to make a difference in Manitoba. We look forward to what God has in store for them and for the future of Sociology at Providence.

12 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca


Offering men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and soccer. Excel at Prov in athletics, academics, personal development and faith. You’ll emerge with more than a degree and become a person ready to make a difference in the world. Learn more at PROV.CA/Apply EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 13


Editorial Note: Can anybody save (fully rehabilitate) a victim of human trafficking? Many sources state that the reintegration of trafficking victims is often a difficult, complex, and longterm process. In some cases, it may take multiple attempts to leave the old life before a permanent exit occurs.

But scripture says, “What is impossible with people is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). And it also says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

Shon shares how she relies on God as she works with women and children who have been misused and exploited in trafficking rings.

“A group of us once had to stand in a swamp with water up to our necks for a month. This was to escape from being killed. We prayed together daily.”

It is humble testimonies like the one above that keep me focused and going forward. It was my time at Providence Theological Seminary that better prepared me to walk alongside traumatized women and children. It is our Almighty God who continues to empower me in counterexploitation/human trafficking counselling and education in Manitoba.


My time at Providence almost didn’t happen. I was set to start post-graduate work in education at the University of Toronto, but a conversation with a woman at a missions fundraiser pointed me in a new direction. She encouraged me, as a new believer, to attend Providence.


At the time, I was working as an elementary school teacher and principal in a remote crosscultural situation. The counselling courses and program at Providence caught my attention. Little did I know it was where I would stay. At the time, one of the requirements was to work through one’s own issues, and the Holy Spirit knew that I needed the gentle, caring and patient counselling from the Providence community to help me unravel some deep-seated emotional issues.

More History

Backing up a bit, in the mid-1980s while teaching overseas, I found myself on a team trying to rescue boys and young men who were being sexually exploited. It was a large operation involving stakeholders from three continents.

Then, on another occasion, when I visited Japan in the late-1980s, I encountered the world of trafficking again. I got into a situation where I was lured into a room with bars on the window. The luring was done by an exploited female who I am sure did not have a choice but to do what her captors told her to do. As an unbeliever at the time, God’s calling on my life had not yet clicked, but He certainly got my attention!

From Counselling in Prisons to Starting a Ministry

During my time at Providence, I rekindled a previous love for prison and street ministry. I volunteered at two inner city missions and enjoyed being a prison chaplain for a time. I also became increasingly frustrated about the lack of Christ-centered residential recovery programs for women struggling with addictions. This, and being involved in a rescue of human trafficking victims near Providence,* saw the beginnings of a calling that is still strong today – to provide spiritual and tangible support to women and their families through positive relationship, counselling, Bible-based support groups, education, safe locations and more. Inner City

Women’s Ministries (ICWM) began in 2004. The word “international” was added in 2007 when persons outside of Canada reached out to us.

Counselling the Whole Person

I remember a time when two police officers came to my doorstep in the middle of the night with a recently rescued survivor of human trafficking. What would you have done in this situation? For me, the answer was clear. Scripture is to the point on this one. We help. We offer hospitality. In short, we care for the needs of all concerned.

Now, at ICWM, some of the questions that go through my mind are:

• How can we put the survivor of the traumatic event at ease?

• Which staff will be ‘the constant’ in the survivor’s life for the next few days?

• Will we need a language interpreter?

• What is the survivor’s drug of choice? Most are forced to take mind altering substances.

• What are their immediate needs? Do they need medical attention? If so, what is the next course of action?

• What are their most pressing physical and psychological needs? Is it food? Sleep? A phone call home? Or a listening ear?

• Does the survivor feel comfortable in their present surroundings?

• What is their key emotion? What is their anxiety level? (Did you know it is impossible to feel anxious in a relaxed body? Most survivors are amazed how relaxed they feel after initiating some simple techniques.)

• Has the prayer chain been alerted?

I was taught in my prison chaplaincy days to listen carefully, and then later, write everything down verbatim. I have found this technique works well in counselling traumatized persons.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 15

But, in the end, the main question always is: “Am I bringing the presence of Christ into this situation?” This is huge. The calm, nonjudgmental, compassionate, peaceful presence of Christ is needed. There is no counselling technique that beats it.

Self-Care is a Must

the stories of people rescued from exploitation/human trafficking can be overwhelming. Torture, confinement, repeated rape, despicable working conditions on farms (an example of labour trafficking), and forced separation from children are the norm.

More than one person has asked me, “How do you sleep at night?” Often, I smile and share advice from Dr. Ed Neufeld who shared during one of the Providence chapel services. He spoke on “The Theology of No.” He taught us how to set boundaries and how to stay mentally healthy.

I will never forget Ed’s concluding statement, “Spend alone time with God. Spend time with your safe group. Spend time with the needy. If

you keep these in balance, you will most likely lead a well-adjusted life.”

Every so often, I check-in with the above. I also ask, “Am I getting out for my walks? Eating right? Going to bed and waking up at the same times every day?” Sometimes, I need to say “no” to events, even good ones. Self-care is not selfish. It is a necessity.

It is my knowledge of God as the Wonderful Counsellor and Great Physician that helps me. He is the only reason I can continue in hope as a trauma counsellor.

“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV).

SHON LOUISE MCLAREN MA in Counselling 2003 Founder of Inner City Women’s Ministries International icwmi.org

a big

are few. Prevention is key.


Tracia’s Trust

Prayer, scripture, and the survivors themselves continue to be our most important resources. Some of our ‘go to links’ for the most efficient and current information are listed below. PolarisProject.org state.gov/reports/2021-trafficking-in-persons-report/canada canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca SOME RESOURCES
*Human trafficking is
deal across Canada. Rescues
12 counter-exploitation/human trafficking teams under Tracia’s Trust. Every year,
funds numerous non-governmental organizations to intervene in the sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children, youth, and adults in Manitoba. 16 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca
Learn more at PROV.CA/Seminary EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 17 This program offers a mixture of theory and practical application to develop chaplains who know how to compassionately support people dealing with addictions, aging, grief, loss and trauma in settings such as long-term care, hospitals, prisons, and military posts. OUR SEMINARY IS NOW OFFERING A CHAPLAINCY PROGRAM


It’s Welcome Week, and activities such as the Prov Cup, a campus-wide relay, welcome new and returning students to campus. Last year, students participated in Disc Golf. One student’s disc arcs away from the course as the wind catches it and casts the disc into the brush and trees that line our campus. His teammates laugh with him good-naturedly as three of them sprint towards the trees to hunt for it.

The stakes are low, creating an easy-going environment to meet others and bond over a shared experience. These events focus students’ attention on a common goal and create space for them to skip the small talk and dive straight into strategizing, laughing together, and bonding over their team’s shared fate.

Each year, Providence begins the fall semester with Welcome Week which features fun filled events that the whole student community participates in. Yet, it is the opportunities to gather in worship which form the connecting thread. For second year student Kate Henderson, one of her favourite events was a prayer time following a fireside chapel organized by the student council.

“The prayer time really set the tone for my first year at Providence,” says Kate. “It was the first time I experienced such a rich fellowship and it continued to have such a profound impact on me as the year progressed.”

As the week nears the end, students share in a banquet together. During this meal, students listen to the stories of their peers and share their own hopes for their future at Providence and beyond. Together, the chapels, activities and meals of Welcome Week knit our community together and cultivate anticipation for the possibilities held by the year ahead.


Jasmine is the Chair of the Welcome Week Committee, and serves full-time as Providence’s University College Academic Advisor to first year students.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 19


20 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca

Providence has many virtues. Our student experience is shaped by a strong, supportive community and a small classroom environment where we have the opportunity to learn and to integrate fully into school life, building meaningful relationships with one another and with God.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 21


“I was looking for an institution that taught academics through a Christian lens,” says Nelson Heinrichs (3rd year BBA). “One of the best places that offers this kind of education is Providence.”

Nelson’s dream is to work with a non-profit organization that brings the gospel to people; a place that helps people with their physical and spiritual needs and prepares them, in turn, to help others in need. He believes Providence is equipping him well for his future goals.

“The professors are very helpful and want to see their students thrive and flourish,” says Nelson. “They offer a business program that incorporates faith into their teaching.”

Outside of the classroom, Nelson found that he was equally impacted by Providence’s greater community: “I have met some amazing people who have challenged me to grow as an individual.”

22 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca


Nelson is not the only one who has been impacted by Providence. Alex Cedeno is a first year TESOL student who shares a similar experience. Upon arriving on the Otterburne campus from Puerto López, Ecuador, he found that his desire for community (his desire to live alongside people who could inspire him to grow in his own faith) was quickly met.

“I knew that I was going to be surrounded by good people and that some of them would believe the same things that I believe.” Alex adds, “I think this is the reason I knew Providence was the right school for me.”

Being surrounded by loving people in a Christian environment affected Alex greatly, and he shares that, “Going to community chapels once a week, worship nights, and Bible studies in the mornings with other friends have been wonderful experiences for me.”

Alex also found classroom support at Providence beneficial to his learning. “I think that one of the things I really like about Providence is that the classes aren’t too large, which in my opinion, is better for student progress. Smaller class sizes allow for greater opportunity to interact with your professors and classmates,” says Alex.

Since arriving at Providence, Alex has been transformed by God. While reflecting on the changes he sees in himself, he acknowledges that he is now a friendlier person who helps other people as much as he can.

Alex is excited to continue helping people after he graduates by teaching English in Ecuador, his home country!

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 23


Similar to Nelson and Alex, Kate Hanson has found her time at Providence to be fulfilling. She is a firstyear Aviation student and has found a true home on campus.

“As soon as I arrived on campus, I knew I had made the right choice. The welcoming Christian community was exactly what I needed while I pursued my education,” says Kate.

Program choice was incredibly important to Kate when she make the decision to study at Providence. “The aviation program here is very unique in that you can attain a bachelor’s degree while completing different licenses and ratings.”

Kate has grown in many ways during her year at Providence, and she plans to showcase this learning in the future by combining her faith and aviation.

“The career I’m [currently] working towards is some sort of commercial pilot in the missionary field.”

In addition to her studies, Kate plays on our women’s basketball team and has found a second family in her teammates. Community life has been one of the most positive aspects of her time spent on campus.

“This word ‘community’ gets tossed around a lot at Prov, and there is obvious reason for that. The people that make up the Prov community are unlike any I’ve met before. It is such a welcoming and accepting place that makes you feel right at home,” she reflects.

24 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca

It is true that the word ‘community’ gets used often by students attending Providence. In fact, all three of these interviewees offered it as their answer when asked to describe Providence using only one word.

Here is Nelson’s, Alex’s and Kate’s advice to future Providence students:

“Step out of your comfort zone and develop long lasting relationships with those around you. Seek God first in everything you do. Work hard and do not give up when the first storm comes.”

“I recommend that any student who hasn’t made up their mind about living in residence should go for it.

It is a great experience, and you get to know amazing people and participate in many activities.”

Providence is home to a thriving community that often sees God at work. Through the classes, varsity athletics, and various spiritual, social and recreational activities offered, Providence displays what it is like to live in a Christian community that loves and supports its students. If you are looking for a solid education and meaningful relationships with others and with God, these three students would recommend coming to Providence.

“I encourage anyone who is planning to attend Prov to spend as much time as possible on campus with other people. The community here is what makes this place special, and I highly recommend taking advantage of it.”


Madison is going into her third year of studies at Providence, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts. Her program major is in the Interdisciplinary Arts with concentrations in English Literature and Sociology.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 25


Often adults are hesitant to return to university to acquire more education and to upgrade their skills and competencies. They say they don’t have time to go to school and attend classes. What they are really looking for is an opportunity to train on the job and use their prior experience to count towards something. The possibility of obtaining a degree seems remote and too expensive for many. At the same time, organizations struggle to find the people they need who are trained with the specific skill sets that are essential in the workplace.

Providence has developed the Centre for OnDemand Education (CODE) to meet these needs. CODE is an educational model that is fashioned to work in partnership with communities,

organizations, and denominations to create mentored, contextual, proficiency-driven education to match the specific needs of the organizations while keeping the needs of the student in mind.

For students, imagine the possibilities of learning while doing the role you envision for yourself. Imagine that your studies are directed by a mentoring team committed to working with you to achieve proficiency. You set the timelines. The classroom is your workspace. Grades are not the motivation but rather showing that you have reached the knowledge and skills needed to be proficient. The assessment process considers your prior learning and assists you in moving forward

26 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca

quickly where you have previous skills. The barriers to traditional education are removed. It is affordable and accredited. You graduate not only with a diploma but with valuable experience and training in the workplace. With accreditation, you can use the achieved credit to further your educational goals.

For employers, imagine having employees who learn the necessary knowledge and skills to perform well on-the-job while also understanding the values and mission of your organization because your best employees are mentoring them. Through CODE, you design a curriculum alongside of Providence that enables employees to gain more skills, proficiencies and understanding of the ethos of your company. By partnering with Providence, the educational standards will be met. Your organization brings the field expertise, and together we build a robust training program that benefits you and your employees. The end result is that you have steady, well-trained, competent employees with experience who are a great fit. They can then train others, and you will have a growing team that will take you into the future. Think of the possibilities.

All this can be done at any scale. These offerings can be as small as one micro-credential. For example, through CODE, organizations can design small micro-credentials for their team for professional development. These microcredentials can then, like LEGO blocks, be built

to form a complete degree. The student can choose to work piece by piece as much as they desire. With this approach, there is flexibility to set the pace of study to fit the student’s needs.

The possibilities are endless. We look forward to having conversations with new partners. We are already in discussions with some early adopting organizations. Organizations like, Teach Beyond who are creating a ‘Certificate in Trauma Informed Care’ for their teachers working in war-torn countries, the Diocese of the Arctic who is working on a ‘Certificate in Pastoral Development,’ and an Indigenous group who are working on a ‘Certificate in Indigenous Identity, Leadership and Reconciliation.’ We are thrilled that they have joined CODE to design training for their organizations, and we look forward to accomplishing their dreams with them.

One thing that is already in place is a ‘Diploma in Transformational Leadership’ designed to train leaders in context through mentoring. It develops leaders who not only understand management, financial and leadership skills but who also have, in a holistic way, worked to develop themselves through personal and spiritual formation. This program teaches critical thinking skills, interpersonal and cultural understanding, conflict management, and communication skills that are essential to becoming impactful leaders. The certificate is fashioned to be adaptable to any organization and can be a starting point to consider how competency-based education can work for you.

Feel free to contact the Director of the Centre for On-Demand Education, Karen Anderson, by emailing her at karen.anderson@prov.ca to further explore and talk about the possibilities for your organization.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 27
Learn more at PROV.CA/Apply Make a difference and impact your world with a Christ-centred education. Offering more than academics, Providence is a place to live, learn and belong. Find your community and surround yourself with people who support and strengthen each other. FIND YOUR COMMUNITY 28 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca


Doug and Phyllis Cook attended Providence, formerly called Winnipeg Bible College (WBC), from 1966 to 1969 on the Evergreen Place campus for the first two years and then at the Osborne Barracks in Tuxedo for the third year. They both graduated with BRE degrees (pre-seminary program) in 1969, got married and settled in Winnipeg. They enjoyed both the depth of theological studies at WBC and an introduction to some humanities courses all of which turned out to be an important foundation for their work in both secular and ministry careers.

Early Life

After graduating, Phyllis took a one-year education program at the University of Manitoba and began a life-long teaching and learning career. She then took summer and evening

courses to complete a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Winnipeg and a Master of Education from the University of Manitoba.

Doug began studies and work in accounting and graduated as a Chartered Accountant in 1975. He worked in private practice while Phyllis taught in the public school system. In 1981, Doug sold his accounting practice and began work as the Director of Administration at Grant Memorial Baptist Church, overseeing the building and relocation to the Wilkes Avenue location in 1982 and subsequently launching the Lindenholm and Lindenlake Terrace Seniors Housing projects. He also oversaw the development of Linden Christian School alongside Phyllis as the founding Principal.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 29

More Recent Years

The school grew from 33 students in 1987 to 772 students when Phyllis left in 2004. She then went back to teaching as a Student Services teacher in the Louis Riel School Division until retirement in 2020. Doug ended his work as Church Administrator in 2002 and shifted his efforts toward developing his Muddruckers business. He is currently launching an Urban Lumber business with junior partners alongside his ongoing ship building/swimming pool project named HMS Reconciliation.

Whether in secular jobs or in full-time ministry, the foundation of studies at WBC was beneficial to both Doug and Phyllis and in turn to each of their three children (plus a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law) who, a generation later, also attended Providence.

Opportunity to Give Where It Matters Most

So, when an opportunity came for them to give back to Providence, they thought carefully about how to best invest their money and decided to give to Providence’s Indigenous Leadership Scholarship. Both Doug and Phyllis have worked with Indigenous missions oversees and locally with Indigenous employees, clients, and friends. Through their shared experiences, they’ve come

to believe in and support the principles of Truth and Reconciliation. Their primary motivation is the biblical injunction to be ministers of reconciliation in response to the undeserved gift of reconciliation given to us from God (2 Corinthians 5:18). So, the scholarship initiative seemed the natural fit for them.

Since the education they received at WBC was such a valuable foundation for their own lives and careers, they welcomed the opportunity to invest in a scholarship program for Indigenous students who are interested in pursuing education at Providence. They foresee the mutual benefits of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students spending time and learning together as they prepare and plan positive pathways for their own futures as Christian leaders.

The challenge of Truth and Reconciliation can seem overwhelming, but it is expedient to invest in students who have experienced true reconciliation with our Creator and who desire to grow in their knowledge of God`s word as a true foundation for life.

30 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca


As I write this, spring has (finally) arrived in all its fullness here in rural Saskatchewan, the place where my family has rooted themselves. After six months of waist high snow, icy highways, and sub-zero temperatures, the arrival of spring feels nothing short of miraculous. I head out to our backyard garden, kneel in the cool soil, and start to pull up an astonishing number of dandelions so I can prep the soil for planting. My two kids chase our puppy around the yard, reveling in the daylight. After the winter, life suddenly feels alive with possibilities.

The state of life in Canada and around the globe has felt to me like a never-ending winter. The pandemic has stretched far past what was expected; its ripple effects on people and relationships continue. Churches have experienced a significant drop in attendance, as lockdowns, restrictions, and disagreements on the right way to move forward caused people to reconsider their relationship with the Church and with faith.

The small congregation that I pastor has certainly felt these pains. Deadly heat waves, floods and fires come in rapid succession. The war in Ukraine brings fresh, heartrending news each day. Throw in the steady worries of daily life – such as rising food costs, climate anxiety, childcare, illness – and it feels like we’re permanently caught in winter’s icy grip. We’re stuck in a season where storm after storm keeps delaying our plans and hopes.

Yet, it’s heartening to be reminded that we serve the God of possibility. Romans 4 recounts the story of Abraham, who followed God’s call into unknown places, and who kept leaning into the faithful promises of God, despite all evidence to the contrary. Romans 4:17b-18a says, “This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping— believing that he would become the father of many nations.”

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 31

Just like Abraham, we follow the God who creates new things out of nothing. The New International Version’s translation of this verse says that God “calls into being things that were not.” Our hope is not found in the world around us, but rather in the God who is in the business of resurrection.

Rebecca Solnit, in her book Hope in the Dark, writes, “The future is dark, but with a darkness that is as much of the womb as it is of the grave.” I think again of my garden, and how in the coming days I will sprinkle impossibly small seeds in a row, and then, mound the dirt on top. I will think, as I do every year, “There’s no way this can work. Nothing is going to grow.” And yet, it’s in the darkness – buried and unseen – that life begins.

When those first tiny seedlings break through the earth, my children run to the backdoor shouting, “Mom, something is growing in the garden. Come look!” It’s a small miracle that never gets old. It’s a small miracle that has to begin in the dark; that can only begin in the dark.

The biggest miracle of the Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, also began in the dark. It began with a fearful question of the disciples, “What do we do now?” When we look around at all that is not as it should be, all the bleakness in the world around us, we can trust that God is always up to something.

Rather than give in to despair, we can trust that God is birthing something new. We can trust that God brings new possibilities and fresh reasons to hope. As the chorus of Providence’s school hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness, says, “Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”


In 2009, Emily received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Media at Providence. She now pastors at Langham Mennonite Fellowship in Saskatchewan and writes for a national magazine called Canadian Mennonite. You can find some of her stories at canadianmennonite.org.

32 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca


One common topic of conversation which has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is that of mental health. While those of us in the profession have known for years that talking through one’s concerns with a professional can be very beneficial, the pandemic has pushed the topic of mental health concerns more into the public eye.

Counselling helps people of all ages to talk through their concerns, receive support, and feel heard. It also helps to have an objective person giving feedback and helping to make plans for change. Counselling is not so much about providing solutions to the client as it is about helping the client to find the solutions that work best for them.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 33

Counselling has changed in some significant ways during COVID-19. At the start of the pandemic, the statistic I had heard about tele-therapy (which refers to using the phone or computer to meet with a therapist) was that only a small percentage of therapists actually did this type of work. Two years on, and it seems that now only a small percentage of therapists do not offer any tele-therapy options.

Research shows that tele-therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy, with the added benefits of the wider accessibility of therapists (you do not need to be limited by location, travel time, parking, child care, etc. in order to go for a session). Clients I meet in this format often mention how it is just as helpful for them if we meet in person or if we meet online, and in fact many who insisted that they preferred in-person sessions gradually chose to do most of their sessions online.

For those who are interested in studying to be a counsellor, there are a few options for them at Providence. The most popular degree is the two-year Master of Arts in Counselling, which provides the graduate with a well-rounded degree that allows them to begin practicing as a professional counselling therapist. The three-year Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology degree provides an additional year of specialized courses in counselling and psychology and is beneficial

for students who want to be able to work more in-depth with a particular population group or when using a particular therapeutic modality. Most courses are available for distance study, which allows for a lot of flexibility for students from across Canada (or beyond our borders) to join one of our programs.

At the doctoral level, there is the Doctor of Ministry in Counselling and Mental Health Practice. This track is for students who are already involved in professional Christian ministry and who wish to upgrade their qualifications in their field of practice.

There is also the Graduate Certificate in Applied Counselling, which is a six-course certificate meant for those who are wishing to upgrade their knowledge and skills in the field of counselling without undertaking the full course of study required to be a professional counsellor. These students are often already involved in some type of people-helping work.


Janice has been an Assistant Professor of Counselling Psychology at Providence

Theological Seminary since 2006 and has provided private counselling services to clients since 2003.

34 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca


I’ve been serving in pastoral ministry in Canada since 2008, and in the fall of 2018, I started studying for a Master of Arts in Counselling at Providence Theological Seminary. And this year (2022), I finished all the courses and graduated. Praise to God and thanks to my family!

Before graduation, I thought about why I started this program. The starting point of this journey was to help people to be fully alive in Christ which reflects John 10:10. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

For the past 14 years, I have been ministering to people in the church. Now God invites me to minister to people outside the church through counselling. During the time I studied at Providence, it helped me be more understanding and compassionate towards people outside the church who are suffering due to various reasons. It was also a time to learn how to walk alongside of them in a non-threatening way.

I plan to step down from pastoral ministry after the summer to take this new path. And starting in the fall, I am preparing to work as a Canadian certified counsellor at one of the counselling agencies in Calgary. It is not yet decided where I will be working, however, I am grateful for this transitioning time that invites me to have a deeper conversation with God. Also, there are no bilingual Christian therapists in Calgary who speak English and Korean, so I am preparing for private practice as well. I am deeply grateful to the Providence faculty and students for inspiring me and walking with me over the past four years. Let us continue to be instruments of Christ’s love wherever the Lord calls us.



Zeta is the former Associate Pastor of GoodTree Christian Fellowship in Calgary, Alberta.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 35




1973 Bachelor of Religious Educat

Having retired from being a Registered Social Worker, I got involved with Stephen Ministry in my home church in Regina, SK. Informal grief support by walking with people through challenges for two years fits my skills well. I still enjoy teaching in children’s church and Vacation Bible Schools (VBS).


1981 Bachelor of Arts

Our mission journey with TeachBeyond (Janz Team), which began in Brazil in 1988, continues. After some health issues last year, I am grateful to be back full-time, serving our regional directors as they lead our work in more than 70 countries. It is wonderful to have our children near us – they live right on campus in Otterburne, MB.

36 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca


1983 Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies

God continues to be faithful! Our growing family is now mostly settled in the Vancouver, BC area. We moved closer to our kids and grandson last year where we are discovering new ways to be involved with our family, local ministries, and the local church. Gary still manages building projects for Hope Mission in Edmonton, AB, and we love to support their expanding ministries.


1986 Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies

I continue to work as a paramedic in the Minnedosa area. Through the pandemic, I’ve been grateful to be working and healthy. While I never know when the day will end in my work, I know that the Lord has me in the palm of His hand, day and night, protecting and guiding me. I am always amazed by who I meet and what scenarios I encounter. Great Is Thy Faithfulness continues to be the theme of my life as it was during my Winnipeg Bible College days!


1998 Master of Divinity

After serving on a church planting team in Guadalajara, MX for five years, my wife Diane and I moved back to Steinbach, MB. I have been serving the Evangelical Fellowship Church as lead pastor for the last four years. After many years on the mission field in Nicaragua and Mexico, and as missions professor for 13 years at Steinbach Bible College (SBC), it has been a learning curve to serve as a pastor in a Canadian context again.

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 37


2009 Bachelor of Arts in TESOL

After doing mission work in Ukraine since July 2009, my husband Garry and I have been home in Canada this year. We are heading to Poland in the summer to work with Ukrainian refugees.


2017 Bachelor of Arts in Humanities

I travelled the world for a couple of years after grad. I, then, went back to school and got my education degree. I am finished my first year of teaching. I also met Adam, my wonderful fiancé. Our wedding is this fall, and we are looking forward to our life together.


2011 Master of Divinity

I am pleased to announce that my book Judgement and Redemption: A Rhetorical Critical Reading of Noah’s Flood in Genesis has been accepted for publication with Wipf and Stock. My work is a revision of my dissertation originally undertaken at McMaster Divinity College and entitled “Cosmos to Chaos – Chaos to Covenant: A Rhetorical-Critical Reading of the Noachic Deluge Narrative.” I am grateful to Dr. Gus Konkel (my first advisor and President Emeritus of Providence) who wrote the forward. It will be available on Amazon in the near future.

38 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca


Doctor of Ministry (candidate)

I’ve been in India as a missionary for more than 12 years. In 2019, I was forced back to my home country by the police and was eventually kicked out of India. I had no idea how to handle the next step forward because of all the circumstances. I prayed to the Lord to guide me into the future. Then, I received an unexpected call from a friend in Korea who invited me to apply at a small rural church. I was pastoring for two months in the Korean church when the pandemic hit. I have been spending time in meditation and seeking God. I am happy to minister with the lovely members of my church.


After attending only one year at the Winnipeg Bible College (the name back then), I met George and we were married in 1975. I worked some office jobs until our first son was born. We had three more sons during the next 10 years. The Lord provided all we needed, including an old farmstead in Minnesota that we renovated, and where we enjoyed 14 years work and fun. It was the perfect place to raise four growing sons and teach them hard work and godly values.

We, then, made the move to Georgia as my husband accepted a job offer there, and it was closer to our first grandchild. Wherever we’ve lived, God provided even during times of struggle, trial and testing. We are both retired and continue to praise and thank Him for our family, church, health, and especially our 14 grandchildren that I love to call my “little darlings.”

EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 39