Alumni Day 2021 Recap
2021 Alumni of the Year
2021 Alumnus of the Year Award for Distinguished Service to NBC: Stephen Epp ('10)
2021 Alumnus of the Year award for Distinguished Faithfulness in Ministry: Terry & Rosie (Dyck) Banman ('88)
To read the bios for Stephen and Terry & Rosie, go to the Alumnus of Year page.
Alumnus of the Year Awards 2020
Once upon a time, this couple first met as students at Nipawin Bible Institute. He, was an alumni kid, whose dad had attended TRBI back in the early days of its history. Through he’d grown up mainly in the Nipawin area and was well aware of NBI, he wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of coming to Nipawin as a student.
After High School he spent some years pursuing a few other options - however, after attempts toward other careers or schooling ideas continued to fail, he finally relented in applying for Nipawin, even though at the time it may have felt like he was “settling” for God’s directing instead of his.
She grew up, as many good Mennonites do, in southern Manitoba, calling the MacGregor area home. Being interested in Bible College, she had a family connection to Nipawin through a sibling of her mother’s, who had attended NBI in the 70’s. And so, she applied, and off she went.
As students, both grew in their love for the Lord, understanding of His Word, and some sense of calling in their lives. This couple’s friendship also grew, slowly, but steadily, until they formally went to a Christmas banquet together toward the latter part of their time at NBI. Though he graduated a year before she, they finished her time at NBI with a bang, getting engaged on the weekend of her graduation in the spring of 1987. Sensing God was calling them into ministry, they were married and spent a year in the MacGregor area before God led them to join Village Missions. Carl and Brenda spent 14 years pastoring in 5 different rural churches across BC, SK, and MB, and God added 3 children to their family along the way.
The longer they were with Village Missions, the more God seemed to lead them in a new specific direction. This led to a transition in 2002, moving to Aylsham, SK and starting full time into a children’s ministry that included camps, running VBS, doing puppetry and marionettes, and a few other things that were part of sharing the gospel with kids in settings across Western Canada. Ministry in Aylsham has also grown with Carl and Brenda part of leading local church services usually 2-3 times a month.
A missions trip to Central America in the mid-2000’s sparked in Brenda a desire to intentionally begin learning Spanish. Self taught over a number of years, a more recent trip to Costa Rica even earned the praise of a native Costa Rican guide who stated that her Spanish was near perfect. This Spanish learning would come to be a very unexpected, but helpful aid with ministry in Aylsham.
In 2020 Carl and Brenda continue to serve under the Umbrella of Healing Hearts with children’s ministry. Carl regularly preaches, they travel together sharing many dramas in churches, camps, VBS’s, and other places. And wouldn’t you know, God prepared them (especially Brenda) for ministry with a permanent and seasonal Nicaraguan community that has settled right in the Aylsham area. As Carl has reflected on years gone by, he’s been amazed that God would consider doing work through them — two of the people you might have thought least likely to do pastoring or public speaking work while they were students at NBI in the 1980’s. Carl almost quit NBI when he found out he’d have to take preaching class, and Brenda, quite soft spoken by nature, would not have considered herself the type who would ever be comfortable speaking in front of people.
But they marvel at how God works in and through us when we are only willing to follow Him. A lot of their ministry in Aylsham is to the elderly. Just this spring, Carl and Brenda were having phone calls with an elderly man who’d attended the Aylsham church for years. Involved in accident and not doing well, he was in a Saskatoon hospital where they’d try to call him on a weekly basis. One day in May, in one particular call Brenda, again, explained the gospel to him in clear point, and asked him if he believed. His response was, “I do now”, and he went on to share that his growth toward belief had come through the ongoing relationship and love he had continued to be shown in part by Carl and Brenda. What a privilege it was for Carl to lead this man’s memorial service only a few months later in September.
At Nipawin Bible College we are encouraged by the work of God through the lives of our alumni serving faithfully. And this morning, it’s an honour to present Carl & Brenda Ens with the 2020 Alumnus of the Year Award for Faithfulness in Ministry.
It is often true that the paths of our lives before attending NBC show glimpses of God’s sovereignty in where he takes us after NBC. Coming out of difficult or ungodly circumstances are no match for the transformative work of Jesus Christ, and this couple’s individual backgrounds and the work God did in their lives at Nipawin, helped set them on a good trajectory of walking with many who had also lived through varying, but tough, circumstances in their own lives.
Though I’m not trying to promote Nipawin as a Bridal College, this is another story of God bringing two lives together into one.
She had made a commitment to Christ in her mid-teens, but had not grown up in a very solid home, living through some pretty tough family situations, and without much for good Christian example in her home life. He had grown up in an alcoholic and quite unstable home, and didn’t come to accept Christ until he was 20. Coming to Nipawin as a student didn’t happen until his mid-20’s. You could say it was a miracle they both made it here.
When I asked him what brought them together, He simply said to me “God”. Hard to argue with that. But in all seriousness, after connecting personally through an informal coffee get-together, there was a spark. And that led to another coffee. In the words of Walter, they were “two really messed up people who the Lord brought together to work and serve together.” They brought the Lord into their relationship right from the beginning — praying, asking for God’s permission and leading before they started to date.
They expected God to lead, and He did. Throughout the years since, they haven’t stopped looking for His leading.
He, and Cindy married in 1989, joined Northern Canada Evangelical Mission and started with First Nations ministry in the city of Regina. Their children Mark, Daniel, and Caylea all came along in the early 90’s. In 1994 they began the Healing Hearts church plant where they’ve served in varying functions to this day. Inner city ministry in those early days meant pioneering things like gang intervention and exit strategies, dealing with racism, abuse, and deep hurt.
Cindy has had an incredible ministry with so many women. Through Bible studies, music ministry, counselling and mentoring, walking with women in addiction and other areas, she’s been privileged and amazed to see God’s ongoing work in and through her. Prayer has been such a vital and ongoing ministry for Cindy as well as Walter, whose strengths lie in areas of engaging with people, relational skills, and other areas of leadership. And if you’ve seen any of his vehicle projects you’ll note he’s also good with his hands.
Walter served 6 years on the NBC board in recent years, and Walter has also led the FMP orientation at NBC for freshmen here in January multiple times. Though the details of who they’ve they’ve served under have occasionally changed over the years, whether NCEM or NAIM, the specific Healing Hearts ministry and their service in Regina has continued throughout.
In fact, going back to NCEM wasn’t what Walter or Cindy would have foreseen, but just as they prayed when they started to date, they’ve continued to be steady in prayer, looking to, and expecting God to lead. 4 years ago Walter became the Director of NCEM, while they continue to oversee Healing Hearts ministry.
Walter and Cindy really see ministry as committing yourself to serving the Lord. While equipping and preparing yourself is important, a long list of degrees or credentials are not what God is looking for. The Selke’s are excited these days to see God raising up a new army of young people who want to serve the Lord in First Nations Ministry. They are loving being in the Word, searching for the Lord to lead them every day, and are seeing God work in wonderful ways.
At Nipawin Bible College we are encouraged by the work of God through the lives of our alumni serving faithfully. And this morning, it’s an honour to present Walter & Cindy Selke with the 2020 Alumnus of the Year Award for Faithfulness in Ministry.
Alumni Weekend Recaps
Though our 2020 Alumni Day looked different than previous Alumni Weekends there is much to be encouraged by! Thankfully it took place just before even tighter Covid restrictions came into place - with roughly 40 alumni in person (and a handful tuning in online) for the events of the day.
Julie Fehr, our Alum Exec Vice President led the Reconnect Meeting. Jason Elford (Staff Liaison) performed a plethora of duties as he always does, also navigating the difficulties of streaming the Alumni Day for those who could not attend but still wanting to take part in the day. The other Alumni Executive (Crystal Pelletier, Joshua Nickel, Jordan Lepine) also helped the day come together with planning, brainstorming, and hands on work.
The Alumni Project chosen was a much needed Paper Folder for the NBC office. And despite a small group compared to normal years, we were able to raise $3400!
We thank Crystal Pelletier for her investment as she finished her time on the Exec this November. The alumni voted for Anne Giesbrecht to join our team. Anne brings a wealth of experience, passion for NBC, and some history, having attended NBI in the early 80’s.
I would like to give a summary of this year’s Alumni Weekend that just happened November 22-24. First, I’d like to thank everyone who was involved helping. This was done through preparation for leading music and workshops, helping decorate, making desserts, setting up chairs and tables for workshops and Obah Nite, organizing various activities, and so much more! Second, thanks to those who donated time, money, and items for the silent auction. Lastly, thanks to all who attended and for your effort to reconnect with the NBC family. We had about 160 registrations for the weekend! Without the Alumni’s prayer and desire to see God’s work done, this weekend would have been fruitless. Personally I was challenged and encouraged through the weekend and I hope that was the case for every attendee.
A tangible way we can praise God is for $15 000 raised to fund our Alumni Project.
This will cover replacing all the 21-year old mattresses in both dorms! What a blessing to students for years to come. It is exciting to see that accomplished through the generous giving of the Alumni who have been moved by God to give. Let’s not limit our giving to merely Alumni Weekend. Even small monthly donations to NBC’s general fund are pivotal to the provision of the quality education that you may have experienced as Alumni and for NBC to continue to serve its students moving forward. Perhaps you’d consider joining Many Hands this year?! Perhaps there are practical hands-on ways you could bless NBC this current year if you have time, skill, or ability to serve that way. Reach out to NBC and let them know you’d like to serve. There is no task too small or donation too little to honour God and bring Him glory.
Please reserve the later weekends of November 2020 and plan to attend Alumni Weekend next fall! Here’s the new Executive who will work to plan next year’s event — Joshua Nickel (’08), Crystal Pelletier (’01), Julie (nee Desharnais) Fehr (’15) Jordan Lepine (’14), and myself (’15). Jason Elford (’95) continues to serve as liaison between NBC and our Exec.
I would like to thank everyone who showed up for Alumni weekend November 23-25. With over 160 alumni registered, in my understanding it may have been the largest regular Alumni Weekend we’ve ever hosted at NBC. Facilities manager Kendall Dyck has even been considering if there needs to be some sort of cap for the weekend moving forward — what an exciting problem. Space and numbers aside, I hope it was rewarding and refreshing for those in attendance. For those unable to attend, here were some of the highlights.
The last regularly scheduled weekend hockey challenge happened this year. I know that’s maybe a bitter feeling for some. But with the numbers of students who play hockey each year dwindling (even with full capacity student numbers) and the fact that Alumni Weekend often attracts more recent alumni, we were faced with a reality of the hockey teams getting smaller and smaller each year. With an announcement of this being “the last annual game” numbers were up significantly, and there can likely be a game inserted from time to time over future years. It felt sweet to see the Alumni team to the last challenge.
The soccer tournament was well received and many played Saturday morning. We had well attended workshops which were each practical to life and spiritual growth, and the Saturday AM craft was so well received (wooden signs) we’ll need to move it to the library next fall to accommodate for space. Obah night on Saturday saw a gym full of 260+ people (with alumni, students, staff, and lot of children!) and a great meal enjoyed together. The “President’s Pie Challenge is part of that and I ended up losing and finding myself with a face full of whipped cream from Interim President Jason Elford. That’s the second time I’ve been pied as Alumni President and never once was I able to enjoy pieing someone else in my 4 years, but who’s keeping track?! I’m excited to share we raised enough money over the weekend to pay for replacing the original Hobart mixer in the kitchen - which was on its very last legs - for a cost of roughly $12,000. On Sunday morning, Larry Rempel preached from Hebrews about finishing the race well as we wrapped up the weekend! You can read weekend details and Alumni of the Year write-ups (Dennis & Hannah Kroeker and Darryl & Denise Rice) at www.nipawin.org.
This is the last letter as Alumni President. as Josh Lees officially takes over the role. It’s been a enjoyable and rewarding experience watching the sacrifice of students, staff, board members and alumni serving at NBC. I encourage you to welcome and help Josh Lees in his new role, along with Crystal Pelletier and Allan Klippenstein who will be joining Shelby Desharnais and Joshua Nickel as the current Alumni Exec. I wish you all a Happy New Year. Remember to keep the NBC in your prayers as January is always a month full of students travelling for their ministry practicums.
Highlights of the weekend:
1)Raised a record $20,495 alumni projects for the year:
-Replacing the 57yr old main range hood and oven
-Replacing the 16yr old main Hobart dishwasher
4)Dave and Sharon Dyck were main speakers
5)Alumni of the Year for 2017:
-Manfred and Stella Neff for Distinguished Faithfulness in Ministry
-Dave and Marsha Reimer for Distinguished Service to NBC
6)Well attended and relevant workshops, incredible afternoon coffee house run by Reneil Larson and the overtime win by the NBC staff/students hockey team.