Carolyn Ward – Faith Makes a Difference

Carolyn Ward 

Carolyn Ward is an implant from Winnipeg who has found that her passion for Jesus has led her on all kinds of adventures. Her gift of faith has been exercised over and over as she has faced hard times including the death of a husband (who pastored at First Baptist and Westhill Park Baptist). She has two kids – one who graduated from high school this spring and the other who starts kindergarten this fall.

In October 2017, Carolyn shared her story to the Achievers’ group and talked about how faith makes a real difference when life doesn’t go as planned.
Carolyn Ward

Pilgrimage to Vimy Ridge – Eleanor Friesen

Eleanor Friesen 

fbcevent_EleanorFriesenEleanor Palmer Friesen, a teacher for 32 years [now retired], continues to value education and to pursue learning opportunities, both informal and formal. She was a member of First Baptist Church for twenty two years and recalls those years with great pleasure.

In April 2017, Eleanor, accompanied by family members, travelled to northern France to attend the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Her pilgrimage to France, planned for many years, was in recognition of her grandfather John Palmer who fought with the Canadian Corps at Vimy. It was a momentous experience for Eleanor and her family to gather with 25,000 other Canadians on the famous ridge that courageous young Canadians fought and died to capture a century before. Eleanor shared that experience with the Achievers on September 28, 2017.

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Snoozin’? No Way! – William Crook

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You’ll never catch William sleeping on the job!

Our head usher William is always on the move, with eyes wide open, making sure everyone who enters is made welcome, watching for anything out of the ordinary. He runs a tight ship. No sleeping on the job for this guy! Here is William’s story, as told to Esther Wiens in March 2017.

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WilliamCrook-portrait(Esther Wiens: EW, Willaim Crook: WC)

William: you are one of the first persons I meet when I arrive at church on Sunday morning. You have a way of making me feel welcome. Thank you for that.

Esther: When did you first come to FBC and what brought you here?

WC: I came here in 1999/2000. I was high up in the board of another denomination here in Regina, and there were two key events that led me away from them.

First, I represented my church at the time at a planning meeting for a summer camp for kids. I was 1 of 26 people, each of whom represented a local church. A Pastor came with money to rent camp space and the following proposal: camp staff should not “teach Jesus to children because teaching Jesus hurts kids.” I strongly disagreed, saying we need in some form to present Jesus to the children.

After an angry response to this from the pastor, it was decided to put the matter to a vote. Of the 26 persons present, 25 voted against teaching Jesus. I alone voted for Him.

Secondly: a few days later I participated in a pastoral search. The chairperson of the committee proposed that we remove parts of the Bible: Jesus, mention of sin and bad actions, including Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 and 1 Cor 6:9 to 20). I was the only one who voted against these proposals.

That evening I watched a Texas Baptist Church service on television. The preacher strongly urged any listener who was in a church that doesn’t teach the word of GOD and JESUS to “GET OUT.” So that night I prayed to GOD to show me what to do and where to go. He sent me a dream in which I saw an aerial view of FBC and an adjacent park. The next day I walked to the church and talked to John Nelson. I had found my new home.

EW: What exactly is your job description? I have the impression that you go well beyond what you’ve been asked to do.

WC: I do a few things: usher, greet, run the elevator and security. During Learning for Life I watch for new folk coming in. Later I put the offering in the safe, after praying for it and for the people. I help with communion, help anyone who needs help or I get others to help, watch for unwanted people during the Kids service, and help with Easter and Christmas concerts. I’m busy and I love it; I love serving GOD. (Thank you Jesus.)

EW: What do like best about your job/service?

WC: I like all of my tasks, from serving or helping or talking to people; also seeing the little ones run around. (It’s been 17 years).

EW: You give me the impression that you like your work, but there must be some frustrations. Can you talk about them?

WC: Not getting anyone to help is my biggest frustration. But I leave everything in GOD’s hand in prayer and he always comes through!

EW: How can we as a church body and leadership best support you and make your job easier?

WC: Never really thought about that, another head usher would be nice. : )

EW: If Christ were to ask you, as he did Peter in the Bible, “William, do you love me?” How would you answer in more than just one word?

WC: I would say I love Him with my whole heart, soul, mind, and body. That’s why I serve every week. I offer Him my service as well as the first fruits of all he blesses me with. Some day I hope to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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The Road I Travel – Tarek Mahmud

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Tarek Mahmud’s presentation at First Baptist Church Regina – March 24, Baptism – March 31, 2013.

My name is Tarek Mahmud. I was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a Muslim father and Christian mother. My mother was forced to convert – externally, though not in her heart – when she got married. All my father’s family are Muslim but my mother’s family are Christian. I spent a lot of time as a child with my maternal grandmother who was a very pious and knowledgeable Christian. This was the first thing which influenced me to be a Christian. Because of its academic reputation I was sent to a Roman Catholic high school. I became increasingly interested in Christianity there, though my father insisted this was just a passing phase. As I grew older I became totally Christian in mind.

I wanted to be a Christian but I was afraid to tell anyone because all of my father’s family are fundamentalist Muslims. Not all Muslims are fundamentalist of course, but in Bangladesh , many are. Dr. Mckim has told me that fundamentalism of any kind is usually not good and I agree. In 2010 I finished high school and started to go to local church. Some fundamentalist Muslims noticed and tried to stop me. They complained to my father and the local Imam. Then some fundamentalist Muslims- armed goons- threatened my father to stop my behavior. In September, 2010 they kidnapped me at gun point and threatened me if I joined any church program or promoted Christianity among my peer. My father was able to secure my release for a large ransom. For fundamentalist Muslims changing to a different faith is an unthinkable act, punishable by death. In Bangladesh there is a lot of religious persecution and most cases the police do nothing. We were afraid to go to the police for help. After a few days my father took me to Thailand for a week to let the matter cool down. A few months later he sent me to Canada to study at the University of Windsor in Ontario.

When I got to Windsor I started going to church again, even though I had promised my Dad I wouldn’t do that. But I couldn’t keep that promise. My father was furious and he ordered me to come home and remain as a Muslim. Muslims fundamentalists put pressure on him to stop my tuition and living expenses. I asked the pastor of the Baptist church in Windsor for advice. He told me not to return. He thought it would be very hard to go back and remain a Christian and he also feared for my life. So, I did not return but sought protection in here. My father got angry and stopped talking to me. He stopped sending any further money. I don’t blame him because he was under pressure. I always have faith in God and I knew that someday my father would appreciate me. After eight months my Dad at last forgave me. I moved to Regina to live with sister Ripa who has a job and want to continue my study.

I decided to become a Christian for lots of reasons. One of the most important is some of the differences between Christianity and Islam. Islam is the most work-based religion in the world. Even if a Muslim works hard to do good deeds, he can only hope that God will like him and allow him to go to paradise when he dies. But there is no guarantees. I know many Muslims are coming to Christ and the number one reason is because of eternal security. Muslims are attracted by the unconditional love and intimacy with God offered in Christianity. Many Muslims think that Christians have cheap faith, that somehow we just say “Jesus is Saviour” and we go on with our lives as if nothing happened. This is not true, because real Christian faith shows in how you live. Christianity also understand that every sin must be atoned for, either by the person himself or by Jesus on the cross. In the Koran Jesus is acknowledged but just as a prophet. He is seen as only human, not as the saviour or as God.

This is why I have asked for Baptism – to say to everyone that Jesus is my Lord and I am his follower.

The Road I Travel — Pat Bester

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Pat Bester, Presentation at First Baptist Church, March 17, 2013

It was so good this morning to hear John saying, which to me is so true, “Whatever we go through we don’t go through alone; the Lord goes through it with us.” And I was very, very aware of that last year – that I was never alone.

A year ago I had to have surgery, and the treatment that I had afterwards, unfortunately damaged both of my eyes, which isn’t usual at all. And I was hospitalized for six weeks and given treatment. In the beginning it was every hour, day and night, that I had to have drops or ointment in my eyes. And then I had to have surgery on my right eye, that was the most damaged, to prevent any further damage to that eye.

So I couldn’t see through that eye, except for some movement and light and shapes, faintly. The left eye had an ulcer in it and to prevent that getting further irritated, my left eyelid was sewn closed and just a very small corner left open so that I could see through it. And it was difficult. The treatment was painful and uncomfortable. And eventually it was every two hours that I had, then three hours, and eventually it was three times a week.

During all this time I just felt that I was never alone.

I could feel the Lord’s presence with me. And at times when I really felt weak and low, I suddenly could feel just being lifted up, almost as if I was above the situation. And I know it was all the prayers that were said for me. I was so conscious of that. And I had heard people say that they were lifted up by prayer, but I experienced that. And it was wonderful to know that the prayers continued all the time. It wasn’t just for a time and then disappeared.

And all the visits, and all the cards, and the kindness that were shown to me by the doctors, the surgeons, the staff at the hospital, it was just a wonderful experience. This was all new to me because I had never been in hospital or had any surgery or treatment. And I learned a lot through this.

Then I came home and continued going to the doctor and my eye surgeon once a month, and nothing improved – slightly, slightly. But when the left eye was opened up I almost saw less than I did when it was stitched up. And it was explained to me that because it was a wider thing, so it wasn’t so concentrated. And it was difficult going every month and being told there’s no improvement. It never got worse, and I thank the Lord for that, but it just didn’t improve.

And then, about three, four months ago, we had the healing service here. And I came forward, and Martha came and sat with me, put her arm around me. And we were prayed over and anointed with oil on our heads. And James prayed there with me and anointed my head. And quite a few of us came forward.

And then when the time came to open my eyes after we prayed, this feeling of “I may be able to see better now,” – but it didn’t. It still looked the same.

And then Mark said these words that had such an impact on me. And he said, “Healing doesn’t necessarily have to be instant. It can take time; it can be through treatment; but it is nevertheless still healing.” And that gave me such a good feeling.

And I just felt I must now pray and thank the Lord for the healing.

I must accept that – that he has healed my eyes. Healing will take place, and I must thank him for this. And in fact I couldn’t read anything unless I had magnifying glasses which I had got. And that strained my eyes to read. So I would take my little daily reading and read that portion through the magnifying glass, and then my eyes were tired.

And this particular morning I sat down, quite a while after the healing service, and I picked up my book, and the magnifying glass was lying next to me. And as I picked up the book I thought, I can see something. And I picked it up higher, and I could see the words – not clearly, but nevertheless I could read that whole portion without a magnifying glass.

Well my heart just jumped for joy. And I thought, there’s healing. There’s healing.

Then the next day I thought, well maybe that was just really a one-day experience. And the next day, and the day after that, I could still read that. And as I say, not clearly, but nevertheless, enough to be able to read.

And do you know what that reading was that first morning that I could read without the glasses? It was on faith. And the heading was: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and being certain of what we do not see.” And I thought, yes, I can’t see the ending, but I believe, and I have faith that the Lord is going to completely heal me.

And I thought of the Israelites when they came to the Red Sea and the Jordan, they had to go forward in faith. They had to put their feet in the water, and then the Lord opened up the path for them to go through.

And I began thanking and praising the Lord for the healing that I believed was going to continue taking place.

Then I had to go and see my eye specialist again; in fact I couldn’t wait to go and see him to tell him the good news. And now I was certain that there would be an improvement in my eyes. And before I saw him the assistant tested my eyes, and the right eye that I’d never been able to see much through at all, except movement and slight, slight images, when she closed my left eye, and I looked at the chart, and I shouted “I can see the big E.” And I had never been able to see the chart, even, never mind reading anything on it! And I could read the next two lines.

I was so excited I could hardly speak. I don’t know who was more excited – her or me!

And then when I went in to my eye specialist, I said to him, “Did you hear the good news?” And he said yes. And he had a smile on his face. Because I felt so sorry for him having to tell me each time, there’s no improvement. And there was a slight improvement in my left eye as well. I could read another line.

And I was so happy about that, and I just know the Lord helped me and gave me the courage when I met people, to tell them that I believe that it is the Lord who touched my eyes and healed my eyes. And I am convinced that this healing is going to continue.

One of the little verses that was really precious to me while I was ill . . . I couldn’t read my Bible or anything, and the Lord brought verses to mind that I had learned some as a child, and some many years ago. And all these precious verses came to me. And it was such a comfort, and gave me such courage.

“Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him; fret not yourself.”

And one of these was “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him; fret not yourself.” And I just knew that I must wait on the Lord, and in his time he’s going to restore my eyes fully.

Thank you.

 
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