Folks at First – Enosh Lal

An Interview with Enosh Ernest Lal

You can read the interview included in our March 29 2020 newsletter.

  1. Enosh, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to chat with you from time to time. You know, as people from other countries join our congregation, we become more authentically the body of Christ. Please tell us something about where you were born and raised and who your parents and siblings are.

I was born in a small village located in one of the biggest states in India called Utter Pradesh. However, I did not live in that place for long, as my father got a job in a big city in a different state. When I was 16 months old, we moved to Faridabad City in the state of Haryana. We lived in a small room without a kitchen and with a shared a bathroom.

My dad, Sushil Kumar Lal, worked very hard to provide us with a good education, housing, food, and all the necessary things. He used to work with YAMAHA Motors and was able to complete 30 years of service whereupon he received the title of QA (quality analyst). He is currently involved in community work for Christians and serves as secretary for the Faridabad Christian Cemetery.  He is also a very active member of our Church, where he has held numerous office postings.

My Mom, Shobha Lal, has taken care of the house her entire life, though for some years she worked as a teacher in a playschool. My brother, Amos, is 6 years younger than I am. I have always loved him as though he were my kid. He was always really good at studies and was well focused in achieving his goal. He le3 home to study at the age of 18-19; following this he spent @me traveling. Currently, he is associated with the Mayo Clinic in the US as an MD–doctor of internal medicine.

  1. I imagine schools in India are quite different from ours. Tell us something about your early school days and those of your youth.

I attended an English Medium School called St. John’s Public School. However, before my 10th board/grade, I had an eye injury due to which my schooling was stopped. However, I was determined to study, so I looked for private or distance schooling and got myself enrolled for the exams. In this way, I passed my 12th Board, which is comparable to grade 12 in Canada. After that I went on to higher education.

I have a one-year diploma in Computer Education, a two-year diploma in Medical Lab Technology, a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Business Administration, specializing in Operations Management.

  1. It seems you were an ambitious and successful student. What motivated you to come to Canada? How long have you lived here?

While looking for better opportunities outside India, I applied to 3 countries: Australia, Canada, and Great Britain. By the grace of God an opportunity was presented to me in Great Britain to become a Customer Relations Manager in the Royal Bank of Scotland. However, this required a face-to-face interview in Scotland, which was not possible for me. I was very hurt and disappointed, but my faith in Christ was strong. A3er a few months someone introduced me to the Canadian PR (permanent resident) program. Hence, in 2014 I started the process. In 20 17 positive news was shared with me that my application for PR was accepted by the Canadian Embassy. By the blessing of the Almighty Lord our God, PR was awarded to me in 2018.

It is very hard to explain why Canada, but I’ll say this: it’s all God’s will. Always from my youth I was attracted to Canada, though I never thought that it would be possible someday for me to live here. Now as God has presented me with this opportunity, I would like to utilize it and try to do something good for my family. I always wanted to give them a better life. In other words, it’s my @me to repay my parents for all their effort to give me and my bother a better life and to become better individuals.

  1. This attitude certainly does you credit. Your life here in Canada is no doubt very different from that in India. Is it what you expected it to be? What do you like the most? Is there anything that makes you uncomfortable?

The life here is good and I have no complaints as this is God’s will, though sometimes life is hard. In hard times this Bible verse helps me: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” John 14:1

  1. I believe you practiced your profession in India. Tell us something about that.

I was a dedicated and versatile operations leader with over 10 years of experience in business strategy, customer service, public relations, people management, project management, and leadership. Also, I was recognized as an astute problem solver with strong communications skills, and with the ability to facilitate projects that could improve functions and services. Professional friends and colleagues referred to me as a motivator of teams, able to build and sustain partnerships throughout the organization to improve overall organizational objectives through applied leadership skills. Beginning in 2002, I worked in a number of pathology/health agencies serving in   different capacities such as supervisor, manager, and administrator. From 2006-2010, I was a Motor Claims Manager for Viva Insurance. Finally, for four years before coming to Canada, I worked for a Christian organization which focused on misguided youth from below the poverty line, educating them and guiding them toward a productive life.

  1. You have obviously had an interesting working life in India. Upon arrival here in Canada, what motivated you to come to First Baptist Church?  What has made you stay?

I remember that on my second day in Regina I was looking for a Church close to my place. Because I did not have any transportation, and no awareness of bus routes, I prayed and looked online for a church. The first church which I found was a Roman Catholic Church. I got up early the next Sunday morning and prepared for Church; however, when I was about to leave there was freezing rain outside. I was disappointed, but I prayed and looked for a Church where the service starts around 11 am. Believe me, this is a testimony. The next Sunday I found First Baptist (A Place to Belong). This was a sign for me, because back home in India my family and I had attended First Baptist Church from time to time.

The atmosphere in the Church was divine and people around me were very helpful, welcoming, loving, caring, and accepting. I am not sure if it is appropriate to mention names, but a wonderful family in the church accepted me and prayed for me, and I surely thank them. I lost my grand mom a few years back but in First Baptist I found my grand mamma again. I have been loved and cared for like their child. I, in turn, regard them as my family and always will. First Baptist Church stands for its slogan – A place to belong” I feel at home here.

  1. I’ve already indicated that we welcome people of all nationalities. Was this obvious to you when you came to our church? How can we improve our welcome?

As I mentioned above, it’s a place to belong and yes, I felt welcomed and I don’t think of any improvement.

  1. How does it happen that you know English well?

I was not very good at speaking English during my youth. Once, after I had been rejected in an interview, a receptionist stopped me and asked me why I wasn’t qualified. I answered it was because of my poor English. She told me that as a graduate of an English school, I should do better. I thanked her and began to aggressively practice my English. One of my strengths is being open to feedback from anyone, because I believe we can learn from our mistakes.

  1. I think we all need to adopt your attitude. Tell us something about your church in India. What do you miss the most of your church life there?

My church in India has a congregation of 350+ and a service pattern different from FBC.  After the morning prayer and welcome, the pastor gives the announcements and the financial report. This is followed by praise and worship, Sunday School skits, testimonies, a sermon, more prayer, song and offering. The service ends with a closing prayer and benediction.   A3er the service the entire congregation gathers in the courtyard and participates in a social gathering, enjoying tea/coffee and snacks. On special occasions, there is a lunch or supper arranged by the church.

  1. It sounds like a very fine church. Before we end this interview, I would like to know: Is there something that you would like to say that I haven’t asked?

The only thing that I would like to say is a big thank you to the entire FBC community for welcoming me into the family.

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Interviewer: Esther Wiens


Folks at First – Bryden Yeo

An interview with Bryden Yeo

Here is her story that she shared with Annabel Robinson…

You can read Bryden’s story included in our November 2019 newsletter.

Bryden, tell us something about your childhood.
(laughing) My childhood was really boring. I was born in Swan Hills, Alberta, where my father worked in an oilfield. I have a younger brother and sister. I was raised a Roman Catholic, and it was all pretty routine until one day I prayed to God and said if you are real I want to follow you. My faith grew and I made a commitment to him: I believe and I’ll follow.

How did you come to Regina?
(laughing again) It was 1999. I had broken up with the boyfriends I dated over the years and decided that Alberta men sucked. I had a friend in Regina who told me the men in Regina were nicer and much better. I wanted a fresh start anyway, so I just came to Regina and rented a room from one of her friends.

And how did you come to First Baptist Church?
I wanted to go to church, so I walked down Victoria Avenue looking for one. When I came to FBC I thought it was a museum! I asked some people who were going in, and they informed me that it was a church, and invited me inside. Everyone was so friendly. I was baptized two weeks later, and ended up getting married and joining the young adult group ran by Tim Furry. It was in that group that I learned a lot about scripture and prayer.

And were the boys in Regina nicer?
Yes. I learned early in my first days in Regina that I needed to pray specifically when I prayed to God. So I spoke to God about how I was tired of dating. I wanted to meet a man who would love me as much as I loved him, and start a family together. I really thought I was going to have a long wait. However two weeks later I met Shawn. He is completely unlike me. He is soft spoken. I thought we would date for a few weeks. We’ve now been married for 18 years and have 5 kids. I’ll never forget Henry Friesen’s advice about marriage: “Listen and compromise.” That advice has saved our marriage four times.

Then one year at Easter time, I was talking to my kids about what Easter was all about. I explained to them how God sent Jesus to earth for us, how he took away our sins on the cross and rose from the dead. Cool thing was that Shawn was also listening and asked me more about it. This is how he came to know Jesus.

Years later Joel called to talk to Shawn about baptism classes. Mark was teaching them and they wanted to know if he would be interested. Shawn asked William to attend them with him, and at the end of the classes Shawn and William were baptized. It was amazing to see my son and husband be baptized, but also amazing because William is on the Autism spectrum and I was never sure if baptism would be something he would understand. The Lord must have spoken to him, because not only did Will understand but it was something he really wanted to do.

You have other children too, don’t you?
Yes, I have five children aged 17 to seven: William, Gavin, Ethan, Madeleine, and Max.
Shawn works for Lennox and sells HVAC equipment to HVAC companies.

I know you have struggles with mental health. Do you want to talk about that?
Very much so. Mental illness is much more common than you think. But there’s a stigma about it, and people hide it. People struggle all the time.

I’ve had a long struggle with ADHD, depression, social anxiety, and type 2 Bipolar. What happens a lot is I feel overwhelmed, freeze up, and I have up and down mood swings. It’s very stressful and exhausting.

Tell us more about how you got professional help.
It’s so difficult to navigate the system. When you’re depressed it’s difficult to think, function or just to pick up the phone. People don’t take you seriously. They tell you to do exactly what you can’t do. You get told to go one place only to be sent to another. Doctors don’t always understand what you are trying to tell them, or they think it’s something else. Or, and this is what happened to me, they tell you that you need to find a counsellor or Psychiatrist, but then the Psychiatrist tells you that you need to be referred by the Doctor, then the Doctor says no that’s not how it works. It wasn’t until I felt like a complete failure and was moderately depressed that they took me seriously.

The frustrating thing about mental health is you are stuck in a downward spiral. People can’t find help. They turn to drugs or alcohol to find an escape. That leads to addiction, and that in turn leads to stealing. I drank and abused drugs for five years for this very reason. I couldn’t get help, and I couldn’t deal with my life. I remember praying to God, asking what was wrong with me. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that He was listening, and had already begun to lead me on a path to recovery. God has helped me through so many people, to get to where I am today, sober, supported and loved. I have been given tools like mindfulness, gratitude, grounding and medication, that have helped me to regain some independence, and control.

My psychiatrist has taught me to slow down. I want things to change NOW. I want to be recovered and get on with my life. But it doesn’t happen like that. It’s step by step, and it takes time. Also recovery is something that needs to be worked at daily, hourly even. It’s going to be a constant thing my whole life. I need to stop trying to live like someone without menal health issues, and accept myself for who I am.

To do that I have stopped looking for work, and instead, keep volunteering at the church and in my community, and beginning to take care of myself as well as my family.

You say that other things have helped as well.
My family has helped. God speaks to me through my husband and kids often. He encourages me though friends and opportunities. I have found support groups, and different programs in the city, that help me as well. All of these things are places that God has led me to go. He is my hope, my rock, guide and protector. I am so grateful to Him.

Talk about how the church has helped.
Church communities have been so accepting. Jenn and Reade heve been helpful on Facebook. Joel, Kayley, Richard and John have always been kind, listen and have been there for our family. As well as many other pastors over the years.

Worship service always grounds me. It’s like a reminder of who God is. How much He loves us and is with us. What his word is and just how much we love Him and are thankful for all God has given me and my family.

This church has given me friendship, a place to serve and a place to grow spiritually.

This year, for the first time in 40 years, I woke up and didn’t feel crazy. It’s all because God heard my prayers, took me as I was, and began to lead me from the dead end I was stuck in, and into a straight path that He had established just for me, a path of healing, love, strength and an amazing God.

I want to help in the church in any way I can. I’d love to help anyone else who struggles with mental health. God has made you the way you are. God can help you with mental health. You are not alone. All my hope is in my Lord and Saviour Jesus, and he can do the same for anyone who calls out to Him.

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Folks at First – Dell & Sue Bornowsky

An interview with Dell and Susan Bornowsky

Here is some of their story that they shared with Annabel Robinson…

You can read more of Dell and Susan’s story that was included in our October 2019 newsletter.

Did you grow up in Regina?
Sue: No. I grew up in Calgary. My father was involved in various committees at First Baptist Church, Calgary, and my mother worked part time in the office. That was at the time when Howard Bentall was Senior Minister. When I was in High School some school friends lured me into the occult, and for about five years I was involved in
that. But I didn’t have any real friends.
Dell: I was born near Lesser Slave Lake, in northern Alberta, on a subsistence farm. My father was a Roman Catholic and so I was brought up to learn the catechism. I was told I had to know it, but nobody ever told me why I had to know it. My mother was an agnostic and encouraged me to ask questions. I figured that the priests were paid to believe all that; that was their schtick.

So where did you meet?

Dell: I came to SAIT in Calgary to take a course in Radio and TV. This was the time of the “hippies” and the “Jesus people” and I felt comfortable among them. No one came and evangelized us. Young people became Christians just through talking to one another. I’m not sure how that happened.
I never did work in the field of broadcasting, my course at SAIT. There was an opportunity to do some construction work at Olds, so I went there and did a carpentry apprenticeship.
Sue: Meanwhile, a friend at FBC invited me to come to the Youth Group, during Harold Mitten’s pastorate. The youth leaders presented 5 evidences of the resurrection that night. It all made sense to me immediately and I committed my life to Christ that very night.
Then I got hit by a bus, broke my hip and spent some time in hospital, and couldn’t get involved in Youth Group activities. But the Youth Group was also involved in going out to rural Baptist churches. I got to know Dell at this time.
Dell: We knew each other for some years as good friends. We finally realized we were meant for each other. I took Sue out one evening to propose to her, not realizing that the path we were on ended up at the garbage dump. So I proposed to her at the dump.

Tell us something about what you did then.
Back in Olds we were involved in various different churches, not ever really fitting into any of them. Friends at Olds Baptist church encouraged me to attend a Bible school in Peace River. I suggested Sue join me. In the second semester she was able to attend the Bible school.
We got married in 1977 and built a house in Olds. Eli was born in 1980. At that time we were attending an independent Pentecostal church, which was involved in prison ministry. I enjoyed visiting in the prison, often taking Eli along. The inmates loved seeing a baby. We also had inmates stay with us in our home when they were on
parole. We also attended Catholic charismatic meetings and were involved in a number of different denominations.
Then First Baptist Calgary celebrated its centennial in 1988, and as a centennial project, renovated the building. I was invited back to head up that project. While we were there, I got involved in the Mustard Seed ministry, and started a Certificate in Ministry through Carey in its outreach program. I met Axel Schoeber (Kayely’s father) who was directing that.
There followed some hard financial years. Carpentry opportunities collapsed. I wasn’t able to complete the C. Min program — let alone move to Vancouver to do it on site.

What brought you to FBC?
We were attending an Anglican church in Regina when Sue received the city-wide invitation from John Nelson to sing in the seasonal choir at First Baptist. Their parents had known each other in Calgary. When she came to FBC she found it so warm and welcoming that she decided to make it her church home. Meanwhile I could see the writing on the wall for my job at the Anglican church and decided to hand in my resignation. For a few months I was free to join Sue at FBC and got involved in a number of its ministries. Particularly meaningful was the small group that met weekly in Annabel’s home to read the Old Testament. I could share my gifts and made some deep friendships. I also valued the invitation to teach a class for Learning For Life.
I needed a job, and although I was offered two different positions in Calgary, Sue and I both felt strongly that we should stay in Regina. Most recently I’ve accepted a part time position with the Anglican church in Lumsden. This enables us to stay here and worship once a month at FBC, as well as being involved in some of the mid-week events.

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Folks at First – Richard Hovey

An interview with Pastor Richard Hovey by Esther Wiens

As a way of welcoming you to our church, we would like to ask you some questions that would help us know you and your family.

Let’s start with you: tell us something about your background and early years.

My father was in the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force), so in my early years we moved quite a bit. I was actually born in Leidschendam, Holland but only lived there for the first couple of years before my family moved back to Canada. While I was growing up, we did not attend church regularly, but at the age of 10 (in Grade 5) I received a Gideon New Testament in school; this was the beginning of my faith journey. I began to read it and learned about Jesus who walked on water, fed 5000, cared for people in need, and spent time with God in prayer.

I was in need myself: the previous summer, my father passed away suddenly with a heart attack. As I continued to read the Testament, I began to pray—as Jesus would often pray. I talked to Jesus about my pain and what I was going through. In my scripture reading and prayers I felt the caring invitation of Jesus to come to him, and so I did. I gave my heart to our Lord in 1987, two years after receiving the Gideon New Testament.

One of the first things I did was tell my mom that I wanted to start going to church. I am not fully sure where this came from, as I really had no means of understanding what it meant to go to church. My mom and I started going to Lewisville Baptist Church in Moncton, NB. It was here that I was first mentored and discipled, initially by the youth pastor, John Dunnett. He met with me one-on-one on different occasions to go over some basics of the Christian faith and eventually led me to baptism in my teen years. I continued to be nurtured and to grow in Lewisville until my early twenties.

What a beautiful story! There is much for us to learn from it. Richard, we want you to know that we warmly welcome not only you but also your family. I know you and your wife have three daughters. Tell us about your wife and the girls.

Julie and I got married in 1996 and have three beautiful daughters. Our eldest, Maria, has just finished her second year at Crandall University in Moncton, NB. She loves literature and appreciates history, so is majoring in History and English. Our second daughter, Jennifer, is finishing grade 11 at Briercrest Christian Academy. She has a very creative spirit and a reflective presence. Andrea (taking after her mom) is the most social.

My wife has worked with children during the whole time we have been together: both in church and at work. For a number of years she ran a daycare and has been involved in leading the children’s ministry in the churches we have pastored. She is currently attending Briercrest Seminary.

I think your wife and daughters may find it a challenge to leave their friends in your former church and come to worship in a place with people who are strangers to them. What could we do to help them feel comfortable and at home here?

I think the best thing would simply be to take an intentional moment to speak with them. It is an amazing thing what a simple, even brief, conversation can accomplish – and what it can lead to.

Tell us something about your call to ministry.

I believe I sensed a call to ministry in my high school years but was hesitant to embrace it. Following high school, I went to Loyalist College to pursue studies in police science with a desire to enter some form of police work or the field of criminology. It was at Loyalist that the call to ministry was confirmed in my life – the Lord challenged my heart so that I felt the best way for me to serve the broken ones all around me was in vocational ministry. While I was discipled at Lewisville through my teen years and into my early twenties, I think a door to a church vocation was being opened. I found I had a deep care for people and a desire to see them connect with God and grow in their faith. Then, at Loyalist, the call was confirmed through a movement of God in my heart. When I saw so many young people living without any significant greater purpose, many broken or sad, my heart was broken by their plight. Just as Jesus was moved by compassion for individuals or for crowds of people, I was moved by compassion and felt led by God’s Spirit to give my life as a shepherd to those in such need.

When I read about your education for ministry, it seems a journey in itself. Please tell us about it. Why did you make the choices you did?

Yes, education has been a large part of my journey over the years. As I have mentioned, I began my post-secondary education at Loyalist College but shortly after arriving there felt the call to vocational ministry. So I withdrew from Loyalist and begin studies at Atlantic Baptist College (now Crandall University). I have always had an interest in the social sciences, so I majored in Sociology at Atlantic Baptist University and earned a BA. Following this I pursued further education for ministry at Briercrest Seminary, while June, pastoring: I wanted to increase my skills and abilities in pastoral ministry. At Briercrest I completed an MA in Pastoral Counseling and an MA in Theology. I was also introduced to the writing of Richard Foster (author of the Celebration of Discipline and one of the founders of Renovare). He opened me up to the field of Christian spiritual formation, which became a passion of mine and led to further studies in that field. In 2018 I graduated from George Fox University with a D. Min in Leadership and Spiritual Formation.

What brought you from Atlantic Canada to Saskatchewan?

I admit I never planned to live in Saskatchewan. Our move west began with a desire for involvement in outreach: a place where I could connect with people outside the walls of a church. Accordingly, I became director of a Youth for Christ drop-in centre. From here we were led to church ministry in a Church of God in Hudson Bay, SK. and then to an Associated Gospel Church in Moose Jaw. In a sense we feel we have now come full circle denominationally by returning to a Baptist Church.

What about our call to you to come to First Baptist was central/important to your decision to come here?

I sensed my leadership role at my previous church was in a time of transition and knew something new was on the horizon. My plan was to continue ministry in the Moose Jaw area, but not as lead pastor as I had been. During this time, I began conversation with Pastor Joel about the ministry at First Baptist – a conversation which went back and forth for some time. Through these conversations, I came to realize that ministry at First Baptist might be a good fit for me, specifically in the areas of spiritual formation and outreach/church growth. I had come to a place in my ministry where I was no longer feeling the need or desire to provide overall oversight to a church, but was rather wanting to focus on some key roles. First Baptist fit what I was looking for.

When you think ahead to the coming year and the years to follow, what do you most wish for? How do you see your ministry unfolding here?

Let me answer this generally first, then I will seek to apply it more specifically to First Baptist. The things I desire and long for are the following: to discover and learn the riches that are mine in Christ Jesus alone, to more fully comprehend and apply His love to my heart and henceforth to my life. In this space of learning, my hope and desire at First Baptist is to initially engage with the people here both with where I am and where they are with the Lord. Then to mutually discern how it is that we can lead one another to greater depths of God’s love in community. An unfolding piece of this, for me, is to discover how we can carry this out into the community – both the community surrounding the church building and the many communities represented by the parts of the city where the people of First Baptist live.

How can we as a congregation be most helpful to you?

I think a couple of simple thoughts here can go a long way in being helpful. First, see me as a part of the community as opposed to strictly pastoral staff and care for me as I endeavor to care for you. Secondly, communicate with me those things which would be helpful for me to know and understand as we journey together.

Is there anything that you would like to say that I haven’t asked?

I don’t believe so. I am excited about this new journey the Lord has opened up to us and look forward to seeing where and how He leads.

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Folks at First – Kayely Rich

An interview with Rev. Kayely Rich

Kayely has joined our pastoral staff as of April 2019.
Here is some of her story that she shared with Annabel Robinson…

You can read more of Kayely’s story that was included in our May 2019 newsletter.

Kayely, can you tell us how you first became involved with the Baptist church?
I have been part of the Canadian Baptist family my whole life. My dad has been a pastor (and academic) since I was born. My younger brother and I grew up between Alberta and BC. My mom ran a home daycare then later returned to school to become a teacher. You can certainly say that ministry, children and ongoing learning have been key parts of my life modelled from an early age.

Were there other milestones in your early life that pointed you to full-time Christian ministry?
I don’t remember much about coming to faith since I embraced Jesus when I was very young. I do remember, though, opportunities along the way to lean into and honour that commitment. I especially remember feeling a call to ministry when I was 12 years. We were attending a youth conference and the speaker invited anyone present who was feeling called to ministry to come to the front for prayer. It was though I couldn’t stay in my seat. Although I didn’t know what this call would mean or how it would manifest itself, it was a vivid moment that has since been confirmed in a variety of ways.

What did you do after you graduated from high school?
After high school, I moved to Vancouver to attend UBC. I completed my Bachelors in Psychology with a minor in French before being asked to serve with CBM as a volunteer in Belgium. I spent 7 months in Liege, Belgium helping in 2 local churches and working on some translation of books for a new support group ministry. Translation work proved to be tougher than I had anticipated, but I still greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside Christian brothers and sisters living in another culture and language.

Did this experience influence your next steps? 
When I came back to Canada, I began working on my masters degree. I knew that I wanted to train in counselling so I ended up moving to Southern Manitoba in the middle of winter so I could attend Providence Seminary. It was -50ºC as I got off the airplane in Winnipeg wearing my winter gear from Vancouver. Needless to say, it took me a bit of time to get used to Prairie winters! But, like many others, I found a way, and am glad to say that I completed my Master of Arts in Counselling while also working my way through a Masters of Divinity. I made the choice not to stay longer to complete the MDiv as I had run out of funds at this point and didn’t want to take out any loans.

So I imagine that at this point you started to look for a job.
Yes. I began asking God to guide me to the ministry work He had for me. All I knew was that I was to start driving West. Long story short, I drove all the way to family in BC with numerous stops along the way, but in the process God opened the doors for me to come to Regina to work at Argyle Road Baptist Church as their Associate Pastor. I enjoyed getting to know the kind people of Regina and learned a lot in my first few years of pastoring.

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