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Spotlight: Alumni in Missions | Briercrest Connections - Issue #12

Briercrest Connections
Meet alumni who are serving God in missions around the world.
Welcome to Briercrest Connections! In this issue, we’re featuring five missionaries representing five decades of Briercrest alumni. We’ll also answer the burning question, “What’s going on with grad this year?” and share the prank our students pulled on us for April Fool’s Day. Read on!
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Photo taken prior to Tuesday's 20cm snowfall.
Photo taken prior to Tuesday's 20cm snowfall.
With College and Seminary graduations fast approaching, we have a lot to celebrate, including a safe, successful school year on campus for our Briercrest College and Christian Academy students—the high school made a brief move to online learning during a zone-wide school closure in March, but are back on campus now after a restful Easter break!
This spring’s graduation celebrations are looking predictably different than we had hoped—but we couldn’t be more thankful that the class of 2021 is getting some semblance of a celebration. We’ve got 20cm of fresh snow on the ground and we’re ready to party! COVID-style! 
This week, we held a small Commissioning and Worship service for our on-campus grads, hosted by our grad committee. We prayed for them, sang with them, and sent them off with a gift and a socially distanced air high-five. Furthermore, we are putting together a virtual grad ceremony in honour of the graduates of 2020 and 2021. We’ve pre-recorded all the elements of a typical convocation and our hope is that families will gather to enjoy a small celebration with their graduate when they return home. 
We know that this transition into life beyond college is not what our grads had imagined when they walked our halls for the first time, but we send them off knowing that they have developed resilience and patience as they have found their way through a host of challenges. They will have quite the story to tell of their last year on campus! 
This month, we’re excited to share five stories of God drawing people to Himself around the world. We hope you’re encouraged that, despite some new challenges this year, God’s Church is still active and His mission is still happening!
Fun Fact: these stories also represent five decades of Briercrest alumni—read on to meet some missionary alumni who were students during the ‘70s, '80’s, '90’s, '00’s, or '10’s!
Matthew (College '12)  and Allysha (College '11) Wiebe
Matthew (College '12) and Allysha (College '11) Wiebe
Open Doors for Christ in Cambodia: Matthew and Allysha Wiebe
“Opportunities to share Him have been abundant and we’ve had many open and sincere conversations about Christ with people that we’ve known for years now. It seems like the doors are wide open and we’re wanting to walk through them.”
Meet Matthew and Allysha Wiebe: Matthew (College ‘12) and Allysha (College '11) are missionaries with WEC (Worldwide Evangelization for Christ) in Cambodia. They met at Briercrest in 2010, married in 2012, and then moved to Cambodia in 2014.
Who are they serving? Cambodia is a country that is swimming in churches and missionaries, but there are still groups that are neglected: specifically, those from the expatriate community, those with disabilities, and other minority Muslim groups. Together with their team, the Wiebes are committed to reaching out to these three groups.
What is God doing now? Teaching English is their official reason for being in Cambodia, but their focus is on introducing people to Jesus. They were forced to leave Cambodia due to COVID closures last year, but since returning have noticed new eagerness to talk about Christ in their neighbours.
Serving the Most Persecuted: Bob and Karin T.
Meet Bob and Karin: Bob planned to come to Briercrest for one year to play hockey; however, the Lord had other plans. During the fall missions conference, the Lord clearly called Bob into ministry. He stayed for 4 years, graduating with his BRE in 1985. Bob and Karin met at Briercrest, and they now have 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren.  
Who are they serving? As well as leading an international church, Bob and Karin lead a team that works with the Rohingya people group—named the most persecuted people in the world by the UNHCR. This Rohingya ministry has included English classes, Bible storying, maternal health, and education development initiatives for the past 8 years.
What is God doing now? When the pandemic began in 2020, virtually all Rohingya in their country lost their jobs. The Rohingya who are in their country chose to surrender themselves to human traffickers to escape their plight but continue to deal with persecution and mistreatment. Partnering with Samaritans Purse and other organizations, a 12-week, multi-organizational food program provided thousands of the Rohingya in their community with weekly food and hygiene necessities.
Last name and photo not available.
Saturating Québec with the Gospel: Brian and Severine Stegner
Meet the Stegners: Brian, Severine (both College ‘02), and their 3 children are celebrating 10 years of church planting ministry in Québec, answering God’s call to saturate Québec with the Gospel by planting churches.
Who are they serving, and what is God doing now? “God is calling up pastors and leaders locally and from all over the world to help see Quebec saturated with the Gospel. More than ever, we’re seeing spiritual attacks specifically targeting these pastors and leaders, in opposition to what Jesus is doing in Quebec. As a result, the failure rate can be high. Burnout, health issues, marital problems, inter-leader conflict, financial struggles, moral failure: each of these are very real dangers facing our leaders.
Our primary ministry has become centered around providing pastoral care and logistical support to these pastors and leaders, many of which are entering into mission via the various ministries of our church.”
Brian is the author of “One Thousand Churches: A Movement to Saturate Québec with the Gospel of Jesus.” The Stegners shared their website where you can learn more about their work in Québec:
Brian and Severine (both College '02) and their family
Brian and Severine (both College '02) and their family
Serving Calgary’s Vulnerable: Anita (Coutts) Thiessen
Meet Anita Thiessen: Anita (College ‘89) is a full-time missionary serving with Connecting Streams, a ministry of Power to Change Canada.
Who are they serving? Connecting Streams resources and supports volunteers who serve society’s vulnerable populations.
Anita said, “My role is National Training and Leadership Development Manager and I am also co-lead for the city of Calgary, just starting the ministry here. I’ve also been leading the Caring Ministries for our church for many years, and absolutely love it. My husband Art and I have three grown children in their 20’s.”
Anita Thiessen (College '89)
Anita Thiessen (College '89)
Training the Next Generation of Missionaries: Dr. Douglas R. Vavrosky
Meet Dr. Douglas R. Vavrosky: A BBI graduate of 1980, Dr. Vavrosky and his wife, Avril, are now in their 40th year of service with OMF International (Formerly China Inland Mission). He now works as an Associate Professor of Missions.
Who are they serving, and what is God doing now? Now living in Texas, the Vavroskys are furthering the work of OMF International in the classroom. Douglas shared: “We continue to work with Chinese peoples through theological education by teaching missions and intercultural studies at different seminaries, preaching, and counseling.”
Dr. Douglas R. Vavrosky (College '80)
Dr. Douglas R. Vavrosky (College '80)
Last summer, we had Briercrest’s mission statement — to Educate Disciples, Equip the Church, and Engage the World — decalled up on a few prominent walls in our academic building. And this month, our students decided to have a little April Fool’s fun with it.
We’re ready to admit two things: 1) We’re impressed. The attention to detail with font choice is impeccable. 2) In hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have set them up like that.
Here are some ways to connect with Briercrest and our alumni network this month:
Coffee and a CB — Events and Recordings!
If you missed last month’s Coffee and CB with Briercrest Athletics, you can click here to watch the recording. Don’t miss the access passcode: 2Xpsm.XP
The next virtual Coffee and CB event will take place on Wednesday, April 28th at 7:00 CST. If you want to register, simply send your name and email address to! We would love to see you there.
Do you have stories to share?
We have heard from dozens of alumni around the world and we love hearing about your experiences. Have a story about what God has been doing in your ministry, life, or hometown? We want to hear about it! Use the form below to update us. A few times a month, we feature alumni stories and updates on our social media feeds and some become blog features, and we may just tell yours!
We also want to compile your updates and start including them in our newsletters so that your fellow alumni can catch up with their old classmates. If there is sensitive information in your update, please let us know what we can and cannot include.
Click the link below to share your story:
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