An Unlikely Place
They only possessed the clothes on their back when Claire (names changed for privacy) scooped her young son into her arms and fled. Leaving behind their possessions, they never looked back.
Despite having no additional clothing to combat the chill, the scared mom knew where they could go. Driving into the night, they eventually arrived at their destination.
Her sister opened the door and let them in. Claire and Sam finally found safety from the abusive relationship that had entrapped them.
With a past marred with pain, Claire initially felt hesitant to visit the church her sister’s family attended. Despite her reservations, she took Sam’s hand and they walked into Good News Community Church together, unsure of what they would find.
Instead of rejection and judgment, the congregation greeted them with warm welcomes and loving embraces. Suspicions melted away, and trust began to build between them and the church. Their hearts slowly opened to the gospel as they experienced the love of God for the first time.
Just a few months later, everyone rejoiced as Claire and Sam came to know Christ!
For one and a half years, Good News Community Church faithfully loved this small family. Then came the news that no one was ready for: Claire had terminal cancer. Devastated and heartbroken, Good News Community Church prepared to say goodbye to a beloved member of their family.
In October 2018, Claire peacefully passed from this life and entered the eternal joy that awaited her.
Village Missionaries Mark & Rebecca Bueckert witnessed this incredible woman’s journey of faith, and it all began in an unlikely place: a small church in rural Canada.
The Journey Begins
Village Missions played a part in Mark’s life since childhood. When he was twelve years old, his family began attending a small church in Rose Prairie, British Columbia, pastored at the time by Village Missionary Roy Adrian. A few months later, Mark accepted Christ in one of the church’s AWANA programs.
Although he eventually moved away from Rose Prairie, his journey of faith began in that small Village Missions church.
Mark went on to study at Nipawin Bible College in Saskatchewan, earning his diploma in 1999. While at Nipawin, he not only met his wife, Rebecca, but he also received his call to be a pastor.
While doing a devotion one morning, Mark felt God impressing upon his heart the message of Romans 10:
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Good News!”
“I knew without a doubt that God spoke right to me,” remembers Mark. “I would be one of those that bring the Good News.”
About a year after graduating, Mark & Rebecca, now married, felt that God was opening the door for them into missions.
Reflecting on his childhood in Rose Prairie, and how much Village Missionaries like Roy Adrian had impacted his life, Mark & Rebecca considered the possibility that God was calling them into rural ministry.
When they finally called the VM headquarters, who better to answer their call than his former pastor, Roy, now the Regional Administrator! He famously responded, “Well, it took you long enough to phone.”
After being accepted as Village Missionaries, they headed to the first field: Weekes, Saskatchewan in January of 2002.
17 years and 3 fields later, Mark & Rebecca now serve as Village Missionaries in Ryley, AB at Good News Community Church.
Why Small Churches Matter
Before passing away, Claire spent many of her final days with Mark & Rebecca. As they prepared her memorial service, the Bueckerts realized how different her funeral would have been had she not known Jesus Christ.
But, in His Sovereignty, God led Claire and Sam to Ryley where they found community and acceptance in a small country church. Their journey of faith began in an unlikely place, and the Bueckert family rejoices that they will see her again.
Because of the work of and faithfulness missionaries like Mark & Rebecca, the lost sheep of unremembered, hidden places are being found.
So, why does Village Missions care about churches in small communities?
For people like Claire and Sam. And one day, Good News Community Church will get to see her again.
Your partnership with Village Missions makes stories like this a reality. Your support enables our missionaries to remain on their fields long-term and full-time, thereby establishing the relationships necessary to share the Gospel in communities like Ryley.
In this new year, would you consider partnering in the work of bringing the gospel to rural North America?