Mennonite Church Canada Celebrates and Concludes Witness Worker Positions in Burkina Faso and Germany

Norm and Lillian Nicolson (Burkina Faso) & Gregory Rabus and Jennifer Otto (Germany) return to Canada
May 10, 2018
Mennonite Church Canada
Winnipeg, Man

“We are grateful for the depth of leadership and commitment Norm & Lillian and Gregory & Jennifer have brought to their work with Witness,” says Willard Metzger, Executive Minister of Mennonite Church Canada. “The words in Matthew 25 come to mind: ‘well done good and faithful servant.’”

Twenty years ago, Lillian (Haas) Nicolson (Bluesky Mennonite Church) was invited to Burkina Faso to minister in the work of literacy which then grew into Bible translation. Alongside literacy and Bible translation, she has also been involved in church planting within the community. Norm (North Peace Mennonite Brethren) has ministered in Burkina Faso since 2007. He taught and assisted people to develop trade skills that enabled them to better meet the needs of their families, congregations and communities. He also audio-recorded biblical and other teaching materials to share the gospel with those who have limited literacy abilities. Norm, Lillian and their children, Kenneth and Nadine, will return to Canada at the end of May. Celebrations of faithful ministry will be planned with the Nicolsons and the congregations who have supported them.

Jennifer Otto (Steinmann Mennonite Church, ON.) and Gregory Rabus (Montreal Mennonite Fellowship) were originally invited to plant a church in Mannheim, Germany six years ago in partnership with the Conference of Southern German Mennonite Congregations and the German Mennonite Mission Committee. Together, they established a community-building ministry in the Ludwigshafen Mennonite Church. They used their linguistic, organizational and hospitality gifts to develop Friedenshaus (Peace House), a community centre working especially with refugees offering German language instruction, community building events, friendship, and help settling into a new country and culture. As reported in 2017, Gregory, Jennifer and their children, Alex and Ian, will return to Canada in June 2018, where Jennifer has accepted a position as assistant professor of Christianity at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.

“The impact of these ministries will never be truly known,” says Metzger. “We call on our nationwide community of faith to pray for the Nicolson family and the Otto/Rabus family as they leave their communities and return to Canada.”

MC Canada continues to strongly affirm and be engaged in international ministry with its Witness partners. All Witness projects are currently being reviewed by Mennonite Church Canada – a process that has led to the conclusion of the involvement of MC Canada in the work in Burkina Faso and to the transition of the Germany ministry to local ownership and leadership.