My origins lie in rural Ontario. I was born and raised in Haldimand County near the town of Dunnville. More importantly I was born to Christian parents and raised in the ways of the Lord from the very beginning. I received my elementary schooling at John Calvin School in Smithville, and from there went to Guido de Bres High school for 2 years.
In 1981 my family decided to move to the Fraser Valley in B.C. As such I completed high school at Credo Christian High in Langley, B.C. Thereafter I went to the University of British Columbia for a degree in Agriculture. In my first year working in the industry a niggling desire to serve as minister of the Word grew. The Lord opened doors so that after taking a few additional courses I could enroll at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary (CRTS) in Hamilton. While studying there I met my dear wife Carolin who has very similar roots: she too was born to believers and raised in rural Ontario, in Oxford County near a little place called Lakeside. Shortly after we met she graduated from the Canadian Reformed Teacher’s College in Hamilton – and thereafter taught grade 3 for three years at Timothy Christian School in Hamilton.
After getting married and after graduating from the CRTS I served over seven years at the Grace Canadian Reformed Church at Kerwood, ON. From there we moved to Emmanuel Canadian Reformed Church in Guelph for 12 years. In all that time we were blessed with the births of four sons and one daughter.
Though never expecting to return to Dunnville, it happened. I was called to the Canadian Reformed Church in Dunnville in 2013. We were greatly blessed as we served here for nearly a decade. In this time the Lord blessed us with triplet grandchildren who were born as members of a church not that far away: the very caring and supportive church called “Trinity Canadian Reformed Church at Glanbrook.” These three children were all preemies with health issues: though it was quite a journey we rejoice in how they are all doing well. Later one more grandchild was added to this family.
While greatly blessed in this time, we also were called to deal with deep loss. On Oct 20, 2017, our second son, Ben, was very suddenly called home in motorcycle accident. To this day we dearly miss him and cling to the words of our Lord in Romans 8:29, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” We also remain so grateful for the love and support given to us in that time and beyond by Dunnville Canadian Reformed Church.
From a human perspective we sometimes say, “what comes round goes round.” Starting in Dunnville I ended up serving in Dunnville. Knowing the hand of our Father, however, we see developments in a much deeper way: our Lord providentially leads. In 2022 I received and accepted a call from that very church into which our grandchildren were born: Trinity Canadian Reformed Church at Glanbrook.
Having sold our home in Dunnville we transitioned to Glanbrook, along with two adult sons in August, praying that our Lord will use us in his service at Trinity Canadian Reformed Church of Glanbrook.
~ John VanWoudenberg