While he's not that new anymore, we still wanted to say a formal welcome to Mr. Don Miedema. Don has been on the Diaconal Ministries' Board since last fall, representing Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan. We asked him to share a little about himself so you can all get to know him a bit better. Here's what he said:
Don comes to us with a work history in development and education. In Prince Edward Island, with his background in agriculture, working for Holland College, he taught courses to farm labour and farmer families. This continued when he and his family moved to Saskatchewan, where he worked for the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST), teaching courses for dairy farmer labour and inmates in two penitentiaries that had dairy herds. In 1982, he developed computer courses for the farmers, providing hands-on short courses in the use of accounting, spreadsheets, and data base software. These courses were made available to the wider community where he and other instructors taught these courses in First Nations communities, community centres, and correctional centres.
When he and his family lived in Honduras for 11 years, Don travelled throughout the country, coordinating World Renew programs with local Christian agencies whose staff were dedicated to improving agriculture, health, small business and the spiritual welfare of families in many communities. Upon returning to Canada, Don worked in the inner-city of Winnipeg as housing coordinator to improve housing and oversee a program for people living homeless. He served on the board of an employment training agency for people wanting to leave gangs and worked with an agency which provides an inclusive church community with people living with disabilities.
Don and Eva, his wife of 47 years, now live in Calgary near three of their grandchildren. They disrupt the lives of the other 9 once a year when they make their annual trips to Minnesota and New Mexico. All four children and their families are deeply rooted, not budging from where they live. Don shares that the Lord and Eva supported him through brief but intense bouts of mental illness, restoring him so that he could continue the work he felt called to. They have worked with youth, young couples and family camp groups and now participate in seniors’ groups and book clubs. Don has served as an elder and an associate deacon and Eva is currently a Deacon at River Park CRC. They feel blessed beyond measure.
According to Ron Vanden Brink, National Director of Diaconal Ministries Canada, "Don asks good questions. His ministry and life experience have been a welcome addition to our Board."