Board of Directors
Allan Pole, B.A., M.Div., D.Min.—President
Allan Pole, or Al, grew up on a farm on the northern edge of Calgary. He and his wife Brenda now live on an acreage just north of the city. They have lived in other parts of Alberta—Edmonton, Lethbridge and Wetaskiwin, but moved back to the area in 2003 with their daughter, Allison (born in 1995) and son, Braden (born in 1997), thinking it would just be for a short time. The Lord has a way of working things together for good. In August of 2004, the four of them started to meet in their living room on Sunday mornings with the intention of planting a church. Learn more about New Beginnings Church at nbccalgary.com.
Al has a variety of experiences, having grown up and pastored (since about 1984) in Pentecostal churches and educated in different schools along the way: Eston College (formerly Full Gospel Bible Institute) with a Pastoral Major, Foothills Christian College (formerly Berean Bible Institute) with a Bachelor of Arts and a Christian Education Major, Taylor Seminary (formerly North American Baptist Divinity School) with a Master of Divinity and Fuller Theological Seminary (the only school that has not changed its name) with a Doctor of Ministry. Al has had the privilege of teaching and preaching God’s Word in other parts of North America, as well as in Europe, Asia, and Africa. All of this points to his personal mission—to help others fulfill God’s call.
His dry sense of humour appreciates unexpected jokes, clever puns, and good hair. He enjoys books, food, movies, music, live theatre, and travel as well as football, hockey, basketball, badminton, pool, bowling and (unbelievably) curling. On warm, sunny days he cruises the country roads in his convertible.
Al loves Jesus and His church. As followers of Christ, we have an amazing opportunity to band together in welcoming and integrating newcomers from all over the world who are eager to meet new friends while they learn English or improve their English skills. He is excited to be a part of the Cooperative ESL Ministries team empowering churches to reach out in love to the immigrants and internationals in our communities!
Bill considers it a privilege to partner with other volunteers and donors to further the mission of this ministry. Many lives have been positively changed so far and there is much more to be done. We can expect great things as we work together as ambassadors of the One who has always been concerned for the stranger among us.
Kathryn is a native Albertan—born and raised west of Edmonton. With a keen interest in diverse cultures and a deep love for Jesus, she quickly went from country girl to world missions’ traveller while still in her teens.
She feels privileged to have served for over 15 years, on three continents. Spending several years in Zambia southern Africa, she can identify with the joys and challenges new Canadians face when integrating into a new culture. Following Jesus’ example by building relationships, as well as working cross-culturally, has become her favourite adventure.
Currently living in the Calgary area, Kathryn enjoys working, volunteering, and gardening. She has a head for numbers, a heart for people, and her eyes on Jesus. She is passionate about missions at home and abroad, as well as serving in the local church. Kathryn is excited about the heart and future of Cooperative ESL Ministries and is thrilled to serve as a board member.
Helen Ohlhauser—Volunteer Coordinator
Helen was born at the Calgary General Hospital. Along with her husband Terry and three adult children, all born in Calgary—they are true “Calgarians.” Helen’s parents immigrated to Canada after WWII. Growing up, she and her brother experienced firsthand what it was like to live in a home with parents learning to speak, read, and write in English.
Helen’s first experience with an ESL Program was in the faith community when she was asked to oversee their ESL program. With volunteer management in her background, she began recruiting and training teachers through CESLM. ESL classes ran on Tuesday evenings, Thursday mornings, and in a Sunday School class prior to the service to review the sermon. Included in the program was Life Skills sessions, as well as special events like Christmas, Chinese New Year and other holidays. A Friday evening ESL care group was set up to study the Bible. For those who could not speak English at all, they set up one-on-one tutoring. Today, under the new leadership, the program continues at Hawkwood Baptist Church in Calgary. This is an exciting, wonderful ministry offered to newcomers who come to learn English.
With a Cardiology Technology diploma, management certificate from the University of Calgary, and experience working in Foundation and Volunteer Resources departments, Helen has the experience she needs in her new role as CESLM’s Volunteer Coordinator.
Helen enjoys travelling with her husband and being a Nana to her grandchildren. A special Bible verse she likes, because her name means “light,” is Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Anshu, (pronounced “unshu”), means ray of light in Hindi. Anshu is grateful to be a part of this amazing group of people. She brings seven years of experience in the field of empowerment, advocacy, and success coaching in the non-profit sector—working with marginalized populations. She is also a certified TESOL instructor from Mount Royal University. She looks forward to learning and sharing her giftedness in this extraordinary, supportive, and passionate community of fearless believers!
She considers herself a global citizen, growing up in Canada, India, Cambodia, and Malaysia. She continues to explore this beautiful globe whenever she can, learning about cultures around the world through their delectable foods. When not working or traveling, she loves to recharge through great music, painting, and spending time with loved ones.
Communications & Marketing Coordinator—Sandy Baldwin
Born and raised in Calgary, Sandy has a deep calling to work with non-profits that aid children in impoverished countries. Two years ago, an opportunity to work with a charity focused on helping children in Myanmar, India, Philippines and Kenya arose. After praying and asking God what he had in store for them, Sandy, his wife Janelle, and their three children packed everything up and moved to Kelowna.
CESLM is Sandy’s fourth Christ-focused business/non-profit that he has worked for over the past 18 years. He is always amazed at how God uses our gifts and talents to further His kingdom around the world.
Sandy is excited to work with Cooperative ESL Ministries to empower churches as they welcome new immigrants into their churches and communities.
Events Coordinator—Roxy Meyers
ACE TESOL Certificate, (MRU), M. A. CEd., (Sioux Falls Seminary), B.S. (Northwestern College). Roxy worked as Children’s Pastor at Central Baptist Church and Adjunct Professor at Taylor College and Seminary in Edmonton prior to moving to Calgary in 2010. She is married to Doug and they have two young adult children. Roxy served as Community Liaison Coordinator (2012-2016) for CESLM and has recently returned as CESLM Events Coordinator.
Resources Coordinator—Darlene Penner
Canadian born and raised in the US, Darlene moved back to Canada with her family when she was 18. Since then she spent most of her time raising three boys to adults with her husband Brad, an amazing husband and father.
Always interested in other cultures, she trained as an ESL teacher in 2006. In 2016, after many years of teaching ESL, she graduated from Alberta Bible College with a BA in Leadership. She has taught students from all parts of the world, in all levels of English. Attending a Spanish-speaking church for many years, Darlene and her husband were immersed in both the language and culture of people from Latin America and Mexico.
Currently, Darlene serves as a volunteer at Centre Street Church’s New Canadian Friendship Centre, leading an ESL Knitting/Crochet class with students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.
She is excited to help Cooperative ESL Ministries provide resources and training for churches and community groups to help them reach out to immigrant communities in their neighbourhood.