As fall transitions to winter, CESLM is entering a new season as well. This past year has seen many transitions in our organization. The latest is our new Board of Directors. Some of the faces will be familiar – we’d like to welcome back founders Madeline and Mel Johnson as well as our secretary Dale Fisher. Madeline has taken on the role of Vice President, Dale will continue as Secretary. New members include Allan Pole as President, Bill Demaer as Treasurer, along with Helen Ohlhauser and Marvin Busenius. Welcome to Cooperative ESL Ministries!
We’d like to thank outgoing Board members Ijeoma Chuku, James Edel, Amber Wylie-Moerman for their years of service.
Our New Board:
Allan Pole, B.A., M.Div., D.Min. – President My name is Allan Pole but you can call me Al. I grew up on a farm on the northern edge of Calgary and I now live on an acreage just north of the city. I have lived in other parts of Alberta – Edmonton, Lethbridge and Wetaskiwin – but when my wife, Brenda (who I married in 1985), and I moved back to the area in 2003 with our daughter, Allison (born in 1995), and our son, Braden (born in 1997), we thought it would just be for a short time. The Lord has a way of working things together for our good so in August of 2004 the four of us started to meet in our living room on Sunday mornings with the intention of planting a church. You can learn more about New Beginnings Church at www.nbccalgary.com.
I carry 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 since I studied there) with a Doctor of Ministry. I have had the privilege of teaching and preaching God’s Word in other parts of North America as well as Europe, Asia and Africa. All of this points to my personal mission – to help others fulfill God’s call.
You might be able to tell this by looking at my photo but my dry sense of humour appreciates unexpected jokes, clever puns and good hair. I am a guy of average intelligence who enjoys books, food, movies, music, live theatre and travel and a guy of average athletic ability who enjoys football, hockey, basketball, badminton, pool, bowling and (unbelievably) curling. On warm, sunny days I like to cruise the country roads in my convertible.
I love Jesus and I love 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. I am excited to be a part of the Cooperative ESL Ministries team as we empower churches to reach out in love to the immigrants and internationals in our communities!
Madeline Johnson, B.Ed., TESOL Dip. – Vice President While serving as director of Agape Language Centre (1997-2003) God impressed Madeline with the heart-cry of Jesus in His last great prayer (John 17) that His family would be one, “so that the world would believe.” God used a student’s question in ESL Bible Study: “How do you know what church to go to? It seems like they’re all competing with each other” to move her to action. Others caught the vision for churches being society’s key leaders in welcoming and integrating the immigrant/new Canadian. The Cooperative ESL Ministries became a provincial non-profit society in 2002 and a registered charity in 2004. Our first training of Christians from any church in how to do conversational style English as a Second Language ministry happened in January of 2001. Since then sixteen 30-hour classes have been held training “grass roots” Christians how to have an ESL outreach ministry from their own church. In addition, conferences, networking brunches, the website and newsletters have helped develop credible church-based programs. Madeline is happy to see the Cooperative continuing and looks forward to seeing increasing impact as we welcome our new neighbours.
Mel Johnson The fifth child of Daniel & Bertha (nee – Lindgren) Johnson was born at Provost AB. Attended school at Newbrook, living on farm and learned to operate heavy equipment building roads and irrigation dams. Responded to the Lord’s call and was baptized in Amisk Lake near Boyle AB. Attended Alberta Bible Institute and accepted an invitation to be Associate minister with Pastor Milton Chugg at Jasper Place, Edmonton, AB
Married the daughter of Rev. Dr. R.J. White, G.M. Madeline, then pastored 21 years in Swan Hills, AB, Churchbridge SK., and then back in AB at Paradise Valley.
From spring of 1984 to 2000 Mel enjoyed serving as representative and area manager with World Vision in Southern Alberta and the East Kootenays of BC. This was wonderful exposure to many other cultures and working together with other believers in the ministry of Jesus.
Mel and Madeline have a daughter in heaven, 3 sons in Calgary with wives from Korea, Surinam, and Bahrain, 8 grandchildren and, as of 2017, five involved in mission projects.
Of special blessing was the sponsoring of two “boat people” families in 1979 while pastoring the congregation at Paradise Valley. Truly one of the most gratifying experiences of our time of serving.
Bill Demaer – Treasurer I consider a privilege to partner with other volunteers and donors to further the mission of this ministry. Many lives have been positively changed thus 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 amongst us.
Dale Fisher – Secretary began her teaching career in Toronto, teaching high school history. In 1982 she moved to Calgary and became involved with St. James Church. There she was inspired to consider ESL. For 14 years she taught at Chinook Learning Centre working with young adults (19-24 years) and adults in the LINC program. After 18 years of teaching, I retired from the LINC program, but continue to work with immigrants at our St. James ESL group. For Dale, ESL is an essential Church outreach. “God has sent the mission field to us, and He has sent people who want to learn our language and our culture,” she explains. “We have this wonderful opportunity to make friends and to present the Gospel by word and acts of friendship.”
Helen Ohlhauser – I was born at The Calgary General Hospital as was my husband, Terry, and our three adult children – true “Calgarians.” My parents immigrated to Canada after WW2, so growing up, my brother and I experienced firsthand what it was like to live in a home where our parents learned to speak, read and write English.
My first experience with an ESL Program was in the faith community when I was asked to oversee their ESL program. With volunteer management in my background, we began recruiting and training teachers through CESLM. We hold classes on Tuesday evenings, Thursday mornings and 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 e.g. Christmas, Chinese New Year’s. A Friday evening ESL care group was set up to study the Bible. For those who could not speak English at all, we set up one on one tutoring. I am happy to report that under the new leadership, the program has expanded to include Bible studies. This is an exciting, wonderful ministry offered to newcomers who come to us! www.hawkwood.ca
I vividly remember accepting Jesus as my Saviour when I was in Grade 6 during an after school program. I was baptized at age 16 and special to me was being able to attend Prairie Bible College for two years as a mature student. I have a Cardiology Technology diploma, management certificate from the University of Calgary and experience working in Foundation and Volunteer Resources departments. Terry and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary this year and our pride and joy are 8 grandchildren (four born between January 21 and May 12, 2017.) I enjoy travelling, being a Nana and am looking forward to being a “retiree” in 2018. A Bible verse, special to me because my 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.”
Rev. Marvin Busenius – grew up in Edmonton, Alberta and has the heritage of a strong Christian family that includes representation in three major denominations. Sensing God’s call on his life; he prepared for ministry by attending university and seminary. After seminary, Marvin served two local congregations prior to spending 28 years as a church expansion specialist – – consulting with congregations facing strategic questions related to their expansion plans. His experience with congregations in many denominations was valuable preparation for his current ministry of eleven years with the Canadian Bible Society.
Rev. Busenius has a passion for ministry and a great desire to serve the church. He has a love for people and deeply values helping leaders fulfill the vision God has for them. He says, “my personal mission is to help individuals fulfill the mission to which they have been called”.
Marvin is married to Priscilla and they have one married daughter, Jannell; who lives with her husband Josh, and two grandsons, Micah and Aaron in Baltimore, Maryland.