from Issue #1, April 2016, page # 16
by: Michele Thiessen
Dear Vera Rose,
My name is Michele Thiessen. I’m married to Ben Thiessen and we are from Alberta, Canada. We moved to Nova Scotia in April 2014. We are partaking in instruction classes with the full intention of applying for membership at Lighthouse Mennonite Church.
We are on a very interesting spiritual journey in the Christian life as lived out by Conservative Mennonites. This is a completely new world for us. Though my husband has family roots in the Old Order colonies that settled in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, he was never raised in the Mennonite church.
Ben did, however, grow up learning Plautdietsch and experiencing typical Mennonite social life and customs. I grew up in a very liberal Christian setting with big contemporary churches and an independent and unaccountable lifestyle. We were married 24 years ago and raised three daughters ages 18-23, none of whom are living the Christian life and serving God.
God miraculously drew us to marital restoration, the truths about modest dressing and headship coverings just three years ago. Shortly after that, due to intensifying feelings of discomfort in the liberal church, we were drawn to seeking a conservative church.
We had no contact with Mennonites prior to this. I just happened to go on a search, and I remembered seeing Mennonites in Nova Scotia while visiting my mother three summers ago. I tracked down the minister here in Nova Scotia, and we were directed to a church in Alberta, which unfortunately was over a two hour drive from where we lived. We did attend as often as we could, but being so far from a community of believers made our learning and seeking difficult. We attempted to explore the option of moving to Red Deer, Alberta, but nothing panned out for living arrangements and work. My mother encouraged us to consider Nova Scotia. Knowing there was a church here that we had already made acquaintance with, we decided to move here.
It’s been a year since attending full-time a community of believers who live a very conservative Christian life. God has been very good and gracious to us by providing us a home, a job for my husband, and a strong church family to help and support us.
One special sister here, gave me your mother’s book, Vera’s Journey, to read. She explained that she thought it would help me understand more about the different conservative churches. However, this book did more than just that. Your mother’s story became such an inspiration to me, as well as a powerful encouragement to walk the narrow road. Learning the cultural ways and becoming familiar with living a sacrificial life of service to others has been a challenge, but also very rewarding. Reading the stories of others and their struggles helps give hope that change can happen even in a life so desperate as the one I had.
When I learned that I was able to contact someone directly related to Vera, I so wanted to write and express my gratitude for whoever encouraged your mother to have her life story written down. Thank you all for sharing your life story. It would be a wonderful blessing to perhaps meet you one day.
May God continue to bless you and your families.
A new sister in Christ,