Below is a Story of Transformation from Ralph and Grace Gliege who became members at FGCC on April 9th, 2017.
I was privileged to grow up in a loving Christian home. At the age of 7 my older brother pointed out to me my need of a Savior. After contemplating what he said, we called my parents to come to the bedroom and that night I surrendered my life to Christ. We attended the Salem Church in Waldheim and I was baptized at the age of 16.
Many missionaries and pastors came from this Church. I too felt God calling me in that direction and I remember making a public declaration of commitment at the annual Waldheim Community Missions Conference. However, I had a problem – I simply could not speak in public. After high school graduation I enrolled at Millar Memorial Bible Institute at Pambrun, not thinking for one minute that at that school I would be required to preach. With great trepidation I got up to preach my first sermon and God did a healing work in my life. Many people might think He healed me too well because I tend to enjoy preaching so much that I sometimes don’t know when to quit.
Grace and I met at Bible School and we were married the summer after my graduation – August 1, 1970. We lived and worked in Winnipeg at that time. Grace had an excellent job but I did not have real good employment. On the day that I was offered and accepted what I considered to be a good job, we were approached about pastoring a newly planted church under the ministries of the Canadian Sunday School Mission. This was a test that caused us to wrestle within our hearts. I started my job in Winnipeg but about 5 months later we packed up and moved to McCreary, Manitoba where we pastored our first church for 7 ½ years. It was here that both our children, Lyndon and Luanne were born. In 1978 we received an invitation to pastor a Mennonite Brethren Church in Saskatchewan at Woodrow. This was again a real test of faith for us. On the day that I felt we should accept the invitation an individual advised us not to go to this particular church. We are so thankful that we listened and followed God’s leading and so we moved. The next 8 years were perhaps highlight years for us in ministry. The next 6 years we pastored at West Portal Church in Saskatoon and at the Hepburn MB Church. Our 21 pastoral years came to a conclusion in 1992 when we were invited to take the position as Conference Minister for the Saskatchewan MB Churches. We remained in that position for almost 22 years until I retired in 2014. We have learned to feel at home in all of the Saskatchewan MB Churches and so, to a certain degree, we have thought of ourselves as being part of this church for many years.
Although we knew it was the right time and the right decision to retire from our position as Conference Minister, the call of God continues on our life. It becomes a real challenge to know when or when not to accept opportunities to preach or teach or be involved in some other aspect of service. Retirement also does not or should not include an end to having a vibrant personal relationship with God. As a minister I tried very hard not to make a practice of allowing sermon preparation time to be my devotional time. Still it was often hard to separate the two and without a doubt the devotional life and the ministry life became deeply integrated. Now, the regular aspects of ministry are not a part of my life but the intimate relationship with God must continue and that has become and is a new challenge for me.
Two similar scriptures are a guiding force for me in life. Acts 13:36 says,
“For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.”
Perhaps Psalm 71:18 puts a slightly more positive spin on this thought. David says,
“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”
I am happy to become a member of Forest Grove Community Church because I know that you can help me and I can help you as together we declare God’s power to the next generation.
I was privileged to grow up on a small mixed farm one hour south of Winnipeg. I grew up in a family of 8 children. I came as a surprise to my parents 27 hours following the birth of my twin sister. When I was 7 I recognized my wrong doing and realized I needed Jesus’ forgiveness. My twin sister had made her choice to follow Jesus and prayed with my parents one evening after services at our church in Stuartburn. That caused a restless night for me and early the following morning I ran to my parents’ bedroom and asked them to pray with me as I invited Jesus into my life.
My parents modelled their faith through regular time with God each morning. Attending church and Sunday School was very important to our family.
I was encouraged in my walk with God as I connected with older believers in my home church. When I was 12 years old at a Vacation Bible School, I made a decision to trust God regarding my future. I was baptized in the river very close to our church when I was 13. I wanted my friends to see the peace and joy God gave to me. However, it was a test of my faith when the guys from High School stood on the bridge and jeered as they watched our baptism.
My parents encouraged each of their children to go to Bible School. It was while I was at Millar Memorial Bible Institute (now Millar College of the Bible) that Ralph and I met. Very soon after our wedding we felt God calling us to do Church Planting with the Canadian Sunday School Mission. I felt very inadequate and kept being reminded over the next 43 years in working at our ministry together that I could not do this in my own strength. God has walked with me through the joys and the struggles. When I sin I am thankful for I Corinthians 10:13 which says,
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; who will not allow you be tempted above what you are able. But will with the temptation also make a way of escape that you will be able to bear it.”
I work part-time at 2 Private Care Homes and I regularly am reminded that I need to be a light to those older residents. I have had opportunities to encourage and support and pray with those who are struggling.
When Living Hope Church closed we decided to come to the Attridge Site and have enjoyed worshiping here. Of course it’s special to have our children and grandchildren here and one of my opportunities now is to encourage Sofia, Owen and Beth as they learn to walk with Jesus.