Below is a Story of Transformation from Ted and Mary Goossen who became members at FGCC on April 9. If you were unable to attend, you can read their testimony below.
Mary Hi, we are Mary & Ted Goossen. We moved here from Thompson, Manitboa in August 2015. We had pastored the Thompson Christian Centre Church (Mennonite Brethren) in Thompson (8 hours North of Winnipeg) for 10 yrs. We both grew up in south central Manitoba. Ted comes from Manitou and I grew up in Newton Siding. Ted is the second oldest in a family of seven and I was the youngest of six. Our parents had a deep faith in God, and we grew up going to church and Sunday School. Both Ted and I prayed and asked Jesus into our lives at an early age – and we were baptized and accepted into membership at our respective churches in our teen years.
After high school Ted & I both attended Winkler Bible Institute. This is where our friendship began and we were married in June 1971, after attending the University of Manitoba.
Ted It was in Winkler Bible Institute that I realized God was calling me into church ministry. This was a confirmation of my Grandpa Goossen’s prayer that he had prayed over me, when as a youngster, I sat on his knee. I am so grateful for those who influenced my spiritual development. In particular my Sunday School teacher who encouraged me to memorize Scripture and apply it to my life. Later, my youth leader and his wife encouraged me in the development of leadership and teaching God’s Word.
I have had numerous key faith markers in my life:
1). The death of my best friend in Grade 10 which led me into a deeper contemplation of God’s plan for my life.
2). During my first year and a half of university, under the constant bombardment of atheist and agnostic professors who openly ridiculed anyone who claimed to be a Christian. I began to seriously question my faith as well as become disillusioned with the church. It was a poster my Mom had on the wall of our kitchen that proved to be a stabilizing influence on me. The poster read: “NEVER DOUBT IN THE DARK WHAT YOU HAVE BELIEVED IN THE LIGHT”. Hebrews 13:7 says:
“Remember those who led you, who spoke the Word of God to you, and considering the outcome of their life, imitate their faith.”
I considered those who had taught me God’s Word – my parents, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, pastors, Bible School teachers – and observed their way of life and how they lived joyously even in the midst of heartache & trouble. I also considered the way of life of my atheist and agnostic professors and observed the outcome of their lives –one professor committed suicide, the others lacked any sense of purpose or meaning – they were people without God and without hope. As I reflected on this I recommitted myself to Jesus and to serve Him with my life.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”- Psalm 73:25,26,28
Mary We were blessed with four healthy children. Later, after an 18 month battle with schizophrenia, our 21 year old youngest son, Joshua, ended his life. We experienced one of our greatest sorrows and deep pain, but Scripture again was our anchor. God says in Isaiah 45:3,
“I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel who call you by name.”
God never wastes our sorrows, and we began to see the gift in Josh’s death. Some of Ted’s greatest joys in ministry have come from ministering to people struggling with mental health issues in the Psych Ward in Thompson Hospital. I have had numerous opportunities, as a substitute teacher, to share my journey and empathize with hurting young people. We have met with families whose lives have been devastated by suicide. I have also had two bouts of cancer. After the first, lymphoma cancer, I also had aggressive chemotherapy and 33 radiation treatments. God has granted me life. During my first illness, our four children (ages 15 – 9) were also struggling and we were very busy pastoring a small church in Cranberry Portage and directing Simonhouse Bible Camp in northern Manitoba.
Ted has also had cancer, half of one lung was removed. God has also miraculously healed. I have been living with chronic pain. I have a degenerative, arthritic spine, with constant pain in my lower back & legs and am totally dependent on a walker.
Jesus has become the “Faithful One” teaching me to depend on Him in every season of life. After having spent many years as a substitute teacher and ministry wife, my role is now living with an energetic retired pastor…and also being a grandma to 14 grandchildren, 10 who live in and close to Saskatoon.
One verse, “Be still and know that I am God…. (Psalm 46:10)” has often been a comfort & reminder to me of God’s presence in my life.
Ted When we moved to Saskatchewn we started attending Living Hope Church – it was a small, welcoming congregation & close to where we were living. The church has closed and we are willing to join the North Site (Silverwood group) when it opens. We want to have our membership current somewhere – and we appreciate Forest Grove and the strong Biblical teaching here. We also want to stay in the MB conference because it’s been our life.