Agnes Friesen grew up on a mixed farm at McTavish, Manitoba. As the youngest of a family of twelve, Agnes was special to her parents, and when she felt called to devote her life to mission work, it was not easy to leave home and trusted surroundings behind. It was a new chapter in the life of a young, determined woman and one that carries on for a lifetime.
God directed Agnes to Canadian Sunday School Mission in the early 1970’s after she attended Bible School and worked in CSSM summer camps as a cabin leader.
Agnes and her co-worker, Freida Johnson, were sent to Amaranth, MB, and Silver Ridge, MB, where they assisted a CSSM church plant in community outreach. That they had only $200 in support pledges and no proper housing arrangements did not phase them. God would provide and He did!
The following year they were sent to Swan Lake, Manitoba, also to do community outreach, but this time without a church plant. It meant they were on their own. The ministry especially reached children and young people from local, mainstream churches, which offered no activities for this young generation. Sunday school, kids clubs, young people’s get-togethers, and ladies’ Bible studies were commonplace. After a number of years, Agnes and Freida were transferred to Strathclair, MB, where they once again reached out to community needs, including ladies’ Bible studies and ministry to widows.
Two years later, they were called to work from the CSSM Manitoba office in Winnipeg, focusing on young people who had moved to Winnipeg from the country, but also working at day camps in St. Adolphe and as cabin leaders at Dauphin Bible Camp. Subsequently, Agnes was asked to join staff at the CSSM Manitoba office in administration, which came with a host of other responsibilities and a variety of tasks—preparing mailings and printed materials, doing Vacation Bible Schools, and speaking at camps. During all her years as a missionary, Agnes worked under the leadership of no less than seven provincial directors!
After retirement, Agnes has not retired but remains active in serving God and ministering to the needs of those crossing her path (spiritual and otherwise) in various ways. For years, Agnes has been assisting Glen Lawn Funeral Home and continues to do so diligently.
I have appreciated Agnes, especially during her tenure in serving on the National Board of CSSM and now One Hope Canada. An interesting note is that Agnes was invited and nominated as a board member by one of her former campers, Jan Dewar. Agnes served on the board during the past ten years through some turbulent times, but also during recent years of building and strengthening and seeing God using One Hope Canada for His purpose across this vast nation. Agnes sums up her life’s experiences with one simple line: “We serve an amazing God!”
Written by Ferdi van Dongen, Former Chairman of the National Board
First printed in Canada’s Hope Magazine, a biannual publication of One Hope Canada. Winter / Spring 2016 – Issue 11Two