|Our Tour Leaders|
Gerd Bartel was born in Prussia (now Poland) in 1943. As a child, he emigrated to Canada as a refugee and grew up in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. He married Regina Grunau in 1967 and together they had three children, now grown. Gerd worked as a high school math teacher and department head until his retirement, and has also served the Mennonite church for the last 40 years in various roles. At present, he is the moderator of the Mennonite Church of British Columbia, an elder of Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, BC, and works part-time as the Western Director of Development for Mennonite Church Canada. He has four grandchildren and enjoys leading tours, whether a learning tour to the Philippines or TourMagination tours to Europe.
Gareth Brandt cycles to work every day in Abbotsford, BC where he teaches practical theology at Columbia Bible College. His educational background includes degrees in spirituality, theology and psychology with an emphasis on the spiritual formation of young adults. He has a background in congregational and denominational youth ministry. Gareth is married to Cynthia, an elementary school teacher, and they have four children ages 22, 20, 18, and 11. They are active members of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, BC. The family enjoys participating in music, drama and other creative pursuits. Gareth was born in Steinbach, Manitoba and grew up on a small farm in western Manitoba. Gareth is the author of Under Construction: Reframing Men’s Spirituality and has published various articles in journals and magazines. He is passionate about helping people to discover, articulate and develop their personal spirituality and is looking forward to leading the Columbia Bible College Anabaptist Heritage tour (July 2-15, 2013) with TourMagination.
Jim Brown enjoys pastoring at Riverdale Mennonite Church in the intersection of Amish and small town culture in Millbank, Ontario. Born in Leamington, Ontario, Jim’s approach to ministry has been shaped by working for Native Ministries in Manitoba, serving with MVS in Hamilton, working in a community centre in a West Indian neighborhood in Toronto, and pastoring in several congregations. In 1999 Jim and his wife Sharon Hildebrand took their 3 sons for a two year term teaching Bible, theology and ministry courses at Lithuania Christian College. While there they used the opportunity as a family to explore Latvia and St. Petersburg, Russia. Jim and Sharon are both alumni of CMBC, Conrad Grebel, AMBS, and several Mennonite high schools. Upon returning to Canada Jim experienced the intersection of faith, money and the business world as he served with Mennonite Foundation of Canada for 6 years as a Stewardship Consultant across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In his Sabbath time from ministry Jim enjoys woodturning and keeping up with former students and worldwide friends on Facebook. As his first adventure with TourMagination Jim will host the Nazareth to Rome tour (Nov 3-15, 2014) with tour leader Nelson Kraybill.
Sid Burkey is the Chief Engagement Officer for Mennonite Economic Development Associates. He has served on MEDA's Board since 2005. He has founded, co‑owned and led three organizations and is currently part‑owner and President of Burkey Farms, Inc., a family-owned, diversified agribusiness. Sid and his wife, Peg, live in Dorchester, Nebraska. He and his family have a great passion for integrating faith and work, and have volunteered at Hesston College. An avid reader, Sid likes music, walking, tennis and golf - and playing with his grandkids. Sid will be co-leading TourMagination's MEDA Tour to Ethiopia and Tanzania, October 12-24, 2012.
Dave and Joyce Eshleman are the owners of Christian radio stations WBTX and WLTK in Harrisonburg, VA. Dave was born to medical missionary parents in East Africa. After graduating from Eastern Mennonite High School, he received his BA in radio from Bob Jones University and began his radio career at WBYO, Boyertown, PA in 1965. Joyce grew up in the Shenandoah Valley and also graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School. She worked for a number of years as administrative assistant to the director with Mennonite Media. She also worked at Eastern Mennonite University as administrative assistant in the Masters in Counseling program. Dave and Joyce love to travel and have led a number of group trips to Europe and the Middle East. They are members of Harrisonburg Mennonite Church. They have 4 children, 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild. They will be co-hosting TourMagination's Australia/ New Zealand tour and British Isles (England, Scotland and Wales) tour in 2013.
David Friesen was born and lived most of his life in Mexico. He enjoys leading TourMagination tours to Mexico. David enjoys sharing his stories about Mexico and the life, faith and culture of the Mexican people. In 2002, he and his wife Trudy moved to Manitoba where he is now a chaplain at Salem Home Inc., a personal care home in Winkler. Prior to moving to Canada, they worked for MCC in Mexico and in the 90’s ran a travel agency. In Mexico both he and Trudy taught school and David worked with the youth at the church they attended. Presently, they attend the Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church. They have one son, John Howard David, who works with his wife Irene in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico. David enjoys meeting people and has an interest in historical theology and Mennonite history.
Leonard and Mary Friesen have traveled extensively, and enjoy hiking and exploring the many UNESCO sites of this earth. Len is Associate Professor of History and Global Studies, University Advisor on Internationalization and the founding Chair of the Global Studies program at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is the author of Rural Revolutions in Southern Ukraine. Mary is a Special Education Resource teacher. Married for 35 years, Mary and Len have three adult children, two in-laws, one grandchild...and one aging Wheaton Terrier! They attend Waterloo North Mennonite Church. Len and Mary spent a year studying in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Len has led a number of TourMagination tours and says of the tour he led in 2010, "We think of this tour as a Christian pilgrimage of sorts, starting with the earliest church in Rome."
Pastor Jamie and Karen Gerber reside in Wellesley, Ontario. Jamie has been the pastor at Crosshill Mennonite Church since 1995. Before that, he worked for Ten Thousand Villages in New Hamburg, Ontario after returning from working in community and agricultural development in the Philippines through Eastern Mennonite Mission. They also visited Australia, Honduras and Israel on learning and working tours. Jamie grew up on a farm near Crosshill Ontario. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph in 1981, he married Karen Bender. They farmed for four years before Jamie returned to school for pastoral ministry training. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite Seminary with a Master of Divinity in 1990. His interests include hiking, running, gardening, birding and learning about the lives of people in other parts of the world. Karen is a family practice Nurse/receptionist at a doctor's office in Waterloo. They have one married child, and one grandchild. In September 2012 Jamie will begin a new job with the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union focused on commercial and agricultural lending. Jamie and Karen will lead TourMagination's Service Tour to Israel/Palestine with Pastor Jamie Gerber (October 12-21, 2013).
Stan and Susan Godshall served in Tanzania as missionaries at Shirati Hospital for five years. Susan has also traveled extensively in East Africa while serving as Africa Director for Eastern Mennonite Missions. She currently works as a chaplain in Pennsylvania. Stan is a medical doctor and is the song leader at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church. The Godshalls also lived for two years in Puerto Rico. Stan and Susan have three adult children and eight grandchildren. They enjoy photography, fruit farming, wood working, and amateur radio. Stan and Susan have a passion for Africa and will share their experiences as they co-lead Churches and Safaris in Kenya and Tanzania Tour, February 8-20, 2013.
Tyler Hartford is Associate Pastor of Pleasant View Mennonite Church, in Goshen, IN. He has been married to Genessa (Brenneman) Hartford for 11 years, and they have five children, Cadence, Kyrie, Brayson, Brannen and Bretton. Prior to serving in ministry, he was Marketing Manager for the Toledo (OH) Symphony. Tyler has had immersive travel experience in Italy, Mongolia, and Israel, and his passions include all the visual arts (especially Renaissance art, pottery and photography) and historical books, especially early Jewish/Christian history. Tyler enjoys drawing connections between the local congregation and global church, and invites others to make those connections with him. "I believe the only way we see as 'the other' sees is to meet them face to face, and then we can begin to envision what it means to be the global body of Christ." says Tyler. Tyler also has a deep love for making Scripture come to life and a passion for discovering Christ in the Old Testament – he invites others to join him in discovering our shared faith history. He is involved in the IN/MI conference of Mennonite Church USA, and a contributor to Rejoice (devotional magazine).
Erica Jantzen Erica Jantzen has led two previous TourMagination tours to China. She is a retired teacher currently living in Waterloo, Ontario. Erica taught in Toronto for 23 years before traveling abroad to teach in England, China and Malaysia and taking on summer teaching assignments in Japan, Somalia and Kyrgyzstan. She also spent three years with MCC in Germany. Erica is the author of a number of books, including Sheer Survival, an autobiography. She looks forward to leading TourMagination’s China and a Yangtze River Cruise tour (November 1-15, 2013).
Doug Klassen is the Senior Pastor at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary, Alberta. Born in Ontario, Doug married Rose during his time studying at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg. Doug and Rose took their first pastoral assignment in St. Catharines, ON. From there they moved to Winnipeg to serve a local church and work in the area of Young Adult Ministries with the Manitoba conference. They moved to Foothills in 1998. The Klassen family lives in N.W. Calgary, not far from the church and not far from the ranch where they go to spend time with their horses. In 2012, Keith will lead TourMagination’s Israel-Palestine with Pastor Doug Klassen tour (October 17-26, 2012).
Nelson Kraybill was the President of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana from 1997 to 2009. Earlier, he taught high school in Puerto Rico, pastored a church in Vermont and was program director at the London Mennonite Centre in England. A frequent speaker in congregational and conference settings, he has taught widely on issues of mission, allegiance, early church and the book of Revelation. He holds a PhD in New Testament from Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA. He is the author of "Miscarriage: A Quiet Grief," with his wife Ellen, "Imperial Cult and Commerce in John's Apocalypse and "On the Pilgrim's Way: Conversations on Christian Discipleship During a Twelve-Day Walk Across England." Nelson and Ellen are the parents of two young adult daughters. They are members of Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart. Nelson will lead the Israel/Palestine with Pastor Phil Wagler (April 16-25, 2013), and Following the Steps of Moses (July 22-31, 2013).
Bob Kroeker has been a full time employee of MEDA since January 1993 and currently works as MEDA’s Regional Director of Resource Development. In 2005, he completed a short term consulting development assignment for the MEDA Egypt project involving improving the lives of working children. He has organized and hosted several tours to MEDA projects in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Paraguay, Haiti, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tanzania. Prior to joining MEDA, he spent 27 years with Great West Life Assurance Company in various careers. Bob was raised on a grain farm in Manitoba and today lives in Winnipeg with his first spouse Joyce. They have three adult children and 7 grandchildren. His volunteer activities include playing bass guitar and serving on the nominating committee at his church. He loves music and spends some of his leisure time in the contemporary (smooth) jazz world, where he occasionally helps a professional flutist/saxophone player with marketing. He also enjoys camping and home building projects.
Steve Landis is the Pastoral Team Leader at Franconia Mennonite Church, PA, where he has served since 1994. He grew up in the Lancaster, PA, area. While at Eastern Mennonite University, his interest and love for the Middle East was sparked during a semester of travel and study, under the leadership of Willard Swartley. Steve graduated from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and served as Pastor at Mt. Jackson, VA, and Finland, PA, Mennonite congregations, prior to coming to Franconia. Rosemary, his wife, is the Nursing Coordinator for Community Home Services. Steve and Rosemary have three married children, and are expecting their first grandchild. Their son, David, and his wife, Anna, have been living in Nazareth, Israel, for the last few years, where they helped develop the Jesus Trail. Steve and Rosemary love traveling and enjoyed spending several weeks in Israel and Jordan in 2008.
Naomi and John Lederach have been married since 1954. They are parents of three children and have 13 grandchildren. They spent 14 years in pastoral ministry, 16 years in teaching and administration at Hesston College, and 10 years at Philhaven Hospital, Mt. Gretna, PA where they began Recovery of Hope, an intensive marital therapy program. Naomi has worked in the psychiatric / mental health field for over 26 years as an educator and nurse / therapist, while John has served as pastor, educator and therapist. He graduated from Goshen College with an education degree, from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries, and has a Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. John and Naomi served with MCC in Northern Ireland from 1994 to 1997 and again in 2001-2002, working at many levels of education and development in the community, with churches, women's groups, and police. They also did a short term MCC assignment in West Bank, Israel during a sabbatical year. Today they are "retired" but find many ways to occupy their time and energy, including grandparenting, involvement in College Mennonite Church, serving as overseers for the Waterford Congregation and leading TourMagination tours.
Luke Martin and his wife Mary were missionaries to Vietnam with Eastern Mennonite Missions from 1962 to 1975, and have returned many times in the past several years, including leading several TourMagination tours. Before retiring, Luke worked many years as a caseworker for Vietnamese clients at a social service center in Souderton, PA. He is now writing the story of the Mennonite work in Vietnam from 1954 to 1975. Luke and Mary are the parents of three adult children and have six grandchildren. They are active members of the Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church in Allentown. Luke's hobbies are photography, biking, gardening, family genealogy, history, and Vietnamese life and culture. His travels have taken him to more than 30 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. In 2012, Luke will be co-leading TourMagination’s Vietnam & Singapore tour (November 12-26, 2012).
Wilmer Martin was born in 1945 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He holds joint US and Canadian citizenship. Wilmer married Janet Ranck in 1965. Together they have two grown children, a daughter-in-law, and two young grandchildren. Between 1964 and 1991, Wilmer served as the Minister of the Chambersburg Mennonite Church, the Tavistock Mennonite Church in Tavistock, Ontario, and the Erb Street Mennonite Church in Waterloo, Ontario. Wilmer graduated from the Ontario Mennonite Bible Institute in 1968, received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo in 1980, a Master of Theological Studies from Waterloo Lutheran Seminary in 1989 and attended the Canadian Association of Pastoral Education. Wilmer has served on numerous church-wide Boards in North America. He was the CEO and President of Habitat for Humanity Canada from 1991 to 2000. Wilmer is the Owner and President of TourMagination and serves as a tour leader on many of the tours offered. In 2009, Wilmer’s book of reflections on 40 years of TourMagination tours and his own travels, Building Bridges, was published. Wilmer enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, golfing and travel. In 2013, Wilmer will lead Australia and New Zealand; Mystery Tour; European Heritage with Paul Zehr; European Heritage with John Ruth; Columbia Bible College Anabaptist Heritage; Following the Steps of Moses; British Isles (England, Scotland & Wales); Behind the Veil - Experiencing Egypt; and European Christmas Markets. In 2014, Wilmer will lead The Amazon Rainforest & Galapagos Islands (January 16 - 26, 2014), Explore South America (Iguazu Falls, Paraguay & Peru (March 16 - 28, 2014), Legendary Rhine & Moselle Cruise (May 3 - 16, 2014), European Heritage with John Ruth (June 24 - July 7, 2014), and Churches & Safaris in Ethiopia & Tanzania (October 10-21, 2014).
Janet Martin (née Ranck) was born and raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where she attended and graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School. She also attended and graduated from the Ontario Mennonite Bible Institute. She married Wilmer Martin on October 2, 1965. Janet worked with Wilmer as the church secretary when he pastored at Tavistock Mennonite and Erb Street Mennonite. Janet served as Wilmer's administrative assistant at Habitat for Humanity Canada. Today they work together as co-owners of TourMagination, developing and arranging tours, and co-leading some tours together. Janet and Wilmer have two adult children, Janelle and Alan, and a daughter-in-law, Christiane. Janet has retired from working at the TourMagination office; however, she continues to edit and produce the tour diaries from her home computer, will help to lead some tours and does consultation work for TM. She enjoys babysitting her young grandchildren, Matthew and Miriam. Her favorite way to relax is by reading a good book. In 2013 Janet will co-lead the Mystery Tour (April 17-26, 2013) with Wilmer and in 2014 she will co-lead the Legendary Rhine & Moselle Cruise (May 3 - 16, 2014).
Carey and Sebastian Meadows-Helmer enjoy traveling and have traveled together to Algonquin Park, Nova Scotia, and Nashville, as well as Germany, Switzerland and France. Sebastian grew up in Montreal and started playing the violin at age five. After studying music at McGill University, he pursued a freelance career as an orchestral violinist. In 2005, he started his seminary education, first at the Anglican Montreal Diocesan Theological College and then at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, where he met Carey. They were married in 2009. Since September of 2010, Sebastian is pastor at the bilingual English-German congregation of Christ the King – Dietrich Bonheoffer Lutheran in Thornhill, Ontario. Carey grew up in London, Ontario, studying at University of Western Ontario and Windsor University to become an elementary school teacher, a profession she practiced for five years. Her seminary education at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary led her to be ordained in 2008, whereupon she was called to Christ Lutheran Church in Maynooth, and St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Schutt. Following a half-year of Sunday worship leadership at Meadowvale Lutheran, Mississauga, she was appointed Interim Pastor of Epiphany Lutheran, Scarborough in July of 2011. Carey and Sebastian looking forward to leading TourMagination's Lands of the Bible with Pastors Sebastian & Carey Meadows-Helmer tour (April 28 – May 7, 2013).
Henry and Leonora Paetkau have been married since 1974 and have four married adult daughters and are expecting their first grandchild. Henry is a longtime leader in the Mennonite Church of Ontario and Canada, and was the President of Conrad Grebel University College from 2003 to 2011. He served as a pastor for 22 years in three different churches of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (Harrow Mennonite Church, Windsor Mennonite Fellowship, Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines) and as the Denominational Minister of Mennonite Church Canada for several years and as a hospital chaplain. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Western Ontario (1986), with his graduate research focusing on the history of Russian Mennonite immigrants in Ontario, and a variety of published articles. Leonora is an elementary school librarian with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.
Audrey Voth Petkau was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After graduating from Bible College, she married Terry Petkau and together they raised their two sons, Tyler and Evan. As a family they worshipped and worked in the Fort Garry Mennonite Brethren Church until their move to southern Ontario. During their early years of marriage, Audrey worked in the financial field but then returned back to University to study Apparel Design and operated a small business for the next 10 years. Audrey has volunteered with many school and conference boards and committees in the area of education. She joined TourMagination in 2002 and enjoys her work as the office manager directing many aspects of the administration and operations at TM. Audrey also provides leadership and coordination for a number of tours each year. Audrey will lead Music & Markets: Danube Christmas Cruise (December 1-8, 2012), Panama Canal Cruise (February 26-March 8, 2013), MEDA in Morocco (April 2-12, 2013), Great Trek Tour with John Sharp (May 7-18, 2013), Iceland Eco Tour (June 10-19, 2013), and China and a Yangtze River Cruise (November 1-13, 2013).
Terry Petkau currently acts as Director of Building Services for the national office of Habitat for Humanity Canada, providing expertise and support to Canadian affiliates. His work has also focused on directing special projects that allow him the opportunity to be involved with Habitat’s exciting international work and taking him to various countries around the world. He has participated in a leadership role with TourMagination on several tours and will continue this partnership for the future. Terry enjoys long distance cycling, both for pleasure and as a means of fundraising for different organizations. Terry is married to Audrey Voth Petkau; together they have two young adult sons and one daughter-in-law. In 2013 he will lead TourMagination’s Panama Canal Cruise (February 26-March 8, 2013), and Iceland Eco Tour (June 10-19, 2013) with his wife, Audrey.
Fred and Shirley Redekop are experienced TourMagination tour leaders. Fred has been the pastor at Floradale Mennonite church for 20 years. He also writes columns on faith issues for the local newspaper. He serves on the Board of Conrad Grebel University College. Shirley works as an Outreach worker for low-income families in the Waterloo region. She leads worship and teaches Sunday School at Floradale Mennonite. Together they are the parents of four young adult children and one daughter-in-law. Their travels have taken them to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (with Mennonite Central Committee), Europe, Central/South America, Turkey and Greece. Fred enjoys cycling, reading, current politics, golf and cross-stitching, while Shirley enjoys reading, movies, travel and motorcycling. In 2013, Fred will lead TourMagination's Explore the World of Paul with Tom Yoder Neufeld (May 1-17, 2013). Fred & Shirley will lead TourMagination's India: History, Change and the Church with Bert & Martha Lobe (October 6-21, 2013).
Ken Rodgers has been on the music faculty of Hesston College since 1988. A native of central Kansas, Ken graduated from Hesston College in 1985, Goshen (Ind.) College in 1987, and the University of Kansas (Lawrence) with a master's degree in church music in 1998. Since completing his master's degree, Ken has done work toward a Ph.D. in church music. As an organist, Ken has accompanied Hesston College's choirs on several of their tours of Europe. He has also given recitals in Germany and throughout the United States. During the summer of 1997, Ken was the organist for the University of Kansas Chamber Choir tour of England under the direction of Simon Carrington. Together with Dallas Stutzman, Ken will lead the Hesston College Alumni Tour to Europe (Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany) May 24 - June 6, 2013.
John Ruth was born in southeastern Pennsylvania and has been a Mennonite pastor since 1952. He holds a PhD in English from Harvard and was a professor of English at Eastern College in St. David’s, Pennsylvania. He has published a large number of books, articles, and documentaries, many offering an informative look at the lives of Mennonites, Hutterites and the Amish. His most recent book examines the legacy of the killing of young Amish girls at the West Nickel Mines Amish School. John has been married to Roma since 1953 and together they have three grown children. They are members of Salford Mennonite Church in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. John has led numerous TourMagination tours as a gifted storyteller, bringing insight to tour members. He will lead TourMagination's European Heritage with John Ruth (June 6-19, 2013) and again in 2014 - European Heritage with John Ruth (June 24 - July 7, 2014).
George Saliib worked in Egypt for the Mennonite Central Committee for 23 years and Mennonite Economic Development Associates for seven years as the Financial Manager before moving to the United States with his wife, Magy, and their two children. Today he works as the Lead of the Hygiene Department for a dentist in Akron, Pennsylvania, and continues to urge people to pray for Egypt. In 2013, George will co-lead TourMagination’s Behind the Veil – Experiencing Egypt tour (October 17-28, 2013).
John Sharp is a historian who teaches at Hesston College, in Hesston, Kansas. As the former director of the Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee and Archives, John holds a Masters of Divinity Degree from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. John has also been an instructor of Elderhostel classes on Amish life and culture, editor of the Mennonite Historical Bulletin and has written and edited various publications. He has led a variety of TourMagination Mennonite heritage tours to Europe and Central Asia. He is married to Michele Miller Sharp, a physician assistant in family practice. They have three adult children. John says, “There's nothing like hearing the stories on site. I eagerly anticipate the stories, landscapes, and fellowship that await us and I am already savoring the rich blend of culture, history, and scenery!” In 2013, John will lead TourMagination’s Great Trek Tour (May 7-18, 2013).
Lorne Smith lives on the family farm that was purchased in 1917. His granddaughters are the fifth generation living on this property. Lorne is a lifelong member of Bethesda Lutheran Church in Unionville, a church begun in 1794 by one of his ancestors. Today Lorne serves on the Church Council and is the chair of the Property Committee, after serving for 27 years as the church Treasurer. Lorne is active in Eastern Synod committees and has been a member of the Board of the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary at Wilfrid Laurier University. He worked for the Ministry of Education in Ontario for 25 years and is the official Historian for the Town of Markham. He has been married to his wife Carol for 48 years; together they have three children and six grandchildren. Lorne has been associated with TourMagination for 20 years and is an experienced tour leader. Lorne will lead TourMagination's tour to the Lands of the Bible with Pastors Sebastian and Carey Meadows-Helmer (April 28 - May 7, 2013), and will co-lead European Christmas Markets (December 9-15, 2013). In 2014, Lorne and his wife Carol will lead TourMagination's Jamaica - Its People, Natural Beauty and Fruits tour (January 18 - 27, 2014).
Edgar Stoesz grew up on a farm near Mountain Lake, MN. He was married to Gladys who recently passed away. Together they had four children who are grown. He worked for Mennonite Central Committee for 34 years, in six different assignments. At the same time, he served for 38 years as the CEO of Mennonite Indemnity, a mutual aid reinsurance company. Edgar is a longtime board member on the Grant Foundation Board (Haiti), including five years as its chair. He served on the Board of Habitat for Humanity International for seven years, including four years as chair. Edgar is the author of nine books, including Like a Mustard Seed: Mennonites in Paraguay and Doing Good Even Better. He is currently the Moderator, Atlantic Coast Conference of Mennonite Church USA.
Melissa Stoner is the Regional Director, Resource Development, with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA). She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education from Messiah College and her Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) designation from American College. In the past, Melissa has held positions at Zion Mennonite Church, Circle of Hope Network, Mennonite Central Committee, and Friends Fiduciary Corporation. She has traveled in Europe, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa. As well, Melissa has led tours to Nicaragua and Haiti. In addition to traveling, Melissa enjoys hiking and spending time in the woods or by a lake. She loves playing tennis as well as watching professional tennis. Melissa also likes to welcome people she does and does not know into her home—sometimes she calls it her B&B. Most important to her is time spent with family and friends. In 2013, Melissa will be co-leading the MEDA in Morocco tour (April 2-12).
Dallas Stutzman is the Director of Alumni and Church Relations at Hesston College. Together with Ken Rodgers, Dallas will lead the Hesston College Alumni Tour to Europe (Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany) May 24 - June 6, 2013.
Ervin R. Stutzman is Executive Director for Mennonite Church USA. Before taking on this role in January 2010, he served for nearly 12 years as Dean and Professor of Church Ministries at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va. He has also served the Mennonite Church in the roles of pastor, district overseer, missions administrator, conference moderator and, from 2001 to 2003, as moderator for Mennonite Church USA.
Ervin was born a twin into an Amish home in Kalona, Iowa. After his father’s death a few years later, his mother moved the family to her home community near Hutchinson, Kan. Ervin married Bonita Haldeman of Manheim, Pa. Together they served for five years with Rosedale Mennonite Missions in Cincinnati. The Stutzmans currently live in Harrisonburg, Va., and are members of Park View Mennonite Church, where Ervin regularly teaches a men’s Bible study.
Ervin is a preacher, teacher and writer. His Herald Press publications include Being God’s People, a study for new believers, Creating Communities of the Kingdom (co-authored with David Shenk), Welcome!, a book encouraging the church to welcome new members, Tobias of the Amish, a story of his father’s life and community, and Emma, A Widow Among the Amish, the story of his mother.
Ervin and Bonita enjoy doing woodworking projects together. They have three adult children, Emma, Daniel and Benjamin. In 2014, Ervin will lead TourMagination's Churches & Safaris in Ethiopia & Tanzania (October 10-21, 2014).
Darrel Toews' call to pastoral ministry was nurtured in the Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference, serving as Youth Pastor in Bagot and Gospel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. In 1989 Darrel received a call to pastoral ministry within Mennonite Church Eastern Canada and has pastored at Tavistock and is currently serving at Breslau, Ontario. Darrel holds a Bachelor of Religious Studies from Steinbach Bible College, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Winnipeg, and a Master of Divinity from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries. Darrel is married to Lucille, who is a Human Resources professional, having worked most recently in this capacity for Ten Thousand Villages. Darrel and Lucille traveled with TourMagination on a Mennonite Heritage Tour (Europe, 2004) and on an Eco Adventure Tour (Australia and New Zealand, 2013). Darrel participated in the Jerusalem Seminar study tour (Israel/Palestine/Jordan, 1998) with Bethel College/MCC. Besides traveling, Darrel and Lucille enjoy reading, music, theatre arts and ballroom dancing. Darrel and Lucille have three adult children, two sons-in-law and two adorable baby grandsons.
Phil Wagler is the Senior Associate Pastor at Gracepoint Community Church in Surrey, British Columbia. Together with his wife, Jen, he has served in different parts of Canada including Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia. He has been a youth pastor, solo pastor, lead pastor, college dean, para-church servant, in addition to working on dairy farms, doing lawn maintenance, hardware, and even dabbling in radio (and not just turning the dial!). Phil has four children and a dog. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, reading, and being a student of culture and inspiring the church to be on mission with God for the transformation of cities, towns, and side roads. He is also an author of regular columns, a book, and a lot of scribble notes. In 2013, Phil will lead TourMagination’s Israel/Palestine with Pastor Phil Wagler tour (April 16-25, 2013).
Tom Yoder Neufeld is Professor of Religious Studies (New Testament) at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo. He graduated with a BA in History from the University of Manitoba and both a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Theology in New Testament from Harvard Divinity School. He loves teaching Jesus, Paul, and issues of peace in the Bible, and has published a variety of books, including a commentary on Ephesians (Believers Church Bible Commentary series) and most recently Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament. Having been a pastor as well as hospital and prison chaplain, Yoder Neufeld teaches and preaches extensively in congregational and conference settings and has led several TourMagination tours exploring the area of Paul’s ministry in Turkey and Greece. Tom will lead Explore the World of Paul (May 1 - 17, 2013).
Paul Zehr grew up in Croghan, NY, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Mennonite College in 1962. In 1965, he graduated from Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He is married to Mary Martin; together they are parents of four adult children and six grandchildren. Paul pastored an inner-city church in St. Petersburg, Florida for eight years. In 1975, he received a Th.M. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. From 1975 to 2005, he taught college and seminary level courses in the Lancaster area, as well as biblical, theological, Anabaptist and practical courses for pastors. In 1987, he graduated from the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a D. Min. degree. The author of four books, Paul taught for two summers at Meserete Kristos College in Ethiopia. He has served as the bishop of the Mellinger District of Lancaster Mennonite Conference for 25 years, and has served on denominational boards (Mennonite Church General Board and Mennonite Board of Education) as well as being the Fraternal Representative for Lancaster Mennonite Conference to Mennonite churches and conferences in Europe and has been the chairman of the Editorial Council of the Believers Church Bible Commentary since 1987. Paul has led tours to Germany, France and Switzerland and enjoys travel. Paul will lead our European Heritage with Paul Zehr tour (May 2-15, 2013).