Born and raised in Western Canada, John grew up in a home where the Bible was part of daily conversation. As a young man he dedicated his life to the Lord and sought training with New Tribes Mission. While in mission’s training in Ontario, he met his wife, Janice, who was also from a solid Christian background.
Together they prepared themselves for working overseas. Upon completing four years of training, John taught Bible-Missions in the NTM Candidate School. Subsequently they were instrumental in starting the NTM short-term program and over the next 20 years saw 5000 short-termers serve overseas. In 1996 John took the years of experience gained in NTM and wrote a book for those who know little or nothing about the Bible. Called “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” this book and its derivatives snowballed into a ministry of its own.
John and Janice have travelled extensively and lived abroad in several countries, including ten years in Papua New Guinea. John has written and directed a number of award-winning videos, the best known being “EE-TAOW!” They have two adult children and three grandchildren. John is a Bible teacher and an author for GoodSeed. Janice works in proofreading and hospitality.
Troy was raised in a Christian home in the small town of Sackville, New Brunswick. He understood his need for salvation at a young age and grew up involved in his home church of Main Street Baptist Church. After completing university and several years in the secular work environment, Troy sought out biblical training at Word of Life Bible Institute in New York.
Naomi grew up as a missionary kid. She also trusted Jesus as her Saviour and desired to walk with Him from a young age. Her parents worked with NTM and much of her youth was spent in Papua New Guinea, so Naomi desired to enter full-time ministry from a young age. After high school, Naomi also attended Word of Life Bible Institute, where she and Troy met.
Right after their honeymoon, the Johnstones jumped into full-time ministry, helping Word of Life start up a Bible Institute satellite in Ontario. After five years there, they began to see that the Lord was guiding them to make a ministry change where their God-given talents and skills could most effectively be used in ministry with GoodSeed.
When it comes to missionary work, the Johnstones have realized the need to be flexible and help out in many areas beyond their assigned roles. Troy's formal responsibilities currently include video production, IT help, teaching at seminars, sitting on numerous committees and on the Boards for GoodSeed UK & Europe. Naomi is the Hospitality and Social Coordinator for our Canadian ministry, Proofreading Coordinator and a writer, when she's not busy being mom to their two daughters and son.
Alain was born in Gatineau, Quebec and was raised in a Christian family. His convictions became firmer when he met his future wife at the age of 26. He is still amazed and forever grateful to have been so blessed by God in that, although he was being disobedient by dating a non-Christian, God’s grace overflowed towards him. God saved Brigitte, reaffirmed Alain’s faith and gave him a family of his own. Alain’s prayer is that God might save his son also and that He might help him every day to be the man of God, husband and father He wants him to be.
Brigitte was also born and raised in Gatineau, Quebec. She had a happy childhood. While a teenager, she started questioning herself about spiritual things. Brigitte met her future husband through her sister who was Alain’s colleague at work. The Lord really spoke to Brigitte’s heart through the life testimony of Alain and his family. God gave her a gift… the gift of salvation. She put her trust in Jesus Christ because she realized that she was a sinner and needed a Saviour. God had provided a way for her to be saved. He adopted her and now she belongs to God’s family. Her prayer is that God would make her the godly woman, wife and mother He wants her to be.
Brigitte first learned about GoodSeed through The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus and The Lamb books. A few years later, Gaetan and Ivy Pilon mentioned their need for administrative help and God allowed Brigitte to be free to help them at BonneSemence Canada (the French office of GoodSeed).
Brigitte’s responsibilities include maintaining the French presence of GoodSeed online (webstore, website, blog, facebook) and taking care of administrative tasks. Alain contributes in various areas, such as IT support, the posting of blog articles and the sending out of eNewsletters. He is a good support for Brigitte in this ministry; together they form a great team! Alain and Brigitte are grateful to God for the opportunity of working with GoodSeed and participating in this wonderful ministry for the Lord Jesus Christ.
UK & IRELAND
Mervyn was raised in the West of Scotland in a home where the Bible was read and the gospel was taught. He made a profession of faith in Christ in his late teens and met Kathy at the local Baptist church. Kathy was not from a Christian home but believed in Christ for salvation after the minister’s daughter shared the gospel with her. Kathy and Mervyn married in 1996 and God blessed them with two daughters. After a number of years of gradually becoming cold in their faith, and drifting from their devotion to God and His Word, a sermon challenged them about living the rest of their life following God wholeheartedly.
Over the course of the next few years God continued to challenge Mervyn and Kathy about sharing the gospel with others. Desiring to follow God’s leading in their life they moved to N. Ireland in 2006, and then eventually to attend New Tribes Mission Bible College in England in 2008. It was at NTM that they first heard of the book, ‘The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus.” Returning to N. Ireland in 2010, Mervyn completed three further years of study at the Irish Baptist College.
In 2014 after attending two GoodSeed TERM seminars and running a GoodSeed Worldview Rethink course, Kathy and Mervyn began working with GoodSeed full time, convinced that this was the ministry God had called them to. Working from the new UK and Ireland office based in Portadown, N. Ireland, they are encouraged to see how God is using the ministry of GoodSeed to bring a clear understanding of the Gospel to so many people across the world.
Ken was blessed with a godly mother who dedicated her life to raising six children to serve the Lord. At age ten, he attended a Christian camp and trusted Christ as his Savior. In later years, with a wife and two children, he went through Bible school, beginning the preparation for full-time Christian service.
Joyce was raised in a Christian family and trusted Christ as her personal Savior at age ten also. She studied beside Ken in Bible school and they completed training with New Tribes Mission together.
Ken and Joyce moved to Brazil where they served for 17 years.
Using their experience in cross-cultural ministries and with the chronological teaching of the Bible, God has prepared them for serving with GoodSeed International. They are representatives in New England and Brazil, leading Bible studies and helping to equip pastors and other Christian workers in the areas of evangelism and discipleship.
Ernie and Karen met at New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, Michigan, the summer of 1987. He was 31 and still a student; she was 20 and a full-fledged missionary with NTM, serving in the Bible school’s kitchen, but gearing up to head to Ivory Coast, West Africa. Less than a year later, they were married and on their way to missionary training in Baker, Oregon.
Karen was saved at age 7. She “got serious” about walking with the Lord at age 17 and went to Word of Life Bible Institute in New York. She was challenged to world missions when New Tribes Missionaries spoke in Chapel and she heard for the first time that there are still millions who not only have never heard the Gospel, but have no chance of hearing, because there has been literally no one to tell them, and the Bible has never been translated into their language (Romans 10:13-14).
Karen went on a short-term mission trip to the Oiampi tribe in Brazil and was absolutely hooked. Upon returning, she signed up for the New Tribes training as a single.
Ernie was saved at age 26 while working at a radio station in Detroit. He had graduated from the University of Michigan in 1977, wanting a career in broadcast journalism. Ernie was challenged to world missions through the book, “The Shadow of the Almighty,” about the martyred missionary, Jim Elliot, and came to Bible school at age 30.
Ernie and Karen thought they were heading overseas, but God had other plans. New Tribes leadership asked them to go to Wisconsin to take over the radio ministry of NTM, “The Call of the Tribes,” because of Ernie’s background in radio.
After a year and a half of producing and directing the radio program, Ernie was invited to teach at the Waukesha Bible School. The Richards served there for the past 26 years. Ernie has taught Evangelism, Romans, the Life of Christ, Hermeneutics (Bible Interpretation), Hebrews, Epistles of John, Psalms, Minor Prophets and several others. He also served as Evangelism Director.
Karen homeschooled their four children; Carissa (1990), Danika (’92), Abel (’94) and Levi (’97). She also served in the Bible school’s child care department, at the school’s k-6 academy, at the reception desk, education office and as Ernie’s grader.
Both Ernie and Karen have seen the effectiveness of using “Stranger” in leading folks to saving faith in Christ.
Ernie will be taking on the role of “Field Representative” with GoodSeed. That will involve some writing, presenting the work in various churches, training Christians to use GoodSeed materials in evangelism and discipleship, and conducting ongoing Bible studies, themselves.
In the words of Ernie and Karen, “We are very new to the work of GoodSeed, and look forward with great excitement to see just how the Lord will prosper His work in the years ahead.”
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Despite coming from two different worlds, God lead Gregory and Rachel to the one path they share today.
Gregory grew up in Georgia in a less then perfect environment. He would often be left to his own devises. Thankfully his grandmother diligently prayed for him. She sent him bible story books which gave him a hunger for the Word. Around the age of 8, he hopped on a church bus that came through his neighborhood. There at church he learned Jesus died for him and what it meant to have a Savior. His heart changed, but his tumultuous home life did not. At 17 he found himself homeless and alone. Gregory followed a path which took him seemingly far from God, despite the Spirit’s constant tug at his heart. In the years that followed, Gregory strove and found worldly success in an array of creative fields from marketing and design, to writing and teaching. Thankfully, God never gave up on him and loved him through it all.
Rachel was a young girl in Florida when she was saved, surrounded by New Tribes Missionaries and her parents who faithfully served the Lord. But she decided serving God was not for her. She soon realized living for oneself was far more painful than expected. It wasn’t till after Bible School she became willing to live for God and serve Him.
Rachel went on an internship to Papua New Guinea, where she took a course on the Bible using The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. The stories she heard growing up fell into place, and for the first time, the Gospel made incredible sense. After two more years in missions training, in 2001, Rachel worked short-term with GoodSeed. She was so impacted by how God transformed lives around the world through a clear understanding of the Bible, she decided to continue on as a graphic designer.
When the GoodSeed office was being remodeled, Rachel went to the store for supplies. She happened to talk with a man there and gave him a copy of The Stranger. A few days later he stopped by the office and asked Rachel to meet for coffee to talk about the book. She thought, “Going to Starbucks can’t hurt. Maybe it will be a chance to share about the Lord.” Little did she know it was a date and he was already a Christian!
Gregory and Rachel married in September 2016. Looking back, they can see how God planned all along to equip them to serve together in this ministry.
Gregory will apply his experience as Creative Director for marketing, curriculum development, and teaching. Rachel will continue utilizing her talent as a graphic designer for web and print.
Together they desire to see the gospel change lives just as it has changed theirs.
Russ was born and raised in a Christian family. He trusted the Lord as his personal Saviour at the age of four. After High School, he went through the New Tribes Mission’s Bible School and Missions Training. He then worked in ministry expense accounting for two years, followed by twelve years in NTM’s short-term missions department. While he was growing up in Borneo, Indonesia, an old man who received the gospel asked this question: “If this is true, why has no one come to tell us before now? What about my parents and others who died without hearing this news?” This continues to stir Russ’s heart to see that every person has a chance to hear the gospel before it is too late.
Karyn was born in 1964 to missionary parents. Karyn also trusted the Lord as her Saviour at an early age. After high school she worked as an office assistant at a local hardware store before going on to Bible School and Missions Training with NTM. Karyn left the Missions Training program early to work as Russ’ secretary in ministry expense accounting in 1986. They were married on July 12 that same year. Russ and Karyn have three children: Kristy, born in 1989, Melissa and Ryan born in March of 1990.
Russ & Karyn believe that God has prepared them both for ministry with GoodSeed. They have been involved in teaching and drama ministries in their local church, leading worship, and evangelistic Bible studies. Their experience in teaching the Bible chronologically and their heart-beat for missions make them uniquely qualified to manage the GoodSeed office.
Job Description: Russ works with GoodSeed USA as the Office Administrator and Translation Coordinator. He also serves as the Secretary on the International Board, answering emails and phone calls, establishing project priorities, and in the development of partners for funding the ministry.
In addition to his responsibilities in administration, Russ teaches seminars to help churches and individuals be more effective in their evangelism.
Johannes was born in Germany. His family occasionally attended an evangelical state church. While he was studying law, his father got cancer and other troubles crossed his way. He began to search for the purpose of life. He knew a lot of biblical stories and thought he was a believer, but he did not have a relationship with Jesus. When he read The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, he understood the gospel clearly for the first time. He recognized his sinfulness and decided to trust Jesus as his Savior. From then on he had the desire to tell other people the gospel. He realized the need for clear teaching of the gospel in Germany and in all of Europe.
Agata grew up in a Catholic family in Poland. As a nine-year-old girl, she moved to Germany. Everything she knew about God was only religion and tradition. One day a friend from school gave her a copy of The Stranger as a gift, but she was not interested and put it on her bookshelf. Years later during her law studies, she assisted two “healers” and after this experience she started to search for the truth. She remembered the book The Stranger and began to read it. Not only did she find all of the answers that she was searching for, but became a believer as well. From this moment, the gospel filled her with joy but also with sadness for all of the people who are lost. So, she started to pray that God would use her to tell other people the gospel.
Johannes and Agata got to know each other during their law studies. They became believers at the same time and their friendship turned into a romance. They married and had two sons: Julian (2010) and Liron (2012). They started to pray that God would use them to share the gospel with other people. God gave them opportunities to lead other people to the Lord. In 2011 they started to lead Bible studies with another couple using The Stranger. God used the Bible studies and people became believers.
After visiting the GoodSeed offices in Canada and the USA and meeting the GoodSeed staff, Agata and Johannes decided to join GoodSeed in February 2014. They are excited to be a part of opening an office in Germany.
Abram and Helene Penner were both born and raised in the former Soviet Union. Their parents were strong believers who still walk closely with the Lord. In the early 1980s, their families moved to Germany. As young children, both Abram and Helene trusted in Jesus as their Saviour and learned from an early age to serve God within the local church, which they both attended together. As they grew older, they became involved in different outreaches into their community.
High school sweethearts, the Penners were married at age 21 and in the space of five years, the Lord blessed them with four lovely daughters: Jacqueline (born in 1993), twins Laura and Leonie (1996) and Kathleen (1997). They are thankful that their girls have all trusted Christ as their Saviour and walk with him.
As newlyweds, Abram and and Helene realized a burden the Lord had placed on their hearts to reach out to those who didn't yet know Jesus. They pursued training with New Tribes Mission and worked with the organization for 24 years, serving in Russia and Germany. As missionaries with NTM, the Penners wore many "hats", gradually taking on greater leadership roles within the mission. They were thankful for the opportunities they had to travel to Africa, Asia, South America and Russia visiting European missionaries in those locations and leading short-term trips with young people.
However, the Penners began to yearn for more time and opportunity to reach out to those living around them in Germany who didn't know Christ. They realized, that while they gladly supported others in their roles to reach people with the gospel, their own ministry did not easily lend itself to reaching people with the good news.
This realization led them to begin Bible studies using GoodSeed materials with local acquaintances whenever they had the opportunity outside their responsibilities with NTM. Again and again, they saw people come to an understanding of the gospel and faith in Christ. Soon, they were leading up to six different studies a week, with various churches requesting training on how they too could reach their own communities in a similar way. Abram and Helene began to see the Lord taking them in a new direction.
In 2013, the Penners officially joined GoodSeed and helped establish the European office in Germany. The Penners consider Europe a "dark continent," with believers representing as little as 0.5% of the population in many countries. Their vision is to see churches across Europe teaching the gospel in their communities in a way that is both clear and transferable. Beside ongoing weekly Bible studies, the Penners train believers to reach out in their own communities, develop partnerships across continent, and help maintain the office in Detmold, Germany.
The Penners would appreciate your prayer and support as they energetically seek to build the church in Europe and among the large immigrant population.
David was raised in a Jehovah Witness family in Luxembourg and learned many of the Bible stories from his father, a teaching elder in the organization. When he was in his early teens, his parents left the JW's and David was launched into years of rebellion as he had to find new friends in the world outside of the group. As a result of hearing the gospel when he was 19 and spending time searching the Bible for himself, he came to believe that Christ died for his sins and gave him forgiveness and Christ's righteousness. As a Luxembourg national, he realized that the Luxembourgers need to hear the gospel in their own language, so that God is no longer a God of the foreigners, but their God too.
Born in Luxembourg to Welsh parents, Miriam was raised by a Christian mother and understood the gospel for herself when she was about 6. When she was 10, her father, after having left them when she was quite young, committed suicide and this sparked about 7 years of rebellion, during which time she was angry at God and her family. God is faithful and patient, though, and once she had acknowledged that she could not run her own life, He brought her back into restored fellowship with Himself when she was 17. Over the next few years, God gradually impressed upon her the need to reach out to the Luxembourgish people in their own language, as so little of this is being done. He has also shown them that they need to provide the Luxembourgish community with evangelistic tools and a Bible in their own language.
Both David and Miriam speak Luxembourgish, English, French, and German.
Job Description: Establish a GoodSeed distribution office in Europe, Translation Consultants for European languages
Both Andrew (from Northern Ireland) and Nelli (from Germany) heard and believed the gospel at an early age and then were challenged to full-time ministry overseas. It was while they were training in England for overseas ministry to tribal people that the Lord brought them together, and they were married in 2001. The Lord has since blessed them with two children, Debi born in 2003 and Joshua born in 2006.
In 2004, having completed three years of missions training with New Tribes Mission in the UK, the Wilsons moved to Papua New Guinea to be tribal church planters. After initially learning the national trade Language, they and another family moved into a tribal location with the North Wahgi people group with the desire to teach them the message of God’s plan of salvation in their own language.
In Papua New Guinea, the Wilsons were involved in the development of an alphabet for the North Wahgi, teaching literacy, translation of the Scriptures and Bible lessons, and the teaching of those Bible lessons. As a result, they now praise the Lord that His Word pierced the hearts and minds of a handful of the North Wahgi people, and, having believed in Christ’s finished work, they are saved today!
In 2012 the Wilsons returned to Northern Ireland for what was intended to be a medical furlough. However, God had other plans for them and, they were not to return to PNG. Taking the mindset that evangelism and discipleship are a lifelong lifestyle, the Wilsons were actively involved in their community in Northern Ireland, just as they had been with the North Wahgi people of PNG.
They enjoyed using the book The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus as a discipleship/teaching tool with individuals and in small groups. In early 2016 they connected more with GoodSeed staff in Northern Ireland, and soon began to enquire as to whether they could be part of the work of GoodSeed International. In the summer of 2016 they were invited to join the GoodSeed Europe office, headquartered in Germany.
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