Six Make the Covenant in Appleton

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Chris Meehan

Covenant Appleton From left: Ken Haen, Egide Nimubona, Revocate Niyizonkiza, Fred and Dorothy Gedemer, Emily Siebers and David Sklorenko. Photo credit: Ruth Schmelzer

Six members of the Appleton branch made the covenant of the People of Praise on October 22. They include a married couple from Africa, a married couple in their 80s, a retired heavy equipment operator and a single woman who met the community through a church choir.

"The fact that this diverse group of people all found what they were looking for in the People of Praise speaks to the strength of our community life," says Steve Pable, head of the branch leaders team.

Egide Nimubona and Revocate Niyizonkiza both grew up in Burundi. They met and married in Canada, before a job change for Egide brought the couple to Appleton in 2002. Two months after their arrival, they went to the Appleton airport to celebrate with their friends and fellow African immigrants Peter and Ana Vakunta, who were welcoming their children to the US from Cameroon. The Vakuntas are members of the Appleton branch, and so many branch members were also on hand. Their enthusiasm made an impression.

"When I saw tears in the eyes of some of you waiting for those children, I thought, this is not a normal group!," Egide says. "I knew right away that this was the group for me."

Revocate says she was not looking forward to starting over again in Appleton after leaving friends and family behind in Canada. But the fact that community members call one another "brother" and "sister" made an immediate impression on her. "My brothers and sisters in the community have embraced me and accepted me the same way my biological brothers and sisters do."

Fred and Dorothy Gedemer were neighbors for more than 30 years who married after their spouses died. Between them they have 10 children, 34 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, "and we've only been married for 10 years!," Fred quips. The Gedemers heard about the People of Praise from several branch members who were with them on a group trip to Israel. "We found the way the community thinks about the importance of serving others was a good fit with our perspective on serving. We're like-minded in that way," Fred says.

The only Appleton native in the group, Emily Siebers works for the book printer, R.R. Donnelley. She heard about the community from branch members in her church choir. "My favorite part of community life is simply going to the weekly meeting and talking to my friends," she says. "Actually, everyone in the group is a friend of mine!"

Ken Haen is retired from a career in heavy equipment that had him digging lakes in Florida, mining in Kentucky and building coal ships that travel the Great Lakes. He moved to Appleton for work in 2005, leaving behind close friends from a prayer group in Milwaukee. Like the Gedemers, he met David Lee and other branch members on a trip to Israel. "When we got back from the trip we had a party at the community center," Ken remembers. "I saw that this was what I had been looking for, a group where everybody looked out for everybody and you all had Jesus in your hearts."

"We all experienced so much joy when these six brothers and sisters made the covenant at our anniversary banquet," Steve adds. "We felt joy for each person making the covenant and joy for ourselves as these brothers and sisters committed their lives to us."

Responses

  1. Jen Havard says:

    Welcome and congratulations, Ken, Fred and Dorothy, Emily, and Egide and Revocate! We are so glad you have joined us in our life together as brothers and sisters in the People of Praise! Thank you for your YES to the Lord!

    Jen Havard
    South Bend Branch

  2. Nancy Grams says:

    May the Father bless you all in Appleton as He adds to your numbers new covenant brothers and sisters. It is a great encouragement to hear how people from all walks of life are drawn to join us. Welcome Ken, Egide, Revocate, Fred, Dorothy and Emily!

  3. Wil Juare says:

    A hearty welcome to you all. May the vision of Christ be found here in the community as we strive to live out our lives in unity with Him. This committment makes you all my brothers and sisters too. And I become yours. May we all learn to live our lives more as Christ gave us the example to do so.

    Peace

    Wil and Shirley Juare
    Servant Branch,

  4. Ruthanne Seitz says:

    It is clear that you all have found a home with brothers and sisters in Christ. Welcome!

  5. Kim Doffing says:

    Praise be to our God who has led you so tenderly to our People of Praise Family! I rejoice with you dear Brothers and Sisters!

  6. Anne Brewer says:

    So exciting! Welcome to all of you! Very neat the way the Lord worked through the trip to Israel.

  7. Laura Brummer says:

    Wonderful! I made covenant 1 year ago and it is such an amazing gift. Have you heard of CIM in Allendale? You are all welcome to come down and visit us! Come see what the Lord is doing in People of Praise Missions.

  8. Carmen Fraga says:

    We are blessed to have you in the family! God bless you all! Carmen Fraga from Vancouver/Portland Branch

  9. Mike Zusi says:

    Congratulations and Glory to God! Happy news from Appleton!

  10. Dorothy Ranaghan` says:

    How thrilling. I am so happy for all of you. Our life is richer because you have joined us.

  11. Cynthia Hagens says:

    God is so good! It was wonderful to read how God worked to bring you into the People of Praise. Congratulations!

  12. Robin says:

    that is fantastic - WELCOME!!

  13. Margaret Sak says:

    Thank you ALL for joining us in serving God's purposes! I look forward to the day I have an opportunity to meet all of you. May God continue to bless you richly as he has blessed us with your fellowship.

  14. Karen Heintzelman says:

    May God bless you for answering His call to be a member of the People of Praise! I hope that we can meet someday!

  15. John Vogel says:

    Thank you, brothers and sisters, for doing what you believe the Lord asked you to do.

  16. Edna Malone says:

    Welcome, welcome. New brothers and sisters are such a marvelous gift to us from the Father. It amazes me that we can love "brothers and sisters" that we have not met but because of our covenant to each other the Father has implanted that great love for each other into our hearts. I look forward to meeting each of you some time in the future.Alleluia!!

  17. Pat Flynn says:

    We are excited to have six new covenant members of the People of Praise in Appleton. Glory to God!

  18. Geoff & Sue Kelleher says:

    Glory!!!!!We welcome all of you to the life we all share in Christ. Sue & Geoff

  19. Paul Putzier says:

    Wonderful! I was so excited to hear about all of you joined us in the covenant! I am sure you bring many gifts that the Lord will continue to use for His Glory! Look forward to meeting you all.

  20. John Elliott says:

    What wonderful news - the Lord is stirring hearts in Appleton! Keep looking for more hearts who are yearning for ecumenism among His people!

  21. Marcie Rosencrantz says:

    We are so happy to have you in the People Of Praise. God works in wonderful way.Glory To God!!!

  22. Bruce Wansart says:

    There approach to community reminds me of an old rock song.

    It begins-We are family,all my brothers & and

    me.

    There focus on the Lords love through brothers++sisters is

    the way to go.

  23. Maile says:

    This is so sweet! It is wonderful to see a branch grow so dramatically! Love reading the tender quotes that show your affection for one another. So happy for the branch and the newly covenanted!!

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