Children's Haven International

Canada’s International Children’s Haven: Providing not only funding but physical presence

If you would head straight North of Reynosa, Mexico and keep going until you reach the 49th Parallel you would come to Manitoba, one of the “Western” provinces of Canada. Manitoba has a large land base but a small population of only 1.2 million. And 55% of those people live in its Capital city, Winnipeg, which is one of the worlds coldest winter cities. However from such a humble prairie province come the majority of Canadian CHI supporters and volunteers. In fact even some former CHI directors have come from Manitoba.

Rod and Carolyn Harder, who call the Manitoba village of Plum Coulee their home, were CHI Directors for 2 years (2002-2004). They had heard of CHI and in 1978 when CHI Senior Staff Person, Beverly Baerg (whose parents grew up in Manitoba) came to their church on tour with a group of 12 RIN Kids, they were hooked.

Then in 1994, with Gods nudging, Rod and Carolyn went down to volunteer for 3 months and stayed for 10 years! At first they only spent the winters there but then it became year round, serving the last 2 years as directors. This caring and compassionate couple enriched the CHI office with their former business experience. Rod always knew how to keep the finances in the black and the child sponsorship program grew when Carolyn dedicated her time to it and had more contact with the sponsors.

Sadly, and far too soon their valued leadership came to a close in March, 2004 when they experienced Visa difficulties and had to return home to Canada. Since that then they have been able to visit CHI a few times and we are trying to tempt them to come to the second annual RIN Homecoming in February 2010. They miss the children they loved so dearly for so long and would love to meet them again.

Before the Harders, the Gerbrands from British Columbia, Canada also served as the CHI Directors (1996-2002)

Al and Lorianne were a young couple who answered Gods call in 1996, to quit their good jobs in Canada and move thousands of miles away to work at CHI. On top of that they had to raise all their own financial support. They were bright, talented and extremely hard working and selflessly came serve in the areas of maintenance and office work.

Soon after their arrival, the US Directorship was unexpectedly thrust upon them. It was a mammoth task for such a young couple & brought unbelievable challenges. But with Gods’ help and the support of fine volunteers, such as Rod and Carolyn, and Betsy and Randal who were the RIN Directors at that time, they did a super job!

In 2002 because of visa problems and sick parents, Al and Lorianne made the decision to come home. They were exhausted but continue to support CHI in so many ways. In fact, this November Al is bringing a work group from British Columbia to the Home for a week.

Thank You Canada and especially Manitoba for giving us such a tremendous support base. We appreciate each one of you! A special thank you to Rod & Carolyn and Al & Lorianne. Your willingness to work on the “Front Lines” all those years has not been forgotten, by our organization, by the children – whose lives you touched, nor by our Lord!

Editor’s note: This is the second, of hopefully many articles to come in the future – focusing on different aspects of ICH’s partnership with CHI & RIN. I hope you enjoyed reading this terrific piece, written by Mrs. Nellie Epp, founding Canadian Board Member. She and her husband Vic do a tremendous job overseeing our “Canadian Office” (located in their home) and as the Director’s of International Children’s Haven! -B.C.


Canadian Directors I.C.H. – Vic & Nelli Epp (Left) 

Canadian board members/former CHI Directors Al & Lorianne Gerbrand

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