Dear Friends and Family,
One year ago at this time we were getting ready for Christmas, wondering if the persistent rain showers would eventually give way to snow and grace our Christmas with a white blanket; something that doesn’t happen too often in the Lower Mainland of B.C.
We also wondered what 2014 would hold, with the only guarantee that change was imminent. Dwayne had given notice to the Missions Fest Board that January 2014 would be his last conference and that they needed to begin to search for a new leader.
The prayer-filled process to work with the Board of Missions Fest and groups of volunteers to look for a new Executive Director was rewarded. On May 15, 2014 Dwayne became the “ex-Executive Director” of Missions Fest, passing along the responsibilities of this ministry to John Hall. At the same time many of you joined us as we waited and prayed that God would open a door for us.
We were just as surprised as some of you as to where we ended up. Some of the doors and connections with overseas ministries never did come to fruition, and other opportunities were firmly closed. By the end of May we were praying that God would take us to one clear place where we could be involved in ministry together, and that the open door would come soon.
That open door was Hazelglen Alliance Church, in the region of Kitchener, Ontario. They were looking for someone with a passion to teach the Word of God and a heart to mentor and disciple the many young adults attending the church (the region is host to three major universities, including the University of Waterloo). We visited the church in June and enjoyed the opportunity to meet the people and see some parts of the city and area. It didn’t take long and Dwayne was asked to come and serve as lead pastor of the congregation.
The months that followed were a blur, as we sold our townhouse in Surrey and moved across the country. We visited family and friends along the way, and were welcomed by the church in mid-August. We stayed with Dave & Mary Patterson, our new friends and board chairman, as we looked for a home. We took possession of our wonderful home in the SW corner of the city on October 1st.
Rhonda eventually found a part-time position with a company that works with senior home care. Kayla came with us and found it challenging to find full-time work, so she opened a pet grooming business that she runs out of our home. Brett stayed in BC to finish his computer programing course at Kwantlan University College in Surrey, BC. He’ll be with us for the Christmas break!
God has led us to a pleasant place. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our people, as well as the city. We’ve already had family visits from Dwayne’s parents, brother and his wife, and Mom Hamm and Albert. We have a spare bedroom and a hide-a-bed for visitors, and look forward to hosting many of you and showing you around the Kitchener / Waterloo region.
Allow us to finish with some specific greetings:
To our friends and colleagues from Missions Fest Vancouver; we applaud the way you have continued to carry the torch and come together as many different local churches under the banner of the Great Commission. You have faithfully worked with John and new leadership to ensure that Missions Fest is a catalyst to spur churches and individuals on to do “greater things” in the wonderful work of the Kingdom of God. We thank God for our friendship and the work He is doing through you.
To friends at Peace Portal Church; we miss our times of fellowship with our small group, staff that we had the privilege of working with, and the many supportive and godly people that we came to call friends. You were our church home for nearly a decade and we thank God for you.
To our new church family at Hazelglen Alliance; we look forward to all that God has for us in the New Year. You’ve welcomed into your church family and given an opportunity to use our gifts for the Lord. This is a new chapter in our lives and we trust that God will use this time for a great harvest in this place, as well as around the world.
To family – thanks for your prayers and support through this year of transition and change. We cherish our times together and look forward to your trips “out east.”
And to all who read this letter – May you experience a truly joy-filled and Christ-honouring celebration.
As I write this letter we are once again in the midst of our Christmas preparations. We’re tracking a massive weather system that is coming towards us from the Gulf of Mexico. It will bring rain showers, but it just might turn cold enough by Christmas Day to give us snow. Otherwise we’ll be looking at a not-so-ordinary green Christmas in Ontario. Maybe it’ll help us to feel more at home!
Dwayne & Rhonda Buhler
P.S. Everyone likes a surprise at Christmas! Dwayne has posted a new Christmas story on his LukeFiveTen blog. The Escape takes place along the Hungary / Austria border in 1947, nearly two years after World War II. We hope you enjoy the Christmas Eve story.
Read the story at: www.lukefiveten.blogspot.ca/