April 25, 2024

A New Profession, a Faithful Approach, and a Shared Hunger

This article was written by Kasper Van Veen and was originally published in the Spring 2024 issue of our magazine.

We all have times in our lives where an event or a conversation becomes etched in our minds. For me, one of those occasions was a day in mid-July in 2023; while relaxing on the shores of Lake Huron, I received an eagerly anticipated email offering me a position at Word & Deed Ministries.

The reason this is etched in my mind is not so much the fact that it was a job offer; it was more than that. I firmly believed the Lord had adjusted my career path so that it ran straight into Word & Deed’s parking lot. The journey to Word & Deed was a prayerful and thoughtful one, with many interviews, assessments, and discussions about talents and abilities—but more importantly about my faith, my walk with the Lord, and how I trust in Him. In my professional history, this focus was unfamiliar territory. Prayer framed every step of the hiring process, there was a genuine concern for how my wife felt about this role, and there was strong consideration regarding testimonies from others about my walk and my faith so that my perspective matched that of the organization. In the past, when hiring team members, I too had looked for personal fit and prioritized the ability to learn over having full knowledge, but using similar tools in such a Christ-centered manner was refreshing and encouraging for me.

As I became a member of the Word & Deed team, what has really struck me is that these same principles permeate the entire organization. There is a strong desire to act with integrity and to be faithful stewards of what we have been entrusted with. Transparency in our dealings is an understood requirement. Love and care for the joys and challenges that our international brothers and sisters experience is evident every single day; whether that be during our daily prayers together as staff or simply in our correspondence and attentiveness to their needs.

I have come to realize that this not only characterizes Word & Deed, it also flows out to characterize our partners. This was very striking when I had the opportunity to visit our partner Pastor Joseph Marwa, the director of Hope Royal Schools and the Mwanza Bible Institute in Tanzania. The Gospel is central in their approach, the children are hearing the Word of God, the young men are being trained to bring the Word to others, and the local community is demonstratively enthusiastic about hearing the Word!

Although Word & Deed is supporting their efforts, it is the local people who are leading the charge and making the difference. They are working together to find ways to broaden their reach and attain a greater degree of self-sufficiency. They are thankful for our support, but they do not want to rely on it; rather, they have a strong desire to educate others in the Word as an independent entity.

I also had the privilege of witnessing the construction of a new school building being completed in Tanzania. Situated on the slope of a long valley, I could see the many neighborhoods surrounding them. These were entire communities that were ripe for the harvest, ready to hear the Gospel, have their children educated with a Christian perspective, and seeking to experience the love and grace that our Father shows us.

We live in a world that is starving for the Gospel truth. In the developing world, we meet so many people that are undernourished, but they don’t realize just how undernourished they really are. The same could be said for spiritual hunger. We don’t know how malnourished our souls are and how much that hunger is causing so much pain, grief, loneliness, and hopelessness in our lives. Our brothers and sisters in the developing world are no different than us. They may have very different socioeconomic struggles, but the need for the Word to guide them in their lives is the same guide we require in ours.

May the Lord bless and encourage the work of our partners, such as Pastor Marwa, to bring the Word to his countrymen. May the Lord also bless us—all of you as you support Word & Deed, as well as our board and staff as we collaborate with our partners to meet their physical and spiritual needs.

Kasper Van Veen joined Word & Deed in September 2023 as a Project Manager and Public Relations Representative. He is a member of Emmanuel Canadian Reformed Church in Guelph, Ontario.

Kasper, along with Pastor Joseph Marwa, Heidi Pronk, and W&D Board members Karen Vander Sloot and Corney Les.

Kasper, along with Pastor Joseph Marwa, Heidi Pronk, and W&D Board members Karen Vander Sloot and Corney Les.

Inside a classroom at Hope Royal Modern School

Some students and a teacher outside Hope Royal Modern School.