I recently had the privilege to attend Missionfest with my daughters and connect with many individuals at our booths in Winnipeg and Vancouver. It was great to see so many ministries represented at these events. They all had a deep passion for their organizations. More importantly, they all displayed a deeper love for our God.

Focus on the Family Canada knows the next generation is under tremendous pressure and we want to be alongside them to help. That’s why I was so encouraged to see how well our ministry is perceived – especially the affection and appreciation we received for resources we offer to younger people including Adventures in Odyssey and our Brio magazine.

I also want to share a few reflections from our staff who joined me at Missionfest.

Sam and Pauline Doerksen, co-directors of Kerith Retreats in Manitoba:

“The energy on Friday night was buzzing in Winnipeg. Multiple generations were present – seniors, parents with children, young adults and youth. Given the youthful demographic, many people came by our booth when they saw the Adventures in Odyssey banner. We ran out of copies of Brio magazine! Connecting with the next generation of missionaries helps Focus Canada to be in touch with the changing methods that are being used. Digital is huge, and we need to empower missionaries to pass resources along to those they reach out to.

Here are a couple of moments that stood out to us.

  1. Three separate young men came directly over to us to say that they grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey and how impactful it was for them. Their families have supported Focus Canada for years and they will continue to do so!
  2. One young woman who works at camp told us how they play an Adventures in Odyssey episode each evening in the cabins with their campers to help them settle in for the night. How cool is that!
  3. One couple came by to tell us that they are registered to attend our Kerith Retreat in the spring. They were very excited to come!”

Jennifer Antonsen, in-house counsellor:

“Many people who stopped at the booth to talk were Christians of a deep faith. People mentioned our magazines, the broadcast and Adventures in Odyssey. They seemed to have a warm and familiar connection with Focus Canada. Two families mentioned that they are travelling to Colorado to participate in the Adventures in Odyssey 1,000th episode celebration! We were also able to talk with and hear the stories of people from other ministries represented at Missionfest, which was a lovely and connecting experience.”

Jennifer’s 10-year-old daughter joined the Vancouver event and shared a reflection as well: “It seemed like the people there really liked Focus on the Family Canada. It seemed like overall Focus on the Family helped them.”

Sharon Reitsma, constituent services representative:

“Missionfest was fantastic! I think because I was in missions (with YWAM for almost eight years) it was refreshing to be in one place with other mission-focused ministries all across Canada and the world. It was a great opportunity to encourage individuals and families as they walked by our booth – many of whom were familiar with Focus Canada and some not so much. Our booklets on grief, depression, etc., were especially helpful. One gentleman came over to us from another ministry booth, and he told us how Focus Canada really impacted him and his wife back in the day when raising their family.”

Jonathan Bryden, media production manager:

“A number of times, I had the opportunity to share about our ministry leaders retreats with those who stopped at the table. I felt there was a genuine interest in looking into the retreats and an openness to what Focus Canada had to offer.”

I hope these reflections from Missionfest encourage you as much as they’ve encouraged me!


Jean-Paul Beran, MA
Focus on the Family Canada