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Gift for languages draws worker to China


August 26, 2003
-by Dan Dyck

Cari Friesen receives a blessing from Jack Dyck (pastor, Mount Royal MC, Saskatoon), uncle Don Friesen (right) and other family members. Cari will be teaching English at Chongqing Normal University in China. – photo by Marianne Siemens

Winnipeg, Man.—A gift for languages and a desire to use those gifts for God’s purposes is leading Cari Friesen to China to teach English for two years.

The 25 year old Saskatchewanian has previously lived in Africa (former Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and South America (Brazil). She speaks French and Portuguese, and brings with her a Bachelor of Music Ministry degree from Canadian Mennonite Bible College (2000). She has also just completed a Certificate for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and has previously served as an Overseas Mission Volunteer (2000-2001) in Burkina Faso under Witness’ predecessor, Commission on Overseas Mission.

Friesen sees her English teaching as a ministry and opportunity to be a Christian witness to students. “I see the fact that I’m being there, being myself as a Christian, my presence there, my interactions with people, all of that relates to my ministry there,” she said. Friesen’s ministry will be supported by Mennonite Church Canada Witness in partnership with China Educational Exchange.

Chongqing, China is a long way from her home church (Mount Royal, Saskatoon). While she is in China, her wish is that Mennonite Churches can “… find ways of staying connected so they can learn about what they are (involved in) and also helping me stay connected with the church back (home),” she said.

Friesen has somewhat of a family tradition in international mission. Her extended family members who have served in what was then Zaire, in Mali, Taiwan, China, and the Ukraine.