When Village Missionary Henry Vandermeer met Jordan Wilson on a Bible college campus, Jordan said Village Missions wasn’t for him. He wanted to work with youth and young adults, not pastor a rural church. But God had other ideas.
Shaped by a Rural Church
Earlier in his life, Village Missions had played an important role. He grew up in Ear Falls, a small town in northwestern Ontario, Canada. His family was very involved in church and the small school it operated. But families moved away, the school closed, and soon Jordan was the only teenage boy in the church. Jordan didn’t develop many friends living in an isolated area and learning by homeschooling.
When Jordan was 16, Ear Falls Chapel received their first Village Missionary pastor. Jonathan and Doralyn Elgby, young missionaries, came with their infant daughter. Jonathan befriended Jordan. They played volleyball together and helped with AWANA weekly. When Jonathan drove Jordan home, they often talked at length.
“Jonathan came alongside me as a friend despite our age difference,” Jordan said. “He showed an interest in my life, but he didn’t push me to talk. When I did share my thoughts and feelings with him, it was because I trusted him.”
“Looking back now, I see that Ear Falls Chapel helped me hold onto my faith during a time when I could easily have walked away. The friends I had weren’t Christians. I knew people in the church, but we didn’t have a close relationship. Everything changed when Jonathan came because he wanted to hang out with me and be a friend. Because of his example, I started to be more serious about my faith.”
The Path to Rural Ministry
Jordan helped lead the youth group at Ear Falls Chapel. In the summers, he worked at a Bible camp, where he discovered he enjoyed working with older teens and young adults. He began considering a career as a young adult pastor. He aspired to be the kind of friend and mentor he had experienced in Jonathan Elgby so enrolled at Peace River Bible Institute to study youth ministry.
Henry Vandermeer, a District Representative for Village Missions, regularly visited the Bible college. Jordan and his girlfriend, Ashley, often spoke with Henry but didn’t see Village Missions in their future.
After graduating in 2019 and marrying Ashley, Jordan applied for the youth pastor position at several churches. Each church declined because he didn’t have experience. The doors to ministry seemed to be closing, so Jordan began work as a security guard in Grand Prairie.
God kept bringing Village Missions to his mind, though. One morning in 2020, he told Ashley he was interested in VM. They prayed together and agreed to contact the mission. That same morning, he received a message from Henry Vandermeer – their first contact in over a year! This time, Jordan was ready to talk about the possibility of serving with Village Missions.
When Jonathan learned that the Wilsons had applied to Village Missions, he was delighted. “Jordan has a pastor’s heart and much wisdom,” Jonathan said. “What excites me most is that he is walking with the Lord.”
Following His Pastor’s Example
In June 2020, Jordan and Ashley moved to Wynndel, British Columbia, and started a pastoral residency at Wynndel Community Church. The church didn’t have a pastor, so Jordan initially felt very nervous. But he and Ashley had excellent mentors in Len and Helen Trenholm, who had served as Village Missionaries for 17 years and now lived nearby in the town of Creston.
“The church family and leadership team were very supportive of us,” Jordan said. “They wanted to help me grow. Their love relieved the pressure we initially felt.”
At the end of his 6-month residency, Jordan became the full-time Village Missionary at Wynndel.
Wynndel is in a beautiful valley in southeastern B.C. It has a relatively mild climate, so many residents are retirees. There are young families, too, and Jordan is eager to reach teens and young adults.
Wynndel Community Church doesn’t yet have a youth program. It currently has only two teens – a 16-year-old girl and her 13-year-old brother. Ashley invited the 16-year-old over for a girls’ night. Another evening both siblings came to the Wilsons’ home to play games. Jordan and Ashley are coming alongside them, just as Pastor Jonathan did for Jordan.
Perhaps one day, these two teens will bring friends who will bring other friends. Meanwhile, Jordan knows not to underestimate the value of being a trustworthy friend and Christlike example for even one individual.
Jonathan Elgby spent intentional time with Jordan Wilson, and the relationship they built impacted Jordan’s life and the path of Wynndel Community Church. You, too, can make a lasting difference in a child’s life through purposeful interaction.
Want to find out more about rural ministry? Try “Called to Small Church Ministry” by Gordon Rowland.