Our Staff & Leadership
Murray & Deb GrahamMurray Graham has served as the Canadian Executive Director since July 2016. Deb works along side him as Administrative Assistant. Prior to taking on this position they had served as Village Missionaries for 30 years, serving in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta. As Executive Director, Murray’s role is to guide the Mission forward – to encourage the missionary family, seek new missionaries and fields, and connect with faithful supporters of this great Mission. Murray and Deb enjoy traveling across Canada visiting missionaries and fields, promoting the Mission and connecting with donors at various fundraisers.
Gordon & Val Rowland
Gordon & Val became District Representatives in 2019. Their district includes Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. They have been involved with Village Missions since 1979, having served five different churches as missionary-pastor in Alberta and Saskatchewan, prior to being asked to move into their current role.
Their ministry involves traveling to their fields regularly to come alongside the missionaries to encourage and strengthen them and their churches. Their goal is to see them be effective in their efforts to impact the communities they serve in the rural areas of Canada.
Their greatest joy in this role as District Representatives is seeing the different ways the missionaries use their unique gifts to reach into their community with the gospel of Christ.
Support:Gordon & Val
Ron & Marilyn Sallee
Ron and Marilyn Sallee were married in 1969. Marilyn was 20 and the daughter of a dairy farmer; Ron was 21 and had grown up nearby in Everett, Washington. Within nine months they had their own dairy farm and a few months after that their first son David arrived. Marilyn helped milk cows right up until the day she went into labor and never stepped foot into the barn again! Their daughter Robin joined the family 15 months later.
Ron was a new born Christian at the time and grew in faith as he prayed his way through the responsibilities of a newly acquired family and dairy farm. He looks back at this as his training to be a shepherd of God’s people. A pastor loves, feeds, protects, heals and prays for his flock; his flock included family and a whole herd of cows that all depended on him.
In time they sold the dairy and Ron was able to go to Bible School, not because he wanted to be a pastor but because he wanted to know what the Bible was all about. He wanted to know what he believed, why he believed it, and to be able to share it with others. Ron remembers thinking on the long commute back and forth to Seattle Bible School that this should be taught in the local churches. In fact that is exactly what the Bible says in Ephesians 4:11-16 and this was the seed that would grow to become Contenders Discipleship Initiative (CDI).
After Bible school Ron and Marilyn started attending a Village Missions church: Camano Chapel on Camano Island, Washington. They had purchased ten acres there and intended to build a home. A short time later Ron asked Pastor Bill Wayland if he could teach an elective course on Sundays on How to Study the Bible. After several times Ron added another course in Christian Doctrine. These early courses became the foundation for what would be Contenders Bible School and eventually the Contenders Discipleship Initiative.
Early in 1979 Ron and Marilyn said yes to Walter Duff when he asked them to become the pastor at Arago Community Church in Oregon. Ron quit his job in real estate, Marilyn quit her volunteer position at the school, their two children left their friends, and the entire family left the comfort of their home church and property on Camano Island to become Village Missionaries.
The Sallee family ministered at Arago for 6 ½ years and during that time they did what dairy farmers do–they raised replacements: Ronda and Paul were born and now they had two sets of kids 11 years apart!
In 1985 God moved the family back to their home area: Machias Community Church where Ron had preached Sunday evenings just before they left to go into Village Missions! Ron and Marilyn already knew people in the church and community since they had grown up in the area.
Still, it took 10 years before Ron was able to start Contenders Bible School in 1995.
Contenders Bible School was designed to prepare God’s people for ministry in the church. It was a six course accelerated curriculum taught over two years. At the end of the first two year period a couple wanted to go into Village Missions and that has continued to be the case for the last twenty-one years.
People were trained and equipped to serve the ministry of the church and some of them heard the call to give up their homes, place and position (just like the Sallees did) to go. Machias Contenders has been used by God to send out many into Village Missions as well as other ministries.
Ron’s goal was not to start a ‘school’ that others would need to travel to attend. It was to put Ephesians 4:11-16 into action. But they found that people were coming from other churches, even driving as much as three hours one way. This was unacceptable. It was worse than Ron’s commute to Seattle so many years ago!
Ron was able to see the Contenders model start in two other places. Russ Richardson and Rob Dore started Servants Bible School in Vancouver Washington. At the same time Ron and Marilyn commuted 2 ½ hours to McKenna Washington to start the Contenders Bible School at McKenna Community Church.
Now in partnership with Village Missions, Contenders Bible School has become the Contenders Discipleship Initiative and is being used by churches as well as individuals, primarily in the United States and Canada but also around the world in other countries.
Ron and Village Missions Executive Director Brian Wechsler knew that the CDI would need leadership dedicated to seeing all of the courses to full development and that ongoing administration would be necessary. This was simply more than Ron could do and still function as the full time pastor of Machias Community Church.
Brian Wechsler and the Board of Village Missions asked Ron to be the director of the CDI in 2016. That necessitated stepping down as the pastor of Machias Community Church. Ron accepted the appointment as the CDI director and started the process of transition.
As the CDI director Ron and Marilyn desire to be of assistance to those who are using the program both within and outside of Village Missions. They are available to conduct special training seminars in mentoring as well as generally promoting both the CDI and Village Missions. They plan to attend the VM summer conferences in both the U.S. and Canada to maintain contact with as many Village Missionaries as possible.
Ron and Marilyn live with their older daughter Robin and husband Shane while in Washington and with their younger daughter Ronda and husband Sam while in Missouri. Their youngest son Paul and his wife Amy live in Missouri as well. Their oldest son David is a detective with Tulalip Tribal police and lives in Washington State.
They feel blessed to serve with Village Missions!
Support:Ron & Marilyn
Danielle has been a part of the Village Missions family since childhood, growing up as the daughter of Village Missionaries, Arnold and Eleanor Tracey. She came to know Christ as her Saviour at the age of 4 and served within the church throughout her childhood and teenage years.
Danielle completed her Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Trinity Western University and subsequently worked for several years within the government sector in various financial and leadership roles. Feeling called to use her gifts and experience to serve in a ministry setting, Danielle rejoined the Village Missions family as the Chief Financial Officer in 2020.
Danielle lives in Prince Edward Island with her husband Shawn and their three children, Emily, Jack and Luke.
Jon & Deb Hansen
Jonathan Hansen and his wife Debbie have served with Village Missions since 1996. The first 14 years were spent serving Village Missions fields in Nebraska and Kansas. Then, for 10 years (2010-2019) Jonathan and his wife served as the District Representatives of the Mountain Central District, serving seven states which include North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and eastern Montana. Jonathan began serving as the Assistant Director on January 1, 2020.
Jonathan was born in 1959 and was raised in a Christian home. He learned about the Lord at a young age as his father was a rural pastor who served in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. Living in rural communities formed Jonathan’s passion for rural America. Jonathan accepted the Lord as his Savior at age 4, when he realized his need for a Savior and his mother explained the gospel to him. Then at the age of 14 he committed his life to full time service during a worship service at summer camp. In high school his father gave him experience in ministry by having him lead the worship music at the evening services at his church. He also attended Christian Youth in Action, a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship.
This experience helped ignite his passion for teaching and mentoring. After high school graduation he attended Grace College of the Bible in Omaha, Nebraska where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Bible and Church Music. Jonathan felt the Lord calling him to be a music teacher in a rural community and work within the local church in lay ministry. He then attended the University of Nebraska to pursue teaching credentials and was certified to teach in K-12 Band and Music in the state of Nebraska. In 1984 Jonathan began his teaching career in Stromsburg, Nebraska and then began his master’s degree in 1995 while continuing to teach full time. In August of 1989 he married his wife Debbie and they made their home in Stromsburg. In 1990 he completed his Master’s Degree from the University of Nebraska in Curriculum and Instruction. In August of 1991 their daughter Hannah was born. In August of 1991 he began teaching at Mount Zion Christian High School in North Platte, Nebraska and then in August of 1992 he began teaching at Blue Ridge Christian Schools in Kansas City, Missouri. During this time he sensed the Lord nudging him towards full time ministry.
Jon first heard of Village Missions while his dad served a church in south central Nebraska and the field of Oak, Nebraska was nearby. While teaching in Kansas City Jonathan heard of Village Missions again from some of the women who attended their church and worked at Stonecroft Ministries. After moving back to NE in 1993 he connected with a men’s small group and in that group one of his friends had a brother in law who was a Village Missionary in Springview, Nebraska. Jonathan called that missionary and he and his family soon went for a weekend visit.
After the visit to Springview Jonathan and Debbie decided to pursue full time ministry with Village Missions. In July of 1996 he and his wife attended the Village Missions Candidate School held at Stonecroft Ministries and in August he and his wife were accepted into Village Missions. In October they were placed on their first field in the Sandhills of Nebraska at Wood Lake.
Over the course of 15 years they served at Wood Lake, Nebraska; Pierceville, Kansas; Mingo, Kansas; and their last field at Red Cloud, Nebraska. During his time at Red Cloud Jon’s passion for mentoring and passing the torch came alive as he mentored a Moody student over two summers.
In August of 2010 Jonathan and Debbie began the ministry of District Representatives. This role entailed visiting his district missionaries twice a year to encourage and support them in their ministries. Another part of his duties was to recruit at Bible colleges in his area. In the fall of 2011 he attended the Association of North America Missions conference where he was challenged to teach and train up the next generation of leaders. In January 2012 Jonathan invited two students from Frontier School of the Bible in Lagrange, Wyoming to his home in Chadron, Nebraska for a weekend to share about ministry and Village Missions. He engaged a retired Village Missionary in the area to come an share his experiences in rural ministry. That weekend birthed the Elijah/Elisha Mentorship Weekends, held each January at Frontier School of the Bible to teach and train future rural ministry leaders. Using Village Missions candidate school material and courses on rural ministry he trains future leaders over a three-year course of study that culminates with a one year internship on a Village Missions Field. From this endeavor five missionary pastors have been placed into full time leadership with Village Missions.
In July 2018 Calvary University in Kansas City, MO approached Village Missions to consider joining them in a new program they were developing called Synergy. This program would partner with the student, the University and the agency (such as Village Missions) to help develop pastors for rural missionaries while the student was in college. In October of 2019 the agreement was signed to partner with Village Missions. One of Jonathan’s focus as Assistant Director will be overseeing Village Missions’ part in the On Ramp to Rural Church Revitalization at Calvary and developing the same type of agreement across the nation to Bible Schools and Bible Institutes who are favorable to rural church revitalization.
Jonathan and his wife Debbie have been married for 30 years and have a 28 year old daughter who serves the Lord full time in ministry. He is a native of Nebraska and in his free time he enjoys fishing, hiking and Husker football. He and his wife Debbie live in Dallas, OR where the Village Missions International Service Center is located.
Support:Jon & Deb
Tim & Gwen Griffiths
Tim Griffiths grew up attending a country church in the heart of America. At eight years old, he became saved at Camp Rock, a small summer camp located just a few miles from his home. He attended and served at Camp Rock every summer for over twenty years and he eventually met his wife, Gwen, there.
Tim and Gwen were married in 1997, and by 2001 Tim had been accepted as Assistant Director at Camp Rock. Over the course of the next few years, their three children were born, and the Griffiths family began to really discover their heart for rural ministry. Tim served as camp cook and maintenance director. They also began to lead retreats and other “off-season” activities.
In 2008, the Griffiths family moved to Laramie, Wyoming, to work for Table in the Wilderness Ministries, an outdoor adventure ministry. While there, Tim and Gwen learned much about service — how to serve generously in order to show Christ.
Then, in 2010, God moved the family on again, this time to Kansas. Tim was hired as Director of Ministry Development for Shepherd’s Staff Christian Conference & Retreat Center. During their time there, God continued to impress upon them the importance of rural ministry, and to lead Tim into relationships with people and organizations all over the United States! One of those relationships was with Village Missions.
In the summer of 2012, Tim was approached by Village Missions and after a series of interviews, visits to the International Service Center in Oregon, and much prayer, he was accepted as Director of Stewardship. The family moved to Oregon and began their Village Missions adventure. They are soaking up all the northwest coast has to offer, traveling with Tim as often as possible, and seeking to serve and honor God in all that they do.
Support:Tim & Gwen
John & Candy Adams
John put his faith in Jesus early in life, encouraged by his parents who modeled following Christ wholeheartedly. As a high school senior he sensed God’s direction to be a pastor or missionary, though it was two years later while pursuing a Biology degree at Oregon State University that John finally agreed to do God’s will.
It was during his time at Oregon State that John met Candy (Wiggers), who was training to be an elementary teacher. Candy too put her faith in Christ as a child, learning of Jesus from her Village Missionary parents, Mel & Jeannie Wiggers. After four years of friendship John and Candy married in 1990. After earning a degree in Biology, John attended Western Seminary and completed a Master of Divinity degree in 1993.
John and Candy then travelled to China for a year as English professors with English Language Institute. This was a year filled with steps of faith for both of them. After returning from China, John and Candy applied to serve with Village Missions and arrived at their first field, Butte Falls, Oregon just two weeks after their first child, Callie, was born. They served there from October 1995 through 2003, and then moved to the Coos Bay, Oregon area to serve as Village Missionaries at Hauser Community Church. During their years at Hauser, John completed his Doctor of Ministry degree through Western Seminary, graduating in 2011.
Candy is a gifted quilter and loves creating beautiful artwork from fabric. John enjoys woodworking and outdoor activities. They have two grown children, Callie and David.
Support:John & Candy
Eleanor Tracey is the Office Administrator and Connections Coordinator based in Mission, British Columbia. She had been doing the bookkeeping for Village Missions prior to taking on this role. Eleanor and her husband, Arnold, have also served as Village Missionaries since 1984. Eleanor and Arnold are now overseeing the Connections program in Canada. Eleanor enjoys the administrative, financial and bookkeeping tasks, but the office-related interactions with missionaries and ministry partners is the part that she especially enjoys.
Henry & Marilyn Vandermeer
Henry and Marilyn Vandermeer have been involved with Village Missions for 35 years, first as members of a VM church, then as Village Missionaries at Nukko Lake, B.C., and now as District Representatives.
Before being a Village Missionary, Henry was an educator for 23 years, serving as a school principal for 20 years.
Henry and Marilyn love the outdoors and rural Canada. They love traveling and visiting all the dear people who are part of the churches of VM Canada.