Leadership Retreat

Posted: February 20, 2017 by Michele in ministry

This weekend held a few firsts for me:

  • the first time being the speaker for a leadership retreat
  • the first time teaching a session in a fast food restaurant
  • the first time teaching a session in a hot pool!

I just got back from a weekend in Nakusp with some of the leadership team of “Focus Club” – the International Student Ministries group that Talia & I have gotten involved with.  We’ve enjoyed participating in the weekly dinners with international students from the local university, and, in chatting with the city director about how I could best be involved, I mentioned the Intercultural Training that I used to do for Cooperative ESL Ministries. Long story short, he thought that would be great material for his leadership team, and invited me to join them on their retreat during the students’ reading break.


Part of our group on the Ferry to Nakusp

It was just a small group this year, but that made for an opportunity to really grapple with the material.  And, as we started to talk about culture and cultural lenses, it became evident that this information was really hitting home and was relevant for everyone both in their personal lives and in the ministry they had through Focus Club.  I think we all came home having learned more about our own culture AND about the cultures of those around us.  I really appreciated the insights from the students and volunteers from other cultures, as they shared both examples and the struggles that are involved in crossing into western culture.  We all wrestled with how to love students better by being sensitive to their cultural paradigms – the conversations spilled over from the sessions into mealtimes and breaks and travel time.

And yes, the first session was as we stopped for lunch on our way to Nakusp, and our final session took place in the pool of the Nakusp Hot Springs while we needed to vacate the church for their Alpha program.  And hey – they worked too 🙂

We got back this afternoon, a bit more connected, a bit wiser – and a lot more tired!

**A special thanks to Cooperative ESL Ministries for allowing me to use their curriculum**

Merry Christmas!

Posted: December 25, 2016 by Michele in family

We’ve just spent a wonderful morning – opening a few gifts, going to church, having lunch with a group from church, and then heading back home to finish opening gifts and trying some of them out.  Now Talia is downstairs reading in her new hammock chair and Kaisa is in her room trying out her new water speakers, and I’m getting ready to head to the kitchen to make some add-ons to the turkey that’s already starting to smell good in the background.  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas too!


Here’s our Christmas letter, if you haven’t seen a copy yet:

A year ago we had no clue that this Christmas Card would be coming from British Columbia rather than Alberta. But it’s been a good—albeit somewhat unexpected—year.  Other than the move, here are a few of our 2016 highlights:

Kevin * trips to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Fort St. John & Nigeria * first 100 K ultra *  an eye operation that means NO MORE GLASSES *

Michele * family trip to Halifax * weekly hiking with Calgary friends (& now with BC friends) * Celebrating 20th (ours) & 50th (Oma & Opa’s) anniversaries

Talia * learning to drive * junior wrangling at camp * swimming 5000 m just because * grade 9 grad *

Kaisa * wrestling in the Alberta Winter Games * first half-marathon * hosting a French exchange student * SERVE Trip to Victoria * (dipping a toe in both oceans in a single year!) *

We’re starting to adjust to our new normal here (and we have a guest room, if you’re ever passing through).  We wish you a wonderful holiday season with time to reflect on the significance of Christmas.


4 Months

Posted: December 21, 2016 by Michele in family

It’s been almost 4 months since we moved back to BC.  What have I learned?

  • That there are some boxes that will never get unpacked
  • That you should check inside the microwave that you’re no longer using before you store it underneath the stairs
  • That moving stuff is a lot of work, but rebuilding routines and relationships is even more work
  • That teenagers don’t provide as many opportunities to meet the neighbours as preschoolers do 😉
  • That we get more snow where we’re living than downtown – and we like it that way
  • That culture shock happens even if you’re not changing countries
  • That a few good connections can make all the difference in how settled you feel
  • That relationships can come from the most unlikely sources
  • That four months really isn’t very long – and we’ve come a long ways!

The house isn’t fully put together yet, and there are pictures still waiting to be hung – but I found the measuring spoons hiding in the microwave, and the guest room has hosted company.

We’ve found a church family, and the girls are enjoying youth group and we’re getting to know people there – but I’ve also become friends with the lady whose table I bought off of Kijiji and she’s introduced me to a whole group of wonderful people . . . who would’ve thought?

The kids are settling in to school, and while it’s definitely a hard age to move, they’ve approached it as an adventure and are adapting.  Kaisa’s wrestling again, and Talia has become involved in the leadership of the Christian club at school and has just started babysitting for a parenting group . . . they’re finding their way.

Kevin’s job is going well, and he’s ended up with some projects in Fort St. John, so he’s in familiar territory.

We’ve gotten to spend time with family on both sides, and love the fact that visiting can be much more impromptu now that we’re so much closer.

As a bonus, I’ve discovered that we have fewer commitments leading into the Christmas season . . . so we can relax and enjoy things like Christmas baking and exploring the neighbourhood on cross country skis without scheduling it in ahead of time.

Thanks for your prayers as we’ve moved and settled.  Praying your December is filled with blessings, too!


Here’s our final edition of our Wiens Wanderings newsletter . . . at least as it relates to our ministry with eMi.  Thanks to all of you who have followed our wanderings, prayed for us, and been part of this exciting time in our lives!  I’m hoping to still sporadically update the blog so our wanderings are not completely over 🙂

Newsletter Preview

After 9 1/2 years, our family is transitioning out of EMI and out of full-time ministry. We have felt God calling us to something else and have been earnestly trying to figure out the next season. This decision process has not been easy, since our passion for overseas development continues, and we still believe that EMI is a great organization.

After much prayer we have decided to move to the BC interior, where Kevin will take a position at an engineering company. He will be able to move back to consulting in BC much closer to extended family.

Everything has fallen into place much more quickly than we could have possibly imagined. We will be moving at the end of August.

We thank all of you for sticking with us for so many years as we pursued this adventure God had us on. We will sure miss Calgary, EMI, the development work, and all the stories we got to tell about what God is doing around the world.

And as we start a new season in a new place, we trust God has a vision for us there too. Please keep us in your prayers as we transition and keep moving in the direction God has called us to.

Kevin, Michele, Talia & Kaisa



It’s race weekend!  These 3 superheros – Talia, her friend, and Kaisa – are running a half-marathon.


Yes, that’s 21.1 km.  Yes, they’re crazy.  And perhaps Kevin is the biggest superhero (or the craziest!) of them all . . . he’s offered to somehow pace all three teens through their half-marathon finish.  Talia has done it before, so she’ll mostly be on her own sticking with a pace bunny.  Kaisa & Kiah are running this distance for the very first time.  They’ll likely run together with both determined to outsprint the other in the final meters.

They’re all part of #TEAMEMI . . . and they’re raising money to mobilize an eMi team to design an outreach centre in Mexico in the fall.  Will you consider sponsoring them? It would be a huge encouragement to them!

Kaisa:  https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3236566

Talia: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3234282

Kiah: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3328759

Kevin: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3234189

They’re all set to go! Next stop, start line.  (And a couple hours later . . . the finish line!)



Engineering Ministries International project trips bring together so many people – the project leader, the volunteers, the interns – and that’s just the project team.  Then there’s the client ministry, the local design professionals, project managers and the like.  And even the people who are the ultimate benificiaries of the design (in this case, the students at the university).

I love hearing the different perspectives they share on the project.  Kevin shared his perspective in the previous blog post.  Here’s a couple more:

The Client’s Perspective: The Benson Idahosa University News wrote all about the University’s “consultative meeting with a team of engineers from both the local and international community.”

The Intern Perspective – in Photos:  Kevin’s intern, Mailys, is an accomplished photographer, and put together this blog post of Nigeria in Photos.

You can also check out the #eMiC10060 Project Profile, which also includes a collection of photos and links to these types of ministry reports.