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Introducing Mark VanderLinde
When people ask me where I’m from, I usually say I’m from much of Western Canada. For various reasons, I’ve called three of the western provinces my home. I was born in London, Ontario, but three years after that my family moved to the city of Winnipeg. I grew up there until my early teens, when the family moved to British Columbia. After I graduated from Credo in B.C., we moved back to Winnipeg. Soon afterwards I went on my own to Alberta but returned to Winnipeg a few years later. Sheri and I met at a Bible Study weekend in B.C. and were married in 2017. Since then, God has blessed us with a spunky Zoë, a shy Sarah, and a rambunctious William.
I felt drawn to the ministry already in high school but decided to pursue the trades for a few years afterwards. After realizing that I was not meant for a career in the trades, I inquired of Sheri what she thought of me pursuing the ministry. We decided to commit to getting a Bachelor’s degree to see how the life of a student would go. After the first year, it became clear that post-secondary education would be a fruitful direction to take. So after three years I obtained a Bachelor’s degree, majoring in theological studies.
Four years seems like such a long time ago. We came to seminary when our first child was only one year old, but now she’s going on five and we have two more children! On top of that, I’ve acquired a fair number of books (both physical and electronic), and have learned so much from the professors here. More than that, however, I learned a great deal from my classmates who came to seminary at the same time as I did and who have also shaped me in ways that go beyond mere knowledge. My life has changed in many ways since I started my undergraduate degree. And now it’s about to change again! Some people told me that seminary is four years to walk with God and learn as much as you can. I have found this to be true. This has indeed been a special time in which I have grown in faith and knowledge and love for Jesus Christ.
The various internships I’ve completed have been very encouraging to me in regards to pursuing the ministry. More than once I wished I could just keep working in the internship, but my schooling had to be completed. I’m indebted to those that God has placed on my path: the Reverends Ben Schoof, James Zekveld, and Clarence Vander Velde, as well as their wives and families who showed Sheri and me what it is like to be a pastor but also what it is like to be the family of a pastor. I would also like to express gratitude for the many churches that have welcomed me on to their pulpits and into their catechism classrooms. These have been informative, encouraging, and overall quite enjoyable.
For now, I do not know where the Lord will take me. My plans, the Lord willing, are to go before classis this summer and become eligible for call. It will not be easy to say goodbye to Hamilton and to Providence church, which has become our home. But I also look forward with eagerness to whatever God has in store for me.