Alumni Profile – Reflections from Graduates

What is it really like to experience study and life at Heritage? We asked some graduating students to share their insight. Their experience ranges from working on a one year certificate while living in residence to a post graduate student commuting into the Cambridge campus.


Dennis Mudde came to Heritage from a home schooling background, and he has now completed a One Year Certificate from the College. Dennis is from Emmanuel Baptist Church, Barrie ON. He returned to Heritage and is currently in a degree program.


Ben Martin came to Heritage after graduating from High School. On April 26, 2008 he was granted a Bachelor of Theology degree in Intercultural Studies from the College. Ben is from Emmanuel Baptist Church, Exeter ON. Ben’s next steps include exploring mission field options while paying off his school debt.


Wendy McLellan received her Master of Theological Studies degree from Heritage Theological Seminary on April 26, 2008. Wendy is from North Park Community Church, London ON. Prior to coming to Heritage, Wendy was Certified in Management and Administration and held an Addictions Studies Certificate.

Q: Please tell us how Heritage has formed your thinking about serving God.

Dennis: Before coming to Heritage I was unsure as to where God was leading me in the future, and though I thought it could possibly be in ministry I was not entirely convinced this is where I was heading. Entering into a one-year program here at Heritage gave me time to think about where I felt God calling me, and has given me opportunity to see where it is God is working in my life. Although I was not given all the answers for what lies ahead while here, I do feel quite sure that I will be involved in full time ministry at some point in my life. Heritage has been a great environment for me as I have contemplated what God wants for me and my life, and the courses I have been able to take have deepened my walk with God in the meantime.

Ben: The more I learn about the Bible, and the more incredible stories I hear from experienced servants of God, the more I realize that faith and humility is key. God is so faithful and masterful in working through your efforts when you submit them to him in faith and humility.

Wendy: Something I have learned from most of my profs is the ability to state what I believe, even passionately, while at the same time allow those I disciple to explore, question, and challenge me. It creates a hunger in them for more, and forces me to be diligent in my own learning.

Q: What stands out for you as a memory maker of your Heritage experience?

Dennis: Likely the biggest memory I will have of this year has been the interaction I have had with other guys while living in residence and the fellowship that we have been able to enjoy. Once a week I had the privilege of meeting with five other guys for about an hour or two in the evening, and all we would do for that hour was share prayer requests and lift each other up in prayer. This was a point in the week we all looked forward to and really felt the encouragement and support of one another. I think at one point or another throughout the year all of us had some pretty big things we were going through, and these prayer times and the time spent focusing on God really helped.

Ben: Questions with some wise and godly staff and faculty. I got to ride shotgun with a few professors being on a traveling music team and their office doors are open. Seeking wise council is one of the most important things you can do in any walk of life.

Wendy: I appreciated the Seminary chapels and lunches. It was a great opportunity to connect and worship with fellow class mates and faculty, and the faculty never failed to mingle, encourage and share what was going on in their lives as well. It leveled the field.

Q: What would you say to those who have supported you while studying at Heritage?

Dennis: For the supporters of Heritage and those who have personally supported me, I would like to say a big “thank you”. I do not think that you will ever know how much your support means to us, and especially the prayer support you give us is very much coveted. Going through Bible College can be a very trying time at some points, and the prayer support and encouragement other people bring is often a great blessing to the students here. To see the way God is working and changing lives here is an amazing thing, and I would greatly encourage all those who have contributed to this school that they are making a difference.

Ben: A big reason I came to Bible College was because of the influence and encouragement of my pastors back home. So build into the people in your home church, and encourage them to examine how they can serve God with their lives. Most people can do it if you give them a push.

Wendy: I am forever grateful to those who have supported me in this endeavor. First and foremost is my husband, who covered all the bases at home while I juggled ministry and school. He deserves my degree as much as I do! To my family, friends, pastors, and co-workers in ministry, every one of you played a part in encouraging me and lending practical help that allowed me to fulfill my educational goals. And to those who financially support Heritage; a special thank you. I do not even know who you are, but I know this; without your help there would be no Heritage, and I would not have had this amazing academic experience. You have helped prepare me to minister to those God has asked me to shepherd. Perhaps only in heaven will you understand the number of people your gifts impacted.

Alumni Profile – Where Are They Now?

If you would like to share an update for this section please send it to or post it on your profile in the Alumni site. Please remember to pray for all of the grads. Many are experiencing the negative effects of the economic situation and would appreciate your prayers for God’s strength and continued guidance through difficult times.

Paul Branan
(LBBC/S 1992, Heritage 1995) became the Advancement Director at Woodland Christian High School, Kitchener ON, in August. Paul is married to Elisa (nee Huibers) Branan (LBBC/S 1993).

Dave Brubacher
(Heritage 2000 & 2005) and Martina (nee Fietje) Brubacher (Heritage 2003), along with their two sons, arrived in Ulan Ude, Siberia, in October to serve with a team of SEND International missionaries. The team is joining with several local churches in evangelizing a large, unreached people group, the Buryat people – Tibetan Buddhists who have migrated to Mongolia and Siberia.

Scott Brush
(LBBC/S 1991, Heritage 1994) in October returned to serve with Ray of Hope in Kitchener ON as their Communications & Resource Manager. He is married to Margaret (nee Marlatt) Brush (LBBC/S 1990).

Bob Flemming
(CBS 1978 & 1979) relocated in September from Springvale Baptist Church, Stouffville ON, where he had served for 28 years, to Cambridge to begin his new ministry as the FEB Central Regional Director on October 1. Bob is married to Rhonda (nee Ciona) Flemming (CBS 1976).

Godfrey Thorogood
(CBS 1982) relocated from Willow Creek Baptist Church, Midhurst ON, to Cambridge in September to begin his new ministry as the FEB Central Director of Leadership Development. Godfrey is married to Veronica.

Richard Long
(CBS-1980) and Terry Long (nee Lovegrove) (LBS -1981) passed their 25th anniversary mark in the last year and are currently both serving as full-time Associate Directors at the National House of Prayer in Ottawa. NHOP is a new ministry that focuses on prayer in Canada for our federal government.

Ken Peleshock
(Heritage BRE-MI – 2002) married Shelly Davies in 2001. He is currently working at the marketing company, Effective Edge.

Kari Aitken
(LBBC/S BRE-CM – 1983) has worked in the door manufacturing industry for 11 years. She attends, and is actively involved in ministry at, Westpark Baptist Church in London.

Dave Brubacher
(Heritage BRE – 2000, M.Div. Pastoral – 2005) & Tina Brubacher (nee Fietje) (Heritage B.R.E. – 2003) are studying the Russian language in Ukraine. They have been there for two years. In the fall of 2010, they will be relocating to Ulan Ude, Siberia to join a SEND International team which is involved in leadership development and church planting, as well as seeking to reach an unreached people group. They have two boys: Nathan 4, and Matthew 2.

David Peters
(Heritage 1 year certificate – 2008) is currently a tour guide and will be entering the University of Windsor in January 2010 in the Social Work degree program.

Sara Disu
(nee Pugh) (Heritage BRE-LCO – 2000) is married to Odun Disu and currently works for the Moosonee Public School Board.

Bonnie Mersereau
(LBBC/S MRE – 1981) is married and has 3 adult children. She is a French teacher at Halifax Christian Academy.

Patty Castro
(LBBC/S BRE-CS – 1981) works at Windsor Baptist Refugee Ministries as an administrative assistant, helping Spanish refugees. She is married to Romeo. Upon graduation she was a teacher, but then spent 14 years in Peru doing mission work.

Matthew Moore
(Heritage 1 year certificate – 2000) is currently working at TD Waterhouse. He is married to Gemma and has two children.

Heather Ohrt
(Heritage BRE-LCO – 2001) is currently working at Hincks Dellcrest Rural Treatment Centre – a centre for struggling teens. Upon graduation she went to Korea for 2 years to teach, then last year was in Malaysia for 6 months with YWAM. She hopes to get into full time mission work. She is also very glad she received her degree from Heritage and wants everyone to know what a blessing she feels Heritage was to her.

Professor’s Corner – Dr. Gord Oeste: Doctoral Dissertation

Dr. Gord Oeste, Associate Professor of Old Testament Studies, has published a book that is an update of his 2008 doctoral dissertation.

Gordon K. Oeste.  Legitimacy, Illegitimacy and the Right to Rule:  Windows on Abimelech’s Rise and Demise in Judges 9.  Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 546.  New York:  T & T Clark, 2011.

This book explores the portrayal of the rise, reign, and demise of Abimelech in Judges 9 and asks about whose interests this portrayal may have served. The negative depiction of Abimelech’s kingship in this chapter, coupled with Gideon’s rejection of kingship in Judges 8:22-23, has led interpreters to view the passage as anti-monarchic. This perspective clashes with the pro-monarchic stance of Judges 17-21. However, while the portrayal of Abimelech’s kingship is negative, it may yet have served as a legitimation strategy for the monarchy. In support, this study examines Judges 9 through three methodological lenses:  a narrative analysis, a rhetorical analysis, and a social scientific analysis.

In addition, anthropological data on early and developing states shows that such states attempt to prevent fissioning (the tendency inherent within political systems to break up and form other similar units) by subverting local leaders, groups, and institutions, and so legitimate the centralization of power. When read in this light, Judges 9 supports monarchic interests by seeking to subvert localized rule and alliances in favour of a centralized polity.


Alumni Profile- Paul Branan

I graduated from Heritage (LBBC) in 1992 with a Bachelor of Religious Education – Church Ministry Minor, then again in 1995 with a BRE – Christian School Education minor. Like Jeff, I married a fellow graduate, Elisa (nee Huibers, LBBC/S 1993), and we have four children. We have both worked in Christian schools throughout Southwestern Ontario and, although Elisa still teaches at a local Christian school, I am currently the Advancement & Development Director at Woodland Christian High School in Breslau ON. We live in Kitchener ON and attend Westheights Community Church.

One of my favorite memories from my days at LBBC/Heritage is when Mrs. Zala Brubacher marched down to the front of the chapel to stop Elisa and me from hugging only to find out I was scratching my own back. I have many more wonderful memories but primarily I recall sitting under the instruction of several men who opened the meaning of God’s Word to me in new and fresh ways. I still refer to my notes when studying or teaching.

Christmas is a special time for our family. We have intentionally created new traditions with our own children and I recognize their family significance when I try change something – the children revolt, so we add new traditions rather than trying to change the old ones. One of my favourites is Christmas breakfast. The kids open stockings in the morning but are not allowed to touch presents until after breakfast. Sometime shortly after the first expressions of “Oh wow, look at this!” I get up and begin the sunrise feast. For some reason, nothing tastes as good as that first cup of coffee on Christmas morning. It might be the flavoured cream, but I prefer to think it is the joy of being a husband and father at this special time of the year.

Current Student Profile – A Student’s Perspective

Marbaha! Kiif Alik? Ismee Lois.

My name is Lois Dana and I am a 4th year student in the Bachelor of Religious Education Intercultural Studies program at Heritage College & Seminary. This past year I participated in the CrossTraining program that is a required component of my degree. I spent the first semester in the city of Calgary taking practical classes relating to cross-cultural work and interning in an Arab congregation in preparation for the second semester that I spend in Amman, Jordan. 

A few weeks ago I returned home from my four month internship in Amman, which is the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I was deeply blessed by my time there. Thinking about it brings tears to my eyes; the opportunities, the people, the music and the culture make my heart beat faster. Ilhandullila! Praise God!

In Jordan, the Father gave me vision. I was not blind before, but He showed me His work and how I can be a part of it. One of my main involvements during my internship was volunteering at the Center of Hope, a center for teenagers with special needs. These teenagers came from both the Majority and Minority background – most of them were from poorer Palestinian refugee families. The programs and classes were all in Arabic, making me feel that I was one of the students and not the teacher. Being called “Ms. Louis” was an honour, yet I am not sure I deserved the title or liked my name being mispronounced.

The director and founder of the center, a wonderful believing lady, threw many original tasks to me. I did everything from helping students learn how to tie their shoe laces, filling in and teaching music class, to leading an exercise class for local women who wanted to lose weight. The exercise class was for me a new experience and one the Lord used to get me out of my comfort zone. Working alongside teachers from the Majority belief offered me an extra challenge. How can I live out my love for the Son in a way that will speak volumes? Many times I talked to the Father saying, “Father be in me, live in me, that they may know you. Open their eyes Father.”

Being involved in the CrossTraining program through Heritage helped me to prepare both my mind and heart for this trip. I was not taught how to specifically do the tasks at the Center of Hope, but I was prepared in deeper ways. I was taught about cross-cultural communication. I learned language learning techniques. I learned about the importance of spiritual disciplines and developing relationships with the local people.  I was able to learn more about myself; am I time, task, or people oriented? How do I react when new tasks are thrown at me?

Ilhandullila! I praise God, for this past year! The opportunities to serve are countless, yet I know that the Father has touched my heart through the Arab people and given me a heart that beats fast for them. As I finish my final year here at Heritage, I wait in anticipation for what God has in store for me.

Lois Dana, Rivière-Rouge, Quebec

Laurie Flietstra

(Heritage 2001, BRE-CSE)

 I graduated from Heritage in 2001 with a Bachelor of Religious Education in Christian School Education.  It was at Heritage that my love for teaching really emerged as well as my love for volleyball!  I must say one of my favourite memories was when the ladies team finally beat Redeemer to win the gold!  Unfortunately there has been little opportunity for me to play these past years.

Since graduation I taught in two schools in Canada before following God’s leading to teach on the mission field at the Greater Lisbon Christian Academy.  I initially went to Portugal as a short-termer for two years.  Although I returned to Canada with no intent on returning to Portugal, God had other plans.  It is with great peace and joy that I am once again back in Portugal, this time as a career missionary.  I teach the early elementary grades and art at GLCA.  The school is my main ministry although I am actively involved in a church plant.  There I teach ESL classes, Sunday School, and am involved in the ladies ministries.  I have studied Portuguese and will continue to learn daily as I practice and fumble my way through.  My first furlough is coming up this coming summer (2013).  

Yisel Zorina

(nee Amaro; Heritage 2006, BCSE-CH)

I graduated from Heritage in 2006 with a Bachelor of Christian School Education. After that, I came to Japan to work as a kindergarten teacher at an international Christian school in Nagoya city where I taught for 5 years.

It was there where I met my husband. We got married in 2010 and moved to an area closer to Tokyo to work with a church. Here, I have started a new Christian kindergarten that is slowly growing. My husband serves in the church by preaching, leading worship, and helping with media. The Lord also led us to start a few other ministries like Bible studies at our home on Saturdays, lead prayer meetings, start a jazz café night where non-believers come to play jazz and my husband presents the gospel, etc.

We are very excited about God’s work in Japan. Statistically, the percentage of Christians in this country is less than 1%, with 25 un-churched cities, and lots of social issues. However, we are encouraged to see that people are becoming more open to the gospel; especially after the tsunami and earthquake tragedies. Please pray for Japan.

I have many good memories from my time at Heritage; especially from my CSE classes. One of my favorites is when President Brubacher heard us laughing as we were trying to mash and squeeze a banana through a pantyhose to represent the digestive system J He folded his sleeves up and joined us in the experiment. There are many more memories I treasure, like eating a whole bucket of ice-cream with Candice Brown, or rolling down the hill on a snowy night with Jenny Casselman- wait… was that allowed? J Or enjoying the much, much missed Tim Hortons.

Heritage has a very special place in my heart. God used my teachers and friends to shape my life and draw me closer to Him.