My parents moved from Switzerland to Canada in 1978, which is when I first started attending Lakeshore Evangelical Church. At six years old, it was also then and there that I met my future husband, Pete!

Fond Memories

Church was a safe place for us to go and learn English (I only spoke Swiss- German at the time), develop lasting friendships, grow in our faith, be exposed to music and drama, learn about commitment and use or develop our God-given gifts.

I have fond memories of Church Picnics and Potlucks, Mission Sundays, Christmas Cantatas, Yard Cleanups and other fun activities that created a real team spirit among people from a variety of ages, backgrounds, cultures and races. It was amazing.

Teenage Years

Manue and Kristin

Fast-forward to the roller-coaster ride of the teenage years…
 Looking back, I am so grateful for what Youth Group provided me and my peers with: an alternative to what the world was offering. Sometimes all we need is another, better option. I especially loved Gym Night. Here again, church (or the Life Centre in this case) was a safe place to come to, to have fun and to hear just how much we are loved by God, no matter how many times we fail, how badly we mess up or even when we reject God through wrong choices. “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, he says. Wow!

Mentors

I am grateful for the amazing leadership that Bob provided throughout those years. Even with his own family to care for, he often went the extra mile and trained and challenged us into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Jesus.

I am thankful for mentors like Jocelyn Jones and Laura Sutherland who took me under their wings, set aside time for me, asked the right questions, listened, and prayed. I know it made a difference. And to the ever-patient Bob Nash who taught us Sunday School while some of us hid in the choir robes closet the entire time! Sainthood awaits you, dear man!! 😀

You also led the only band I know where anyone new at an instrument could just join in. And it always sounded great.

Acts of Kindness

I was encouraged by watching crazy-talented people like Gary Horsman using their artistic gifts in music and drama and writing fun and thought-provoking skits. He, along with Barb Ratz, Barb Day and Bernie Normil had a huge impact on me and are among the reasons why I still love to sing. I am currently leading worship at our home church in Niagara Falls and doing a bit of songwriting and learning the guitar.

So, looking back on those LC years, one thing that I can say with certainty is this: no little act of kindness or love and no talent used for God is ever wasted, even if we don’t see results right away. Thank you, Lakeshore!

Our Family

Pete and I have been married for almost 25 years now(!). We have three amazing kids: Lauren (21), Daniel (19) and Jordan (17). We couldn’t be more proud of them. They are a real team and are all serving the Lord. Pete’s a Civil Engineer working for OPG (Ontario Power Generation) and an acting Elder at our church and I am a full-time teacher (grade 3) in a French school here in Niagara Falls ON.

Shout out to Willy and Nita Kotiuga: I still teach my students the “Concentration Game” every year and they love it!!

Thank you to Manuela Kesseler-Lehmann for sharing your story. Please leave a comment for Manue at the bottom of this page. And, if you attended the Life Centre, send your story to bob.pb.jones@gmail.com

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Bob Jones

Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 41 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring others through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, reading, and ball hockey. I'm a fan of the Esks, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

2 Comments

  • Gary Horsman says:

    I knew Manue and Peter for what felt like forever before they were married, so it’s almost a bit surreal to see them together with their family knowing so much about their pre-marriage history. They are a living time capsule of youth group. And much appreciation to Manue for coming to Montreal to honour the passing of Mom last year. I’m sure she’s got a platter of pansit and lumpia waiting for you guys.

  • Manuela Kesseler says:

    Aww thanks Gary! I cannot think about Lakeshore without thinking about your sweet mom. She always made me feel so special and I miss her radiant smile. And her amazing Filipino food too!!
    She was also one of several church ladies who kept telling me that Pete and I would make such a cute couple and tried to convince me that we would end up together.

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