Three long-time TeachBeyond (Janz Team) members received recognition for their service to the Lord during the annual global leadership meeting in England. Henry Toews received the Lifetime Service Award for advancing the cause of global transformational education. Harold Klassen and Jack Stenekes were presented with the Faithfulness and Excellence Award. Each of them has more than 40 years of service in missions. George Durance, president of TeachBeyond, explained each man’s background with the organization before presenting them with their awards.
Henry spent 16 years as a principal and director of Black Forest Academy, where he modeled for teachers, students, and staff their collective responsibility to be faithful and to purse diligently the responsibilities God entrusted to us. God next called Henry to become the European Regional Director for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and from an office in Budapest he pioneered work in Christian education in the countries of the former Soviet Union, including Hungary, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Along with a small professional team, he worked with local churches to help them develop private Christian schools.
After 10 years, ACSI asked him to transfer to South Africa where he opened an office and appointed and mentored a national ACSI Regional Director in South Africa and ultimately for all of Africa. Already in his late 60s, Henry next provided consulting services for Christian mission organizations who sought to develop Christian schools in Brazil, Rwanda, and Cambodia.
Through all he did, Henry modeled courage, determination, and faith as cardinal characteristics of a Christian leader who was called to initiate and not just manage. He currently lives in Winnipeg where he volunteers to give spiritual care to elderly men in seniors’ homes.
Harold was a favorite teacher of many students at Black Forest Academy, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. He also was a high school principal, dorm parent, librarian, computer technician, a business administrator, and an educational consultant. He performed all these roles with skill and faithfulness.
Harold probably is remembered most for turning a 10- by 10-foot closet with a poor collection of resources called the school library into a beautiful facility containing an extensive collection of resources. He gave the whole school a vision for what it could be and the importance it played in providing an excellent education at BFA.
Harold has traveled widely throughout western and eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, teaching and writing about God, God’s world, and the way in which we join the Holy Spirit in the great task of redemptive transformation. Everywhere he has gone Harold has taught and written, and through these mediums he has uplifted and celebrated, in persuasive and inspirational ways, the supremacy of Christ in all His Creation.
Jack joined Janz Team in 1970, when it was in the process of forming a youth ministry team called Janz Team Singers. The team spent four years in Germany where they found young people were open to the gospel.
While engaged full-time in music ministry, Jack demonstrated a gift for administration. Consequently, Janz Team asked him to assume administrative responsibilities that included the practical functions of the North American office. He organized the office move from Calgary to Winnipeg.
Jack did not completely leave the music ministry, however. He became the primary soloist for the adult music group and performed in Europe, Canada, and Brazil. He also took on the directorship of the Janz Team music department that was a leading producer of Christian music and radio broadcasts in German-speaking Europe. Jack wrote over 100 songs and recorded four albums with the Janz Team Singers as well as six solo albums. In recent years Jack has worked as the finance officer for TeachBeyond Canadian operations.