Blogs and Links

Rudy Friesen Building on the Past (in Ukranian)

Rudy & Hildegarde Baerg

Dave & Hildie Regehr

Alvin & Mary Suderman

Ben & Lil Stobbe

Transitioning between Canada and Ukraine

Volunteer Directors spent time 2 – 3 months annually, and are retired professionals. They serve without pay but are given return airfare. They serve a very important role in modelling volunteerism. The concept has been lauded by the Embassy of Canada in Kyiv as an effective strategy for successful Non Governmental Agencies. It allows for a range of experienced retired persons to give significant help to needy communities and societies, crossing many boundaries and barriers. The Mennonite Centre is most fortunate to have an outstanding rotation of volunteers.

    Mary and Alvin Suderman, Winnipeg, MB

Alvin and Mary Suderman served their first term as North American Directors in Ukraine in Spring, 2011.  Alvin retired as a manager for the government of Manitoba and Mary took an extended leave from nursing to volunteer in Ukraine.  While in Ukraine, Alvin initiated and followed up programs and projects that were funded by the Friends of the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine. Mary’s skill as a nurse was helpful in reviewing medical proposals.  They really enjoyed getting to know the staff and appreciate the opportunity to meet and help the villagers. You a can read about their experiences at:

  Dave and Hildie Regehr, Gretna, MB

Dave and Hildie Regehr have served as North American Directors in Ukraine since 2006. Dave retired after 35 years as counsellor and administrator at Mennonite Collegiate Institute, Gretna, Manitoba. Hildie taught piano and elementary school, has done a variety of volunteer work and is a avid gardener. Volunteering as directors at the Mennonite Centre has allowed them to connect with the land and villages of ancestors. Through their keen interest in music and education they enjoy connecting with schools and fostering friendships with people in Ukraine. You can read about their Ukraine experiences at: &

  Ben and Lil Stobbe, Victoria, BC

Ben Stobbe has served many terms North American Director at the Mennonite Centre. Ben and Lil are newlyweds as of 2016. He is currently the Board chair and has previously served as vice-chair. He has made several trips to Ukraine as a volunteer North American Director and as Board chair. Ben enjoys the challenge of making this relatively small organization into an influential agent of change by improving the lives of Ukrainians who currently live in the former Mennonite settlements of Southern Ukraine. He is also pleased to see how the Mennonite Centre continues to bring awareness to Ukrainians of the past Mennonite presence in the area. After retiring as Director of Adult Custody in the British Columbia Corrections Branch, Ben was approached to develop a short-term (up to three months) service opportunity for North Americans to come and help at the Mennonite Centre. If you are interested to qualify as a Volunteer Director, Email: Read their blog at:

     Hildegarde and Rudy Baerg, Abbotsford, BC

Rudy and Hildegarde Baerg have served as North American Directors at the Mennonite Centre. After retiring, Rudy as Director of Music Programs at Columbia Bible College and Hildegarde as Community Health Services Manager, volunteered with MCC Ten Thousand Villages in Atlantic Canada.  Among other things Rudy enjoys supporting music groups, choral and band, in Ukraine and Hildegarde delights connecting with young mothers in the Mom’s Group.  They appreciate working together with the staff, facilitating projects of the Mennonite Centre. You can read of their Ukraine experiences at: