2023 Speakers

Izumi Araki

International Student Ministries Canada (ISMC), Vancouver

As a returnee adviser in ISMC’s International Field, Izumi equips students to make a good return to their country, to keep following Christ, and to be connected to local Christian communities. God called Izumi to serve Japanese students for the past 12 years. Her desire is to use this experience to lead students from different countries to understand Christianity not only as a Canadian experience but as a life experience and journey.

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Colin Brewster

ESL Ministry Coordinator, Trinity Grace Church, Toronto

Colin Brewster has been teaching English to non-native speakers for over 40 years. He began teaching in Turkey, continued in North West China and for the past 20 years has taught Communications and English as a Second Language in community colleges in Toronto. Colin is also involved in the ESL outreach of Trinity Grace Church in Toronto where he enjoys developing and testing different teaching tools and materials for church-based ESL programs.

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Miriam Charter, PhD

Speaker and Mission Practitioner, Calgary

Miriam is a mission practitioner, speaker and mobilizer called to the nations. She invested 15 years in the underground church in communist Europe and the early post-Communist era church in Russia. She studies the transition from one culture to another and is committed to helping newcomers think about culture, understand Canadian culture and better understand their own culture.

Sandi Howell

Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) International

Sandra (Sandi) Howell has been an active missionary member with her husband, Don, for 30 years with OMF International. Presently she is Connections East Asia (CEA)’s Coordinator for ESOL, which uses English as a Second Language (ESL) to reach East Asians in Canada.

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Kelly Johnson

University Campus Ministries (UCM), Calgary

Kelly Johnson is a campus chaplain at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. Kelly spends most of his time at U of C but oversees UCM’s work at SAIT and MRU as well. Kelly has a big heart for international students and runs Home Away From Home. The program helps international students in Calgary develop meaningful friendships with Canadian families.

Jakob Koch

President of International Student Ministries Canada (ISMC), Hamilton

Rev. Jakob Koch is currently serving at West Highland Church in Hamilton, Ontario. At West Highland Church, Rev. Koch began a partnership among the local churches and international student ministries in the area to lay the groundwork for the Hamilton International Students network. This has grown into a provincial and now a national ministry strategy. Jakob and Lorie live near MacMaster University where they have developed ongoing friendships with international students through family dinners and informal gatherings.

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Rick Love

Pastor of Intercultural Ministries, Foothills Alliance Church, Calgary

Rick and his wife Patti started Love New Canadians, a ministry that has worked with more than 400 churches and ministries in 8 provinces across Canada to help them develop pathways to Jesus for immigrants in their neighbourhood.

Nasser Mahamud

Manager of Refugee Inclusion, Palm, Edmonton

Born in Ethiopia to a Muslim Somali family, Nasser ran away from his home country during a civil war and lived in refugee camps in Djibouti, Somalia and Italy (where he married). He moved to Canada in 1992. He and his wife have four grandchildren. Nassar entered full-time ministry with Palm in 2003.

Tom McCormick

Newcomer Seniors Ministry

Tom has ministered for almost 50 years in nursing homes as a volunteer and as a chaplain in a long-term care home and a retirement community.  He is currently facilitating Ministries for the Ageing. 

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Tim Nielson

Senior Pastor, City Church, Winnipeg

Former director of Intertribal Christian Communications, an Indigenous Literature Ministry. In 2008 Tim was the lead church planter of City Church in Winnipeg—an international and intercultural Christian community. In 2017 he spearheaded the establishment of Naomi House, a home for newly arriving refugees and a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) with the Canadian government. Tim and his wife have six adult children and seven grandchildren.

Stephen Roy

Missionary from Kolkata, India to South Asians in Canada

Stephen and his wife Shalini have 2 boys, Shaunit and Seth. They have been serving in the Hamilton and Stoney Creek area of Ontario, Canada since 2018. Prior to this, Stephen served the church as a seminary teacher and pastor after completing six years of Bible school. Presently he pastors a new church plant called Prarthana Ka Ghar (House of Prayer) in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. 

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Brian Seim, PhD (cand)

Missiologist and Mission Practitioner

Brian and Sally have worked with newcomers to Canada since 1980. Seim is the author of “Canada’s New Harvest—Helping Churches Touch Newcomers,” “Moved with Compassion,” “Mixing Colours Without Making Them Run” and “Urban Mission Toolbox—Methods and Ministries for an Increasingly Urban World.”

Julia Todd

Gateway Church, Winnipeg

Julia is originally from England. After spending time in Hong Kong and China, she married and settled in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Julia and her husband have been part of the pastoral team at Gateway Church in Winnipeg for the past 29 years. They also have four daughters. Seven years ago Julia began a church-based ESL ministry which has inspired and equipped a team of volunteers to help newcomers from many nations.

Alison Witt

Church Engagement Coordinator, International Association for Refugees Canada (IAFR Canada)

Alison helps educate, equip and support Canadian churches in pursuing engagement with refugees. As well, she helps lead Open Homes Hamilton, a program that mobilizes local churches to support refugee claimants through home-based hospitality.

Joannie Yu

Older Adults Services/Abundant Life Institute Manager, Gibson Centre, Markham

Joannie, born into a Christian family, holds degrees from Prairie Bible Institute, Tyndale Seminary and Lutheran Theological Seminary. With over 10 years of social service at Yee Hong Centre (頤康中心) and experience in Christian education, she has worked with organizations such as Christian Communications Canada (加拿大福音證主協會).