Retired: No plans! No worries!

Being in tune with God every morning is essential

WINNIPEG, MB—Jake and Adina Goertzen’s whimsical business card, designed for them by their daughter, keeps them from taking themselves too seriously. It says “RETIRED: No Business. No Plans. No Worries. No Money—Ain’t got much, don’t want anything. Ain’t mad at nobody, ain’t running from nothing. God loves you and so do we.”

The “retired” part is accurate, but Jake declares “no money” does not mean they are destitute. Theirs has been, and continues to be, a full and busy life. “We’ve not been scared to go into the unknown,” they agree.

Together with their seven children, Jake and Adina served Manitoba’s Interlake area with Gospel Missionary Union (now Avant). Finding it hard to get close to native youth, many who lived in one-room houses, the Goertzens decided local summer Bible camp could be an answer.

The Goertzens, with help from others, harvested local lumber for the first two buildings, a road went in, and Fisher Bay Bible Camp opened 56 years ago.

“There were some bumps along the way, but we are glad to see it still going!” Jake says. Following the busy Vacation Bible School and summer camp season, all nine of the Goertzens vacationed, enjoying road trips and camping. They started two churches, which are thriving.

“We have no regrets,” says Jake. “It suited us well, the outdoors…”

After 35 years in full-time ministry, Jake and Adina retired. The key to leaving the workforce, they say, is to develop your strengths and pursue hobbies well before retirement age.

Jake and Adina Goertzen continue to live a full, busy life after retirement.
Jake and Adina Goertzen continue to live a full, busy life after retirement.

Adina volunteers at the Kildonan Care Centre while Jake served a term as Superintendent for the Evangelical Free Church Central District, and led a seniors’ ministry in their home church. “It was all positive, as far as we can see!” he says.

The couple tries to offer practical help so others can find fulfillment even when abilities change.

They got the chance when Jake’s older sister, a single missionary, developed serious health needs. Although both in their 80s themselves, Jake and Adina became her caregivers for four years.

Family and recreational hobbies also factor high on the Goertzens’ list of things to do.

Adina makes birthday cards for every family member, praying for each by name. She has adapted to a slightly smaller scale of hospitality, but still delights to serve her family, pulling out the good dishes and cutlery at any occasion.

For fifteen years, the couple kept bees, producing enough honey for their family and for others. They walk regularly, golf every week, and occasionally hike a half hour to check on an orchard they planted years ago, now ably tended by their son. Jake hints he needs to find another hobby after making clocks for grandchildren and great grandchildren.

They still enjoy travel to B.C. and Ontario, visiting family every year. “Sometimes our children’s expectations are a little higher than we can deliver. They expect us to make the drive in two days!” Jake says. And they follow car racing; family in Saskatchewan races Legend cars, and a grandson races modified cars near Winnipeg.

But the most important thing for Jake and Adina is their relationship with God.

“Being in tune with God every morning is essential because throughout the day you make so many choices you can’t anticipate,” says Adina. “Where else do we go to make sure we’re making the right choices?”

The Goertzens want to pass on good things, rather than focusing on negative things that came their way. The “No worries” statement on their card is correct; “No plans” is not, for as Adina reiterates, their biggest commitment is to keep praying for loved ones and to be involved with their family. She recalls her grandmother’s prayers. “She was passionate toward her family,” she says. “That’s what I want to be!”


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About the author

ChristianWeek Columnist

Pat Gerbrandt is a Manitoba writer who delights to learn how God is working in and through His children, and enjoys sharing these accounts. Do you know a senior with an amazing story? Let us know! E-mail or call 1-800-263-6695.

About the author