Wes Janzen from the 2013 Christmas at the Chan Centre concert. Photo credit: Wendy Delamont Lees, Trinity Western University

UPDATE: Trinity Western professor leaves campus career to “sing the gospel” in Kyiv

Update: Tragedy strikes Ukrainian symphony in Calgary

UPDATE:

CALGARY, AB--Wes Janzen, president of Music Mission Kyiv and the principal conductor of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, is asking for urgent prayer following a tragic accident September 22 in Calgary.

Forty-two members of the orchestra and chorus are currently touring North America. While on a stop-over in Calgary, the team was enjoying time in foothills when an ATV carrying two of their members rolled twice, resulting in very serious injuries including a broken neck and brain trauma.

Both were taken to Foothills Hospital in Calgary where they  underwent emergency surgery. Family members are being flown in from Ukraine.

Following the incident, Janzen says he planned to cancel the Calgary concert, but the team was adamant it  go ahead, even as Janzen worked to put a crisis management team in place. The tour has continued on, while Janzen and the injured members remain in Calgary.

"Please pray for Andreii and Dasha," Janzen writes in an e-mail to friends and supporters. "Their conditions are very, very serious. Many weeks in the hospital are likely." Although medical insurance was purchased for each tour member, Dasha's expenses have already surpassed the $25,000 limit, and Andreii's are also likely to do so.

Janzen asks for prayers "for healing, for provision, that our hearts would be receptive to the Lord's moving in the midst of this tragedy."

To assist with costs incurred by the injured team members, please contact Helmut Wiens at 778-549-8031. 

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First published April 29, 2014

LANGLEY, BC—Trinity Western University music professor Wes Janzen feels no trepidation about exchanging a 33-year career on campus for a new ministry in Ukraine, despite the ongoing tensions in that part of the world.

Janzen will soon be moving to Kyiv to become the president of Music Mission Kyiv and the principal conductor of what he calls its “musical arm,” the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. His wife, Kimberley, will serve with him as the mission’s associate director of outreach services.

“We preach the gospel, but we also sing the gospel,” says Janzen. “And we sing the gospel in places where preaching is forbidden, through television and also by travelling to countries east of Ukraine that we can’t tell you about.”

Janzen says while they are obviously aware of the risks involved in relocating to the heart of Kyiv, their emotions take a backseat to God’s “deep and wide” calling on both their lives to go there especially at this time.

“It has been said that the evangelical community in Ukraine is now the largest of all European countries,” he says. “We have certainly seen rapid growth, expansion, outreach, the Holy Spirit working there in incredible ways.”

The Janzens and their three children—all currently studying at Trinity—have gone to minister alongside Kyiv Music Mission several times a year since 2006. The orchestra and chorus perform the great Scripture-based musical classics, such as George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, making music their primary evangelistic tool.

“In doing that, we partner with many churches. We invite them to encourage their people to bring their friends to what we call friendship evangelism concerts,” he says. “The results are miraculous. We are seeing so many people come to Christ.”

At one event recently, 57 people accepted Christ after Janzen preached the gospel.

Oleksandr Turchynov, Ukraine’s interim president, is a Baptist who from time to time has preached at the same church where the mission holds its concerts.

But for all the new ministry challenges awaiting them, the Janzens have no intention of abandoning their friends and colleagues at Trinity. “We haven’t burnt any bridges,” he says. “We will certainly pray for the university every day.”

In September, they will be back along with 42 members of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for a North American tour starting in Vancouver.

“You will be astonished,” Janzen promises, “not just with the music-making, but with the testimonies and stories of God’s grace from the former Soviet Union. That’s really something to experience.”

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About the author


Senior Correspondent

Frank Stirk has 35 years-plus experience as a print, radio and Internet journalist and editor.