Longtime Abbotsford resident Nicholas Dyck celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday, Nov. 5.
Nicholas was born in 1921, the year of a deadly famine in Ukraine. His family was without food and, before his birth, his parents prayed that he be spared. Nicholas believes this helped shape his life and career.
He and his family moved to Canada in 1923. He grew up on a farm and later bought his own acreage, believing this to be his life’s career. Nicholas squeezed in five years of Bible school and, along with his wife Betty, was actively involved in the local Arnold Church.
One evening the chairman of the BC Home Missions Board visited the couple with an invitation for Nicholas to be the pastor in a chapel in McConnell Creek in the Mission area.
Nicholas felt insecure and timid about speaking in front of people, but he agreed to help out for a short time. Six months later, he knew that was where he belonged.
He had been serving in McConnell Creek for six years, while also directing at Columbia Bible Camp (now Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre), when he received a call to move to the now-named Central Heights Church.
He at first declined, but eventually accepted the offer on two conditions – that he be able to complete his bachelor degree and that the church be able reach out to the community.
Nicholas spent 11 years at Central Heights, and then accepted an offer to become a leader in church planting. This evolved into 31 churches in the next 14 years.
His retirement years were filled with many opportunities for ministry. He was asked to be an interim pastor in Ottawa, a director on the board for church growth across Canada and a church planting resource in Kansas.
He and Betty did 15 missions trips to Ukraine and five to the Philippines under church planting evangelism.
A highlight of one of their Ukraine trips was to return to the home of his birth.
Nicholas and Betty, who turns 95 next month, have been married for 74 years and still live independently in a condo. They have six children – Carolyne, Bob, Lorraine, John, Evelyn and Charles – as well as 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.