Take Heart

Centred around hospitality and large gatherings, Women’s Heart-Engaging Network (WHEN) had to make swift changes to its ministry at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WHEN staff and volunteers worked alongside local churches to host eight virtual events in Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, and English in 2020. Weary from change and loss throughout this difficult year, 1,119 women tuned in to hear powerful stories of transformation that only Jesus can bring — and 55 made decisions to follow Christ.

The Tagalog-speaking WHEN team in Edmonton is known for their lively ministry events. Often attended by over 100 women, the gatherings are filled with fun, food, and fellowship.

No longer able to meet together in person, the Edmonton WHEN team prepared to host their first online event in June 2020. Volunteer-leader Zeny Wester knew this was the perfect opportunity to engage her family living in the Philippines.

“I had an eagerness in my heart to invite all of my family,” explains Zeny. “My nieces set everything up theatre-style in the living room and my family watched the WHEN event together.”

Twenty of Zeny’s family members were blessed by the testimony of Dr. Evelyn Tejada, a radiologist who moved to Canada from the Philippines. Even though she was successful in her practice and also worked as a respected professor and researcher in her home country, Dr. Tejada experienced profound loneliness while her husband worked overseas. When an opportunity arose to be reunited with him in Canada, she jumped at the chance.

Jobless, Dr. Tejada’s bank account was quickly depleted and she and her family experienced great difficulties during this season in a new country. But God provided for their needs and surrounded them with friends who reintroduced Jesus into their lives. In Dr. Tejada’s words, their lives “began to bloom again.”

Zeny, encouraged by her family’s positive response to Dr. Tejada’s story and their interest in knowing more about Jesus, organized an online family Bible study. They began meeting weekly over Zoom, and shortly thereafter, 22 members of Zeny’s family accepted Jesus as their Lord and personal Saviour!

“God is blessing us tremendously and they are really eager to learn more about Him!” she says.

Zeny and her family expanded the Bible study to interested friends and neighbours in the Philippines, and at its height, there were 50 online attendees.

“One of my friends said she’d attended many Bible studies, but she was really blessed by ours because she learned a lot about who God is. She is growing in her faith.”

Despite the challenges of the pandemic and even spotty WiFi, Zeny’s family and friends are experiencing the true purpose of the WHEN ministry: heart transformation through the good news of Jesus Christ.

“I am very excited about what God is doing,” Zeny says. “All praise and glory belong to Him.”

The Incredible Women Who Shared Their Stories in 2020

Dr. Sandra Gilliland – English

As a Family & Marriage Therapist, Dr. Gilliland helped women overcome anxious thoughts with the supernatural peace of God.

Laura Guzman – Spanish

Crowned MissUniverse Canada in 2016, Laura shared her story of inner emptiness and her eventual search for God.

Dr. Evelyn Tejada – Filipino

Dr. Tejada tells the story of sacrificing her career to help her family overcome great challenges.

Shaila Visser – English

The National Director of Alpha Canada shared her ministry challenges and what God has been teaching her personally.

Bernadette Piojo – English

Bernadette and her family faced devastating mental and physical health issues but experienced hope and love in the midst of suffering.

Jassie Virk – English

After growing up in the Sikh faith, Jassie had an encounter with Jesus that radically changed her life.

Jenn Ennis – English

As the co-host of the Raising Mom podcast, Jenn shared wisdom and hope for young moms.

Lily Chan* – Mandarin

Though scarred by a harsh childhood, Lily proclaimed the goodness of God who has transformed her into a joyful woman.

Wendy Gao – Mandarin

As a famous art critic in China, Wendy tasted success at a young age, but it was an encounter with Jesus that brought true purpose to her life.

*Name changed for privacy

Gospel Presentations 2,143
Decisions for Christ 55
Online Events 8
Languages 4
Online Attendees 1,119