After a seven year struggle with cancer, Glenn Penner of The Voice of the Martyrs Canada went home to be with the Lord on the evening of January 26, 2010 at the age of 48.
Glenn first joined VOM-Canada in 1997. Klaas Brobbel, the Director of the mission at the time, recalls, "Looking back to August 1997 when we interviewed Glenn for the position of Development Director for The Voice of the Martyrs, I marvel at God's goodness and timing to send Glenn our way. The mission was floundering and we needed help. Little could we have known the great work that Glenn would be able to pack into the nearly 12½ years of service to the Persecuted Church."
Barely five years after joining VOM-Canada, Glenn was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. After undergoing chemotherapy, radiation treatment and a stem cell transplant, Glenn, his wife Denita, and their family decided not to pursue further treatment when the cancer returned. With confidence in God's provision, Glenn bravely continued to serve the Persecuted Church and strove to utilize the time God gave him to its fullest potential.
Merv Knight, Ambassador-at-Large with International Christian Association, of which VOM-Canada is an affiliate, reflected, "It is my privilege to have had a close association with VOM-Canada from its formative days. I have seen it move through various stages of change and growth. One of those positive changes came with the appointment in 2007 of Glenn Penner as C.E.O. Glenn was God's man for the time."
Glenn had a particular passion for helping suffering believers to understand the biblical basis for their trials. His book, In the Shadow of the Cross, is an intensive study of the theology of persecution and discipleship which continues to be an invaluable resource to Christians worldwide who are suffering for Christ's sake. A gifted teacher, Glenn was blessed to be able to share his study with Christian leaders in religiously restricted and hostile nations in South America, Africa and Asia, as well as in seminaries and colleges in Europe and North America.
In January 2010, Glenn stepped down from the position of C.E.O. to allow him to serve more in line with the limitations and challenges of his condition. Corey Odden, who served for 10 years with VOM-USA, assumed the role of C.E.O. while Glenn became VOMC's Scholar-in-Residence/Executive Advisor.
Glenn's faithful dedication has inspired many – his family, the staff and supporters of VOM-Canada, international partners, and the many suffering Christians worldwide who have been touched by his service to them. As the mission moves forward into a new chapter, the staff is profoundly thankful to God for Glenn's example.
Greg Musselman, VOM-Canada's Chief Communications Officer, said, "I've known Glenn for the past 10 years and we worked together at VOM-Canada for seven. We travelled together overseas several times and worked on many video projects and newsletter articles about the Persecuted Church. I learned so much from him in the area of theology and church history and for that I will always be grateful. The rest of the team and I at VOM-Canada will strive to carry on his legacy as we serve the Persecuted Church."
VOM-Canada's Chief Operations Officer, Floyd Brobbel, added, "Words can never completely convey what Glenn meant to me and over the years ahead I will cherish the memories of my time with Glenn. The meetings, the travel, the laughter, the tears, the heated discussions, the planning, the practical jokes, and the list goes on to form a wonderful tapestry Glenn wove into my life. I would not change a thing because it all narrows to one word for me, and that is 'friend.'"
Friends and family of Glenn Penner are invited to celebrate his life and express condolences to his loved ones on Friday, January 29 at City Centre Baptist Church. The viewing will be held, the Lord willing, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., with the funeral beginning at 1:00 p.m. City Centre Baptist Church is located at 1075 Eglinton Avenue West in Mississauga, Ontario. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, February 6 at 1:00 p.m. at the Zion Evangelical Missionary Church in Didsbury, Alberta. Directions are available at www.zemc.org. For more information, please phone 1.888.298.6423.