The Kildonan Community Choir is filling the air with songs of Christmas sure to warm any heart.

Rafael Duerksen is the Executive Director of Generation Rising and has been for the past year. He is also in the Kildonan Community Choir and will be one of 80 singing that evening alongside a 20-piece orchestra. 

"It's an event co-organized between the Kildonan Community choir and Generation Rising," says Duerksen. "It's an opportunity to finally get back into singing choir songs together after COVID as well as a fundraiser. So it's kind of a combination thing of a bunch of different things together."

It's a free event open to all on November 27 at 7:00 p.m. at North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church. During the event, a freewill offering will be held and all proceeds will go towards Generation Rising to help kids get an education in Paraguay. 

Educating the Next Generation in the South Hemisphere

"Generation Rising is a small Canadian registered charity and we are dedicated to helping children in Latin America, specifically Honduras, Nicaragua, and Paraguay who are living in poverty to get off the streets and get a high-quality education that introduces them to the love of Jesus Christ."

The ministry partners with local churches to help children living in poverty get education that also exposes them to the gospel. 

Previously Duerksen was a pastor at Springfield Heights Mennonite Church until the opening came up for Executive Director of Generation Rising, an organization his parents had been a part of. 

This concert in particular will help add classrooms in Paraguay. This work is something that Duerksen has seen the benefit of first hand. 

"Last year, for example, we got to celebrate one of the schools at their first-ever grade 12 graduation. It was very exciting to see students graduate and then go off to university. One of the young adults who graduated, she was the first in her family to ever graduate high school and then also the first in her family ever to go to university after that."

Duerksen has been volunteering with Generation Rising since 2008. 

"A pastor at one of the schools in Honduras shared how they had a rampant teenage pregnancy problem. They decided, how about education? He says 'I can put a marker down on when teenage pregnancy started declining within our youth. And it's when that school started.' The combination of faith and education, that's extremely important to us."