Just weeks after being hired as lead pastor at a Mennonite church in Winnipeg, Brian Wiebe became the hands and feet of Jesus to a family in need.

Rose Kauenhowen lost her husband Kennet almost one year ago in their home, on November 1, 2021.  Kennet had a physical the morning he died and the doctors said everything was good. Later they found out he had a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, also known as the 'widow maker' as it's basically undetectable. 

Kauenhowen lives in Selkirk. Her family attends River East Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. In October, just a few weeks before Kennet's death, the church decided on a new pastor. 

"Our church was looking for a new pastor," says Kauenhowen. "A couple of names came up. I heard Brian's name come up and it automatically sparked something in me. I said to my husband, 'He's the one.' It happened. Brian ended up becoming our pastor."

Up until that point, Kauenhowen and her husband spent every day together as she ran a property management business and her husband was the handyman for any repairs. 

"My husband was a jack of all trades. We spent the day together on November 1. After work, he went to go hunting and I made supper. He came back, and we had supper together and we were chit-chatting. All of a sudden he looked at me and gave me a big smile, and I smiled back. He got up to go to the kitchen and when he got there he fell."

Kauenhowen's daughter called 9-1-1 while she performed CPR on her husband until paramedics showed up. They did all they could and brought him to the hospital.

"I felt like I could do CPR, and pray and beg all at the same time. In my heart, God had his hand on my shoulder, telling me it's going to be okay but it's not going to go your way."

Kauenhowen and her daughter drove to the hospital with her adult son meeting them there. 

"I can't describe the feeling. In the meantime, [our new pastor] Brian had been called. He was at a birthday party and kept getting a call from my sister-in-law. It was the third call he finally decided to answer. She said to him, 'you need to come now, it's not good.'"

The doctors confirmed in a family room that Kennet had died. 

"[Brian] sat with us, he cried with us, prayed with us, talked with us. I have never gone through anything so hard in my life. The way God works is just amazing. Even that night I thought, this is why Brian was supposed to be here."

Kauenhowen shares that every step of the way she had family, friends, and Pastor Brian there to walk her through it, even though he had just stepped into the pastoral role.

"I had a lot of support and God was there the whole way. There has only been one morning where I woke up thinking, I don't want to get out of bed today. That showed me God was there too. Without God, I wouldn't be where I am."

The couple had celebrated 25 years of marriage a few months before Kennet passed. They were the first couple to get married in their church. 

"Ken ran the sound system almost from the beginning. He knows that inside out and he was the church maintenance guy, security. He was everywhere and there wasn't a thing he wouldn't help you with. He was just that kind of guy."

The Monday Ken died Kauenhowen knew this would either drive her away from God or bring her closer. 

"I never once considered backing away. I'm glad pressed into God. I'm so blessed. God is so faithful if you just hold on and keep going and He'll put the right people in your world."

During October's Pastor Appreciation Month, Kauenhowen is feeling grateful for Pastor Brian and his care over the past year. 

"I could be open and Brian would just sit there and listen. There were evenings I would have such a hard time when I didn't think I would stop crying. Out of the blue, he'd be messaging me with encouragement. Even in the hardest times, the Holy Spirit would be working between us."