Construction of a new community office for Adult and Teen Challenge in Winkler is well underway in the space behind Super Thrift.

Crews are working to create an administration area, plus a common room for hosting small support groups, staff, volunteers and other partnering organizations. There will also be a kitchenette.

A key figure in this stage of development is the organization’s new Ministry Manager – Derek Neufeld, a former Altona resident. Before landing in Winkler, Neufeld worked in a variety of communities in the region.

“We spent a really great season in Plum Coulee. From there a lot of people will remember me from Pembina Valley Bible camp. We spent several years there with the leadership team. We also spent a handful of years at Christian Life Center in Morden as a youth pastor. It was during those seasons, that preparation time, for where I am now with Adult and Teen Challenge. There's always been a tug if you will, or a thrill and a joy to help people.”

The position of regional Ministry Manager is relatively new, but Neufeld emphasizes it comes with a rich history.

“Chris Doerksen and Steve Keesic were pioneers trying to establish and cultivate ‘what’s our place here’? The role of the Ministry manager for the immediate and foreseeable future is to oversee the Pembina Valley; to make connections, try to cultivate partnerships with all sorts of other people and organizations and businesses, being co-laborers, partnering together to say, how can we be a part of this community and help those who are in need.”

The organization has received strong support from the Pembina Valley region and across southern Manitoba – a fact that has not escaped Neufeld.

“This region is phenomenally generous! I just want to articulate how incredibly thankful we are, how I am, as the newest Adult and Teen Challenge staff member, and then broader from our team in Winnipeg. We're just so incredibly grateful for the generosity and the support that this community has given and continues to give!”

While Neufeld acknowledges his entire team’s gratitude for the generosity and strong support shown by the community, Neufeld admits this type of undertaking comes with a cost.

“There is an immediate need. They're looking at a number of about $500,000 and that will help with a mortgage payoff. When it comes to the furniture and the furnishings, if people feel that they can help with that, if anybody is thinking they could participate and support that way financially, that would be fantastic! We would welcome that partnership.”

There’s a sense of excitement about entering the final stage of the build. Neufeld says the many volunteers involved in the project makes it’s difficult to pin point an exact date for the grand opening. He’s hoping renovations at the Cargill Road location will be completed before summer.