Glen was not only a good man. Glen was a great man born to humble greatness. Glen was welcomed with great anticipation and excitement to Abraham and Alma Hildebrandt on August 23, 1968. He has an older sister Donna and older brother Brian. Glen was born in Didsbury, Alberta and grew up on his parent’s farm. He had a good life and many good memories there.
His pastor’s son Lewis Froese was born the day before Glen and they shared a bassinet one time. They were best friends and had many adventures together building in the sandbox, playing lego, playing in the barn and much more. Glen was very happy to re-connect with Lewis these past few years. Glen also has many happy memories of dirt biking, three wheeling and biking with friends from church or by himself. Apparently he was the best driver of the three- wheeler! Glen was always happy to be with people and happy to be by himself to spend time in reflection, in meditation and with God.
Some stories from his childhood…
When Glen was about nine years old he scared Mom by driving up beside her in the field wanting her to unload the grain from the combine. Mom made him stop and after they loaded the truck Glen took off with the grain in the big grain truck all by himself driving through the fields and off to the granary. This was typical Glen. He was pretty invincible and incredibly capable. If there wasn’t a normal way to get something done Glen would simply find a way. He was born to drive and loved to drive anything. Glen and Laurel spent many happy hours driving around the country side either in their vehicle or by motorbike, another passion of Glen’s. He also enjoyed taking things apart and most of the time he was able to put them back together.
Glen and Lewis apparently were caught throwing stuffed animals at some girls staying at the Hildebrandt house when his older sister Donna got married. Donna has some “good” memories of Glen as a baby and a little boy. He adored her and showed it by waking up his teenage sister in the morning by jumping on her.
Donna did a lot with little Glen. He was able to repay the favor when he would spend summers with Donna and her husband Danny on their dairy farm in Rosthern, Saskatchewan where he was able to spend time with his nieces Lynette and Melanie. Glen also worked for Donna and Danny during those summers and for his first year after graduating grade twelve in 1986. There are a few stories from those days like when Glen hit the side of the barn with the front-end loader. Glen always respected Danny who he described as incredibly patient with him and teaching him well. Glen’s soft heart was seen very clearly as he would take a long time to do the milking because he would spend more time playing with the cats than milking!
Danny called Glen their “rhinoceros” because he would make the bales really tight (as requested by Danny) and check how tight they were by throwing them, then make them heavier and tighter. He would end up making the bales 120 pounds so no one but Glen could lift them thinking that it was “light”. Glen was always a gentle giant and a cuddly teddy bear. He knew somewhere in his mind how strong he was, but probably didn’t realize how weak the rest of us are!
Glen also got in trouble with his gentle natured parents because at one point him and some friends decided it would be a good idea to start a bale on fire in the middle of the road. In his words, “What could go wrong?” and “We were clearly not thinking…”
Glen was very musical. That’s probably an understatement. His voice was like an angel and was always very soothing. He could sing in any range from bass (his preference) to tenor with ease. Not many people knew that he was also very talented on the piano. He only had grade two or three piano – which was as far as his parents could bribe him into practicing for – but he had the capacity to be a concert pianist with his musical talent and long agile fingers. His hands were twice the size of most men (or at least very large!). Glen picked up playing the guitar during his days at Columbia Bible College and went from that to playing the bass guitar in the last ten years. He loved being part of any worship team with his bass guitar – though his voice was underused because of his fun with the bass guitar! He truly enjoyed any jamming session and found it especially touching when he could play along with our son Joshua who is also very musically gifted. Glen sang in the chorale while in Rosthern Junior College for high school, sang in the chorale with Laurel at Columbia Bible College; sang in a male quartet with his CBC friends; and together with Laurel sang in the Valley Festival Singers. When time was too short to sing in choirs Glen and Laurel enjoyed singing together on worship teams in church. Getting together with his good friend Ray Rempel was always made even more fun because the two of them could burst into harmony and remember words of songs to sing them in entirety at any second.
Glen’s sense of humour was the absolute best. It was a wry sense of humour with a touch of sarcasm but always with kindness and love. Even throughout the difficult journey of cancer Glen would find a way to joke about things and lighten the mood. In his last hours he was even cracking jokes – while in mass amounts of pain. He would look in the mirror and see that his body and even face had become skeletal and joke about how his lips didn’t fit him anymore. Because it was rectal cancer that stole Glen’s life from us we had many running “rectum” jokes in order to make it through life and lighten a really tough situation…. Glen would say, “My rectum rectumed me”… you get the idea. He was the king of one-liners and if you weren’t listening you may have missed it. Laurel found out early in their dating years and especially marriage what a goof he was. They enjoyed such times as sliding back and forth on the floor in their basement suite to see who could slide the farthest and other such fun memories.
Glen went to high school for grade 11 and 12 at Rosthern Junior College, a Mennonite boarding school in Rosthern. This meant he had to leave his Alberta school after being there his entire life. He was surprised when his classmates threw him a going away party. That was Glen. He was so humble and never thought anyone noticed him. He never realized how loved he was nor how much his gentle, loving and kind nature stood out to people. He always thought he could just be in the background blending in. Glen was a big amazing man – he couldn’t blend in and not be noticed even though he thought he could.
RJC was known for sports and musicals. Glen wanted to be a part of the musical “Finnian’s Rainbow” in high school thinking he would work behind the scenes. Glen was cast as the main part of Finnian and wowed everyone with his amazing singing voice and accomplished Irish accent for the part. Glen also played volleyball, basketball and badminton both at RJC as well as CBC. He was very athletic. He had thought that he might play football at RJC but decided against it when he got there. Glen and Laurel enjoyed playing slow pitch together in a church league for a few years (until Laurel got hit in the head fracturing her zygomat bone and decided not to play anymore!) and then Glen enjoyed playing with a fine group of men in the “beer league”. There he got teased for being the only one wearing a helmut but he wore it in honor of Laurel’s hit on the head and said he didn’t care if he stood out.
The first year after RJC he got baptized (1986) and worked that year for his sister Donna and Danny Zacharias. He lived in an old schoolhouse on an amazing property in the middle of nowhere in Saskatchewan and loved every minute of it. He would tell stories of having to catch mice for quite a while before it was clear of mice (if it ever was!). He was also able to host some fun parties there (Godly one’s) because the roof was so high they could play sports in there. At one point they ran out of fuel for the furnace so he found a way to take care of it. One always felt safe, secure, strong, and cared for in the presence of Glen…He was confident and competent at everything he put his hand to. He had a calming presence on everyone that was deeply valued.
In 1987 Glen went to CBC (Columbia Bible College) in Abbotsford, BC. It was here that he met the love of his life, Laurel Friesen. God had already been working at getting the two of them together. Laurel remembers Glen in his role of Finnian and from playing sports against RJC. Glen had seen Laurel riding her horse in the ditches near Osler, Sask where Laurel lived. Glen heard God tell him way back then (around the age of 12) that Laurel was the woman he was going to marry when he saw her as a young girl riding her horse in the ditch. Laurel also had significant “God” moments where God told her on a number of occasions after Glen and Laurel had met, that Glen was the one for her. Glen and Laurel were divinely appointed to be together, serving God together and living in unity, functioning as one, ministering as one. Both had prophetic callings in many ways and used those gifting’s gently in helping others come closer to Christ.
Glen’s whole purpose in life was to be a helper and speak Godly truth into people’s lives. He always looked for ways to serve and help others. CBC was a place of grounding and learning more about God as well as falling in love for Glen and Laurel. Both were always very busy at CBC and on through the rest of life but spending time together was always a priority. Often in their married life they would be awake extra late because they would lie in bed talking.
Glen and Laurel graduated together from CBC in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in Church Ministry. From there Glen and Laurel moved back to Saskatchewan for a couple of years. Glen was happy to go straight into directing the Rosthern Youth Farm Bible Camp the summer of 1990 while Laurel did a Missions internship in Europe for the summer. Though the summer was individually fulfilling it was very difficult to be apart for those two months.
January 1, 1991 Glen and Laurel got engaged. Glen borrowed a friend’s 4X4 truck while visiting Laurel’s parents in Abbotsford and off they went to enjoy the day. Glen drove to the monastery in Mission, a special place for both, got down on one knee and declared his undying love to Laurel, asking her to marry him. She scared him a bit by bursting into tears and laughter, then finally saying yes – she was just too excited to talk! They entered into marriage on July 20, 1991 officiated by Dad Friesen (Laurel’s Dad) at the West Abbotsford Mennonite Church where he was pastoring at the time. It was a beautiful day and the two of them couldn’t keep their eyes off each other – something that never changed in their amazing 27 years of marriage. Marriage was never difficult for Glen and Laurel. They were almost always in sync with each other and always had each other’s backs. Their prayer almost every day of their lives together was that God would let them fall more and more in love with each other and with God each day, with God as their center and God protecting their marriage. That was a good prayer as their love matured and grew each and every day. They never lost the butterflies when they saw each other and if one observed they could be caught staring into each other’s eyes with love, oblivious to the world around them. Being in each other’s arms was the best place to be – always.
Glen and Laurel had a lot of fun together and with their amazing boys, Donovan Glen, born August 15, 1997 and Joshua David, born June 22, 1999. They enjoyed a lot of camping together and with friends, boating, snowmobiling (when they got to snow in Alberta or Rose Lake), building snow forts, ice skating, down hill skiing, playing games, golfing, dirt biking (more of a Glen specialty!), and on occasion a horse back ride (more of a Laurel specialty). Highlights were house-sitting for the Giesbrecht’s on their twenty acres where they did a lot of swimming, walking in the forest, playing with the chickens and cows, dog, cats and horse. They also enjoyed outings to Rose Lake very much as a family during the summer or winter months where they stayed at a very generous colleague and good friends “extra” house at the time on an acreage on the lake (Don and Marie Fritz). An impromptu family trip to Los Angeles to enjoy Disneyland for the first time and a family trip to Las Vegas where they saw the Grand Canyon were also highlights. Of course there were at least two trips a year driving through the mountains to visit the Hildebrandt family in Alberta where Mom and Dad, as well as his very beloved brother Brian and Dianne and kids live. Glen always made golfing with Brian and whoever else wanted to come a priority and treasured the friendship he had with brother Brian very much. Visiting Donna and Danny at their Besnard Lake Lodge Fishing resort a few times were memories to treasure. Both of his siblings, nieces and nephews, and in-laws are extremely important to Glen and Laurel and will always be loved very much – on both sides of the family.
Trips to the Island and hanging out with Laurel’s brother Jonathon were always fun, as well as visiting Ray and Deanna (like a brother to him) along the way. This past summer Jonathon blessed Glen and Laurel by bringing his new to him sea-doo over to the mainland for them to try. It was truly a beautiful last memory of being on the water with Glen. Seeing him smile as he roared through the water enjoying driving the sea-doo was an absolute blast.
Glen and Laurel thoroughly enjoyed all ministry together including the privilege of youth pastoring together for a few years at Wellspring Christian Fellowship Church. The youth there were and continue to be very special to both Glen and Laurel holding an immense part of their hearts. They were on fire for God, inspiring to be with and a great deal of fun for two young people to lead and disciple. Going to the Giesbrecht’s property at Canum Lake for youth retreats was always a highlight where they all got to enjoy Vic and Christa’s generosity in sharing their place on the lake, boating and cooking for our group.
Glen got dragged to more than his share of weddings of people he didn’t know as he came to be a support for Laurel officiating and her “driver”. Glen loved to drive and never seemed to get lost no matter where he went. He supported Laurel through the Masters of Theological Studies: Counselling program by driving truck and working many long hours. Laurel will be quite lost, literally and otherwise, as she tries to navigate on her own… Glen was always happy to be plugged into weddings video taping or otherwise helping out at the weddings.
Glen had a few different jobs throughout his too short life and impacted many. After his summer job of directing at the Youth Farm Bible Camp he went on to be a Dean of Men at Rosthern Junior College for two years from 1990-1992. He enjoyed this job very much. When Glen and Laurel moved to Abbotsford from Rosthern he enjoyed local truck driving for a few years. His dream job was being the BC Conference Youth Pastor for the General Conference of Mennonites BC (now the Canadian Mennonite Conference). He did that for three years. Within that time and as a part of his role he also led the YES program which was a Missions discipleship program where he helped organize and train young people and sent them out to different countries for mission work. It was during this time that he got to visit Germany and Puerto Rico.
Glen received his Master of Counselling degree in 2002 and went on to work with Dr. Don Fritz specializing in concurrent disorders. He then got on with Fraser Health and in the last few years he worked as the Coordinator of a mental health team. Glen has many beloved colleagues and clients who will miss him from Mission, Abbotsford and Chilliwack Mental health. The one dream of running a counselling ranch together with Laurel didn’t happen for them together and he was very sorry to not realize that dream.
Glen was an amazing Dad as well. Glen and Laurel were beyond excited to welcome Donovan and Joshua into the world and walk through life with these amazing boys. He loved to hang out with them, loving on them and trying to teach them how to be good men. He gave them an amazing example of what it means to not be religious, rather to have a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. He was saddened to have to fight the disease of cancer and though he had faith and hope right to the end that he would be healed here on earth, he was resting assured that he had done what he could to that point to raise two amazing men of God. He is confident in our sons to follow in his footsteps of service to God through serving others and even go beyond what Glen did here on earth. Glen and Laurel are very proud of their sons. Glen will be loving them and Laurel as a part of that great cloud of witnesses and cheering us, and you on.
Glen and Laurel did everything earthly possible and much prayer and spiritual warfare to fight for him to keep living on this earth longer. We never gave up hope and always wanted to be sure that no one else did either. Glen didn’t lose the battle. We just don’t understand the battle and see only a very small piece of the story that Glen’s thread has been woven through. We know that though Glen is no longer on earth with us he will always be in our hearts and more alive than the rest of us here on earth as he lives eternally with Christ in heaven. His story continues to influence and impact people and as a family we choose to glorify God even in the midst of our intense grief and loss. Glen was a man of greatness in everything he was and everything he did. His stature was, and continues to be one of regal bearing as he led the way in showing us what it means to be a child of God, a prince of the Most High – Glen knew his identity and who his heavenly Father was and he walked in that to the best of his ability and by the grace of God all the days of his life. Glen will never stop being missed and loved by us. His memory will live on and we look forward to being reunited one day. Until that time we choose to keep glorifying God and our wish, Glen and Laurel’s wish, Donovan and Joshua’s wish, is that no one would lose their faith in God over his earthly death. Glen’s spirit simply moved from this realm to the next and we can’t see the big picture. May Glen’s life move you closer to a living and vibrant relationship with the God who cares and loves us more than we can comprehend.
We value your prayers and support now and throughout the coming days and yes, even years. We love you. May the God of peace and comfort always walk with you and bless you even through the grief that we are sharing. Thank you.
Laurel, Donovan and Joshua Hildebrandt