Distinguished Alumni 2018
An MK from Ethiopia, Howard was a Prairie High School grad of 1962. He and Jo-Ann (Hoffman) both graduated from Prairie in 1966 and attended Seattle Pacific College after their marriage in preparation for service in Ethiopia with SIM. They were sent to pioneer among the unreached Gurage people group, but three years later, they were forced out by a new communist regime with no idea whether they would ever see the few Gurage believers again. SIM sent them to Ghana, and the fruit of their five years there became evident in the hundreds of believers and dozens of churches now active in Northern Ghana.
When family needs brought them home in 1985, Howard studied for a doctorate in missiology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Jo-Ann did her doctoral work in Anthropology at Northwestern University. They were invited onto the International staff of SIM and Howard became the Outreach Coordinator and Deputy International Director responsible for East Africa and Asia while Jo-Ann filled a number of senior positions. Convinced that missions should be a two-way street with missionaries from all parts of the world joining together in the Great Commission, the Brants helped SIM expand from 15 to 45 countries during their time in leadership. Today SIM has workers in over 75 countries of the world and is a truly international mission.
After a 34-year absence, the Brants returned to Africa where Jo-Ann became the SIM director for South Sudan. But 5 years later, the Gurage church in Ethiopia invited them back to help start a Bible School to train church leaders. To their amazement, Howard and Jo-Ann found hundreds of churches and about 100,000 believers. God had worked beyond anything they could have imagined. Even now, during retirement, the Brants return to teach and strengthen the Gurage church and in January they will help to inaugurate a pastor’s training course. They make their home in Renton, Washington, and have a son in the US military, two daughters who are missionaries in Germany and Jordan, and seven grandchildren.
Bob and Stella (Dafoe) Splane both graduated from Prairie High School in 1953. Stella returned for a year of Bible school and then went on to obtain her teaching degree with distinction at the University of Alberta. Bob attended college in Seattle and Ottawa before settling into accounting financial positions in the workplace. They were married in 1957 and engaged in youth and camp work through their churches.
Stella interspersed teaching, leading Bible studies and Christian Women’s Club, and teaching Sunday school with her role as a homemaker and mother to their four children and serving on the boards of a women’s shelter and a Charter School for gifted children. While sharing in the operation of the family farm, she also managed to obtain her private pilot’s license. Stella’s spiritual gifts of hospitality, prayer and giving have provided direction for much of her life. She now keeps track of birthdays for twelve grandchildren and their spouses and nineteen great-grandchildren.
Bob’s life work has included more than 50 years in the fields of finance and investment, often specializing in agricultural finance. Bob developed a keen interest in corporate governance, which led to positions on the board of directors for more than twenty companies. His gifts of leadership and giving have led him to serve on church and Bible school boards, including Prairie College. In 2011 he retired as Chairman of ATB Financial. Among Bob’s contributions to his community were serving as Campaign Chairman for Capital City United Way and on the board of Athabasca University. His service has earned him several medals that include the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the Alberta Centennial and the Order of Athabasca University. The Splanes now live in BC where Bob will soon retire from the board of Kamloops Alliance church where he is also chairman of the finance committee.
Matt Brouwer is a Canadian singer-songwriter whose powerful faith-based CCM albums have garnered him two GMA Canada Covenant Awards and a Juno Award. The Truro, Nova Scotia, native began his musical career while attending Prairie College in Alberta where he and some fellow students formed a band called Monday Night Worship. Their music was brought to the attention of the Nashville-based Christian label Reunion Records, who signed Brouwer to a solo deal in 2000. His debut album, Imagerical, yielded two Top 10 hits on CHR radio, earning Brouwer his first Juno nomination the following year.
For his second album, 2005’s Unlearning, he founded his own label called Black Shoe Records. His third and most successful album, Where’s Our Revolution was released by Universal Records in 2009 and featured the hit single “Sometimes” which cracked the Billboard Top 20 in 2010 and earned Matt a Juno Award for Best Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album. His 2012 follow-up, Till the Sunrise, earned several more GMA Covenant nominations and awards. In 2014, Brouwer issued a greatest hits collection, Writing to Remember. His music has been hailed for its relentless vulnerability as he shares a life story of tragedy (the death of his father) and hope in his spiritual pilgrimage.
Matt married Hannah Dawn Fricker in 2010 in Houston, Texas. The couple met during a trip that Brouwer took to Guatemala, where Hannah’s family serves in medical missions. They are the proud parents of two little daughters and currently live in the Houston area where Hannah works as a PA in surgical oncology and Matt serves as worship leader and mentor at a number of local churches.
Distinguished Alumni Nomination Criteria
Prairie College wishes to honour and recognize three alumni who personify Prairie’s values and have translated their educational experience into distinguished achievement in Christian ministry or the professional world.
One alumnus will be recognized in each of the following areas:
- Lifelong Christian Ministry
- Integration of Christian Faith and Professional Achievement
- Early Career Excellence – an individual who is 40 years of age or younger
- Be a graduate of one of Prairie’s schools.
- Have made a significant contribution to the cause of Christ through Christian ministry or in their chosen career.
- Bear witness to Christ through a sincere walk with the Lord and exemplary Christian character.
- Be nominated by their peers.
If you know someone who fits our criteria, please send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to PO Box 4000, Three Hills, AB T0M 2N0, by May 31, 2018 with the following information:
- Nominee’s name, address, and phone/email.
- Details as to why they should be considered for this award.
- Your name and contact details.