Through social media and no shortage of prayer, a stolen Bible has miraculously found its way back to its original owner in Winkler.
Earlier this year, Jake Goertzen's truck was broken into during a trip to Winnipeg. Of the stolen items was a family heirloom, a Bible his mother had given him many years ago. While initially frustrated at having to repair his vandalized vehicle and mourn the loss of a priceless keepsake, Goertzen says his attitude changed towards the thief.
"The Lord had a way of speaking to me, and it came to mind that even if one soul can be saved through this it would be worth it," he says.
While the motives of the thief are unknown, and it's unclear whether their conscience kept them from destroying or discarding the scriptures, they eventually abandoned the Bible at a Winnipeg convenience store. It was there Vivian Ketchum spotted the Bible and felt compelled to seek out its original owner.
"I saw there were pictures and letters inside, and realized how important this might be to someone," she says. "It's a special place, people put their heart in their Bible."
She took to Facebook to share the story hoping someone would know how to contact Goertzen. Her post was shared hundreds of times across the social media platform and Ketchum eventually had a phone number of a Winkler resident. She says connecting with Goertzen was a meaningful moment.
"The owner is from a different culture from mine, yet we had a common bond in those few minutes we were talking to each other, faith and prayer," Ketchum explains. "I could hear the faith of the Bible's owner. Powerful."
Being Indigenous, Ketchum says it would be similar to someone losing a ceremonial pipe, and says she would hope the person who found it would try to connect with its owner.
What strikes Ketchum the most was how Goertzen prayed, not just for the Bible's return, but for the thief. "Instead of being angry he started praying for the person that stole the Bible... I thought that was remarkable."
Goertzen explains even though the theft was traumatic, "I hope that this person looked into the Word and it planted a seed in their heart," he says.
Ketchum and Goertzen met on Friday in Winnipeg to return the Bible.
"It felt great to see him holding his Bible in his hands and going through the mementos in it," Ketchum says. "Like he got acquainted with a old friend."