Rafael Duerksen
Director, Canada

Rafael joined Generation Rising in 2021 after having served as the Lead Pastor at Springfield Heights Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. His focus is on connecting compassionate churches and donors in Canada with local schools and churches in Latin America. Rafael previously served as Pastor of Youth and Young Adults at the Wainfleet Brethren In Christ Church in Ontario, and was a leader in Canadian Mennonite University’s Outtatown discipleship program in South Africa and Guatemala. He holds a Masters in Theological Studies Degree from Tyndale Seminary.

Rachel Buhler
Donor Care & Sponsorship Coordinator, Canada

Rachel joined the Generation Rising team at the end of 2020 at the Office Administrator. She previously served for 5 years in a pastoral role in a church working with elementary school aged kids. Rachel is passionate about the work Generation Rising is doing in Latin America by providing kids with an education that gives them the opportunity to learn about God’s love. Rachel and her husband, Justin live in Winnipeg and love getting out of the city to enjoy God’s creation. She has a B.Ed. from the University of Winnipeg and a diploma in Business Administration from Herzing College.

Fiona Neufeld
Sponsorship Coordinator, Paraguay

With a Master of Arts in Counseling from Providence College, Fiona works closely with our partner schools, the parents and the sponsor children supported by Generation Rising in Paraguay. She has a special burden for single moms who work hard to provide a better future for their children.

Board of Directors

Rudolf Duerksen

Rudolf Duerksen is a founding member of Generation Rising. He has worked in Latin America for over 22 years, being involved in development work with indigenous people. He served as Executive Director of SERVOME, a church-related social services agency in Paraguay, dedicated to working with marginalized people and street children. Rudolf led the founding team of MEDA Paraguay and CODIPSA — a commercial enterprise helping small landholders process manioc into starch and take it to the export market. Rudolf has studied animal science, agriculture, development and missiology.

Tomas Martens
Board Member

Tomas Martens is a founding member of Generation Rising. Tomas resides with his wife and two sons in East St. Paul, Manitoba. He currently works for Transport Canada as a Civil Aviation Safety Inspector. Tomas was born and raised in Paraguay. He completed a diploma in Aviation at Providence College, MB and worked as a flight instructor and charter pilot for 6 years before joining Transport Canada. At Providence College, Tomas took an active part in missions as a representative for South America. He has taken students to Aviation Mission headquarters and introduced them to mission aviation.

Ann Ediger

Ann Ediger is a founding member of GenerationRising and resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Prior to retirement, Ann worked as a nurse in various hospital and community programs. It was her work in health care and development in Paraguay that convinced her of the importance that education holds as a means to reduce poverty. She continues to be active as a committed volunteer in her community and local church.

Chuck Penner

Chuck Penner became a member of Generation Rising in 2015 and joined the board in 2016. He has been involved in missions and economic development projects in Cuba and Mexico. Chuck has spent over 25 years in the Canadian grain business and has owned and operated LeftField Commodity Research since 2010. He grew up in Manitoba’s Red River Valley and has a Diploma in Biblical Studies from Winkler Bible Institute. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Ag Economics and an Agribusiness Diploma from the University of Manitoba. Chuck and his wife Marlene live in Winnipeg and have three grown daughters.

Sally Kauenhowen
Board Member

Sally and her husband Carl are founding members of Generation Rising. They have 3 sons and 1 daughter and reside in Narol, Manitoba. Sally was raised in Paraguay. She has always been involved with mission projects through church since she joined at age 15. Sally has seen firsthand what a difference it makes for children to have a  quality education in Paraguay. After the family moved to Canada, Carl and Sally were very exited to join with other founding members of Generation Rising and help enable children to a better future.

Helmut Sawatzky

Helmut joined the board of Generation Rising in 2018 after taking part in a service trip to Nicaragua with his church. Helmut was born in Paraguay and continues to foster a good relationship with family and friends there through regular visits. He recently stepped back from the workforce after having served more than 30 some as warehousing and distribution manager. He is a member of a local church where he has served in various capacities including chairman of the board. Helmut resides with his wife Wilma in Springfield, Manitoba. They have two children who are both grown.