By Julie Cole
Justin Lenny is a man of faith and service.
Lenny was honoured as this year’s valedictorian at Briercrest College and Seminary’s graduation in May.
The Ontario native came to Caronport by way of Briercrest’s Kaleo program at Camp Quanoes on Vancouver Island. The eight-month program allows students to live in a camp setting and experience outdoor adventure while earning one year of college credit.
The beauty and adventure captured in a friend’s photos of Vancouver Island inspired him to venture far from home and spend a year in the Kaleo program. What he experienced there changed his life.
“It’s the most life changing year of grace I’ve had.” Lenny insisted. “I actually often wonder if I was a follower of Jesus before Kaleo. It’s a great blend between teaching and careful learning with practice in community and service.”
This blend between learning and service can be seen in Lenny’s life. Besides serving as a faculty assistant and an intern, he leads a group who regularly goes to the streets of Moose Jaw and looks for people who may need someone to talk to and pray for them.
Upon graduation, Lenny plans to travel with two of his friends for four to six months in India and Thailand where they hope to volunteer in different spots along the way.
He says his experience at Briercrest has grounded his spiritual life.
“(At Briercrest) I’ve come to love God, come to love Jesus and come to love people in a way I never have before. That’s central to whatever I do after I leave here.”
Lenny’s parents are teachers. His father is a vice-principal of a high school in Ontario and his mother is a Grade 6 teacher.
“I had a really sweet home and amazing parents,” Lenny exclaimed. “There was a lot (spiritually) I didn’t understand (growing up) — what Jesus’ call was and what he required of all of us in response to what He’s given us.”
The honoured grad lists Cal MacFarlane and Wes Olmstead as two professors who were particularly pivotal in his time at Briercrest.
“Cal met with me every week from my first year here,” he said. “Interning with Wes has been unbelievable.”
Olmstead also enjoyed his relationship with Lenny.
“When I think of Justin, I think first of his deep and tender concern for the people that God brings into his life. He is remarkably gifted, of course, but above all else he is a follower of Jesus.”
Lenny also appreciates relationships he’s had with students on campus. He was a resident advisor for two years in the Lewis Apartments at Briercrest. He is currently living in a rental home in Caronport with several other students who were in the Kaleo program.
“It’s like a Kaleo frat house,” Lenny joked.
Lenny got the thrill of returning to Vancouver Island last year when he interned there. The trip back helped him to see the growth that had taken place in his life.
“My first year at Kaleo was all about me,” Lenny admitted. “My second time back was all about the students.”
“(Kaleo) was a really formative time for me. God overwhelmed me with what He was doing. It was all new to me. Here, (at Briercrest) I’ve experienced grounding, filling out and establishing depth to things that were introduced to me at Kaleo.”