Greetings, My name is Jonathan Dunville, and I have the honor and privilege of being one of the worship leaders here at Kelowna Gospel Fellowship Church. Mike thought it would be a great idea for Josh and I to write a small letter about ourselves for the members of our church whom we haven't had the opportunity to get to know, as of yet. The following is a short story about my life and how God has led me to where I am today.My life began in Dartmouth Nova Scotia, where I spent it's first four years. From there my family and I moved to the Halifax side of the harbour, where I spent the next sixteen years. I was born into a family of four at the time, which is now six including myself. My mother and father, Ray and Margaret, and my sister and brothers, Evie, Joshua and Nathan are my immediate family. We moved many times throughout my younger years which made forming lasting friendships difficult, but I wouldn't change any part as it has helped shape me into the man I introduce to you now. The life lessons I learned from my childhood and adolescence continue to serve me well as I cherish every blessing God bestows on me.
I grew up in a loving, God fearing family whose parents made sure the truths about God and His love for me were well ingrained in my mind and in my heart. I have spent my entire life in church, seventeen years of which in a Pentecostal assembly, which I will happily discuss another time. Like many others, I asked Jesus into my heart at an age where I didn't fully comprehend the gravity of my decision. However, it wasn't until I was seventeen, that I finally made the fully devoted choice to follow Christ. This decision came after many adolescent years of struggling and fighting to find what I was missing in my life. I had obtained head knowledge of Jesus, but never heart knowledge. This search ultimately brought me to a new church, which has direct correlation to why I sit here today writing this letter.
At seventeen, we began attending an Alliance church called City Heights which is where I rededicated my life to God and where I met Joshua Smith. We quickly became very close friends as our love for music, sports, girls and fast cars were similarities too obvious to overlook. It was here, with the support of Josh and many others, where my passion for music and the burning desire God placed on my heart to use it for His purpose and glory became my life's goal. In the years following, I continued to hone the skills and gifts God had given me as well as search for God's calling and leading in my life. At the age of twenty, this calling...plus a speeding ticket(which I will explain in detail later), led me to Briercrest Bible College.
To backtrack slightly, my passion for music began as a small boy strumming a plastic electric guitar I got for Christmas, but I only became truly aware of it at the age of ten. Due to significant financial issues which followed the loss of my father's business, my family and I moved out of Halifax to live with a couple to whom my parents were very close. Almost every evening, I would fall asleep listening to Sam Vezeau sing and play his guitar, mandolin, violin or banjo. While including many different music styles, he taught me the value of how each genre could add it's own unique dynamic to a song no matter which style you were playing. Although, I still have yet to figure out the part country music has to play in this dynamic.
My schooling at Briercrest was short lived, as after one year of my music degree I moved here to Kelowna to be with my fiancee Sharla Giase. Sharla and I were married in June of 2005, after which I had already become fully involved in the worship ministry at the church. Initially as a bass player, acoustic guitarist or drummer, depending on role needing to be filled, I did not begin leading worship here until 2006. In the summer of 2008 Sharla and I separated, prompting me to take a leave of absence from worship ministry at KGF. Through the prayers, phone calls, smiles, hugs and tears, this church body has lived out the true meaning of community to me as I walked through this difficult season in my life. I am forever grateful to each and every person, as they unceasingly displayed God's love.
Over the past few years, I have witnessed, experienced and been involved in the refocusing of our church, following the tenure of Ward Cowie, Kelly Cochrane, Rob Ford and the eventual appointment of Mike Penninga as our new and current Senior Pastor. While playing bass for Josh as he led worship at Alive Ministries, I was privileged to serve with Mike as he pastored this youth assembly. So when he told me he was stepping out in faith to interim as our pastor here at KGF as well as ultimately taking the vocation as our Senior Pastor, I was overjoyed and honored to have the opportunity to serve with him again.
It is with great humility that I serve with Josh, Mike, Kevin, Judy, the members of our church board and every volunteer as we offer our lives as vessels for God to use to impact the lives of those who attend our church with the love of Christ. I look forward to meeting you all in the weeks and months to come, but please be patient with me as I have a horrible memory when it comes to recalling people's names. So if I look like a "deer in headlights" when you approach me, please know that I am currently racking my brain in an attempt to remember your name.
A brother in Christ,