August 2, 2012

Former RCS Student Drowns

Last week Saturday, July 28th, 15 year old Kenton VanPelt drowned at his grandparents' cottage on Baxter Lake in Northern Ontario. Kenton was a vibrant young man, and an avid swimmer. Something went wrong after he dove off the boat house, an activity the family has been doing for many years.

Kenton had been a student at Rehoboth Christian School for four years ( grades 4 - 7), while I was principal there, and he and his parents are known by many in our community. He was a kind, gentle boy and was very polite to his teachers.

What a terrible tragedy Kenton's death is to the VanPelt and Neven families. What a shock this is to the entire school community, especially to Kenton's peers. God has His purpose with this event, and He makes no mistakes, ever.
It is a lesson for all of us, but especially for young people, that we always need to be prepared to meet our Creator and Judge. We all expect to become old, but here we see again that things don't always go our way.

Who would have expected that this 15 year old young man would have died before I did. I am not expected to live much longer but my dear students, you too could be called before God before I am. Will you be ready? Do not wait a moment longer, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation". 2 Cor.6:2

Kenton expressed a saving interest in Christ, and had publicly professed his faith several months prior. The question comes to us about where we stand in relation to God. Are we covered by the blood of Christ? Are we saved by faith in Him? May God use this tragedy to bring others to the Saviour, especially young people.

Lena and I, along with our children and their families wish to express our sincere condolences to Mike and Deani and their daughters and to all the VanPelt and Neven families affected by this loss. May God comfort you through His Word and Spirit.


  1. In all, God is good! It is a blessing to know that Kenton knows our Lord even more personally now. May our Father grant Kenton's family peace, especially during this time of loss. My heart and prayers are with them all!

  2. Gary, Brenda NevenAugust 6, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Dear Jack & Lena, Thank you for your kind words, thoughts and warning to us all! As a family we are still in shock and have asked why Lord, but we have also been comforted by Him. The outpouring of love from the RCS community and the entire Christian community, has simply been overwhelming! People and pastors from many churches have been praying for the VanPelt family. It is a great comfort, to know that so many people care. Last Sunday, in our home church, Grace FRC in Brantford, Pastor Schouls had a beautiful comforting prayer and sermon. He preached on Psalm 23:4, Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Yesterday, in the Severn Falls Chapel (where our family often worships, while at the cottage), I was asked to read a few verses and I will share them with you. Psalm 28:1,2 & 7 "To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to you, When I lift my hands toward Your sanctuary.... The Lord is my strength and my shield, My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise you." Elder Jack Nolan, after expressing his sympathies to the family, addressed the congregation with "Last Saturday morning Kenton woke up, not knowing that he would face the Lord that very day. Kenton had professed his faith in Jesus our Lord and Saviour, have you done the same? What if you or I was to be called into eternity today, would we be prepared to meet the Lord?" The Lord has taught me many things this past week. One is: that it is often easy for us to be thoughtful and loving, in times of grief. I pray that we (and I stress me) can all be more loving and thoughtful, more often to fellow Christians and to those we come in contact with, every day. We have such an awesome Saviour, why is it so hard to share this with unbelievers, in words and in practice.

    Jack, we have been following your struggles and are so glad that you have been able to witness to us all, through all your unimaginable hardships. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family and give you some relief from your pain and suffering, while still here on this earth. In you, O Lord, I put my trust!

    On behalf of the Neven family,
    Thank you,
    Gary and Brenda Neven