Project Canefire Board
Paul Benthem – Chairperson & Public Relations
Paul lives in McBain, MI, and has been married to his wife Brenda since 1969. They have four children and seven grandchildren. He is a Vietnam veteran and worked in the meat industry for about 30 years before retiring and starting a small business called Northern Michigan Lift Service. Paul has been with Project Canefire since 2002 and loves to serve in the Dominican Republic building wells. He knows God has a plan for all of us and wants to use his gifts to help those who are in need. Email Paul at email@example.com
Mark Mogan - Vice Chairman & Secretary
He and his wife Carol are originally from Minnesota but have made Cadillac, MI, their home for the past 26 years. They have four grown children and two grandchildren. Mark's career has been in the dairy food processing industry for over 30 years, with the last years as Process System Engineer for General Mills/Yoplait USA. Mark’s leisure time is spent fishing - bass, salmon, and walleye. He was convicted on his first mission trip to the Dominican Republic several years ago that providing fresh drinking water and God’s hope to the people of the DR is the service he wants him to perform. Mark’s favorite quote is Abe Lincoln’s response to some confederate gentlemen, when they stated that God was on their side. His response: “Isn’t it better to ask ...if we are on God’s side?” Email Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gladys (Primus) Brinks – Director of Evangelism
Gladys was born and raised on a farm near Steamboat Rock, Iowa, in 1936. She attended Calvin College, where she earned a teaching degree. She accompanied husband Raymond as a missionary in Argentina and the Dominican Republic. In Argentina she was involved in work among the children and women and also home schooled their four boys in English. In the Dominican Republic she began a network of Christian schools among the poor and marginalized people with whom they worked. That organization COCREF has grown to 22 schools with an enrollment of 5000 students. She continues to support the volunteer ministry work of Project Canefire and Northern Michigan Christian School, especially in the DR. She lives with husband Raymond in Falmouth, Michigan.
Dr. Raymond Brinks – Global Liaison Director
Raymond was born on a farm near Vogel Center, MI, in 1933. He attended Calvin College and Seminary from 1951 to 1958 and was ordained as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church in 1958. As a missionary he served for that church in church planting and youth work in Argentina from 1959 to 1979. In 1980 he was called to serve as missionary in the Dominican Republic and worked with both Dominican citizens and Haitian immigrants in establishing La Iglesia Christiana Reformada de la Republican Dominicana. This church now has some 15,000 members in the Dominican and has spread into Haiti, where it numbers 27 church groups and 3,000 members. In 1989 he received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. After retiring from ministry in 1996, he has participated in promoting volunteer teams and founding Project Canefire, which continues to minister to the needy and marginalized in the Dominican Republic. He and wife Gladys live in Falmouth, MI.
Dave VanHouten - Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer
Dave is a Cadillac, MI, native. He is married to Linda VanHouten, and they have three grown children: Luke, Gabe, and Mica. Dave, along with his wife Linda, retired from directorship of the Department of Human Services in 2010. Email Dave at email@example.com
Mark Mortenson - Chief Marketing & Sales Manager
Mark has been married to his wife Patti for 36 years, and they have been blessed with four children and two grandchildren. Mark spent his first 25 years in retail sales and management, with the past 15 years as the director of a Christian Community Development Organization called Friends Ministry in Lake City, MI. Mark came to Christ at age 30 and is still in the Holy Spirit’s transformation process of changing from a self-absorbed consumer to a servant of God. In that process God has led him to Project Canefire in 1989, and through the short-term mission trips has greatly enlarged his view of and heart for the worldwide Church. From there, God led Mark to work full time with low-income families at home. Jesus has used his business background to learn to love his neighbors in many practical ways. It thrills Mark to watch God get hold of someone and see them light up at finding their purpose and place in His kingdom. He dreams of many thousands of Christians from hundreds of cultures coming together to share our gifts and purpose in unity. Mark says, “I am blessed to see and participate in His kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt.6:10). Email Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ria Cunningham -
Jan Klooster - Website Manager but not on the Board. She lives in Courtright, ON, Canada. She and her late husband Rick were retired from the teaching profession. They became aware of Project Canefire while living in Cadillac, MI, and working at Northern Michigan Christian School. Their involvement with the school's annual Junior mission trip to the Dominican Republic created a burning desire to continue this work lifelong! It is still Jan's great joy and privilege to be part of such an incredible group, working alongside many in the DR and North America to bring life-giving water, sewing skills, new homes, concrete floors, medical facilities, churches, Bibles, school supplies, kites, marbles, skills, opportunities, joy, and hope to God's people. Email Jan at email@example.com