Meet Our Team
Jono Caramay | Director of Children's Ministry
Jono grew up in Burnaby and he came to Willingdon with his family when he was in grade 2. As a highschooler, Jono got involved in the church community by volunteering to do camerawork and lighting during the weekend services. After graduating from Moscrop Secondary in 2005, Jono went on to pursue an Art History degree at UBC. During this time, he discovered a passion for teaching and leading kids, especially using visual and performing arts, and began working on staff at Kids Ministry. Jono finished his degree and went on to complete his Bachelor of Education in 2010, and begun his teaching career. Since 2015, Jono has been on staff with Kids Ministry, while working as a teacher at John Knox Christian School. In 2018, he was invited to serve as the Pastor of Children's Ministry and thrilled to be able to lead the team and Kids Ministry to a deeper, fuller understanding of who God is and what He's done.
Jono lives in New Westminster with his lovely wife, expressive little boy, and delightful baby girl! His favourite colour is seafoam and he enjoys writing paragraphs about himself in the third person.
Tomoko Kashima | Nursery Coordinator (0-2)
Tomoko is originally from Nagoya, Japan. She grew up in the Shinto culture. When she got married to her husband, Ernie, and moved to Burnaby in 1991, her neighbor who was a member of Willingdon church invited her to their home Bible Study group; here, Tomoko was introduced to the journey of exploring God’s Word. The turning point was when she was invited to a Ladies’ Tea, which was held in HQ room; she truly enjoyed the joy of Christmas and started to attend the church regularly. Tomoko has been a member of Willingdon church for 27 years and she volunteered in the Nursery for a couple of years when her children were young. After that, she worked for Willingdon Playschool for 14 years.
Tomoko constantly feels God’s call and guiding hands to reach out for children and their families in the Willingdon Church community. She is blessed living in South Burnaby with three young adult children and her husband.
Fun fact: Tomoko has an identical twin sister who also lives in Burnaby and also attends Willingdon Church. See if you can tell us apart!
Caris Ip | Ministry Associate - Nursery (0-2)
Caris started attending Willingdon in 2004, after her family moved to Burnaby from Prince George. She grew up in the Willingdon Kids programs and started volunteering, at day camps in 2011, and in the nursery in 2013. She was also a summer intern in children’s ministry for several summers, and considers Willingdon to be her second home. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and card making. She graduated from Prairie Bible College with a Certificate in Intercultural Studies in 2017, and is now studying at Simon Fraser University. Her time at Bible school taught her the value of Christian community and the importance of being able to discern Truth from lies, two important things she desires to see kids know from a young age. For as long as she can remember, she has loved caring for children, and she is excited to be part of a ministry that played a key role in her childhood and helped shape who she is today.
Yvelyn Tang | Director of Early Childhood Ministries
Yvelyn is originally from Malaysia and has been living in Canada for the past 10 years now. She is married to her husband Phillip and they live in Coquitlam with their little girl and baby boy. Yvelyn attended the University of London where she obtained her Law Degree. She held various administrative positions in the bank which culminated in her role as Principal of a kindergarten, where she was responsible for a staff of 18 teachers and 350 students. Being a pastor’s daughter, she was exposed to ministry at an early age and has served in various roles ranging from Sunday School Teacher, Youth and Worship Leader to more senior roles as Creative Arts Assistant Director and a member of the Church Board. She has a heart for serving children, as well as their parents, helping them build a strong relationship with the Lord.
Besides pursuing her passion for ministering to children, she is a foodie at heart and loves going on food adventures and trying new eateries. Her favorite pastime is hosting and cooking Malaysian food for all her family and friends.
Nicole Shen | Clubhouse (K - Grade 1)
Nicole grew up in Burnaby, BC and has been attending church since birth. She accepted Christ at a very young age during a summer day camp and got baptized in 2016. She grew up in a Christian home with her parents and two younger brothers. She attended a Christian elementary school as well as a Christian high school. She is currently studying at SFU in the education program and is very excited to be leading Clubhouse. Nicole started attending and volunteering at Willingdon when she was in grade 11. She loves working with children and cannot wait to see what God can do in the lives of all the children.
Ryan Ponte | HQ (Grades 2-5)
Ryan left a 16 year career as a martial arts instructor when God called him to Children’s Ministry at Willingdon in 2015. He has a passion for sharing the love of Jesus with children and firmly believes in the importance of instilling the Truth’s of the Gospel as early and often as possible. As C.H. Spurgeon once said, “The only way to keep chaff out of the child’s little measure is to fill it brimful with good wheat. Oh, that the Spirit of God may help us to do this!”
Ryan has a beautiful wife named Amanda who shares his passion for serving the Lord. Although they don’t yet have children, they do have a stinky little Boston Terrier who’s tons of fun! In his spare time, he values playing board games with his family and reading a good book. His favourite colour is brown and he makes no apologies for it.
Abigail Portillo | Imagine Ministry
Abigail joined the Children’s Ministry team in June 2017 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from UBC. She is currently studying Music Therapy at Capilano University and is excited about pursuing a vocation that combines her passion for music and helping others. Abigail started attending Willingdon in 2006 and first started volunteering with the Children’s Ministry in 2011 with HQ and later with Imagine in October 2014. Abigail is passionate about serving others and being a part of God’s mission to make disciples who grow in their love for God and His Word. She enjoys anything that has to do with art and music, watching movies (especially musical ones), and spending quality time with family and friends.
Amanda Ponte | Volunteer Coordinator
Amanda started working at Willingdon in 2012 as the nursery administrator and then a couple years later, also started helping with volunteer coordinating, screening and preparing volunteers for ministry. Amanda comes from a family who doesn’t know Christ but was invited to Willingdon by some of her friends when she was 8 years old to join them for a single day of camp. Years later Amanda was invited back to Willingdon during a New Year’s Eve service where she heard the gospel and committed her life to Christ at the age of 16. She feels extremely blessed to be able to serve the Lord now through Willingdon.
Sam Alexander | Administrator
Sam grew up in Burnaby, BC and has been attending Willingdon since birth. She grew up in the children’s & student ministry programs and started volunteering as soon as she was allowed to. She always had a passion for cooking and went to culinary school in grade 12 with the Burnaby Ace-It program. She worked in the culinary and hospitality field for 5 years before God began to call her to work for Him. She feels very blessed to be able to serve the Lord in both the children’s and student ministries.