Learn more about our WillingdonKids team and find out how to contact them!
Pastor 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 high schooler, 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 is 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 Poco with his lovely wife and 4 kids Jude, Selah, Zion & Joel! His favourite colour is seafoam and he enjoys writing paragraphs about himself in the third person.
Nursery Coordinator (0 - 2.5 years)
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 neighbour 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 to live 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 them apart!
Director of Early Childhood Ministries (2.5 - 4 years)
Yvelyn is originally from Malaysia and has been living in Canada since 2007. She is married to her husband Phillip and they live in Coquitlam with their daughter Ellysa-Faith and son Elijah Joel.
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 Leader/Advisor, 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 gastronomical adventures whether it’s near or far. Her favourite pastime is travelling, hosting and cooking Malaysian food for all her family and friends. Her latest interest and passion is writing Christian children’s books – her first book “The Armour of God” made its first appearance during Willingdon’s Victorious Daycamp 2021.
Clubhouse (K - Gr. 1)
Emily grew up in Vancouver, BC and attended a Christian elementary school. At age 12, she was invited to Willingdon’s youth programs and found her first home church. It was through youth group that she became confident in her faith, began serving on the worship team, and understood the power of being a leader for God’s glory.
Her passion for worship, leadership, and mental health all contribute to her desire to guide and see children grow. She is currently studying Psychology and working towards her teaching degree. She firmly believes that every child is uniquely made in the image of God and plays a role in God’s big story. She is excited to see children know and experience the love God offers.
Some of Emily’s favourite activities are singing and crafting!
Imagine Ministry Associate (For Kids with Special Needs)
Melissa was born in the Manila Philipines and has been living in Canada for 15 years now. She is married to Julius and they are blessed with 4 children.
Melissa got her doctorate of dental medicine degree in the Philipines and was able to do dental missions for about 7 years. When she came to Canada she spent most of her time doing volunteer work in the public school system where she did administrative roles and helped teachers and students within the classroom. She was one of the facilitators in Confident Kids at Willingdon and had a leadership role in BSF.
Currently, she is working as a special needs teacher at Vancouver Christian School and specializes in behaviour therapy for children with exceptionalities. Her passion is to serve and seek Christ by bringing children closer to Him and by making a difference in their lives.
Volunteer Administrator and HQ Ministry Associate (Gr. 2 - 5)
Caris was born in Prince George and moved to Burnaby when she was 6 years old. She has been attending Willingdon ever since and grew up in the children’s programs. Her family has a strong Christian heritage, so she has grown up always knowing who Jesus is and how much he loves her. She first accepted Christ at the age of 3 and was baptized in grade 8.
Caris started volunteering with Willingdon Kids at day camp in 2011 and was first hired as a summer intern in 2015. Since then, she has worked at day camps, in the nursery, with volunteers, and now in HQ.
She completed a 1-year certificate of intercultural studies at Prairie Bible College, in Three Hills Alberta, then returned to Burnaby to study at SFU. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in June 2020, then went to UBC for her Bachelors of Education, which she completed in July 2021. She is now working as a teacher in the Burnaby School District.
She has always had a passion for working with children and desires to see them grow in their personal relationships with God, as well as the knowledge of who they are in Christ.
Sam grew up in Burnaby, BC and has been attending Willingdon Church since birth. She grew up in the children's and student ministry and was deeply impacted by all of the volunteers in each ministry. Her experience in those ministries inspired her to grow in her faith and to begin volunteering with student ministries quickly out of high school.
After 5 years in the food and beverage world, and a few international short-term missions trips, Sam felt the call to go into full-time ministry at Willingdon Church. Sam feels very blessed to now be able to serve the Lord in both Children's and Student Ministries.