Archive for Audrey Markel

In memory of Brian Vredevoogd

A tribute to a dear friend, mentor, and colleague

Brian Vredevoogd

November 18, 1961 – October 26, 2019

By Audrey Markel, WMC colleague and friend

Brian Vredevoogd November 18, 1961 – October 26, 2019

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

Created in the image of God-yet each unique-placed together in a mosaic masterpiece that serves as a broken reflection of who God is. What a gift to serve our Savior King alongside Brian Vredevoogd as he walked boldly as an image-bearer of our Heavenly Father. Muskegon Christian Schools experienced Christ reflected through Brian in the most beautiful ways for 36 years.

Brian was admired for his faith and commitment to love and serve Jesus. Brian lived with a zeal for doing what was honoring to God in all that he was a part of as he loved the Lord with all of his heart, soul, and strength. What a wonderful homecoming celebration it must have been as he entered into the presence of Jesus!

Students were asked to share what specific “fruit” they saw in Mr. V’s life that encouraged them to grieve with HOPE (1 Thessalonians 4:13) and a confidence that he was now in the presence of Jesus.

Fun-loving Mr. V enjoying some time with his students.

“I saw Mr. V glorifying God by always trying to understand his students. He made me feel like I had a voice. He always listened. He always wanted to tell others about God. Mr. V has always been kind to everyone. He always put others before himself. He truly loved us.”

I saw Mr. V glorifying God by always trying to understand his students. He made me feel like I had a voice. He always listened. He always wanted to tell others about God. Mr. V has always been kind to everyone. He always put others before himself. He truly loved us.

I had the opportunity to read the responses of about 80 middle school students. Their responses moved me and humbled me. But…2,880. The number of students that Brian had the opportunity to impact in class. Brian took part in exponential disciple-making.

Mr. V helping a student with his locker combo.

6,480. The number of days spent in the classroom shepherding students to Jesus. I never saw him waste even one of these. Brian took seriously where he was going to spend eternity…but not just him…where WE would be spending eternity. He lived each day in response to the saving grace of Christ and with “eternity in his heart”.

Brian reflected the order and intentional love of God by the way he would purposefully prioritize each piece of his life with godly wisdom. 

Brian served the Lord through mentoring, befriending and leading colleagues. Brian saw the people that many of us walk past without noticing. Brain took great pride in the work that the Lord called him to. It was not about making sure that he was “on top” as an educator. It was about communicating with clarity the absolute truth and the authority that is found in scripture so that students would know God. Brian spent numerous extra hours after school helping new teachers get acquainted with WMC and middle schoolers. Brian was intentional about seeking people out and offering help. He longed to help anyone in whatever way he could-he wanted them to know Jesus. Brian was a true friend. He was selfless.

Brian honored God by shepherding students. He made it a point to attend games and extra-curricular events for each of his students. Brian was dependable. He went all out for spirit days with absolutely no shame.

In all of these things, I must simply say that God used Brian to show me much more of himself. I miss hearing about his weekend with Sue and the kids and grandkids. I miss sitting in his classroom as he would show hundreds of pictures of his incredible adventure trips with his best friend Sue. He loved photography and he loved traveling. He loved adventuring. His love for each of these things, his love for life, and ultimately the author and giver of life have impacted me for eternity. I am forever grateful for our dear friend Brain Vredevoogd who relentlessly shared the love of Christ by doing all things in love.

“…But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

To read Brian’s obituary CLICK HERE.