God’s Gracious Gift of Land

There is something uniquely special about the land where Trinity Western sits. Yes, it’s beautiful, private, and home to one of the top universities in Canada. But beyond all that, this land was and is a miraculous gift.

The first recorded mention of a Christian college by the Evangelical Free School for Canada Committee was in 1958, but there was still a lot more than had to be done before this dream could become a reality. First and foremost, they needed land.

Finding a space that was large enough for a school and still affordable proved to be quite the challenge for the search committee. They knew they wanted the school to be in the Lower Mainland of B.C., but as anyone who has lived there can attest, there isn’t a lot of available, affordable space — even in 1960! For a newly-formed College Committee without a big budget, this seemed like an impossible task.

Although many locations were considered, one stood out above the rest. It was a somewhat neglected piece of farmland known as the Seal Kap farm. The original owner of the farm had recently passed away, and the land had been sold to two men.

“The property was for sale,” wrote Calvin Hanson in On The Raw Edge of Faith. “The owner of long standing had died and his widow had sold the farm to two men who were desirous of seeing the property kept out of the hands of subdivides and retaining something of its original pastoral character.”

The search committee loved this location, but the most they could afford was $150,000. This was completely negligible in the eyes of the real estate agent, who refused to even share the offer with the owners because they’d already turned down a much higher offer.

Henry Friesen, one of the members of the committee, was determined to try, and persuaded the agent to allow him and Rev. David Enarson to meet with the owners. What happened next was nothing short of miraculous.

When Friesen met the owners, a wave of recognition hit them. They knew each-other! Several years before, back when Friesen was a teenager and a new immigrant from Russia, he’d found work for one of these men at a farm yard on Sea Island.

“And now, these many years later he was the very man with whom the School Committee was dealing as they sought a site for the new college!” Hanson wrote.

Because of this connection, the owners were willing to work out a deal. Despite having better offers, the owners agreed to sell the land for cheaper, and even offered personal contributions of $5,000 each!

“Was this personal connection between a man on the College Committee and a man who owned the property just another coincidence, or was it another of the unique circumstances designed by God, another thread in the tapestry of miracle?”

In a place and time where a single neighbouring residence could have easily sold for as much as they paid for the entire property, there can be no doubt that this land was a blessing and a gift from God. And this was only the beginning. There were to be and still are many more miracles to happen here.