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Sheila Dykstra sits at a desk in front of her laptop and smiles at the camera

Resonate Global Mission is mourning the loss of friend and former colleague Sheila Dykstra, who passed away suddenly on December 8, 2023 at the age of 46.

Sheila served with Resonate in Nigeria for many years. She served first as a teacher at Hillcrest School in Jos and then as the West Africa Educational Consultant, a role that expanded her reach throughout West Africa.

“Sheila was a vibrant leader and passionate advocate for Christian education as a way of rooting children in the life and love of Jesus and bringing about transformation to their communities. She was inspirational in how she embodied the very faith and values that she longed to see live in others. Her loss is deeply felt by all who knew her,” shared Kevin DeRaaf, Director of Resonate.

Resonate staff and missionaries who worked with Sheila have fond memories of her joyful spirit, humble posture, and compassion for people.

“When I think of what I know of her, it was a love for the local people she worked with. She wanted to be close to them and served alongside,” said Joyce Suh, Resonate’s Intercultural Gospel Witness Leader.

Sheila Dykstra surrounded by Nigerian colleagues

"Sheila had this laugh that was electric. You would start to laugh, just by watching her laugh! Her joy flowed through her into those around her. She lit up a room with her smile and her kindness," shared Sarah Aderemi, who works as an Education Consultant with Resonate and Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) in Nigeria.

"I learned from her how to adapt to the culture and context in Nigeria, because she did it so well. Her relationships with Christian educators in Nigeria exemplified her deep humility, her love for others, and a love for Christian education ... I hope and pray that in my own work, I can continue to honor her and the deep impact that she had in my own life." 

Sheila and her husband, Jonathan Weverink, recently opened their home in Hamilton, Ontario, to Resonate missionary Miwkali Wambua. Mwikali, who serves as a Christian Education Specialist in Eastern Africa, needed a place to stay while connecting with churches and supporters in Canada

“The home of Sheila and Jonathan was a peaceful haven for me. Sheila’s calm and joyful spirit filled the home,” said Mwikali, who stayed with Sheila and Jonathan for a month.

After 20 years living outside of Canada, Mwikali said there was a lot for her to relearn navigating the culture, and Sheila helped her adjust. Sheila also connected Mwikali with churches and her colleagues at EduDeo Ministries, where Sheila was currently working.

But as was common with anyone who worked with Sheila, Mwikali and Sheila’s relationship grew beyond talk of work. Sheila invited Mwikali into her community of friends, family, and church. The two walked together every morning, talking about “everything from work, family, friends, faith, trials, and triumphs,” said Mwikali.

“It was obvious that she was a cherished auntie, sister, daughter,” said Mwikali. “Sheila’s love was genuine, active, deep, and universal … she was a gem of high value.”

Sheila and students sitting in a classroom in Nigera

Mike Van Der Dyke, a Resonate missionary who serves as the Nigeria Team Lead, worked closely with Sheila for several years. His most vibrant memory of Sheila is how she and Jonathan stepped in and supported his wife, Victoria, when Mike was kidnapped and Resonate was working toward his release.

“Sheila and Jonathan were such an encouragement to Victoria during the entire five days that I was in captivity,” said Mike. “They prayed together, sang together, ran to the market to get things they needed, and comforted each other during this very difficult time. Victoria has often said that she would not have survived those five long days and nights if it wasn't for the encouragement that Sheila was to her.”

Albert Strydhorst, Resonate's Timothy Leadership Training (TLT) Program Manager, lived next to Sheila in Nigeria for several years. Sheila also taught Albert's two daughters.

"Her home was a constant buzz of activity, as she hosted meals, games, parties, and praise and worship with her friends," said Albert. "There was often laughter and joyful noise around her. The impact she had on our family and ministry in Nigeria was amazingsuch a testimony to the joy she had as God's beloved daughter."

Give thanks for Sheila’s life and ministry that has been—and will continue to be—a testimony to Christ’s love, hope, and grace. Please pray for her husband, Jonathan, and all of Sheila’s family members, faith communities, neighbors, friends, and colleagues throughout the world who are missing her dearly.