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Mill Lake Books

Mill Lake Books was launched September 1, 2012 by James R. Coggins. It publishes primarily paperback books, including novels, biographies and Christian books.

The long-term goal is that Mill Lake Books will operate somewhat like a writers’ cooperative, providing an umbrella under which books can be published. Currently in Canada, the publishing industry is set up in such a way that almost everybody makes money except the writer. That has to change. Writers cannot go on indefinitely working hard and losing money.

Mill Lake Books is named after Mill Lake Park in the centre of Abbotsford, which figured prominently in Coggins’s 2005 novel Mountaintop Drive (Moody Publishers).

Mill Lake Books has published the following titles:

Daan Fousert and Monique Melief, translated by Helen Mobach, Against All Odds

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram

Against All Odds front cover

This gripping, intensely written novel tells the story of Jaan Willem Mobach, his wife Johanna, and their six children, who were captured in Indonesia by the Japanese during World War II. In different camps, they experienced horrific things. Then, two days after the end of the war, Indonesia declared its independence, ushering in another violent period marked by more torture, rape, and murder. The family’s struggles led them to ponder many things, including the nature of evil, family dynamics, and Christian faith. Daan Fousert, a noted Dutch novelist, tells the story based on two authentic memoirs written by Jaan Willem and his son Jan. To make the picture more complete, author Monique Melief tells the story of mother Johanna from her perspective. The book was originally published in Dutch as Het geluk te overleven. It was translated into English by Helen Mobach, whose late husband Gerard was another of the family’s sons.


B. W. Spinney, Faith: A path to understanding God 

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram


God, revelation, human nature, praying, the real nature of the universe, heaven, faith—in this highly readable book, B. W. Spinney offers a short introduction to these and other topics. The book is intended as an introduction to the Christian faith starting with the belief in God and then looking at the logical implications. It is a tool for evangelism in a culture that is disconnected from Christian ideas and perspectives. For years as a pastor, Spinney had been looking for an evangelistic tool that was not only meant for non-Christians but was aimed at a culture that was not familiar with the basic tenets of the faith. Most of these sorts of books assume some knowledge and respect for the Bible. Bible passages are often used to make points, and church lingo is frequently used. Yet modern culture no longer accepts the authority of the Bible, and Jesus is a mystery to many people. Therefore this book is an attempt to walk through the logic of Christianity, carefully pointing out that faith plays a key role in understanding and accepting the concepts of God, the Bible, sin, Jesus and so on.


Elmer John Thiessen, Stumbling Heavenward: One Philosopher’s Journey

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram


In this autobiography/memoir, Elmer Thiessen describes his journey from humble beginnings in a small Mennonite village in southern Saskatchewan to becoming a well-loved professor of philosophy, scholar and writer, and speaker at national and international conferences. His story begins with adversities—being born with some handicaps and the loss of a father while still a teenager. These harsh and unfair blows result in a struggle with developing self-acceptance and overcoming loneliness, but are followed with the wonderful discovery of the love of God, the love of a wife, and the love of three delightful children.

The author’s academic journey is also marked by struggles, first with self-doubt about his intellectual abilities, and then the confusion associated with switching from a study of physics to philosophy. He reflects on his efforts to resolve the conflicts between science and religion. He also writes about the challenges of being a Christian philosopher, trying to blend the faith of Athens with the faith of Jerusalem, and his indebtedness to Reformed philosophy. Other questions dealt with: How does one combine personal piety with an analytical mind? And what does it mean to be a philosopher in a conservative church? Memorable international experiences are described, including a one-year honeymoon in Germany while on an exchange scholarship, a one year sabbatical in Oxford with wife and family, and a semester of teaching at a newly founded Lithuanian Christian College shortly after Lithuania gained its independence. The author describes his love of teaching and includes many stories of delightful exchanges with students. Then there are grimmer descriptions of the messy politics of Medicine Hat College where he spent most of his career. A concluding chapter reflects on lessons learned about life and love, caring and not caring, and searching for truth with humility.


Teus and Maria Kappers, When We Walk With The Lord

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram

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This is the story of Teus and Maria Kappers and how God brought them together from different countries (the Netherlands and Germany) so that they could serve the Lord together and prove how great and trustworthy God is. Teus was born in the Netherlands and gained a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through Euro 70, a televised Billy Graham crusade. He was later influenced by the Open Doors ministry. Maria was born in eastern Germany in 1945 but later moved with her family to West Germany. She gained a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through a Christian camp ministry. She trained as a nurse in Germany and later took further training in nursing and midwifery in the United Kingdom. They met at the Bible College of Wales and served in various ministries together, including London City Mission in the United Kingdom, where they worked in a ministry to seamen at Tilbury Docks. They immigrated to Canada in 1982, where they played a leading role in the founding of Lighthouse Harbour Ministries, a ministry to seamen in the port of Vancouver, British Columbia. The ministry later expanded to other ports in British Columbia. They relate stories of how God led them in specific ways, miraculously met their needs, and provided resources for the ministries they were involved in. They also relate stories of some of the people they interacted with and reflect on the nature of Christian ministry, particularly evangelism. The book includes a Foreword by Ray Hanna, current Senior Chaplain of Lighthouse Harbour Ministries.


Patricia Mussolum, The Freedom of Dependency

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram


In this small devotional book, Patricia Mussolum explores a big idea—that the Creator of the universe invites human beings to enter into a loving relationship with Him. In the same way that a branch can produce grapes only if it is connected to the vine, she argues that human beings can only have life, freedom, and fruitfulness if they are connected to Jesus. The intent of this book is to encourage readers to discover the freedom that comes in a life of dependence on Jesus.


João Garcia, Never Alone: A life of faith and total dependence on God

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram

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This is the inspiring autobiography of a pastor and missionary whose every step was guided by God. The book is sprinkled with photos and is written in an easy conversational style. In it, João Garcia takes us on an intimate journey into his life of faith, from his childhood in Brazil as the son of Spanish immigrants, through his call to ministry and preparation both in Brazil and at Spurgeon’s College in London, to his pastoral and teaching ministries back in Brazil before coming to Canada as a Baptist missionary pastor bringing the gospel message to Portuguese-speaking newcomers and helping them find their place in the community and in the church. Whether living through a military revolution or mingling with hippies at Piccadilly Circus, whether finding a life partner or a fulfilling vocation, João Garcia depended on God for direction. Sometimes opportunities came effortlessly, and sometimes there were years of hard work, but always his faith was in God. Throughout the years, in every circumstance, God was at work showing the way, and João Garcia was never alone.


Fran Bosa, One Life on Earth

Bosa Randall Publications in association with Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram

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One Life on Earth is the autobiography of a young woman whose life has been marked by tragedy, loss, and hardship. Her brother was shot, her father died, her family lost their home, she lost a child, she suffered burnout, and she was near death three times. But this is also a story of perseverance and victory. After recounting her story, Fran Bosa explains what she has learned and where she has learned it. This book includes excerpts from the writings of Rick Warren, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and other Christian leaders, whose words have encouraged and blessed Bosa and molded her into the women she is today. Fran has lived what she admits to have been a messy life, marked by unexpected tragedies and personal struggles—but also by unexpected blessings and personal triumphs. As Fran explains, we are all on a journey, and there are two paths we can choose. After some detours and false starts, Fran chose the path less traveled by, the one that leads to eternal peace and joy.


James R. Coggins, Living for God in a Pagan Society: What Daniel Can Teach Us

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram

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North American Christians are living in a society that is increasingly non-Christian and sometimes even anti-Christian. Accustomed to living in an at least nominally Christian society, many North American Christians are unprepared for the new reality. Where can they find a model for how to live for God in a God-defying culture? This book argues that the early chapters of the Bible book called Daniel offer just such a model. Living at a time when the people of God had suffered a crushing and shocking defeat at the hands of the pagan Babylonians, Daniel and his friends were immersed in a society where the state, the education system, the culture and religion were all thoroughly pagan. In this situation, Daniel and his friends committed themselves to a course of action that North American Christians can use as a pattern to guide their own lives. The book consists of an introduction and ten chapters. It concludes with study questions on each chapter and then a statement of commitment, which summarizes the teaching of the book and which the reader is invited to sign as an indication that he/she is committed to putting into practice the lessons of the book.


Matthew R.S. Todd, What Does Athens Have to Do with Jerusalem? Eight Interdisciplinary Conversations Integrating Faith and Reason

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram

What Does Athens Have to Do with Jerusalem?: Eight Interdisciplinary Conversations Integrating Faith and Reason

Tertullian (c. 160-240 AD) expressed concern over the yoking of faith and reason in his famous question: “What is there in common between Athens and Jerusalem? What between the Academy and the Church?” This question is woven throughout this volume, in which every chapter explores the linkages between faith and reason. While accepting that the existence of God cannot be conclusively proven—or disproven—this book offers an apologetic for the plausibility of the existence of something more than just a material world.

Jerry Raaf: The Mice in Sophie’s Mattress

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram

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Mice are living cozily in a forty-seven-year-old mattress and box spring in a bedroom on the second floor of an old white farmhouse. The comfortable lives of the resident rodents are forever altered when a new mattress and box spring replaces their former home. Survival now becomes their priority. This is a story told on two levels, offering insights into the lives of Sophie and Herb Brunzhoffa and also the lives of the mice who live on their farm. It can be seen as an elaboration of Robbie Burns’s observation that the best-laid plans of mice and men often don’t work out as they expect. This novel offers no simple answers to the vicissitudes of life but is indeed “an allegory of tenacity, adaptability and acceptance.”

Matthew Todd, Hope Alive: Going and Growing through Pain

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram

Hope Alive cover

This book is a compilation of personal narratives built around Matthew Todd’s life as a husband, a father, a pastor, and a professional. He uses these narratives to reflect on the problem of evil in human life. This volume does not purport to be a comprehensive academic and philosophical tome on the problem of human pain, suffering and evil. Instead, the approach is of one person sharing some personal experiences and theological reflections with family and friends around a coffee table. The difficult experiences include serious accidents, major illnesses, job losses, unexpected deaths and criminal attacks. In the midst of these events, Todd offers no simple answers—apart from the comforting thought that God is always with us no matter what we face and the affirmation that God is good and negative circumstances don’t change that. The stories in this book reveal God’s grace in the midst of hard times. They argue for a Christian faith that says, “Though he slay me, yet I will hope in him” (Job 13:15 NIV) and “If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us…But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference…We still wouldn’t serve [the] gods [of this world]” (Daniel 3:16-18, The Message).


James R. Coggins, 1995: Je me souviens

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram



What would have happened if the Yes side had won the 1995 referendum, separating Quebec from the rest of Canada? 1995: Je me souviens provides one possible answer. In this riveting novel, Jean Tonnerre explains to his son Pierre what conditions and actions made it possible for the Separatists to win that vote and what could have followed as a result. The story focuses on the fate of Jean and eleven other young men deemed “apostles of the new Quebec.” Also described are such events as The Long March to Nowhere, The Time of Random Atrocities, The Unquenchable Fire, and The Advance of the Tanks. The novel explores Canadian socio-political realities and possibilities, but goes beyond them to consider the factors that make it possible for any society to function politically, socially, and economically. In effect, it is a reflection on the human condition.

James R. Coggins, Springtime in Winnipeg

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram



When spring finally arrives in Winnipeg, the residents believe they have earned it. After enduring six months of snow and numbing cold, they look forward to April. Snow gives way to rain. Migrating birds appear. The trees swell in anticipation of new leaves. And the lifeless bodies of young women are discovered lying along the wooded paths next to Assiniboine University.

The long-awaited fourth John Smyth mystery skillfully intertwines two elements–an academic discussion of the nature of the mystery novel and an actual murder mystery. When John Smyth, the diminutive editor of a Christian magazine, returns to school to obtain a journalism degree, he encounters a variety of interesting characters. He debates a combative professor who challenges his faith. And, as usual, he can’t help stumbling over a dead body.


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Julia Quiring Emblen,Visiting Mrs. Morgan: A Handbook for Visiting Aging, Homebound and Hospitalized People

Mill Lake Books, Distributed by Ingram

Visiting Mrs. Morgan is an essential guide for chaplains, pastors, elders, deacons, parish nurses, church members, family members – and anyone else who might have occasion to visit someone who is aging, homebound or in a hospital. The nine chapters creatively address common circumstances visitors are likely to encounter and offer practical suggestions for how visitors might interact with seniors in a way that sensitively expresses care and love. The book can be read by any individual but can also be used as a handbook for a 10-week group discussion. Author Julia Quiring Emblen has had an extensive career in nursing and helped establish BSN programs at Bethel College in Newton, Kansas, and Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. Currently, she oversees a visitation program in her home church.

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Ron Dart, David Giesbrecht, J.H. Hans Kouwenberg and J. Christoph Reiners, eds., Being the Church in Abbotsford: Reflective Essays

The Fraser Valley has often been described as “the Bible Belt” of British Columbia, and the city of Abbotsford as “the buckle of the Bible Belt.” The terms have frequently been used to present a simplistic and negative caricature of the city. The eleven essays in Being the Church in Abbotsford show a more complex, multi-layered view of Abbotsford, highlighting topics such as inter-church engagement; spiritual care in the hospital; the need for interfaith dialogue; faith and social concern; faith and the arts; faith and education; faith and business; and faith and politics. In some senses, the book can be seen as a sequel to The Church in the Heart of the Valley: 1892–1992 (edited by A.J. Klassen, 1992), but it attempts to reflect more profoundly on the reality of the city. Dr. Jonathan S. Raymond has called it “a must read for those interested in the future of our cities and towns and the collective contribution of their faith communities.”

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Vern Heidebrecht, The Best Is Yet To Be

Mill Lake Books

Vern Heidebrecht is a highly successful Christian minister whose pastorates have been marked by long terms and remarkable church growth. His career culminated in him coming to his home town of Abbotsford, B.C., where he helped Northview Community Church grow into one of the largest churches in Canada. What is surprising about this autobiography is that it is not a listing of his achievements but a frank description of his struggles, as well as what God taught him along the way. Brian Stiller, Global Ambassador, World Evangelical Alliance says, “Vern Heidebrecht’s autobiography is a marvelous presentation of the Christian theology which shaped and transformed his life.” Other readers have described the “warm, evocative story-telling” of someone through whose life “we are and being pointed heavenward.”

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David Collins, Out of the Box: Moving from Religion to Intimacy with God

Paradigm Ministries

Out of the Box is based on a simple assumption: The knowledge of God is vast and largely undiscovered. There are immense oceans of truth still waiting to be found. Mark Buchanan, author of Your Church Is Too Safe, says, “David can console and startle in equal measure, sometimes in the same sentence. If you’re looking for a collection of bland platitudes, choose another book. If you could use a jar of spiritual hot chili peppers, you’re holding it.” Darrow Miller, co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance, adds, “David’s new book will challenge you to reflect more deeply and think more widely. It is a wonderful encouragement for each of us to face our hard days with a fresh spirit.”

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