Derryl and Karen Anne pause at the entrance of a mysterious corridor that haunts Ta Prohm Temple or Rajavihara (monastery of the king) founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII in honor of his family in the late 12th century in the Bayon style as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university at Ankor Wat , Cambodia, 16 Dec 2016. Photo by Derryl Friesen

FRIESEN, Derryl and Karen

Southeast Asia

Derryl and Karen were both born in Canada but have lived their whole lives as global citizens all over North America, the South Pacific, Africa and Southeast Asia. As young children, both Derryl and Karen moved with their parents to Mexico for Wycliffe’s iconic jungle camp training and then moved to grow up together in Papua New Guinea (PNG) as Wycliffe missionary kids.

After completing high school in PNG, they returned to Canada, where Derryl trained as a journeyman cabinetmaker. Two years later in 1982, they were married and thinking seriously about missions. In 1986, they applied to join Wycliffe Canada and in 1990, moved to Kenya with their two small children, Shane and Carissa. In Kenya, Derryl used his trade to help build the East Africa Bible translation and literacy training centre and established a thriving technical training centre. It was also in Kenya that their youngest son, Zachrie, was born.  

Upon completion of their work in Africa, Derryl and Karen returned to Canada in 1999. For the next 13 years, they had the joy and privilege of helping create Wycliffe’s NextGen Ministries, reaching out to and mobilizing hundreds of young adults to engage in the Bible translation movement. These years were filled with fresh innovations like Café Wycliffe, Race to 2025 and short-term trips. During that time, they led teams of students to Sudan, Kenya, Hungary, Romania and Nepal, as well as doing a one-year stint in South Africa serving 23 Bible translation teams in Mozambique and Botswana.     

In 2017, Derryl and Karen celebrated 35 years of marriage and nearly 30 years with Wycliffe. They praise God that all three of their married children and spouses continue to love and serve the Lord. They’re especially delighted that these faithful couples have blessed them with six grandchildren! 

Since 2013, Derryl and Karen have served in Thailand as Wycliffe Canada’s Southeast Asia field partner liaisons. Their role is to help establish and foster long-term “Kingdom Friendship” partnerships between churches in Canada and Bible translation and related projects in Southeast Asia.

Derryl writes, “Now serving in Thailand, we praise God that we are seeing the fruit of our many years work in Canada—a new crop of young, gifted, motivated recruits arriving in Southeast Asia to serve the Bibleless peoples of the region long term.”