As seven year-old Austin Enns-Wind’s name is called during his piano recital, he walks toward the piano with confidence from his third row seat beside his dad. He turns to face the judges, bows quickly and takes three quick steps toward the piano. After pulling up the chair he begins his ballad. His fingers are light and he plays each note deliberately and gently.
It seems on that spring afternoon as if Austin is playing without fear or concern of making a mistake -- he is playing free. After winning first prize for his performance Austin leaves holding his proud dad’s hand and goes back to school for the rest of the afternoon.
Perhaps young Austin gets his courage to step forward from his Dad.
Austin’s Dad is John Enns-Wind (Briercrest M.Div. 2004), the mayor of Kindersley -- a town of 5,000 people in the west central region of Saskatchewan. Enns-Wind was elected as the mayor of Kindersley in October of 2012 – a position he was very hesitant to take on.
“It’s stepping out there, to be willing to be that face,” he said. “It’s not always a pleasant experience. You deal with a lot of angry people and a lot of people who have very strong opinions about certain things”
Leading up to the deadline to run for the election, Enns-Wind was asked by several friends to run for mayor and said no over and over again. Finally, on the night before the deadline to submit his application forms, he had a two hour conversation with a Muslim friend about the tension between western values and Islam which changed his mind about running.
“At that point I felt like a 2x10 (piece of wood) cracked me upside the head, saying I had to run and that is what God wanted me to do.”
Despite the urging in his spirit to run, the night before the deadline he still went to bed determined to not run for mayor.
The next day the phone kept ringing from people asking him to run, until finally he relented and agreed with the hope that he wouldn’t be able to get the five nominations he needed before the deadline.
“Well, it took me 20 minutes driving around collecting five different nominators,” he said. “I felt this was very much what God wanted me to do. I fought it tooth and nail and ended up handing my nomination forms in at 3:50.”
Being the Mayor of Kindersley wasn’t Enns-Wind’s plan. In fact, in 2004 Enns-Wind, his wife Annette (Briercrest 1990) and their two oldest boys John and Joshua left Caronport, after Enns-Wind graduated with a Masters of Divinity for a pastorate position at a church in Saskatchewan. Although he expected to be part of a long-term pastorate his tenure in formal ministry was short-lived.
“They had a very successful pastor and we moved a month afterwards and we shouldn’t have done that. They needed time to grieve and move on and set out a new vision and we moved in very quickly,” he said. “So, that didn’t work out the way we wanted.”
It was a disappointment and led the family on a much different path than planned. Following his pastorate, the family moved for a brief stay in Estevan and Waldheim before they finally settled in Kindersley where they have been for the past seven years.
Although the season was a difficult one for Enns-Wind and his family, it taught him some valuable lessons as well.
“I share this with my council: you can’t make decisions based on fear. You can’t. It has to be based on what can be,” he said. “You just plod on. It doesn’t mean you don’t get angry with God and that you don’t have that component in your relationship, but If I hang on to anger and bitterness I am not really going to be advancing God’s Kingdom.”