Three Firefighters For Christ members from California have been in Steinbach this week.

Kallen Hiebert is the president of Firefighters For Christ Manitoba. Hiebert says it was a full week of activities to show the three retired firefighters around the region and have them experience the Manitoba chapter of Firefighters For Christ.

"They arrived Sunday night, were picked up at the airport and brought directly to Steinbach," notes Hiebert. "We spend the entire day [on Monday] in Winnipeg. We were able to do department and station visits in the city, finishing the day off here in Steinbach for our local Firefighters For Christ chapter meeting. Tuesday we held a breakfast in Winnipeg where we described what Firefighters For Christ is and how firefighters could get involved. In the evening they came to our station for our drill, our recruit training."

Hiebert says on Wednesday they toured other fire departments in the region including Grunthal, Kleefeld, Landmark, Rosenort, Lowe Farm, and Winkler.

Bob Ameche was a battalion chief in the Ventura County Fire Department. Ameche says this experience has left him feeling more blessed and encouraged than he could have ever given back.

"These people have been wonderful out here. We visited about seven different fire halls and every one of them was just so courteous, so nice, so kind. They've been so open to us, allowing us to come in their door and just sharing life experiences with us."

Hiebert says on Thursday they visited the Mennonite Heritage Village and had a family barbeque in the evening. On Friday, he notes, they were taking the members to the Sandilands for a day on the ATV and then a send off with the members in Rosenort, Lowe Farm, and Winkler before they fly back to California Saturday morning.

Patrick Stilson was a captain in the Los Angeles City Fire Department. He says it has been interesting to see the family involvement from the fire departments in Manitoba.

"Probably the most encouraging thing I saw was the family interaction. A lot of chapters, they're just firefighters. Like in Los Angeles, they would meet downtown after the shift but there wouldn't be spouses involved or family. That was a powerful thing on Monday night. I think, overall, that was probably the most encouraging thing I saw."

Stilson, who has been around firefighters his entire life, as his father was a firefighter, says he has met firefighters from around the world and seen how they all have the same heart, a heart that wants to help other people.

Steve Vucurevich was a fire chief in the City of Benicia. Vucurevich says he's thankful for the experience to come to Steinbach and see the Manitoba chapter of Firefighters For Christ.

"For me, our chapter is made up out of several retired, more senior members and [this experience has] just been inspiring by the youthful leadership that this chapter has. Not only are they engaged, they're engaged with their spouses and families together. So, I'm encouraged and I hope this mission we have next year will stimulate some of our younger firefighters to take on some more leadership roles."

Vucurevich notes his area is hosting next year's mission and he's looking forward to the opportunity of coming alongside the younger members of his chapter, encouraging them, and mentoring them to take on leadership roles in the future.