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  • MBHC: Profiles: Henry and Maria Wiebe
    villages in the vicinity of Chortitza He was the son of Peter and Anna Warkentin Wiebe In October of 1920 he married Maria Unrau and their family was blessed with two sons Edward married to Gertrude Wiebe and Henry married to Helen Koop Edward became a teacher and Henry a teacher pastor church planter Henry obtained his education in the Zentral and Kommerzschulen in Halbstadt He later received training and employment as a social worker at Bethania a Mennonite mental health hospital that had been established in 1910 in Alt Kronsweide It was the first and only Mennonite mental health hospital established in Europe Here he began his ministry to the emotionally and mentally challenged At the same time Maria was also preparing for work in mental health training as a registered nurse in the College of Medicine in Marya For some of her practical training she worked in the Bethania Mental Health Hospital and it was here that she met Henry The two were united in marriage in 1926 and together they dedicated themselves to serving in this ministry Henry was baptized into the Mennonite Brethren Church in Tiege in 1923 Several years later he was ordained after becoming active in preaching and church leadership In 1927 the family immigrated to Canada settling first in Kitchener then Stratford and finally Camden near Vineland Ontario In 1934 while living in Stratford Henry and Maria opened their home to a fledgling mental health ministry where they applied their training and personal resources When they moved to Vineland in 1937 they bought a hundred acre farm with a view to a future ministry of psychiatric help right out of their home Soon rooms were added then more buildings and land and in the early 1940s the ministry had expanded to the point where the Wiebes needed more than the hard work and dedication of their own family to cope with the growing ministry At the same time Henry worked as a pastor leading the Vineland Mennonite Brethren Church from 1938 40 and again from 1948 57 During these years of additional responsibilities his major focus of ministry still lay in providing help for the mentally ill New options for the ministry became available and following several years of debate and consultation Bethesda was accepted as the responsibility of the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in 1945 The Wiebes stayed on as house parents But at the same time the Ontario Conference was overburdened with responsibilities for a camping ministry a seniors ministry and significant church extension programs In 1947 this rapidly growing ministry was shifted once again this time to the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches As the mental health work expanded Henry became more and more immersed in administrative detail and had less time for exerting his spiritual leadership in the programs That portion of his ministry was taken over by a full time chaplain from the Mennonite Brethren Church who was given responsibility for spiritual leadership at Bethesda

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/wiebe.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Nzelenga Philippe
    studies as did most CEFMC Congo Mennonite Brethren Community of Churches pastors In spite of this he was a remarkable preacher and leader with a profound sense of ethics and discipline He always lived and obeyed the command of Christ To go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation Mark 16 15 In his congregation he stressed Mennonite Brethren moral and theological principles and the spiritual virtues of the Bible He continually reminded his listeners of the words of Psalm 111 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom all who follow his precepts have good understanding For him true fear of the Lord was to submit all of one s life to God He taught that Christians are obligated to act in a manner that is pleasing to God During many of his sermons he invited believers to claim and draw on the wisdom of God to acquire the knowledge and the fear of God so that they might be given the gift of discernment between good and evil and bring guidance to the details of everyday life For Pastor Nzelenga Philippe to be wise was to live in total and constant obedience to the will of God During his ministry he communicated Christian and Mennonite values to thousands of faithful Mennonite Brethren in his parish including his own children As a result all of his surviving children are faithful and active members in CEFMC parishes in Kikwit and Kinshasa Pastor Nzelenga Philippe is one of the few pastors who never left the parish where he was ordained He lived his entire life at his post in Mbuto from 1936 until 1991 the year of his death In the field of evangelism and church planting Pastor Nzelenga made some of his

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/nzelenga.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Robert & Myrtle Unruh
    with rightful pride that theirs is the tastiest and most nutritious beef in all of Paraguay This beef is also popular on the world market Today these agricultural products are the main source of income for the Mennonites in the Chaco This was not always the case In the 1950s the Mennonite colonies in Paraguay experienced extreme poverty and agricultural production was barely enough to sustain their existence A milking cow produced a mere liter of milk per day whereas today cows typically produce at least 17 to 18 liters Robert Unruh wrote in 1984 that in the 1950s it took five to six years to raise a cow to 400 or 500 kilos in the Chaco Today less than half that time is required In the 1950s farming was carried out exclusively with horses and manual labor Today everything is mechanized These changes took place largely due to the efforts of Robert and Myrtle Unruh On the agricultural experimental station set up by Mennonite Central Committee in the Fernheim colony Robert conducted hundreds of experiments with many different types of grasses for grazing and in the process discovered buffle grass Originally from Africa this grass was ideal for the hot dry Chaco He imported hundreds of different breeding calves to improve the local milk and beef varieties He also pioneered developments in many other areas including field crops fruit trees vegetables flowers and decorative bushes In order to find help for these tasks Robert worked closely with research institutes around the world This was also the case in his fight against diseases and insects detrimental to plants and animals Myrtle Unruh s contributions and accomplishments lay in teaching high school planning and building a school of household management home economics and working with native Indian women She developed cooking

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/unruh-rm.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Anna J. Thiessen
    North End Anna worked with William and Helena Bestvater from Mountain Lake Minnesota They had been appointed by the Northern District Conference as Winnipeg City missionaries in 1913 Upon coming to Winnipeg Anna immediately became involved with the Bestvaters and the new church they were serving She accompanied them on home and hospital visits She taught Sunday school and began a program for young women within the community teaching them sewing She began a young people s association that soon was bursting with many youth from this poor section of the city One of her major tasks was to work with the many immigrants and the poor that were streaming into this frontier city looking for new homes and jobs She organized relief work that assisted them with food and clothing This relief work expanded significantly in 1923 when Mennonites from Ukraine began immigrating to Manitoba Anna assisted with visitations to the immigration hall adjacent to the Canadian Pacific Railway station which served both as an arrival location as well as a way station for immigrants traveling to other destinations in western Canada As a result of these Mennonite immigrants the small chapel that had been adequate for this new city church was soon filled and overflowing New space had to be found This resulted in the construction of the much larger North End Mennonite Brethren Church at 621 College Ave About this same time Anna felt the need for more Biblical training She left Winnipeg to study at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles from 1923 to 1925 Here among other things she volunteered to work with the inner city missions of BIOLA and became involved with a mission for young women named the Mary Martha Mission Anna is best known for her work as the matron of the Mary Martha Home in Winnipeg This home for working girls in the city was established in 1927 Many young Mennonite women recent immigrants from Russia came to the city to work as domestic servants For families to send a young woman to work in the city and live with strangers was risky But the money these young women could earn was critical for immigrant families to pay their travel debt from Russia to Canada and also for the family s living expenses in the new land Anna s primary role in this new venture was to provide a home away from home at the Mary Martha Home where gatherings were held on Sundays and Thursday afternoons and evenings Anna was a surrogate mother nurse friend and sister who provided the counsel and spiritual nurture these young women needed For most girls this was their very first job and also the first time they lived away from their families The Mary Martha Home served as a city location where young women could come and stay when they were ill out of work or during a physical or emotional breakdown In 1932 the Mary Martha Home was permanently housed in a 16

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/thiessen.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: John B. Toews
    the school 1932 38 He was director of the Bible department at Freeman College Freeman South Dakota 1940 42 president of the Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg 1945 48 and president of the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno California 1964 1972 followed by several years as adjunct professor of missions practical theology and history at the seminary On three occasions he left the institutions where he was serving to enter the pastorate his first love and calling He pastored at Mennonite Brethren Churches in Hepburn Saskatchewan 1937 38 Buhler Kansas 1942 45 and Reedley California 1948 53 JB rose to international prominence as a leader and inspiring missions and theology speaker during his 10 year term of service as General Secretary of the Mennonite Brethren Board of Foreign Missions 1953 63 His travels on behalf of the board established him as a missionary statesman among all Mennonites At the same time he maintained his involvement in Mennonite Brethren church life by serving on various boards and committees Toews is one of the people who helped to shape the Mennonite Brethren Church and its agencies into what they are today Often he was at the cutting edge within the very institutions where he was serving He brought the seminary into a new understanding of the Anabaptist vision and its own Mennonite Brethren self understanding within that vision He helped move the seminary to an Anabaptist approach in its interpretation of scripture He was instrumental in bringing on board new faculty to teach and re invigorate the leadership of the Mennonite Brethren Church As always the costs were high as faculty and conference leadership were not always ready to make such significant changes both within their own leadership and within their theological worldview JB moved Mennonite Brethren missions from a

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/toews.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Clayton Kratz
    the base station from which to reconnoiter the desperate conditions facing the Mennonite settlements of south Ukraine The cumulative impact of World War I the continuing Civil War between the Red Army forces loyal to the new Bolshevik government the White Army forces opposed to the Bolshevik marauding and destructive paramilitary bands an epidemic outbreak of typhus and malaria and an extended drought had all left the population on the brink of starvation MCC was just emerging in the summer and fall of 1920 A summer meeting in Elkhart Indiana brought together representatives from many local relief committees concerned about the fate of their Russian brothers and sisters Even as the three traveled toward Constantinople a second group of various denominational representatives met in Chicago to officially constitute the organization So the three representatives went carrying the compassion and commitments of a united Mennonite community in North America Kratz at twenty four was the youngest of the three representatives all of whom were still in their twenties He had finished his third year at Goshen College A student leader and engaged to be married Kratz had a promising future ahead when he embarked on this mission to needy co religionists in a far off land Upon arriving in Constantinople Slagel remained to organize the shipment of relief goods Miller and Kratz proceeded on with hopes of visiting Halbstadt and Khortitza the administrative centers of the largest Mennonite colonies in Ukraine In the fall of 1920 the Civil War was raging in Ukraine and the Molochna and Khortitza colonies were right in the line of battle between the Red Army the White Army and the para military band of Nestor Mahknov The lines of control between these three forces shifted back and forth Mennonites were caught not knowing from week to

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/kratz.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Esther (Hiebert) Horch
    the North End Church in order to earn a living during the difficult depression years Esther s husband Ben was a singer and conductor who eked out a meager living giving private music lessons at the Winnipeg Bible Institute now Providence College In 1939 however the Horchs decided to attend the Bible Institute of Los Angeles BIOLA where Ben studied music for four years It was during this time 1942 that Esther was injured in an automobile accident while traveling to her mother s funeral The car which Esther was driving overturned and her left arm was crushed Several weeks later the arm had to be amputated near the shoulder But Esther always managed to rise above her handicap On returning to Canada Ben first taught at Winkler Bible Institute but in 1944 he was invited to head the music department at the newly established Mennonite Brethren Bible College Esther although not given full status as faculty taught English at MBBC for seven years She also soon established a solid reputation in music teaching hymnology and singing soprano solos as well as joining the A Cappella choir In addition she served as Dean of Women for several years Esther and Ben both became involved in the production of the Gesangbuch which was published in 1952 Esther was researcher and consultant Later she assisted in the production of the English version called The Hymn Book 1960 But Esther s gifts were also utilized in other areas She became involved in social work at Logan Neighbourhood House and at Marymound in Winnipeg while taking several social work courses at the University of Manitoba In the 1950s both Ben and Esther became involved in radio work with CFAM in Altona Esther became a story teller and was affectionately known as Tante Esther She

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/horch.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Abraham E. Janzen
    was unusual at the time Janzen also faced some doubts about his career and marriage because of an accident while splitting wood A splinter lodged in his right eye and left him with no alternative but to have the eye removed The result was a disfigured face Nevertheless Zola s unreserved love led to marriage on December 1917 By 1931 the family including their adopted son Philip had comfortably settled in Wichita where AE joined the faculty of Friends University a Quaker school In the midst of a satisfying teaching career Janzen was invited to take on the Tabor presidency Owing to financial woes his beloved Tabor College was struggling for its very survival The task would be daunting However Janzen felt that Tabor represented a mandate from God to train young people for church ministries and thus must be preserved With characteristic energy he threw himself into this task Every effort to save a few dollars was made including keeping the temperature in his secretary s room at a barely comfortable level As president he also saw himself as a moral guardian insisting that modesty drapes be installed around library study tables and that skirt lengths of female students be measured Janzen s legacy to Tabor College included 34 years of teaching 8 years as president and in the opinion of many rescuing the college from extinction during the Depression He also found time to write including several definitive entries in the Mennonite Encyclopedia During the early 1940s Janzen was given a leave of absence from Tabor College to resolve a contentious issue threatening Paraguayan Mennonites Owing to a 300 devaluation of the Peso these settlers found it impossible to repay the Mennonite Central Committee loan given earlier for the purchase of land After thorough investigation including numerous personal

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/janzen.en.html (2016-02-16)
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