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  • MBHC: Profiles: Tarnikal, India
    and write He encouraged many youth in various villages to pursue education People in the village who came from the lowest strata of society today testify that they were able to obtain good positions because of the path of light shown by Pastor Aaron Though Tarnikal was a small village it seemingly was a favorite among North American missionaries Herman Warkentin is said to have baptized about forty five people who received the gospel through the ministry of Pastor Aaron For many years the village enjoyed regular worship services with an attendance of up to seventy persons North American missionaries came to celebrate special events and those occasions are still recalled by the villagers Pastor Aaron and his wife had five sons and two daughters They all left the village to pursue education and various vocations After the death of their father in 1968 they seldom visited the village This resulted in an end to regular worship services until January 2000 The motivation to revive the ministry in the village came to me during my visit to North America in 1999 I began a talk to a gathering at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno by saying that I am a third generation Christian Both my grandfathers served as pastors of Indian Mennonite Brethren congregations There followed a gap of silence on my part and tears rolled from my eyes I do not know whether the audience understood that day what I meant by that statement I remembered and thanked God for my grandfathers who were some of the first converts from the bottom levels of society and who came into full time ministry and served the Lord faithfully until their deaths At that point I realized that it was through the blessings of my grandparents and parents that

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/tarnikal.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Kasai Kapata
    the mission church Not long before the rebellions began he had read in the sixth chapter of Isaiah Whom shall I send And who will go for us That passage had driven him to a new commitment to service at whatever the cost When the rebels swept into the Kafumba area the missionaries were forced to evacuate to the safer cities of Kikwit or the national capital of Leopoldville now Kinshasa Pastor Djimbo Kabala also left soon hiding in the forests Before long Kasai and his family were among those making an exodus from Kafumba They arrived at their home village near Gungu only to find that the rebels were in control there too Like many others Kasai was forced to join them even though they knew he had been a leader at the mission His forced labor of supplying food for the rebel soldiers was not exactly enjoyable It was hard for me as a Christian to watch the beatings and killings that were going on but I did have the opportunity to witness to the rebels and help foster peace among the villagers themselves Sometimes his work was particularly difficult because as someone who had been associated with the mission he was regarded with suspicion After several months Kasai felt compelled to return to Kafumba to retrieve some of the family s belongings and see how the church members were faring As he approached the mission station he was stopped by a group of rebels who recognized him as the former preacher The most vocal ones in the group were anxious to see him dead and ordered him to begin digging a grave for himself with a hoe they had on hand A few others pressed for mercy at one time they had respected him as a Sunday

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/kapata.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Helena von Freyberg
    reaching influence as an Anabaptist leader in her native Tirol the government insisted she recant publicly in the local church if she wanted to remain at Münichau It was not unusual for some Anabaptists to renounce their faith It was a means of survival and later they rejoined the movement Helena agreed to recant but refused to do so publicly Finally in 1534 the authorities compromised and allowed her to recant in private to a government officer in Innsbruck However Helena decided to leave her homeland for good which suggests her recantation was only a formality Helena went to live in Augsburg where until 1535 Anabaptists enjoyed toleration In the mass arrests of that year Helena was taken into custody and interrogated by the city council but without torture They questioned her about her three sons her husband and the financial support she received from them She named prominent citizens and Protestant preachers with whom she had contact but would not name any fellow believers She downplayed the Anabaptist meetings held in her home by saying these had not been large Only two three or four brothers came and went she said and they talked about the Word of God She went on to say that no one had been baptized in her house Her carefully worded answers did not spare her from punishment Because she was an Anabaptist and had been teaching others she was laid in chains overnight and then driven out of the city Her son s intervention allowed her return Helena remained in Augsburg until her death in 1545 Sometime during the last ten years of her life Helena wrote to her congregation in Augsburg to ask forgiveness for a sin she had committed This six page hand written confession preserved in a Swiss library is

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/freyberg.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Paulina Foote
    God The church had asked Pastor Jacob Reimer of Bessie Oklahoma and Elder Johann Foth of the Ebenfeld Church near Hillsboro Kansas to officiate at my ordination Both were considered to be of the most conservative in the whole conference What a surprise to me when Elder Foth in his sermon at the ordination proved with Scripture passages that women should preach He spoke about Mary Magdalene who had followed Christ to the cross who also took note of the place where he was buried while the disciples left Him Peter had even denied Him She was the first of Christ s followers who was at the grave on the resurrection morning She was the first to tell the greatest story of all stories that Christ had arisen from the dead Christ Himself commanded her to carry the news to the disciples the men and to Peter who had failed Him My problem about the ordination was solved My later experience proved that this was of the Lord Paulina Foote spent nineteen years in China preaching the good news of the resurrection During the first few years she worked primarily as a teacher for the missionary children but that changed when many of the missionaries were forced to leave their work The political situation in those years was often difficult When missionaries faced opposition from communist forces in 1927 she was one of three Mennonite Brethren women who stayed in China when other missionaries were evacuated Even after the other missionaries returned Paulina continued her work with the Chinese people Paulina studied hard to learn the difficult Mandarin language so that she could teach and preach more effectively She even adopted Chinese dress so that people would not be distracted by her Western clothes As she traveled from village to

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/foote.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Cornelius A. & Elizabeth (Dyck) DeFehr
    moved to Winnipeg where they developed an importing business Initial expansion was rapid but the depression of the 1930s took its toll After World War II the business expanded again and increasingly the sons took responsibility for the business This enabled C A DeFehr to spend much of his time and energy working for the church and various Mennonite agencies Among the agencies and institutions which DeFehr helped to found were Concordia Hospital the Mennonite Brethren Bible College the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute he was also a board member of the Mary Martha Home the Mennonite Collegiate Institute and Christian Press all in Manitoba He was also a founding member of Mennonite Economic Development Association MEDA and long active with Mennonite Central Committee MCC He actively served on numerous Canadian Mennonite Brethren Conference boards including a long term as treasurer 1944 1960 and gave liberally of his time to the North End Elmwood congregation One of DeFehr s greatest contributions to the larger Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren church came through his work in Paraguay and in other South American countries He made four trips to Paraguay between 1947 and 1958 on behalf of the Mennonite Central Committee to help refugees from Russia on their arrival to help find and purchase suitable land organize the villages and otherwise to establish an economic base and rebuild their religious and spiritual life The first two trips were almost a year in length each Conditions were very primitive travel was difficult and DeFehr was already approaching seventy years of age The refugees were often very discouraged In many cases families were without a husband and father so women carried the major burdens of building a home and providing for their children DeFehr appealed to the Mennonite constituency through MCC again and again to provide more assistance As time passed and DeFehr returned to the colonies he was able to witness significant progress In 1957 when he was almost 76 years of age DeFehr embarked on another major assignment This time it was on behalf of the Mennonite Brethren Board of Foreign Missions Together with John B Toews the Executive Secretary of the board they traveled to various countries in Asia including Japan Korea Formosa Vietnam and India Their purpose was to evaluate the work of missions and to make recommendations that would help chart the way for the future As a businessman with broad experience in various countries DeFehr brought unique perspectives and made important recommendations On the return trip DeFehr attended the sixth Mennonite World Conference in Germany He was encouraged by the positive spirit of the conference and strongly favored working with other Mennonite groups in many areas of activity In his many activities DeFehr was much indebted to his wife and partner Elizabeth whom he called Meine Liese She was a woman of keen mind boundless energy and devotion to God Their home became a temporary refuge for many including some of those who fled Europe after World War II Elizabeth

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/defehr.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Kornelius Isaak
    They stuck sticks in the ground attached shirts to them and then went to an oil company camp nearby For the next two days they returned to the same sites and each day they left more shirts The Moros in turn left feathers an empty wooden bowl and a bag The meanings of the exchanges were not clear The Lengua Indian felt uneasy about the signs The missionaries returned to their home community to report what they had found and to confer with the missions committee and their families The mission committee counseled caution In view of the unclear signs and danger they were not prepared to send the missionaries to the Moros If they decided to go on their own however the committee would support and stand behind them The families of Hein and Isaak were fearful But the two men while concerned about their safety were eager to continue their mission come what might On September 10 1958 together with another Lengua companion they had driven only a few kilometers into the Moro territory when the Indian guide said There they are Ahead was a group of some fifty men scantily clad and apparently without weapons The missionaries stopped their jeep got off and waved to the strangers The men seemed friendly came closer and accepted gifts from the missionaries A tall Indian approached Kornelius Looking over the Moro s shoulder Kornelius noticed those standing father back were carrying weapons Things did not bode well What happened next was sudden The men shouted insolent words at the missionaries and demanded more gifts Then one tried to wrestle the Lengua Indian to the ground The Lengua sought to grab the hunting rifle in the jeep but was unable to reach it David Hein grabbed the rifle and waved it

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/isaak.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: Cornelius & Anna Wall
    marriage to Agnes Dueck The wedding day March 1 1918 came at a time when virtually all of South Russia was in peril because of the looting robbing and killing by anarchists and vigilante military bands At the wedding some bandits brazenly mingled with the guests helping themselves to the wedding food Cornelius and Agnes were not deterred by the chaos around them He began his teaching career in the village school of Tschongrau in Crimea South Russia Here he worked alongside the faculty members of the Tschongrau Bible School A H Unruh J W Wiens and Gerhard Reimer Shortly after the Bible school classes began in the fall of 1920 all the teachers and students were arrested by Red Army leaders and publicly lined up in front of a firing squad The equally frightened villagers were called on to identify any who had taken advantage of the local citizenry After a long tense silence one courageous villager called to the officer For God s sake let them go they have only been friendly with us The incident was however enough to encourage Cornelius and Agnes to migrate to North America After a long and torturous journey during which their son Arthur died of malnutrition the Walls and their two surviving daughters settled in Hillsboro Kansas Here Cornelius continued his education at Tabor College Subsequently he also studied at Winona Lake School of Theology and eventually also obtained a masters degree from Princeton Theological Seminary This theological training equipped Cornelius for Bible school teaching in the United States Canada and Europe The experience as a refugee from the Soviet Union equipped him for service to fellow refugees Formal education and life experience were intertwined in the next decades of ministry as the Walls taught in various schools and worked with

    Original URL path: http://www.mbhistory.org/profiles/wall.en.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MBHC: Profiles: David Dyck
    never were resumed Dyck s family was growing and the Woodson settlement floundering so in 1884 they accepted an invitation to Lehigh Kansas There ten families had formed a Mennonite Brethren group under the leadership of Cornelius P Wedel In that same year a church was built and Dyck was ordained an elder by Schellenberg The Lehigh church has the distinction of being the first Mennonite Brethren church in North America to be located in a town the first of three congregations that Dyck helped establish in towns For Dyck the Lehigh years were his happiest The spirit in the church was good there were conversions and growth Communion between members was spiritually stimulating As a practical necessity however land for his children was always on Dyck s mind So it was in 1892 that the Dycks moved to eastern Colorado They joined the Kirk Mennonite Brethren Church and Dyck became its leader Again they built a meeting place and experienced vigorous growth notably after an evangelistic visit by Peter Wedel But poor crops put pressure on the group In 1895 the church at Winkler Manitoba issued an urgent invitation to Dyck which he accepted David and Helena loaded nine children onto wagons and drove from Colorado to Winkler arriving there on 17 July 1895 after a two month journey The church was still out in the country at Burwalde in 1895 Membership stood at eighty four Three years later it was moved into Winkler To prepare for a convention that would take place later that year a roomier building was erected When the Dycks moved to Saskatchewan eleven years after their arrival membership stood at 225 It was during the Winkler years that Dyck really began his itinerant ministry He traveled widely in southern Manitoba Saskatchewan into the Dakotas

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