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Yarrow, British Columbia

Edited by
Esther Epp Harder, Edwin Lenzmann, and Elmer Wiens

Biographies and Obituaries

BARTSCH, Heinrich G.

Heinrich G. Bartsch - Yarrow B.C
October 17, 1896 - December 23, 1966

A man who served as a missionary in the Congo and who was active with the Yarrow Mennonite Brethren Church; Henry George Bartsch died December 23, 1966 at his residence 4581 First Street, Yarrow.

He was Heinrich Gerhard Bartsch, (also known as Henry George Bartsch) a retired minister and missionary. He was born at Sparrau, Molotschna, Russia on December 17, 1896 to Gerhard A. & Anna (Siebert) Bartsch. He was baptized on his faith on May 10, 1922 at the Mennonite Brethren Church at Sparrau, Molotschna, Russia. He began his Christian life while under sentence of death at hands of Russian revolutionaries.

At age 18, in 1915, he was called into government service as a Red Cross stretcher bearer. Following World War I, the care of his parents, the family, and as well as their home was placed on him, he was the son of pious farming parents.

He immigrated to Canada in 1923, settling in Dalmeny, Sask. area where he met future wife, Anna Funk, they were married in 1928. Heinrich and Anna followed a call to foreign missions, and left for the Congo after their ordination in Winnipeg, February 15, 1931. Four children were born to them: Erna at Dalmeny, Sask; Lydia at Hamburg, Germany; Arthur at Bololo Congo, and Karl at Bololo, Congo.

World War II interrupted their missionary work, and they returned to Canada in 1942. The Bartsch family settled in Yarrow, taking active part in preaching, radio ministry and Bible school teaching.

It was unexpected when the Lord took his servant home out of this life. He was still strong and energetic when he suffered a stroke. He now is with the Lord in Heaven. The celebration of his life was on December 28, 1966 at 2 pm at the Yarrow MB Church with many people attending the service. Eight ministers preceded his coffin as honorary pallbearers, followed by his 6 nephews as pallbearers: Henry Peters, Dave Balzer, John Unger, Menno Unger, Ben Reimer and John Reimer and then his close family who remain behind. After the opening prayer, Rev. David Friesen recited the words of Jesus: "I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will live even if he dies."

Mr. Bartsch is survived by his wife Anna; two daughters: Erna (Nick) Reimer of Yarrow; Lydia (William) Reimer of Detmold, Germany; two sons: Arthur (Helen) of Nelson, B.C. and Karl (Evelyn) of Eugene, Oregon; seven grandchildren; four sisters: Anna (Jacob) Peters and Mary (Peter) Reimer both of Greendale, BC; Miss Tina Barsch and Mrs. Lena Wall, both in Russia and a brother, Abram Bartsch at Parlier, California.

Heinrich remained faithful until death on Dec. 23, 1966. His last words were: "All is well. Anything that I have done amiss. It is all well."

Biography of Heinrich G. Bartsch by his wife Anna Bartsch ... translated by Esther Epp Harder 2015

Heinrich Bartsch was born 17 December 1896 in Sparrau, Ukraine, Russia. His parents were Gerhard and Anna (nee Siebert) Bartsch who were industrious and order-loving farmers. They were Christian believers and raised their children in the teachings and warnings of God. So Heinrich spent his childhood in the company of his six siblings in a happy and carefree childhood. He received his elementary schooling in Sparrau and in the fall of 1911, he attended the Gnadenfeld Central School. He was sorry that he was not able to complete his schooling as his father could not spare him from the work at their farm. Since he was aspiring and had a thirst for learning, he sought to enrich his learning through reading good books.

In 1915 he had to enter the government service, which lasted over three years at the Caucasus front as an ambulance man. Since his service consisted of bringing the wounded in from the battle fields, though, he was often in mortal danger, he was protected and came home safely in the fall of 1918 at just the right time for him to give his father, who passed away from the flu, his last rites. Now the complete responsibility of their property fell on him, which, during the Revolution, was a very hard responsibility to bear. But, God , who is the father to the widows and orphans, cared for the family, so that they didn't suffer at all during the famine, not only that, but they were able to share their bread with many other hungry people. As the Citizen's revolt in the Ukraine raged on, they, with God's help and His spiritual presence were protected from the grave dangers that surrounded them. The many repeated night raids and home searches, done by ruthless people acted as a paralysis on the joy of keeping the farm going.

In 1923, when Heinrich was offered the opportunity to immigrate to Canada, he turned the farm over to his younger brothers and came to Canada. He received a friendly welcome at the home of his uncle Heinrich Bartsch in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan and he began farming. In the winter, he attended Bible School to gain a biblical education and to be guided deeper into God's Word. For two years he studied at the Herbert Bible School under the teachings of Bestvater and Regehr and a further two years at the Winkler Bible School under teachers: Unruh, Wiens and Reimer. (*These were well known Bible teachers at that time and it was a great privilege to be taught by them). Heinrich's hunger for new Biblical truths occupied him until the end of his life. To speak about these treasures and to share them was what he did without getting tired of it, whenever there was an opportunity given to him.

On May 28, 1928 he married me, Anna Funk, at Dalmeny, Saskatchewan. It was there that we made the decision to go into Missions in Africa. With deepest conviction of the necessity of the Evangelization of the whole world, he followed the call to be a faith missionary in the Belgium Congo. After his ordination as a missionary on February 15, 1931 in Winnipeg, and under many strains and hardships, we started off on this mission in 1931 by trusting God and with thanks for the personal gifts and prayers of many of God's children. Our Mission field near Bololo was new and this gave many problems, however in the ten years, a pioneer Missions station was started and schools were built. During World War 2, after I and the children had come back to Canada, and though my husband stayed there alone and worked for a further three years under the most dangerous conditions, the work had to be given up for an undetermined time.

We moved to British Columbia in 1942 and purchased a small farm in Yarrow, where we continue to live today.

In these 24 years, my husband has regularly taken part in the MB Conference and Yarrow church matters and has been involved with preaching in the Churches and on the German radio program produced by the Yarrow MB Church on Sunday mornings. His last radio message was Sunday, December 18, 1966 when he spoke on the Kingdom of God as found in Matthew 11, 12.

Heinrich's conversion to God happened many years ago, when he was still a young man in Russia. In the face of his death at the hands of Machno-Revolutionaries, he converted to Christ in prison and was wonderfully released. On May 10, 1922 he was baptized in Sparrau on the confession of his faith and accepted into the Mennonite Brethren Church. He prepared himself for the hour when he would have the joy of entering into Eternity!

On Friday evening, December 23rd he was still in good health. About 6:45 we were going to go the Christmas program when he suddenly experienced a head ache and went to his bedroom and lay down on the bed. Suddenly he lifted his hand and said: "Alles ist gut, alles gut" (all is good, all good). What is good? I asked him. He answered: "Alles was ich verdorben habe, es ist alles gut" (Everything that that I have spoiled, all is good.) ... . And those were his last words.

He leaves me, his grieving widow along with four children: Erna, her husband Nick Reimer and five children here in Yarrow; Lydia with her husband William Reimer, presently in Germany; Arthur, Instructor at the University at Nelson, B.C.; Karl and his wife Evelyn and two children, studying at the University at Eugene, Oregon, USA. He also leaves four sisters and two brothers and many relatives, friends and people he knew. His parting is painful for us, but we sorrow not as those who have no hope, instead we await a joyful future and a time when we will see him again.

Anna Bartsch, Widow and Children
Box 184, Yarrow B.C.


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