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Yarrow, British Columbia

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

Mennonite Brethren Canadian and Foreign Missions

Mennonite Brethren Missions

Excerpt from the 1957 Statement introducing indigenization into the M.B. foreign missions program.

Statement of the General Conference of the M.B. Church on the Effects of the Changes of Our Age on the Worldwide Missionary Assignment

The worldwide revolutionary changes of the post-war era affecting every phase of the international, national, social and religious life of our generation exert a severe testing upon the missionary accomplishment of the past and its program for the future. The impact of the changes establishes beyond a question that the time of a fixed routine pattern of mission program to continue for decades has passed. The station-centred mission program has out-lived itself. The assignment of a missionary for a stationary ministry of evangelism, with a lifetime to continue in the same place as the central figure of a perpetual program, results in a reactionary protest of the nationalistic-conscious native of all lands. With the growing international rejection of all colonial imperialism there has also arisen a principal rejection of the "missionary-centred" gospel ministry.

The effects of the above-given observations on our missionary program of today are far-reaching and demand considerable adjustments for the future in the area of missionary approach and administrative direction. The qualifications for missionaries of the new era in many respects differ from those of the past. Methods of field operation and measurements of accomplishment are also undergoing revision.

General Conference Year Book, 1957, p.42.

Further information on the 1957 Statement is found in A Generation of Vigilance by Ted Regehr, chapter 17.

Yarrow MB Missionaries
by Esther Epp Harder

Susie Brucks Dyck

Susie Brucks Dyck     As I think back to my childhood and growing up years in Yarrow... some of my best memories are of the people who came to visit our Church that were called Missionaries. They were the people who left Yarrow and went to very far away places to tell the children that Jesus loved them.

    Just reading the long list of Missionaries posted on this web site brings back so many memories. Many of them visited Yarrow when they came back on furlough and the Missions Board required them to visit the Churches, some to raise funds so they could go back out to the foreign fields such as India, Africa and South America and tell more people about Jesus. The reports were always exciting and we children wished that they would let them talk much longer than the time they were given at the Missionsfest that was held on Thanksgiving Sunday afternoon.

Susie Brucks standing beside the hammock carried by her African porters that she travelled in when going out into the villages in Africa.     I still get goose bumps when I think of the lantern pictures and artefacts Susie Brucks brought to show us. One of them involved a large jar. She usually asked for helpers from the children sitting in the front benches, when she had two of the bigger children come up, she pulled the item from her jar ... she would ask one to hold the end ... and she would unroll a very long snake skin and as the other child to hold the other end while she told us that this snake, a very large boa constrictor, had been found in their compound and that the Africans had killed it before it had hurt anyone. Some one usually asked how the snake hurt people ... and the description was usually graphic. Susie wrote her own story in a little booklet "To God be the Glory" in 1983.

Susie Brucks' Home at Kafumba
Susie Brucks' Home at Kafumba
Susie Brucks at the Door of the Dispensary
Susie Brucks at the Door of the Dispensary
In August 1972 Susie married Cornelius Dyck ... they went back to Africa to work in the Idiofa Bible School and sent this photo back.
Susie & Cornelius Dyck

Henry & Anna Bartsch

Henry & Anna Bartsch

    Another Missionary couple we loved to listen to were Henry & Anna Bartsch who also were missionaries in Africa.

   Mrs. Bartsch taught German school and had many stories to tell us as she taught us to read and write German. The Bartsch children encouraged their mother to write her life story. The title in German is "Die Verborgene Hand, telling how God's hidden hand had been guiding her all her life. The translation is called The Hidden Hand. It has a lovely photograph of Mrs. Bartsch on the front.

Bartsch Family in 1943: back Henry, Anna, Erna; front Arthur, Lydia and Karl before coming back from Africa     This book also has shivery snake stories ... deadly poisonous snakes sneaking into their home and one large snake living in the thatched roof of their home, and always, thanks for God's hidden hand protecting them and their children from many dangers.

More of their story is on

My parents used to get missionary letters from some of the missionaries who were members of Yarrow families and were friends of our family. My mother put the pictures up on the buffet next to the table where we ate our meals so that we would remember to pray for them. These pictures were only take down when they were replaced by a newer picture. My mother would write to the missionaries and assure them that we as a family were praying for them. It seemed to take forever for the letters to travel from them to us and from us to them. We looked forward to these letters and some of the exciting stories that were included.

The following photos are from some of the prayer cards in my Mother's collection:

To The Congo
Abram and Sarah Esau Abram and Sarah Esau
Abram and Sarah Esau
Harold, Carol, Lois, Marilyn, Daniel
Abe & Sarah Esau, Lois, Marilyn, Carol Harold & Danny Esau

To Europe
Abe and Irene Neufeld
Neufeld Family
Thomas, Irene, Gareth, Charles, Abe

Jake & Anne Loewen

Another missionary family we knew were Jake & Anne Loewen. Both Jake and Anne had grown up in Yarrow and were well known to us. Jake is a very prolific writer and has had many of his books and articles published. They came back to Abbotsford when they retired and Jake was the one who gathered former Yarrow people to form the Yarrow Research Committee.

Anne & Jake Loewen, Gladys, Bill, Sharon and Joyce Jake Loewen (right) working on a Bible translation
Anne & Jake Loewen, Gladys, Bill, Sharon and Joyce Jake Loewen (right) working on a Bible translation
Jacob Loewen was trained as a linguist and has worked with Bible translation in Columbia and in Panama and Central America as well as other countries. Jake Loewen autobiography is called "Tiger." A shorter biography written by Harvey Neufeldt appears in "Windows to a Village," edited by Robert Martens, Maryanne Janzen and Harvey Neufeldt.
Anne & Jake Loewen

Elsie Peters

Elsie Peters, who my Mom said was a "tomboy" and always in trouble, shocked everyone when she said she was going to Africa as a missionary. We loved to get letters and pictures from her ... always some adventure to report and Mom reminded us that we really needed to pray for her safety ... and we did.

Elsie Peters Elsie Peters
Elsie Peters Elsie Peters

Rev & Mrs Henry Brucks

Rev & Mrs Henry Brucks

Rev & Mrs Henry Brucks, Paul, Florence, and Naomi

David Nightingales

David Nightingales

Board of Missions

Clocks and Birthdays

"Ifs" for Missionaries

If you can hear God's call, when those about you
    Are urging other claims and calls on you;
If you can trust your Lord when others doubt you
    Certain that He will guide in all you do;
If you can keep your purpose with clear vision,
    Glimpsing His world task through your Master's eyes.

If you can work in harmony with others
    Yet never lose your own distinctive aim,
Mindful that ever among Christian brothers
    Methods and plans are often not the same;
If you can see your cherished plans defeated
    And tactfully and bravely hold your peace,
Nor be embittered when unfairly treated
    Praying that love and good will may increase.

If you can trust to native Christian brethren
    The church you've built in lands across the sea
Seeing in them, as your growing children
    Promises of men that are to be;
If you can lead those eager, weak beginners
    By methods indirect, your life, your prayer,
For failures and mistakes, not judge as sinners
    But make their growth in grace your earnest care.

If you can share with humblest folk your virtue;
    If noble souls are richer for your touch;
If neither slights nor adoration hurt you,
    "If all men count with you, but none too much;"
If you can fill your most discouraged minute
    With sixty seconds worth of patience true,
Yours is the task with all the challenge in it—
    You'll be a missionary through and through!
                —     Evelyn Walmsley, Nanking China

The Yarrow missionaries on the following 1953 list from Morning Light are
Rev & Mrs. Henry Brucks, Susie Brucks, Rev & Mrs. A.J. Esau, and Rev & Mrs. David Nightingale.
Mennonite Brethren Missionaries


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