Wiebe, John I. (1903-1966)
John Isaak Wiebe: home missions worker; born to Isaak I. Wiebe (22 October 1871, Rudnerweide, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia - 2 June 1951, Yarrow, British Columbia, Canada) and Anna (Stobbe) Wiebe (31 March 1875, Alexanderfeld, Kuban, South Russia - 5 November 1943, Yarrow, British Columbia) on 19 June 1903 in the village of Wohldemfürst, Kuban, Russia. He was the eldest of six children. On 4 November 1942 John married Olga Neufeld (8 May 1900, Schönau, Molotschna, South Russia - 24 November 1995, Abbotsford, British Columbia), daughter of Isaak Gerhard Neufeld and Katharina (Enns) Neufeld, in Greendale, British Columbia (BC). John died in Chilliwack on 4 January 1966 and was buried in the Greendale Mennonite Cemetery.
John attended the local Mennonite school in Wohldemfürst and was baptized into the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church on 7 June 1920. The Wiebes left the Soviet Union in October 1924. After a difficult two years in Mexico, the family settled in Manitou, Manitoba. Between 1933 and 1936 John was enrolled in Bible school studies in Winnipeg. After graduation, he became active in Christian work among Canadian Russian and Polish people.
After relocating to British Columbia, John became one of the founders of the West Coast Children’s Mission. By 1938 his zeal for evangelism was such that he would bicycle to Fraser Valley communities, including Hatzig, Haney and New Westminster, to share the Christian witness. When a promising district had been canvased, he would organize Sunday meetings in a local hall.
By fall 1939, Wiebe was joined in his witnessing by A. J. Stobbe of Abbotsford. Supported by a modest stipend from the British Columbia Mennonite Brethren Conference, these two itinerant evangelists organized small groups of believers into local fellowships in places like Whonock, Haney and Pitt Meadows. Later, Wiebe was honored by the BC MB Conference as a pioneer minister to non-Mennonite peoples in the Fraser Valley.
During the World War II years, John enlisted as a conscientious objector. Given his training, he provided chaplaincy services for men in the CO camps. In 1942 he was ordained to the ministry by the Yarrow Mennonite Brethren Church. Soon after, the Wiebes settled in Greendale, British Columbia, where John taught in the Greendale Bible School. In Greendale he became active in the ministries of the Greendale MB Church, teaching Sunday school and as well, accepting regular preaching assignments. He is remembered for his crisp, penetrating voice.
In 1963 the Wiebes moved to Chilliwack, British Columbia where they spent their retirement years.
Harder, Esther. Personal e-mail (30 June 2011).
Harder, Jacob. Interview by author. Greendale, British Columbia (June 2011).
Mennonitische Rundschau (9 February 1966).
Penner, Peter. Reaching the Otherwise Unreached: An Historical Account of the West Coast Children’s Mission of BC. Clearbrook: WCCM, 1959.
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MLA style: Giesbrecht, David. "Wiebe, John I. (1903-1966)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2011. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wiebe_john_i._1903_1966.
APA style: Giesbrecht, David. (September 2011). Wiebe, John I. (1903-1966). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wiebe_john_i._1903_1966.