Kehler, Lydia (Pankratz) (1927-1978)
Lydia (Pankratz) Kehler: missionary and pastor's spouse; born 1
April 1927 in Davidson, Saskatchewan to Frank Henry and Justina (Rempel)
Pankratz. She was the sixth child in a family of four sons and two daughters.
Lydia married Peter Kehler and they had three sons and two daughters. Lydia died 8
December 1978 in Newton, Kansas, USA.
In 1929 the Pankratz family moved to Foam Lake, Saskatchewan. Lydia was baptized
on 1 June 1944 in the Parkerview Mennonite Church, Fitzmaurice, Saskatchewan by
Jacob J. Nickel, and in 1948 the family moved to Chilliwack, British Columbia. In her teens
Lydia felt God's call to foreign missions. She prepared by studying at Rosthern
Bible School and Canadian Mennonite Bible College, Winnipeg, Manitoba. There she
met Peter Kehler, who shared the call to mission work.
Lydia and Peter Kehler were married at the East Chilliwack Mennonite Church (now
Eden Mennonite Church) on 29 June 1952. After Peter took teachers' training in
Vancouver, Lydia and Peter went to Bethel College. They returned to BC in 1956
to pastor the Vancouver Mennonite Mission Church (later
Mountainview Mennonite Church). While there, they received an invitation from the
General Conference Mennonite Church Board
of Missions to go to Taiwan as missionaries. After a
year at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries, Elkhart, Indiana, they left
for Taiwan in 1959.
Lydia was a faithful and committed co-worker in ministry with her husband, both
in Canada and in Taiwan. She was a gracious and thoughtful hostess whose smile
and home-baked refreshments awaited everyone who came to her home, whether a
fellow missionary who wanted to chat or a group of Taiwanese pastors coming
together for a business meeting. Lydia spoke the Taiwanese language well and
loved the people of Taiwan. She used her gifts to supervise a church
kindergarten, lead Bible studies, teach English Bible classes, play the organ
for Sunday school, and visit people in the community. Lydia and Peter became
associate members of the Ta-Tung and Sung-Chiang Mennonite Churches in Taipei.
In Taiwan, Lydia also tutored her sons in the early years of their schooling,
helped with Pioneer Girls at the school her daughters attended, co-edited The
Taiwan Home Bond, and helped plan Women's Prayer Retreats for missionaries and
other English-speaking women. Although busy in the church and community, Lydia
gave her time, interest and a listening ear to her five children.
After serving as missionaries to Taiwan for 16 years, with two furloughs
(1964-66 and 1971-72), Lydia and Peter settled in Abbotsford, BC. In 1977, they
moved to Newton, Kansas, where Peter was working for the
General Conference Mennonite Church Commission on Overseas Missions at the time of Lydia's death.
Lydia's warm personality and life of service were an example and an inspiration
to many who knew and loved her.
Sprunger, Janet. "Lydia Kehler—A Tribute." Der Bote (13 March
1979). (Also printed in The Mennonite in March 1979).
Personal papers and family documents with Peter Kehler in Abbotsford, BC.
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To cite this page:MLA style:
Hsu, Shirley Hildebrand. "Kehler, Lydia (Pankratz) (1927-1978)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
April 2002. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K42.html.APA style:
Hsu, Shirley Hildebrand. (April 2002). Kehler, Lydia (Pankratz) (1927-1978). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K42.html.