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Margaret Krahn (nee Dyck)
1918 – 2011
Margaret Dyck was born on March 30, 1918 to John and Agatha Dyck at Burwalde, near Winkler, Manitoba. She was the second youngest in a family of 13 children. When Margaret was 7 years old, her parents decided to move to Osterwick where her father wanted to start English School. Many of the Mennonites moved to Mexico at the time, and these were replaced by Russian Mennonites who started Sunday School and services and invited an occasional missionary speaker. Margaret developed a keen interest in missions and this kept increasing. She was an avid reader, and a book which especially inspired her was “The Life of John & Betty Stam”, missionaries to China.
At the age of 17, Margaret was baptized in the creek by Rev. H. S. Voth. Laying his hands on each person, he prayed the Lord to bless and use this “sister” in a “special” way, another assurance of the Lord’s calling for her. That same year, the family moved to Enderby, B.C. in the Okanogan Valley.
In Enderby, they joined a small Baptist church and met missionaries from England. These two women offered to send Margaret to Prairie Bible Institute for “one” year. After five years of Bible studies, prayer meetings and missionary speakers at Prairie, Margaret was more persuaded than ever that the Lord was calling her to a foreign field. More preparation followed – linguistic school in Briarcrest and Missionary Medical School in Toronto. In 1947, Margaret boarded a ship for a two week voyage to Congo, Africa under the auspices of M.B. Missions/Services.
During her first term, she was assigned to work at Matende, a fairly new station, with the Kroeker family. She worked in the medical dispensary, taught pupils in school from age 6 to 26 and helped with various tasks at the station when Mr. Kroeker was in the villages sharing the gospel. A real concern for the missionaries was that people seemed slow to turn to the Lord. One day four men came to the medical clinic carrying a woman on a kipoy. She appeared to be dead, but no, there was an occasional breath. Margaret asked her helper, who knew the native language, to explain the way of salvation. All of a sudden the woman’s face lit up. With a smile, she looked up, raised both arms and hands and proclaimed, “Yesu, Yesu.” She had seen Jesus and he accepted her as she died. This experience gave Margaret new hope for the people of Matende and the rest of the Congo. A real challenge was to get girls to attend school, but in time, trust was gained and the doors began to open wider.
Margaret’s second term was spent at the oldest M.B. mission station, Kafumba. She became the director of a large elementary school. Later, in the Bible Insititute, she taught students originating from 10 different tribes in the Kituba trade language. She also helped another missionary, Kathryn Willems, with literature preparation which included Sunday School lessons on three levels, and catechism.
July 1960 was the beginning of political unrest as the Congo struggled for Independence. Rebels were a threat to the missionaries and many were evacuating. One night, their faithful pastor, Timothy, came to the house with the message that “The rebels are close, you must go!” That day they made their escape via Angola in two vehicles. Margaret was guarding a little black, tin suitcase with partially completed literature. How she surprised her friends and relatives in Manitoba when she arrived unexpectedly -- the last communication from her had been from the Congo. Her lengthy furlough was spent in the completing of literature and further studies, making preparations for service at home or the Congo, wherever the Lord would lead.
The Lord did open the door for Margaret to return to Congo. Again political unrest escalated, resulting in loss of lives and destruction of residences, school and the new print shop at Kafumba. Missionaries evacuated to the capital, Kinshasa, and the Lord gave the vision to enter new areas of service in the city, including radio broadcasting and the distribution of Christian material. As an outcome, many began asking for churches, and the African brothers launched into church planting. By now the terms had been shortened to 2-3 years so Margaret returned to the Congo several times. For sometime, she taught high school students in the French language. Then she worked with the Congolese, teaching them to prepare their own literature.
The work in the Congo was difficult, but graciously blessed by the Lord. Margaret used to say, “From the loin-cloth to the aeroplane. Too fast!” She was so thankful that the Lord used her with all her frailties, graciously working for his glory. He is the same “yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
When Margaret retired in 1987, she settled in Winkler near her two sisters. The adjustment to life in Canada was not easy, but after about 6 months, she got involved once again. She became a deaconess in the Winkler M.B. Church, joined a small care group, and volunteered as a palliative care provider in the hospital. On July 3, 1992, at age 74, she married Peter Krahn, former owner of the Bible Book Shop. Their 19 year marriage provided love, companionship and a large, inherited family. As long as health would allow it, they enjoyed making visitations at Salem Home as well as opening their condo at Crocus Place to numerous friends and neighbors. In Dec. 2008, failing health resulted in a move to Donwood Manor in Winnipeg. After numerous health procedures and hospital stays, Margaret passed away peacefully at Donwood on July 1, 2001 having reached the age of 93 years and 5 months.
Margaret is survived by her husband, Peter Krahn, brother, Peter Dyck of Lumby. B.C., many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, and Peter’s children, Dorothy Cheechoo (Roy), Viola Virts (Paul), Arthur (Marji), Esther, Elvira MacInnes (Dave), Dave (Ellen), Dan (Brenda), Paul (Margruite), Marianne (Vic Bartel), and Tim (Dalila Seckar). She was predeceased by 11 siblings: Helen, John, Agatha, Anne, Mary, Elizabeth, Bill, Kay, Agnes, and two in infancy, as well as all her in-laws.
Funeral service was held on Tuesday July 5, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church with interment at the Winkler Cemetery. The family thanks the Donwood Personal Care Home staff for their gracious and loving care during Margaret’s last days.
Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler
In care of arrangements,