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Toews, Henry A. (1900-1954) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Toews, Henry A. (1900-1954)

Historical Note:

<em>Mennonite Weekly Review</em> obituary:

Rev. Henry A. Toews was born Nov. 22, 1900, on a farm northwest of Inman. When he was one year old the family moved to a farm southwest of Inman. After attending and completing the rural grade school, he attended Hoffnungsau Preparatory school, graduating in 1918, Abr. Albrecht being his teacher.

The same year he was converted and after finishing a course of catechetical instruction he was baptized by Rev. Klaus Kroeker and became a member of the Bethel church at Inman, of which church he remained a faithful member until the end. A serious illness of several weeks duration influenced him to dedicate his life for full time Christian service.

In 1924 he went to Chicago to help rebuild the structure of the Mennonite Bible Mission. At the same time he became a student at Moody Bible Institute, completing his studies there in December 1927. A few days following his graduation, on Dec. 28, 1927, he was united in marriage to Mary June Wiens. To this union were born two children, Henry Paul and Carol Jean.

He assisted in the work in the Mennonite Bible Mission and at the same time attended the Northern Baptist Seminary of Chicago. He received his Th. B. degree from the Seminary in May 1933. His responsibilities at the Mission continued until the Congo Inland Mission asked him and his wife to become missionaries to the Belgian Congo.

In 1936 Rev. Toews, his wife and two children sailed for the Congo. They served at the Nyanga Station where he was director of the Bible school. He spent two months of every year in itinerating work, bringing the Gospel to the heathen in distant villages.

They returned to the states in 1940 and due to war conditions remained until 1945. These were useful though trying years, for Rev. Toews had two major operations while on furlough. From 1941 to 1943 he was pastor of the Mennonite church at Tiskilwa, Ill. The following year he attended Bethel College at North Newton, Kansas and received his B. A. degree in May 1943. In 1944 the Toews family planned to return to Africa, but the boat on which they planned to sail was torpedoed. Again he found an open door when he became assistant chaplain at Cook County hospital in Chicago.

Finally when the U. S. government granted visas in the spring of 1945 the Toews family returned to the Congo. Here he again was director of the Bible school at Nyanga, and for one year was director of the school for training evangelistic leaders. During 1950 and 1951 he went on itinerary trips of approximately 1,500 miles in which over 500 people accepted Christ on each trip. Rev. Toews worked faithfully and the African natives loved him deeply and he loved them.

In the summer of 1949 he suffered a heat stroke and later hardening of the arteries. It was difficult for him to understand the Lord's leading when Dr. Schwartz, the C. I. M. physician in the Congo, informed him that because of poor health he would not be able to return to the Congo. In the spring of 1951 the Toews family returned to the U. S., arriving at Inman on July 24, the exact date of his passing three years later.

The fact that he could not serve as much as he would like made him somewhat restive, as he wanted to serve his Lord. One day of great rejoicing for him and his family was the celebration of their silver wedding on Dec. 28, 1952. He was able to preach occasionally in the home church, the home for the aged and in neighboring churches. On July 4 and 11 of this year he had charge of the Sunday morning service at the Hopefield Mennonite church near Moundridge during the absence of their pastor. The last sermon he preached in the home church was on July 20. His text was "Then Open Door." Little did the church realize that day that he was facing his last open door, the door of heaven.

On July 22 he became seriously ill at his home and was rushed to Bethel hospital in Newton. Everything that was humanly possible was done by doctors and nurses but he passed away on Saturday, July 24, at 1:15 p. m. He never regained consciousness. He has entered that last door to meet his Lord and Saviour whom he so faithfully loved and served. He attained the age of 53 years, eight months and two days. The duration of their married life was 26 years and six months, less four days.

He was preceded in death by his father, Abraham H. Toews, and one brother who died in infancy. Surviving him are his true and faithful companion, Mary; a son Henry Paul of Evanston, Ill., and a daughter Carol Jean of the home; his mother, Mrs. A. H. Toews of Inman; four brothers, Aaron F. of Nickerson, Kans., Abe A. of Hutchinson, Kans., Frank F. and John A. of Buhler, Kans.; three sisters, Sarah, Mrs. I. C. Thiessen of Buhler, Katheryn, Mrs. J. H. Ensz of Hutchinson and Marie, Inman.

Henry loved his Bible and read much in it. He finished reading it for the 27th time in June of this year. Although our hearts bleed and we are sad at his parting, we want to commit him to Him who doeth all things well.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, July 27, at 2:30 in the newly completed Bethel Mennonite church, his being the first funeral since its completion. P. T. Neufeld, his pastor, officiated and was assisted by Frank J. Enns a co-worker in Africa, A. E. Kreider of Goshen, Ind., who represented the Congo Inland Mission Board; and S. J. Goering, representing the General Conference mission board. Music was given by the church male quartet and the men's chorus of which Henry was a member. Rev. A. J. Dyck spoke at the graveside.

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