Elda Hiebert, a retired missionary midwife, went home to Jesus on December 13th. As a child in rural Goessel she attended the Tabor Church. Frank Manning, a missionary with a big booming voice, told exciting stories that influenced her decision to be a missionary.
After her training and education, Elda began her service in 1964. Her first term was a troubling time for missionaries. What courage it must have taken for a single woman to be on the field during that time of revolt.
Carolyn Graber (sister to Brad and Stan) recalled meeting Elda for the first time. “I was in eighth grade. Following Christmas break, my siblings and I had traveled to Mukedi to board a Missionary Aviation plane for the return trip to boarding school. The evening before we were to leave, the missionaries gathered to share a meal and discuss the looming dangers. I was introduced to Elda, my new missionary aunt.
“I was so scared about leaving my parents and worried about what might happen at the mission station. Yet here was this new missionary Aunt Elda, a single lady who had come to Mukedi to serve as a nurse. She was a kind and attractive young woman whose bravery I admired.”
During that time of uncertainty Elda later told family members that rebels burned villages, killed their own people, and government officials.
She described house arrest, slipping past soldiers and rebels as well as viewing the destruction as she escaped. Elda said, “I thought of the prayer group with Mother and Helen Janzen praying for missionaries and I knew their prayers were being answered that day.”
Among her duties as a missionary midwife, Elda not only delivered many hundreds of Congolese babies, she also taught a six-month midwifery course to the African women. She and others taught child and maternal health, medicine use, and how to assist in the birth of a baby. She proudly stated, “We also had a Bible Class taught by our hospital chaplain.”
During her last term, Elda helped to start a four-year nursing school. She acquired letters from a local doctor, her church leadership, and permission from government offices to go to diamond buyers in Tshikapa to solicit funding.
Word must have spread among the populace. One day Elda encountered six to eight young men. She was aware they’d been watching her. One tried to intimidate her by tripping her. However, Elda looked at him and greeted him. He backed off.
“In the end I got 1,000,025 Ziares (local currency). God was with us in many times and ways, and many circumstances. He is faithful.”
That nursing school opened in 1989. God was indeed faithful to her and through her service.
For Elda Hiebert’s complete obituary and service details please visit Petersen’s Funeral Home website: http://petersenfamilyfuneralhome.com/obituaries/elda-ruth-hiebert/
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Memorial Service: 11:00 a.m. Friday, December 20, Zion Mennonite Church, Elbing, KS
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