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Schmidt, John M. (1918–2008)

Proper Title

John M. Schmidt fonds

Dates of Creation

1943–2008

Physical Description

2.88 m of textual material, 119 photographs, and other materials

Biographical Sketch

John M. Schmidt was born in April 1918 in Krasnopolj, Siberia. He was the son of Jacob Schmidt and Elizabeth Born. His family left Russia and landed in Canada in 1926. They traveled straight to Coaldale, Alberta where the family farmed sugar beet fields and eventually operated a blacksmith and welding shop.

After high school John attended Coaldale Bible School and then Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta. He strongly believed that someday he would become involved in ministry. When he’d finished his studies John went to Calgary Technical School where he learned electric and acetylene welding. He returned home and entered into his father’s welding business.

World War II broke out in 1939 and John registered as a conscientious objector. John was stationed in Jasper, Alberta at Camp Geikie (Alberta) and 21 Mile Camp near Radium Hot Springs (B.C.). When the camp closed John was ordered back to the South Burrard Shipyards in Vancouver, B.C.. The graveyard shift took a harsh toll on John and under doctors orders John requested a transfer. He was moved to a dairy farm in Kamloops, B.C. until further notice. John applied to the Military Medical Corp as a non-combatant and within a week was reporting to headquarters of Little Mountain Army barracks in Vancouver, B.C. He was fortunate to receive weekend leaves and on one occasion was asked by a Mennonite Brethren minister to give his testimony at a morning worship service. John agreed. To do so in a soldier’s uniform was unheard of in the MB churches at that time. After a time John’s father underwent a serious operation and John was released from service and sent home to Aldergrove, B.C. to work on the family farm.

Upon his return home and while attending North Abbotsford MB Church John met Mary Nikkel (1925-1994). They were married July 15, 1945. During the war John’s earlier goal of ministry had been forgotten, but John and Mary soon gathered enthusiasm for the work again and received an invitation to serve at Little Grand Rapids, a Soto Indian Reserve in Northern Manitoba. They went in January of 1947. When Mary became pregnant with their second child they decided to return home to Aldergrove, B.C. John got a job working at Buckerfields going from field to field maintaining their machinery. While here they attended and participated in the Aldergrove Mennonite Brethren Church.

In 1947 Mary and John left Aldergrove to attend Mennonite Brethren Bible College MBBC) in Winnipeg. In the spring of 1948 John became director and speaker of the Gospel Light Hour, a radio ministry program for the Manitoba Mennonite Brethren Conference.

After graduation from MBBC John continued working with the Gospel Light Hour and also became the new full-time city missionary with Winnipeg’s Mennonite Brethren City Mission. The Manitoba Mennonite Brethren Conference had purchased the Gospel Light Mission Church on Logan Ave. and through John’s encouraging work, the Church flourished. Eventually the church was moved south into the Fort Garry area and was renamed the Fort Garry Mennonite Brethren Church.

The radio ministry was growing rapidly and Mary was ill, so John resigned from his position as pastor at Fort Garry M.B. Church. On July 10, 1963 John left the Radio ministry and the city missions and accepted a position in the Vineland Mennonite Brethren Church in Ontario. For the next 25 years John and Mary traveled from church to church. The churches were often experiencing difficulties and John worked hard to encourage and revive them. The churches included Vineland Church in Ontario, St. Anne’s in Ontario, Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church, the MB church in Tofield, Alberta, and the Waldheim Mennonite Brethren Church in Saskatchewan.

When John reached the age of 65 he and Mary hoped to retire. But this was not to be. John’s ministry lasted well into his seventies. In Winnipeg he served as interim ministers in the Morrow Gospel Church, The Westwood Mennonite Brethren Church, and Portage Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church. At Portage Avenue M.B. John was instrumental in guiding the some of its members to the opening of The Meeting Place. Finally, after all his hard work, John was able to retire.

During the years 1973-1975 John became involved in the Noah’s Ark project. The plan was to build a huge centre displaying the grandeur of God’s work through nature and science. However, it never became fully realized.

Together, Mary and John had seven children: Elvina Rosalind, 1946; Linda Esther, March 1948; Dorothy Elaine, Dec. 1950; Shirley Lois, July 1955; John David, Aug. 1958; Grace Marlene, April 1962.

In 1994 Mary died. He soon met and married Olga Pries Dueck on Dec. 29, 1994. They spent the first years traveling, to Ontario and B.C. to visit relatives and to Amman, Jordan, to the Black Hills in South Dakota and to Europe.

In 2001 John wrote an autobiographical book called The Lord’s Donkey. John was known to be bold in sharing his faith, and over many years he led people to Christ. In later years, he suffered much pain from bone disease, but remained full of hope and love for God. John spent his last years in Donwood Manor in Winnipeg, MB and passed away peacefully on July 10, 2008.

Custodial History

The sermons were created by John M. Schmidt. He donated the material to the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies in August, 2002 along with two boxes of used books. Most of the remaining materials were donated by John's daughter, Dorothy Siebert in 2010.

Scope and Content

The John M. Schmidt fonds consists of sermons on a variety of topics as well as various other documents from Schmidt's life. The sermons were written for church services, weddings, funerals, and radio ministry in Manitoba, B.C. and Ontario from 1943-1997. The sermons are organized alphabetically by topic and book of the bible. There are two alphabetical arrangements based on format. The first set of folders consists of smaller pages, the second set of regular 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper.

The other materials consist of photographs, vital statistic documents, recordings and memoirs documenting Schmidt's involvement as a conscientious objector, radio host, pastor and preacher.

Notes

  • Title based on contents of fonds.
  • Description by Tamara Dyck April 10, 2008.
  • Updated by Carmyn Campbell July 13, 2011.
  • No restriction on access.
  • Finding aid consists of a file list.
  • Finding aid for photographs is: NP181-01, NP 191-01.
  • Finding aid for autobiography The Lord’s Donkey is: J.A. TOEWS 289.7092 S452 lor.
  • Accession No.: 2002-021, 2010-008.
  • Location: Vol. 1244-1248, 1330.

File List

VOLUME 1244
1. Abundant life. – [ca. 1943-1969].
2. Achievement. – [ca. 1971].
3. Anniversaries. – [ca. 1989-1993].
4. Angels. – [ca. 1972].
5. Assurance. – [ca. 1953-1962].
6. Baptism. – [ca. 1958-1987].
7. Bible. – [ca. 1944-1997].
8. Chance. – [ca. 1969-1971].
9. Children. – [19--].
10. Christ. – [ca. 1957-1997].
11. Christian Education. – [ca. 1957-1983].
12. Christmas. – [ca. 1963–1997].
13. Church. – [ca. 1956 –1961].
14. Comedy. – [ca. 1977].
15. Commitment. – [19--].
16. Communication. – 1972-1977.
17. Communion. – [ca. 1969].
18. Conscience. – [ca. 1968].
19. Conversion. – [ca. 1967-.1972].
20. Counseling. – [ca. 1966-1968].
21. Courage. – 1968-1972.
22. Cults. – [19--].
23. Deacon. – [ca. 1985-1990].
24. Death. – [ca. 1947–1998].
25. Dedication. – [ca. 1964-1990].
26. Discipleship. – [ca. 1968-1985].
27. Discouragement. – [ca.1969-1981].
28. Divine Guidance. – [ca. 1965].
29. Doctrine. – [ca. 1933-1972].
30. Drugs. – [ca. 1966-1972].
31. Easter. – [ca. 1965-1984].
32. Elijah. – [ca. 1981].
33. Ethics. – [ca. 1967-1968].
34. Evangelism. – 1952-1980.
35. Evolution. – [ca. 1961-1972].
36. Faith. – [ca. 1976].
37. Family. – [ca. 1968-1991].
38. Fear. – 1981-[1991?].
39. Footwashing. – 1969.
40. Forgiveness. – [ca. 1984].
41. Funeral. – [ca. 1994].
42. Freedom. – [ca. 1946-1970].
43. German messages. – [ca. 1990-1991].
44. Gifts. – [19--].
45. Grace. – [19--].

VOLUME 1245
1. Happiness. – [ca. 1966-1975].
2. Heaven. – [ca. 1937-1975].
3. Hell. – [ca. 1942-1998].
4. Holy Spirit. – [ca. 1959-1996].
5. Humour. – [ca. 1964-1969].
6. Ladies Aids. – [19--].
7. Local Church issues. – [ca. 1966-1981].
8. Loneliness. – [ca. 1963-1972].
9. Lordship. – [19--].
10. Love. – [ca. 1943-1982].
11. Man. – 1965-1972.
12. Marriage. – [ca. 1966-1996].
13. Maturity. – [19--].
14. Mind. – [ca. 1980].
15. Minister. – [ca. 1970-1983].
16. Miscellaneous. – [ca. 19-- -1991].
17. Missions. – [ca. 19-- –1991].
18. Modernism. – [ca. 1967-1968].
19. Mothers. – 1970-1991.
20. Music. – [19--].
21. New Year. – [ca. 1963-1989].
22. Nonresistance. – [ca. 1955-1964].
23. Old age. – [ca. 1963-1971].
24. Peace. – [ca. 1943-1968].
25. Sermons: Later years. – [ca. 1980-1997].
26. Sermons: Later years. – [ca. 1970-1999].
27. Westwood Church. – [ca. 1988].
28. Biography. – [ca. 1947-1986].
29. Prayer. – [ca. 1959-1981].
30. Priority. – [19--].
31. Evangelism. – [ca. 1964].
32. Plays. -- [19--].

VOLUME 1246
1. Poems. – [ca. 1959-1985].
2. Prophecy. – [ca. 1950-1984].
3. Psychology. – [ca. 1965].
4. Relationships. – [19--].
5. Repentance. – [19--].
6. Revival. – [ca. 1965-1990].
7. Sabbath. – [ca. 1970].
8. Sanctification. – [ca. 1954-1981].
9. Satan. – 1968.
10. Science. – [ca. 1960-1989].
11. Second Coming. – [ca. 1969-1995].
12. Sermon on the Mount. – [ca. 1984-1991].
13. Sermon themes. – [19--].
14. Sex. – [ca. 1952-1981].
15. Special days. – [ca. 1995].
16. Statistics. – [ca. 1968-1971].
17. Stewardship. – [ca. 1943-1982].
18. Suffering. – [ca. 1959-1993].
19. Sunday School. – [ca. 1980].
20. Time. – [ca. 1975].
21. Thanksgiving. – [ca. 1969-1989].
22. Television. – [ca. 1965-1981].
23. Temptation. – [19--].
24. Tofield Messages. – [ca. 1970-1984].
25. Ushers. – [19--].
26. Unity. – [19--].
27. Vacations. – [ca. 1957-1972].
28. Vice Drugs. – [ca. 1954].
29. Vocations. – [ca. 1982].
30. Witnessing. – [ca. 1971-1982].
31. Worship. – [ca. 1971-1985].
32. Worry. – [ca. 1957-1971].
33. Youth. – [ca. 1963].
34. Victorious living. – [ca. 1967-1984].
35. Morrow Gospel. – [ca. 1952-1989].
36. Abundant Life. – [ca. 1986].
37. Acts. – [ca. 1957-1959].
38. Atonement. – [ca. 1962-1967].
39. Backsliders. – [ca. 1952-1960].
40. Baptismal Course. – [ca. 1986-1989].
41. Bible Study. – [ca. 1969-1992].
42. Character. – [ca. 1951-1963].
43. Charismatic movement. – [ca. 1963-1985].

VOLUME 1247
1. Christ. – [ca. 1951-1961].
2. Christmas. – [ca. 1950-1970].
3. Faith. – [ca. 1950-1962].
4. Church. – [ca. 1954-1971].
5. Church statistics. – [ca. 1981].
6. Colossians. – [19--].
7. Communion. – [ca. 1959-1966].
8. Conscience. – [ca. 1973].
9. Counseling. – [ca. 1968-1969].
10. I Corinthians. – [ca. 1950-1983].
11. II Corinthians. – [19--].
12. Cross. – [ca. 1954-1963].
13. Dating. – [19--].
14. Deacons. – [ca. 1950-1962].
15. Death. – [ca. 1957-1981].
16.  Discipleship. – [ca. 1952-1956].
17. Disciple making. – [ca. 1985-1991].
18. Divine Guidance. – [ca. 1962].
19. Divine Healing. – [ca. 1960].
20. Divorce and remarriage. – [ca. 1985-1988].
21. Doctrines. – [ca. 1952-1983].
22. Easter. – [ca. 1950-1963].
23. Easter-Resurrection. – [ca. 1955-1971].
24. Ephesians. – [ca. 1954-1970].
25. Esther. – [ca. 1952].
26. Evangelism. – [ca. 1971-1984].
27. Fear. – [ca. 1952-1959].
28. Forgiveness. – [ca. 1960].
29. Genesis. – [ca. 1951-1959].
30. Evangelism-Personal. – [ca. 1971].
31. Evangelistic Services. – [ca. 1959].
32. Exodus. – [ca. 1951-1963].
33. Family Relationships. – [ca. 1956-1963].
34. German Radio. – [ca. 1952-1953].
35. Giving-Tithes. – [ca. 1960].
36. God and You. – [ca. 1955-1963].
37. God’s Power. – [ca. 1951].
38. God’s Will. – [19--].
39. Gospel Light Hour-Various. – [ca. 1953-1961].
40. Grace. – [ca. 1951-1963].
41. Heaven. – [ca. 1951-1960].
42. Hebrews. – [ca. 1956-1961].
43. Hell-Retribution. – [ca. 1951-1953].
44. Holy Spirit. – [ca. 1959-1977].
45. Hosea. – [19--].
46. Laws and Principles. – [ca. 1956-1961].
47. Library. – [ca. 1950-1962].
48. Life. – [ca. 1950-1963].

VOLUME 1248
1. James. – [ca. 1952-1984].
2. Jeremiah. – [ca. 1952-1963].
3. Job. – [19--].
4. John. – [ca. 1957-1961].
5. I John. – [19--].
6. Jonah. – [ca. 1952-1960].
7. Joy. – [ca. 1958-1959].
8. Judgement. – [ca. 1956-1962].
9. I Kings. – [ca. 1957-1961].
10. Love. – [ca. 1957-1963].
11. Mark. – [ca. 1959-1962].
12. Mennonite Brethren name. – [ca. 1970-1982].
13. Missions. – [ca. 1951-1960].
14. New Year. – [ca. 1950-1963].
15. Occult. – [ca. 1971-1981].
16. Paul. – [ca. 1951-1961].
17. Peace/Liberty. – [ca. 1952-1960].
18. Peter (the person). – [ca. 1953-1962].
19. Priorities. – [ca. 1970].
20. I Peter. – [ca. 1951-1955].
21. II Peter. – [ca. 1956-1980].
22. Philemon. – [ca. 1964].
23. Prayer. – [19--].
24. Prayer-Healing. – [ca. 1950-1960].
25. Proverbs. – [ca. 1959-1963].
26. Psalms. – [ca. 1960-1963].
27. Regeneration. – [ca. 1951-1961].
28. Revelation. – [ca. 1953-1963].
29. Revival. – [ca. 1952-1961].
30. Romans. – [19--].
31. Ruth. – [ca. 1958].
32. Salvation. – [ca. 1950-1963].
33. Sanctification. – 1956-1957.
34. Second Coming. – [ca. 1950-1981].
35. Stewardship of Money. – [ca. 1949-1964].
36. Temptations. – [ca. 1953-1961].
37. Soul. – [ca. 1951-1962].
38. Stewardship. – [19--].
39. Thanksgiving. – [19--].
40. Time. – [ca. 1952-1963].
41. I Timothy. – [ca. 1963].
42. II Timothy. – [19--].
43. Trials. – [ca. 1955-1962].
44. Unbelief. – [ca. 1956-1961].
45. Various. – [ca. 1952-1963].
46. Victorious Living. – [ca. 1955-1961].
47. Witnesses. – [ca. 1963].
48. Zeal: Spirit. – [ca. 1963].

VOLUME 1330
1. Vital Statistics documents including birth certificate of Mary Nickel (wife), Canadian Army Soldier's Service and Pay Book, Army Discharge Certificate, Certificate of Canadian Citizenship. - 1925, 1944, 1946, 1963.
2.  Mary Schmidt's handwritten accounts of beginnings and various ministry assignments written for her children. - 1918-1983.
3.  The Gospel Light documents including brochures and copy of Gospel Light Herald. - 1961.
4.  Noah's Ark Project. - 1970-1975.
5. "French Fries and Solzhenitsyn." Winnipeg Free Press Article, Sunday, June 27, 2008.
6. Materials from John M. Schmidt's funeral: notes, cards, order of service, letters; Mennonite Brethren Bible College Yearbook 1951. - 1951, 2008.
7. Photocopied pages from an album created by Harold and Dorothy Siebert as a memoir for John and Mary Schmidt. Oroginal photos found in the Photograph Collection. - 2008.

ARTIFACTS
1. Pocket sized Salvation Testament - Inscription by J.M. Schmidt "This is the N.T. which I used in the city mission work." - [19--].
2. Bible used by J.M. Schmidt on English radio programs of Gospel Light Hour. - 1945.
3. Cassette Tape - Mennonite Brethren Communications 15th Anniversary Broadcast with J.M. Schmidt. - [1969?].
4. VHS Tape - Re-telling of early Family Life Network History by J.M. Schmidt (70 minutes) - [19--].
5. DVD - John M. Schmidt funeral service. - July 15, 2008.
6. Gospel Light Hour record casing (no record enclosed). - [1962?].

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