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Wiebe, John Abraham (1900–1963)

Proper Title

John Abraham Wiebe collection

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

0.1 cm of textual records

Biographical Sketch

John A. Wiebe, missionary and educator, was born on March 29, 1900 at Bingham Lake, MN to Abraham J. Wiebe (1873-1947) and Susanna Ewert (1875-1942). On June 1, 1926, he was married to Viola Bergthold (1903-1996) and they had seven children (John, Esther, Ruth, Irene, David, Paul, and Marilyn).

John was a missionary in India for 36 years with the Mennonite Brethren Church. A graduate of Tabor College (BA), he studied theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, Winona Lake School of Theology, and Northwestern Theological Seminary (BD), and completed his MA at Minnesota State University. He was engaged in an evangelism ministry before beginning his missionary work in India in 1927.

Especially gifted in diplomacy, Wiebe was instrumental in registering properties, forming the governing council of the India Mennonite Brethren church, beginning a hospital, high school, and printing press, and building local churches—mostly from Mahabubnagar where the Wiebes lived more than half their years in India. As the former president of the Hyderabad State Christian Council, Wiebe had an ecumenical vision, and at the time of his tragic death on December 28, 1963, by drowning, he was teaching at Ramapatnam Baptist Seminary.

The life and legacy of John A. Wiebe are published in the following sources: Paul and David Wiebe, In Another Day of the Lord: The Mission Days of the Mennonite Brethren Church of India in Pictures (Winnipeg and Goessel: Kindred, 2010), Peter M. Hamm, “Wiebe, John A. (1900-1963), ” in Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/W54315.html (accessed August 15, 2012), John A. Wiebe obituary, Mennonitische Rundschau (January 8, 1964), 1, John A. Wiebe obituary, Mennonite Brethren Herald (January 10, 1964), 18.

Custodial History

In July 2012, when the Rueben R. Baerg fonds were being described, the document entitled “John, the Beloved Missionary” was found among Baerg’s papers.

Scope and Content

The John A. Wiebe collection consists of one, 13-page typed manuscript, written by Viola and Esther Wiebe, presumably presented at some unknown occasion, shortly after John's tragic death. This collection documents well the impact of one missionary man, as it includes 11 pages of excerpts from the many letters received by the familiy in the two weeks after his death.


  • Title based on contents of collection.
  • Accession numbers: 2009-43.
  • Volume No.: 1346.
  • Finding aid consists of a description and a file list.
  • Description created by Jon Isaak, August 2012.
  • No restrictions to access.
  • Language: English.

File List

1. John, the Beloved Missionary, a tribute. -- 1964.

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