Dyck, Jacob J. (1913-2007) and Helen N. (Toews) Dyck (1919-2005)

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Jacob John Dyck: missionary, pastor, and chaplain; born 13 April 1913 in Rochester, New York, USA to Johann J. Dyck (24 June 1884, South Russia - 13 September 1971, Oliver, British Columbia, Canada) and Maria (Rempel) Dyck (25 January 1892, Grigoryevka, Naumenko, South Russia - 19 February 1991, Abbotsford, British Columbia), and raised in Main Centre, Saskatchewan, Canada. Jacob was the first child in a family of three sons and two daughters. He accepted Christ as his Savior in the fall of 1925, and was baptized several years later. On 6 December 1945 Jacob married Helen Toews in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India. They had four children: Sharon, Adeline, Paul, and Lois. Jacob died 16 July 2007 in Abbotsford, British Columbia (BC), Canada.

Helena Neufeld Dyck: missionary; pastor’s wife; born 19 July 1919 in Kamenka, Orenburg Mennonite Settlement, Russia, to Isaac J. Toews (19 October 1888, Hamburg, Nepluyevka, South Russia - 30 May 1973, Abbotsford, British Columbia) and Anna (Neufeld) Toews (28 July 1890, Kronsthal, Chortitza, South Russia - 30 June 1949, Chilliwack, British Columbia). She was raised in Flowing Well, Saskatchewan. Helen was the sixth child in a family of five sons and five daughters. She accepted Christ as her Savior in spring 1926, and was baptized several years later. Helena died 14 May 2005 in Abbotsford, BC.

Born to godly parents who immigrated to Canada with their parents in 1902, Jacob was thought to be too weak to live and his mother was encouraged by relatives to let him die. Interestingly, he outlived all but one of his siblings. Jacob grew up during the Depression with years of hard physical labor on the farm. God placed in Jacob’s heart a passion and a desire to be a missionary to India at age of six. During World War II, at age 31 God mobilized Jacob to enter missionary service in northern India and Nepal after Bible (Prairie Bible Institute) and medical training (Toronto), while engaged to his sweetheart Helen for 6 years. Helen followed Jacob one year later after completing her Bible and medical training.

Helen was born to Russian Mennonite parents. In 1926 the family had to flee their homeland. Helen grew up during difficult times, seeing her father lose the family farm during the Depression years due to crop failure. Nevertheless, Helen was willing to give up family, friends and personal ambition to join Jacob in India, serving under Worldwide Evangelism Crusade (WEC).  Her health was fragile, both physically and emotionally. She followed God’s call on her life and joined Jacob in northern India in 1945. Helen outlived all but one her siblings.

Jacob and Helen first applied to enter mission work with the Mennonite Brethren Board of Foreign Missions in the early 1940s. Their application was rejected due to lack of available funds. Subsequently they joined Worldwide Evangelization Crusade (WEC) a faith mission agency.

They entered mission service in India during World War II. Jacob left by ship from New York. When he arrived in Portugal, authorities told him that due to the war he could travel no further. Reminding himself he had not been called to Portugal but to India,  he appealed to the British High Commissioner and shortly thereafter was bound for India.  Helen followed Jacob one year later. Although WEC’s policy forbade marriage during the first two years of mission work, they received approval to marry within a few months of her arrival in India, commencing 22 years of serving God in Nepal and India.

The combination of medical care and their personal lifestyles was an unstoppable force in winning many converts from Animism, Buddhism, and Islam to faith in Christ Jesus. On one occasion a tiger had slashed open a man’s head. The witchdoctors mixed mud and leaves and applied both liberally to the open head. The patient was delirious and near death when carried to the Dycks.  Through God’s miraculous work, this man walked home some months later, being of sound mind and body.

After many years of service in the Himalayas, experiencing the loss of their fourth child, and many other physical, emotional, and spiritual hardships, they started a Bible Correspondence course for the Nepali people. Crossing the border into Nepal had become nearly impossible. With the excellent postal service (compliments of the British Government) the Bible courses were mailed across the border without delay, with the results that thousands of people came to Christ.

After returning to Canada, the Dycks pastored Brookswood Mennonite Brethren (now South Langley MB) from 1968 to 1973, managed the Herbert (Saskatchewan) Senior Citizens Home, and served as chaplains at Tabor Home in Abbotsford until they retired.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.06 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2011: #153025, 153032.

Moules, Leonard C. J. Some Want It Tough. London: Christian Literature Crusade, 1961.

Moules, Leonard C. J. Three Miles High. London: Christian Literature Crusade, 1951.

Author(s) Paul Dyck
Date Published April 2011

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MLA style

Dyck, Paul. "Dyck, Jacob J. (1913-2007) and Helen N. (Toews) Dyck (1919-2005)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2011. Web. 26 Jul 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dyck,_Jacob_J._(1913-2007)_and_Helen_N._(Toews)_Dyck_(1919-2005)&oldid=79148.

APA style

Dyck, Paul. (April 2011). Dyck, Jacob J. (1913-2007) and Helen N. (Toews) Dyck (1919-2005). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 July 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dyck,_Jacob_J._(1913-2007)_and_Helen_N._(Toews)_Dyck_(1919-2005)&oldid=79148.

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