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A life of service ends


Lena (Peters) Boehr


December 4th, 2006
-by Krista Allen

Winnipeg, Man. – Lena (Peters) Boehr, mission worker, friend, and servant of God, passed away on October 16th, 2006, after having struggled with Parkinson’s disease for over 20 years.

Mission work in Taiwan played an important role in the life of Boehr. After attending Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC, now Canadian Mennonite University) in 1954, Boehr left Winnipeg to pursue mission work with the Commission on Oversea Mission in Taiwan. During her 15-year career in Taiwan, Boehr realized her passion for helping others in need.

Sue Kehler, a fellow CMBC student and friend, came to Taiwan with her husband Peter in 1957, two years after Boehr had arrived. Sue remembers watching Boehr at the tiny Mennonite Christian Hospital in Taiwan caring for the sick and the elderly. The hospital, with only 27 beds, was short of nurses at the time and Boehr had been able to find immediate work, having trained in Manitoba as a registered nurse.

In 1957 Kehler and Boehr went to Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, to study Mandarin. “The [English speaking] nurse in the hospital had no native language skills so it was important for us to go and study the basics,” Kehler said.

In 1959, two years after their language training, Boehr learned basic skills for administering anesthetics. Half way through the year, she was a regular in the operating room in the afternoon, while her mornings were spent on the ward with the patients.

In the early 1960’s, Boehr taught at the nursing school in Taiwan. She taught students how to sterilize instruments, how to scrub in for surgery, and passed on her knowledge of anesthesia. She guided students through their first surgeries, always finding time to offer advice and encouragement.

As a part of her ministry, Boehr was very active in chapels and helped lead devotions. She was very concerned for her patient’s spiritual welfare and often found opportunity for conversation and prayer with them.

Boehr always felt that the Lord had laid out a plan for her work in Taiwan. She loved developing relationships with patients and helping them, either physically or emotionally.

Boehr met her husband, fellow mission worker Richard, at the Mennonite Christian Hospital. They were married on May 16, 1966. After their union, they left the hospital and moved to the west coast of Taiwan to continue their missionary journey.

The 15 years spent in Taiwan were an important time of growth in Boehr’s life. “Lena was very convinced that the Lord had called her there,” said Kehler. “She had her own definition of how things should be done, she loved the nursing and most of all, she loved helping others.”

Since January 2001 Boehr lived at the Winnipegosis Personal Care Centre. She was pre-deceased by her husband in 1987. Boehr leaves to mourn two siblings, one brother-in-law and many nieces, nephews and friends. A funeral service was held at the Nordheim Mennonite Church on October 18th 2006.