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Martha Vandenberg, long time mission worker in Taiwan, passes


March 30, 2007
- from report

Olds, Alberta — Martha Vandenberg (Boschman), long time Mennonite mission worker with her husband Han in Taiwan, passed away peacefully on March 13, 2007 at the Olds Long-term Care Centre in Olds, Aberta, after a long struggle with Lewy Bodies (DLB), a form of dementia similar to Alzheimer's disease.

Born on September 7, 1928 on the Canadian Prairies, Martha grew in her desire to reach out to other people. A gracious host, writer, nurse, minister, wife, mother, and grandmother, Martha's life – especially her warm hospitality and listening ear – touched many.

Raised on the Canadian prairies during the depression, Martha went on to receive education in nursing, and then Christian education at Canadian Mennonite Bible College, now Canadian Mennonite University. In 1955 she went as a single woman to Taiwan, learned the Taiwanese language, and ministered there from 1957-1993 with the then General Conference Mennonite Church’s Commission on Overseas Mission.

While in Taiwan she met co-worker Han Vandenberg, from the Netherlands, who later became her beloved husband and life companion. They retired to Saskatoon, Sask. in 1992 and moved to Olds, Alta. in 1999. Han predeceased Martha in 2005.

Long time friend Susan Kehler, said in a eulogy that, “I clearly recall when visiting the Babies Home in Taichung how Martha did hands-on caring. For Martha, caring was more than an emotional tug or applying intellectual skills.

“After Martha’s marriage to Han, she exchanged her full-time nursing to full-time Church ministry with Han. But her caring continued. Many, many persons and later, definitely her family, were the recipients of her tender caring, no matter if it was coupled with praying, speaking words of encouragement, serving a meal, or providing lodging, etc., her caring ministry was a model for all of us.”

Martha’s daughter, Tobia Veith, with her husband George and their children Matthew, Michael and Marika currently serve in international ministry with Mennonite Church Canada Witness and Mennonite Mission Network, in Macau. Martha is also survived by daughter Susan (Rod) Reynar and their children Anika and Joya, of Olds, Alberta, daughter-in-law Monica Schmidt Blais of Kitchener, Ontario,, four brothers, three sisters, and numerous nieces, and nephews.

Martha’s funeral was held at Didsbury Bergthal Mennonite Church on Monday, March 19, 2007. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Mennonite Church Canada Witness, International Ministries, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, Man., R3P OM4 Toll free: 1-866-888-6785 or go to