Written and presented by Elvira Hubert to the MHSA-sponsored “Celebration of the 80th Anniversary of Russian Mennonites coming to Coaldale, Alberta (1926-2006)”
On August 8, 1976 Hilda stepped from the plane at the Quito Airport. There was a determination in her step and an eagerness in her eyes for the work of the HCJB, a short-wave Christian radio station that beamed across the world bringing the gospel to many unreached peoples. Over the next months Hilda corresponded with and counseled many German language listeners by way of letter. She experienced much joy when letters arrived from listeners telling how they had committed their lives to the Lord after hearing broadcasts and receiving literature. Being a missionary was a dream come true for Hilda.
This dream had begun six years earlier. While attending Bethany Bible Institute she had felt God call her to his service. This call had become clear at the school’s missionary conference in January of 1970. At a testimony meeting Hilda had shared her calling with these words: “I being in the way, the Lord led me,” from Genesis 24:27.
But before that calling became a reality, she had years of preparation. She attended the University of Lethbridge to get a teaching degree. A friend with whom she traveled to university shared that she could trust Hilda not to let her down, or use something against her, or break a confidence.
After university Hilda taught school in Taber for three years. Her colleagues knew her as a calm, patient, soft-spoken and positive person. She sacrificed her wants and her time for the good of others. She saw humor in difficult situations, turning them into adventures.
Hilda was a talented musician. She played piano for a junior choir at the Coaldale MB Church, and led the Sunday School singing for several years. She played the great hymns of the church on the organ. She also taught a Sunday School class of teen girls who remembered her as a dedicated and devoted teacher.
Hilda had a personal relationship with Christ which made Christianity real to her. She daily pursued a greater maturity in her walk with God. She was also part of a close-knit human family.
After just nine months in Quito, tragedy struck. On Friday, April 29, 1977, Hilda was walking home after purchasing buns and hot dogs at a small store. A car was forced onto the sidewalk where she was walking, crushing her against a wall. Her head was severely injured. A team of medical specialists operated and a number of HCJB staff donated blood. People all over the world prayed for Hilda. Her parents, Isaac and Susie Regehr, flew to Quito to be with her. All efforts to save her failed. She never regained consciousness and stepped from earth to heaven on May 5, 1977.
© 2007 Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta
Last Updated 19 May 2007
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