NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) – Paul I. Dyck, who served as a mission worker in India, died on Apr. 13, 2019. He was 93.
Dyck was born in Olds, Alberta, Canada, on Jan. 14, 1926. In 1952, he married Lois Bartel. After graduating with his undergraduate degree from Bethel College (Kansas), and seminary training at the Chicago Theological Seminary, the couple, along with their young sons, Rodney and Curtis, moved to Madhya Pradesh (now Chhattisgarh), India, in 1956. There they served as mission workers for 12 years with Commission on Overseas Mission, a predecessor agency of Mennonite Mission Network.
During his time in India, Dyck worked to support the Sewa Bhawan Hospital in Jagdishpur and served as the administrator of Bethesda Leprosy Home and Hospital in Champa. The Bethesda home and hospital incorporated treatment and education opportunities for people affected by leprosy, and offered housing for healthy children whose parents were undergoing treatment.
“Some of the missionaries [in India] were following more of a colonial pattern, but not Paul,” said Jai Masih, pastor of Asian Mennonite Community Church in Lombard, Illinois. “Paul was much more open-hearted — more humble and vulnerable. He was willing to learn.”
Masih recalled that when he was young, Dyck came to his village in India as part of a team that got rid of a pack of roaming wolves that were terrorizing the communities in the area. He and Dyck remained in contact during Masih’s pastoral work in India, and Dyck helped mentor him through his studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana. They remained close friends.
Lois and Paul returned to Canada in 1968, where Paul completed a master’s degree in anthropology. He drew upon his studies of different castes in India and developed theories on how people could transcend the limits of caste structure.
Dyck is survived by his siblings, Jim Dyck and Lorna Louden; four children, Rodney (Marie Yoder) Dyck, Curtis (Shelly) Weaverdyck, Martin (Elizabeth) Dyrst, and Doris (Su Flickinger) Bartel; 10 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and companion, Fran Core. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lois (Bartel).