The woman who would later be my mother was teaching Daily Vacation Bible School in this northern community with a friend from Bethany Bible School, Martha Ediger. Tena (Toews) Giesbrecht never forgot the experience. She wrote:
“I had never seen such poverty. Martha and I stayed with a very poor widow with four children. We had bread with a sort of gravy made with flour and milk, three times a day. The family had a few hens and Martha and I would sometimes get an egg, but the children looked so hungry, so we gave the eggs to them. We taught Daily Vacation Bible School in the house or under the trees. We did a lot of walking, making house visitations. At night we battled bedbugs.”
The Pierceland volunteers were two of 60 teachers who fanned out over Saskatchewan that summer under the auspices of the Western Children’s Mission (WCM), from Pierceland and Mildred in the north to Gravelbourg in the south, from Maidstone in the west to Foam Lake in the east.
Many of the volunteers, including my mother, did not drive or own cars. One annual report recorded 1,800 miles in preparatory work, 6,200 miles in transporting teachers to various communities, 1,680 miles by vehicles in the field and 2,180 miles by foot…