Nettie Berg: a dedicated life of service

Dedication – What is it? Those who have known Nettie Berg know that for her it means being wholly committed to serving the Lord in whatever way she can.

It all began in the village of Fuerstenwerder, Ukraine, when Nettie was born to Peter and Aganeta Berg in 1923. In her first year of life Nettie encountered hardship in the form of illness. Her parents dedicated her well-being to the Lord and, graciously, she recovered.

In 1925 the family came to Canada where they lived in various places in Alberta until finally settling in Saskatchewan on a farm near Dalmeny.

Early in life she became interested in two things: nursing and missions. The first, nursing, was awakened when her mother would take her along to visit the sick. The second, missions, was sparked by her Sunday school teachers and visiting missionaries.

In 1936 the family moved to Coaldale where she committed her life to the Lord. The next year she was baptized and became a member of the Coaldale church.

Her interest in nursing became a reality when she took her training in the Galt School of Nursing and then worked in Coaldale Hospital for one and a half years.

After this time she went to MBBC where A.H. Unruh and H.H. Janzen were instrumental in guiding her into foreign missions. This decision was not made without struggle since completing nurse’s training plans, which had been made earlier, did not include missions. But at MBBC she was able to surrender her whole life to the Lord and inner peace was restored. Her application to the Board of Missions and Services was accepted and in 1952 she left for Zaire (then known as the Belgian Congo).

During the first nine years she was in medical work, which she enjoyed very much, especially the maternity work at “bush” stations. She found great joy in delivering children and helping to save the lives of mothers in difficult circumstances.

However, there arose a need for someone to manage the bookstore in Kikwit. Reluctantly Nettie gave up medical work to take on this new challenge. And in time this work also brought her much joy, especially when she was able to witness the results of Christian literature.

During the rebellion in the Congo, all the missionaries were evacuated to Kinshasa and Nettie was among them. In Kinshasa she introduced a Bible correspondence work which became preparation for her future ministry, the Mailbox Bible Club.

For a short while she returned to Canada to be with her dying mother. She then returned to Zaire and continued her work. During November of 1970 she suddenly lost sight in her right eye. it was diagnosed as a detached retina. Since there were not the proper facilities in Zaire, the operation would have to take place in Canada.

Nettie returned, to Saskatoon, and the operation was performed. She had faith that she might serve him again, and indeed he did. A new avenue of service opened, the Mailbox Bible Club.

For 17 years her eyesight has remained strong as she has faithfully written and corrected lessons for Mailbox Bible Club students. She wrote lessons at five levels for students ranging in age from four through 17 years. These were fruitful years as children responded to the Holy Spirit through the Bible lessons.

In 1987 she retired from the Mailbox Bible Club. But in her tradition of correspondence by letters, she began to carry on a more vigorous correspondence with her many African friends whom she still holds dear to her heart. She sends them sermon outlines, encouragement and friendship.

In her office a motto reads, “Each day a work of art for my Lord”. This has been, and continues to be, her aim and desire.

In her own unique way, she decorates people’s lives with “little extra” services, out of love and gratitude for her Lord.

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