Sylvester Dirks died January 7, 2007 at the age of 90. He was born the third child of eight children to Jacob B. and Susanna (Luetke) Dirks in 1916 in Waldheim, Saskatchewan. In 1929 at the age of 13 he had a life transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and was baptized and joined the Salem Church. For the rest of his life, Sylvester devoted his live to being a witness to the life-transforming power of Jesus Christ.
While attending Bethany Bible Institute in Hepburn, Saskatchewan, he fell in love with Matilda Epp and they married in 1941. They moved to B.C. where they joined the teaching staff of Yarrow Bible School. In 1943 he was drafted and accepted alternative service as a conscientious objector, working in a lime plant in Texada Island.
Feeling called of God to enter missionary service, Sylvester and Matty enrolled in a linguistics course offered by Wycliffe Bible Translators in Briercrest Bible Institute. They were accepted by Wycliffe for service in Mexico in 1944 and were among the original core of Wycliffe workers in Peru, South America.
Sylvester and Matty served as missionaries for the next 25 years among the Ashaninca people in the Amazon rain forest of Peru and together with colleague, Will Kindberg, produced a phonemic alphabet of the Ashaninca languÂage, eventually translating the New Testament.
Returning to Canada with their eight children in 1967, Sylvester served as pastor in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan, Lehigh, Kansas and Nutana MB Church, Saskatoon. He and Matty served a 2 year term in Cali, Colombia in 1977 and in 1980 as pastor couple in Brooks, Alberta, retiring to Abbotsford, B.C. in 1984.
In retirement, Sylvester traveled to South America and Russia on outreach ministry teams with Kingdom Ventures, Partnership Evangelism and Logos Ministries.
In 1997 his beloved Matty died unexpectantly of heart failure.
In 1998 Sylvester married Nelly Klassen and in 2002 she succumbed to cancer.
In 2006 Sylvester and his children celebrated his 90th birthday. Several weeks later he had a severe stroke. He moved into Tabor Assisted Living on Dec. 4 and following several more strokes died in the MSA Hospital on January 7, 2007. He is mourned by 2 sons and 5 daughters; 20 grandchildren; 3 great-grand-Âchildren; 2 brothers and 2 Âsisters.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, January 10, 2006 from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Woodlawn Funeral Home, 2310 Clearbrook Rd. Abbotsford, B.C.
A memorial service for Sylvester Dirks will be held on Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. from Bakerview Mennonite Brethern Church, Clearbrook Rd. Abbotsford, B.C.
Memorials may be made to MBMS International, Logos Canada.
Woodlawn Funeral Home