“All beginnings are hard” said J.J. Thiessen. He began his public ministry in 1930 in Saskatoon, hired by the General Conference Mennonite Church to operate the Maedchenheim, helping young women find work and providing spiritual guidance, and to give leadership to the emerging congregation in Saskatoon. The 1930s were financially difficult for everyone—including Jacob and Katherine Thiessen. His meagre salary was often late and at times incomplete. In 1934, he wrote to Bishop David Toews, who oversaw Thiessen’s work, saying, “[M]y financial situation . . . has become unbearable. Rent for the house, electricity and water bills have not been paid for two months. The grocer . . . has become unfriendly. I have no prospects for income and it is evident that I can no longer bear this load. I need medication, which has been bought on credit for the past two months. I know you are not pleased with this situation, but what shall I do? We have no reserves, and the credit I previously had at the bank has been discontinued because I couldn’t keep my word.” When economic times are difficult, often church workers feel their hands are tied—unable to improve their situation. (Quoted from A Leader for his Time, page 138.)
For more historical photos in the Mennonite Archival Image Database, see archives.mhsc.ca.