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Jake Krueger, a CO himself, remembers the selfless service of Rev. Jacob Friesen from Lowe Farm, MB. Using the diary of Rev. Friesen, available at the Mennonite Heritage Centre, Krueger has reconstructed some of Friesen's journeys.  


“From early in 1943 to late 1945, Rev. Friesen was on the move almost continuously. Barely was he home from a camp visit for a week or so, when he was on his way again."


“He visited the Mental Hospitals at Selkirk, Brandon, and Portage several times. Also the TB Sanatorium and General Hospitals, wherever our boys were serving in alternative work. The young men serving at National Mills and Bowsman bush camps in Northern Manitoba also came under his umbrella of visitation."


“Travelling mainly by train, he consequently spent many an hour in station waiting rooms, one night at least, in his 'burnous' (winter coat) on a hard wooden bench. But these hours were spent fruitfully writing many a letter to the many friends he had made in his travels, to his family of which five were engaged in alternative service.”


“His sermons were a compilation of Low German and High German liberally sprinkled with English words and phrases which to the uninitiated sounded like a foreign language.”


“When staying in a camp for a lengthy period, he would go out into the bush with the men and watch them fell trees, clear fire guards or railroad beds in preparation for future roads. Never one to sit around idly, he would amble into the camp kitchen, ask for an apron, and start peeling potatoes. Or when in Clear Lake, he would walk deliberately into the lion's den and made a friend out of Mr. Brooks who was not the friendliest person ever, and intimidator of many.”


Rev. Jacob N. Hoeppner giving the Sunday morning sermon. Rev. Jacob N. Hoeppner visiting a CO camp.


“His penchant for wanting to experience what the COs were working at, be it bush work, road work, hospital wards, or deep in the folds of a dusty coal mine, gave him the insight from the boy's point of view, so he could report back to the parents of their well being, and not a cause of worry."


“His oft repeated stance was ‘I want to find out what our young men are going through.'”


“During his two trips to the B.C. camps, he stayed at Black Creek, Powell River, Horn Lake, Campbell River, Dollarton Camp, and many others. He was a prolific letter writer keeping in touch with his far-flung family, did not neglect the recently bereaved of his congregation, kept a daily diary and studied the scriptures avidly."


“Regardless of religion, nationality, or status, he made friends of virtually everyone he met. Not belittling the prodigious amount of work and miles travelled by other ministers, he was a prime example of the ministry as a whole at that time."


“In this short biography I have tried to portray, in my unlearned way, a man of God. Maybe miniature in stature, but a giant as an ambassador to the hundreds of COs whom he visited, befriended, counseled, and showed them the way to salvation.” [ASM 158-159]

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