Dibble, Spencer & Phyllis

Spencer & Phyllis Dibble


Location: Heaven
Tributes: Spencer James Dibble September 24, 1925 - April 21, 2014 (Click for Article)
  Phyllis Madelaine Dibble April 17, 1924 - June 19, 2011 (Click for article)

By Sue Crowe (nee Dibble)

Condensing the active life of a busy lady to one page is almost impossible, but hopefully this will help some who prayed for my parents for years see some of the work she was involved in.

Mum was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec. When she was 14, she accepted the Lord as Savior largely through the teaching of David and Eleanor Long.

After high school, she took nurses’ training knowing the Lord may one day call her to the mission field. She met Spencer Dibble one summer when they both worked at camp. An interest was sparked, and she followed him to Toronto where he was a third year student at Emmaus Bible School and she took the first year studies.

Dad had grown up on the mission field in Nigeria and felt the Lord was calling him back. When he proposed to mum, he made it very clear that the life they shared would not be easy, but they would joyfully serve the Lord together. They were married in 1950 and commended from several assemblies in the Buffalo area and one in Quebec. In 1954, with three small children, they sailed to Nigeria.

One of the first things mum did was learn the Igala language by walking to the village each day, where the women and children were happy to teach her. Once she could speak it well enough, she taught Sunday School classes, took ladies meetings and held sewing classes.

Mum always said the Lord had called her as a wife, mother and missionary and she joyfully embraced these responsibilities. As a wife, she was a great support and help to dad. Most weekends dad would go out to the surrounding villages to preach and to encourage the believers. Often my mother would pack up everything needed (camp cots, mosquito nets, drinking water, toilet paper etc) and we would all live in the village while dad preached. Recently we asked dad if he could think of anything negative about mum, and he said, “Well she refused to hold live chickens when they were given to her, and she did get me out of bed awfully early!”

As a mother of four, she made her children feel important to her. She encouraged our interests, whether it was sewing, preserving dead snakes, playing soccer or delivering babies at the maternity hospital at twelve years of age. She also homeschooled us the years there were no missionaries on the station to do it. Years later she also supervised her grandchildren's schooling when the Wheelers joined them in the work. We remember with gratefulness that our parents both stuck to their convictions that their children were theirs to raise and they did not give in to our pleas to send us to boarding school! They were united and consistent in their devotion to God and their family. Not only was she our mother, but she was called “Iye” (mother) in Igala and her love and encouragement was shared with hundreds.

As a missionary, she was active in many areas. Nursing was a big part at the beginning. She worked in the operating room and in the local clinic. Every other Saturday she would dispense medicine at a leper clinic As she got busier in other areas, she phased out of the medical work but for years after that, the Bible school students knew they could come to her kitchen window at 5 P.M. with their aches and pains and she was ready with ointments, aspirin, anti malarial drugs, for their ailments. She also taught subjects like map reading, hand writing, arithmetic and grammar in Igala at Bible school.. Knowing there were a lot of problems in the Christians’ homes, mum initiated a yearly ladies’ conference and used the course “The Woman Who Pleases God” as a basis for the lessons. Those conferences continue with other gifted ladies sharing the ministry. When boys and girls’ camps started up, mum would help with the organizing and share ideas and supplies for crafts and games. Although she was slowing down, it was only last year that she gave up keeping track of Bible school students marks. She continued to mark Bible courses and write out the certificates.. Hospitality had always been a gift of hers and it was evident in the large number of people that constantly would come to share problems, ask advice, or simply visit. She also saw the value of literature and kept a stock books and tracts in her house for selling and distribution.

Mum will be missed greatly by dad, her four children, their spouses, 16 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren but we are thankful for the example she set for us of a life wholly lived for her Lord.