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Remembering C. Russell Deibler

A History Of
C. Russell Deibler

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Walter Post helped move Russell to the Interior. They traveled deep in the interior and had endured much hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ for the gospel's sake.

Russell had a spiritual burden to reach the tribes people of the neglected land. And had demonstrated his abilities and gifts of leadership in performing a remarkable piece of work among the Dyak head-hunters of Borneo.

April 1932- The Pioneer

Russell made three profitable visits among the Dyaks of the Mahakam River district. In many of the localities visited the Dyaks manifested a genuine interest in the Gospel, and in two villages, a number of earnest hearts are very near the Kingdom. Ten Dyaks, among them two women, expressed their desire to follow Christ. You may be sure we are rejoicing over these results, but it is just the beginning. Bless the Lord!

August 1932 - The Pioneer
C. Russell Deibler
An April Christmas Without Christ
In the Gift of His own dear Son God has shown His tender mercy to this poor world. From the wonder of the birthday of the Son the passing centuries have subtracted .nothing; He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever! His love, His beauty, His power, His glory are today what they have ever been - unchangeable. In hundreds of languages there has been offered to Him, year after year, the adoration and praise of countless millions. How this should cause the hearts of us who love His name to rejoice! Nevertheless it is pathetic to think of the many tongues of earth which have never voiced an anthem of praise to our Savior. And such is the sad case of many of the Dyaks of Borneo.


This past April I was working among a tribe of Dyaks that had never heard the gospel. During the time of my visit with them, they had festivities that resembled our Christmas festival, although there was no knowledge or mention of the birth of Christ. Gifts were exchanged among friends - gifts of varieties of rice, food, fruit and meat, and throughout the feast there was a general feeling of goodwill. On one of the days there was a special observance, the significance of which I did not learn. All that were able went in canoes to the distant rice-fields in order to plant a few seeds as a beginning to the sowing time. The sick and aged were locked indoors and no one was allowed to loiter about the long-house the entire day. In the evening the imprisoned were released, and the others called from the fields by means of the loud beating of the tom-toms.


That same evening we gathered these Dyaks under the coconut trees in front of the long-house for a meeting. We sat together on the ground and slowly and simply told them of the One who had come to bring peace and goodwill to all men. As I told them of the Christ of Christmas, my words seemed to return upon me in condemnation: Here is a people with a Christless festival, giving gifts as the wise men of old, and enjoying a measure of goodwill, only now, after nineteen centuries hearing of the advent of the Babe of Bethlehem, the savior of all men! Shall they go on with their empty festivals- Christless Christmases? Can you conceive of heaven being a Dyak-less place? No, Thank God! For out of every tribe and kindred and tongue shall be those who will sit with the Lamb upon His throne. And that redeemed number may be increased if we faithfully proclaim to them deliverance from their ignorance and sin. May He find us faithful to that blessed trust.

November 1932

Russell with Paul Lenn departed for the Pahoe district. They were witnessing to the Dyaks of that great territory. It was at Djampedas, a lamin on the Pahoe, that the gospel was so eagerly welcomed several years ago when they first visited there. One of the Dyaks had dreamed five years prior to their coming that five years hence the true God would come to them. They accepted Jesus as the fulfillment of that dream!
During their three year ministry, they reported that 946 Dyaks from 67 villages were baptized.

October 5, 1932 & November 1, 1932-The Pioneer

Tidings from the Mahakam

Russell wrote: We are settled at the house again. I think we deserve a rest. We about ran our legs off over these hills. Here at the house we have begun a Bible school three nights a week for Dyaks boys. We have been going four nights and it is really encouraging-about fifteen boys every night.
Early in the week I received your former note, which with other mail, had taken an excursion up the Pahoe River on a trader's boat. I certainly do appreciate the papers. First news I had had for months. Your note about my coming to Makassar in October reached me a few days ago. I know the change would do me good but I do not think it highly advisable to go at this time. I feel the Lord would have me stay on until the close of the year. I should like to make a trip up the Pahoe River.
The other day we had a hurricane-for awhile it kept us interested and busy. I had just gone to the river side for my bath and was ready for the water when the wind began to blow furiously. I feared the wooden shelter would blow off and expose me to the public gaze, so I hurriedly dressed. Then things began to happen. The djembatang (log landing) just below mine was blown into midstream and threatened to crush my Anak Courier. Jacob and I tried to prevent the disaster and while in the act the rear rope of the Courier broke and she swung out into the stream. All the time the wind and heavy rain blew terrifically. When it subsided a little I saw that the roof had blown off the Anak. Later I came ashore-indoors water had entered the house and ruined all we owned. My books were wet and with my hands I cupped water out of the mattress on my bed. However we are all intact and praising the Lord. Pray for us.