Russell Deibler was born on October 7, 1905, in Beulah, Pennsylvania. He attended the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College) in Nyack, New York, where he quickly became a campus leader. In pursuit of his missionary calling, Russell traveled with Ernest Presswood to Indonesia in November, 1930, where both would serve as missionaries. Russell returned to the U.S. in 1935 for his first home assignment. He met Darlene McIntosh of Boone, Iowa, and they were married on August 18, 1937.
In 1938, the Deiblers travelled to Holland, where they spent six months learning the Dutch language and customs. In 1938 they travelled to Indonesia, where they were assigned to teach in the Makassar Bible School. Several months later, Russell, along with Walter Post, went to explore possibilities for missionary work in the Wissel Lakes region of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. They were the first missionaries to enter that region and bring the gospel to the Kapakau tribe. While there, the first “mission post” was established, greatly impacting the area for Christ. When the time was right, Viola Post and Darlene Deibler joined their husbands.
The Deiblers and Posts returned to Makassar in 1940. In January 1941 Russell was elected Assistant Chairman to Dr. Robert Jaffray for the field of Indonesia. In 1942, Deibler was taken by Japanese military to an internment camp for men at Pare Pare, north of Makassar. There, he and Presswood lived together and held Bible studies, ministering in various ways to the other prisoners. At the young age of thirty-seven Russell Deibler died of dysentery on August 29, 1943. Of Russ, a missionary of the Dutch Protestant Mission once wrote: “He was one of the few who was beloved by all, who meant something to everyone, a bright ray of sunshine.”
- Russell and Darlene’s story is told in Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith In The Jungles Of World War II, available at Amazon.com
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