Alvin Wesley Bergen, 93, of Augusta, KS, passed away Saturday, September 18, 2021. Viewing will be 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, October 4th, 2021 at Headley Funeral Chapel, Augusta. Service will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, October 5th, 2021 at Headley Funeral Chapel, Augusta, KS. Burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery, Augusta, KS.
Alvin (better known as Al) was born on Feb. 6th, 1928 in Ransom, Kansas and was the first born to Jacob and Martha (Harms) Bergen. His father was a pastor of Mennonite churches. From Ransom, the family moved to the panhandle of Texas and experienced the severe dustbowl years of the 30s. Al spent most of his growing years in Goltry, Oklahoma. He accepted Jesus as his Savior at the age of 9 and was baptized at age 15. He graduated from high school at Oklahoma Bible Academy in Meno, Oklahoma, and went to college at Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, where he earned a bachelor's in theology and met his future wife, Helen Vogt. During his junior year in college, God called Al to be a missionary in Africa. The SIM mission asked him to get another degree, in education, to help churches in Ethiopia to become more literate. He then attended Taylor University in Indiana and finished at Bethel College in Newton, Kansas. In the meantime, Helen took training to be an RN at Bethel Deaconess Hospital in Newton. Immediately after Al and Helen graduated, they were married on Sept. 11, 1953. The following year they left for Ethiopia, Africa, to be missionaries. During their time in Ethiopia, Al worked as Director of Education for a mission school where he trained teachers and eventually helped start 142 schools at churches throughout that area. Helen was a nurse in the mission hospital. Their four children were born in Ethiopia. During their second furlough, Al earned a master's degree in school administration from WSU in Wichita. During their third furlough, the Communists took over Ethiopia and all the missionaries had to leave. They could not return for a fourth term.
For 2 years after returning, Al taught 6th grade in Wichita, and then for 12 years he was principal at Robinson Elementary School in Augusta, Kansas. After retirement Al volunteered for 23 years at World Impact in Wichita (a Christian mission to the inner city). During this time, he also taught an adult Sunday school class and worked as a part-time staff member of International Students Inc. in Wichita (a Christian mission reaching international students). He became friends with many students from China, Japan, India and Nepal and led many of them to know Jesus as their Savior. Alvin continued this work with international students until he finally retired as a volunteer at age 85.
For the next 7 years Al took care of Helen, just as she had so lovingly cared for him prior to her dementia. He often expressed what a gift she was to him. In December of 2018, Al and Helen moved from their lovely lakeside home on Augusta Lake to Lakepoint Assisted Living. Al's sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will always remember him for his generosity and for his many stories, often concluding with his gratitude to God for all He had done for him.
Alvin is survived by sons, Mikeal Bergen and wife Rita, Myron Bergen, Lowell Bergen and wife Karen; 9 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; brother, Edgar Bergen, and sister, Janette (Bergen) Walter. He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen Bergen; son, Lyman Bergen; and brother, Gerald Bergen. Memorial donations can be made to: SIM USA, 14830 Choate Circle, Charlotte, NC 28273 or donate online at www.simusa.org.
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14830 Choate Circle,, Charlotte NC 28273