Life and Work
"From the time I was six, I wanted to be a teacher. When I was 12, I heard a missionary speak and I said to God 'If I could become a missionary teacher in Nigeria I will never ask for anything else.' "
When Margaret Nissen came to Dickson from the Danish-speaking Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany, she was 17 years old. She thought she would never learn English and become a missionary.
But in July 1943, after normal school and teaching for eight years, she sailed for Nigeria. There she learned Hausa, the lingua franca of Nigeria. She translated German, English and Danish texts into Hausa. She taught Nigerian women to read. Many students went on to study in England or America.
Illness brought her back to Dickson in 1975. Her health improved and she taught at the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute in Camrose until 1985. She returned to Dickson; living near the Lutheran Church she represented in Africa for 30 years.
Margaret Nissen's work as a missionary carried and shaped the message of the church in the mission field and at home, a life of service and teaching. Margaret died in October, 1999.
Memories by Kirsten Goa
When I think about-Margaret Nissen I can't help but smile, I have only known her for a few years now but in our conversations about her mission experience I feel as if I've known her for years.
Margaret is a gracious hostess. Every time I have visited Dickson she sets out beautiful China, cookies, tea and coffee. She is always generous with her time and experience. Expressive and filled with humour, Margaret has a wonderful gift for storytelling.
Despite her long life and varied experiences, Margaret is not nostalgic, she remembers her experiences fondly and with humour, but lives firmly is the present, approaching each new moment with grace and anticipation. She regards each moment as a gift from God and her grace in embracing her experiences is due to her deep and constant faith.
Driving into the countryside after leaving Dickson I feel more alive somehow. Margaret's confident faith and complete openness to life is infectious. The fields are greener, the sky is bluer, the clouds are whiter and the birds sing more clearly.
Margaret's gift for life is evident in her garden which is always a wondrous sight. It is also evident in her regard for the people around her. Always vibrant and engaging, Margaret is a wonderful example; of grace and love.