The Gateway to Service

Almost every Seventh-day Adventist knows that John Nevins Andrews, our first foreign missionary, went to Switzerland. Comparatively few Seventh-day Adventists are aware, however, that it was in this same country that the recommendation was voted by the General Conference Council of 1907 for the establishment of a school for the training of foreign missionaries.

Department of Education, General Conference

ALMOST every Seventh-day Adventist knows that John Nevins Andrews, our first foreign missionary, went to Switzerland. Comparatively few Seventh-day Adventists are aware, however, that it was in this same country that the recommendation was voted by the General Conference Council of 1907 for the establishment of a school for the training of foreign missionaries.

The error of sending ineffectively prepared appointees to the far corners of the earth weighed heavily upon the General Conference brethren. Something had to be done to improve the usefulness of missionaries before sending them to a new land. A training school must be set up. It should be close to denominational headquarters and close to the mission board. The finger of circumstance pointed to Wash­ington Training College, then only three years old and situated at Takoma Park, Maryland, on fifty acres of land that had been purchased in 1903 for $6,000. The name of the young institution was duly changed to Washington Foreign Missionary College and later to Wash­ington Foreign Missionary Seminary. A curric­ulum, new to the denomination, was pre­sented to seventy-five students in the dining hall on September 25, 1907, by the president, Prof. W. R. Salisbury.

It did not take long for the calls to begin to come in. Who would be the first to go out from the Gateway to Service? Just three months after school opened, Dr. and Mrs. H. W. Miller sailed for China. Because of previous experi­ence there, Dr. Miller was asked to return to the mission field of his choice. What an example of tireless service he has given. After fifty-eight years, Dr. Miller is still in the mission field. Today he is directing in the erection of a fine Seventh-day Adventist hospital in the city of Hong Kong and a large clinic in the adjacent New Territories. Between the years 1907 and 1914, 103 foreign missionaries were trained and sent out from this place. Prominent among those listed are Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Warren, Prof, and Mrs. W. C. John, Mr. and Mrs. J. I. Robison, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Wheeler, Prof, and Mrs. J. L. Shaw, Mr. and Mrs. T. M. French, L. G. Mookerjee, and M. Belle Shryock.

At a board meeting of the North American Division held October 14, 1913, it was decided that 'Washington Foreign Missionary Semi­nary should resume the status of a college, for which it had originally been chartered." So it was that in the spring of 1915 the first Bachelor's degree diplomas were given to five graduates: Ella Iden Edwards, who became an outstand­ing teacher and educator; Josef Hall, an inter­national news commentator known as Upton Close; Richard Farley, a number one Bible teacher and pastor; Irving Steinel, the teacher and administrator who established Philippine Union College from which 102 seniors gradu­ated this year; and Roland Loasby, the first of his class to leave for long mission service as a teacher-pastor in India.

Little by little the Bachelor's degree graduates of Washington Missionary College (now Co­lumbia Union College) began to encircle the globe. Let us take a brief look at their record in the world divisions:

Australasian Division

Christian education was established early in the "land down under." At the age of sixty-four, Ellen G. White had gone as a missionary to Australia. There she helped to open a school. Its record of mission service is an enviable one. Therefore it has not been necessary to send a large number of missionaries from North Amer­ica into that part of the world. Three gradu­ates from Washington Missionary College, how­ever, have served there with a total of twelve years of service. One of these workers was Dr. Warren G. Harding, and two were teachers: Nora Patterson and Yvonne Caro Howard. There are no WMC graduates serving in this division at the present time.

Central European Division

The Central European Division is presently situated in West Germany, but time was when this was a broad mission field scattered in many parts of the world. Three graduates from Wash­ington Missionary College have served in this division. A brother and sister, Edmund and Ruth Miller, gave a total of thirteen years, while Elder Otto Schuberth gave twenty-eight years to this division. Currently WMC has no graduates in this field.

China Division

It is needless to mention that we have no workers in China todav, but the record shows a total of thirty-five graduates who have gone from Washington Missionary College to that vast country. Bessie Mount gave 31 years of mis­sion service to China while other alumni added to her record, making a total of 369 years. We have had some outstanding missionaries serving in China. May Wheeler Brewer has the longest record of service in that field, with thirty-four years. Then there are Cameron Carter, Freder­ick Griggs, Denton E. Rebok, William Scharf-fenberg, Howard Shull, and Harry and Alice Morse, with a total of 165 years of service given to the educational work in China. Elder Freder­ick Lee spent twenty-nine years in evangelism in this field.

Czarist Russia

One does not often read the words, "Czarist Russia" any more, but Washington Missionary College has an interesting contact with that period of history. One evening as Elder J. Boettcher sat in his mission home reading the division publication, he came across a news-note that surprised the whole family, most of all his daughter, Olivia. A recommendation had been voted by the brethren to send Olivia from Russia to Washington Missionary College for further training. As things developed, Olivia was never able to return to Russia, but she counts the seven years she spent there with her missionary parents as a wonderful experience in her life. Without her record, WMC would be left with a vacant spot for the area of the world known today as the U.S.S.R.

Far Eastern Division

Sixty-eight graduates have given a total of 616 years to the Far East. This field holds the record for all the divisions. W. P. Bradley, class of 1919, served for twelve years in this field and then became the General Conference field secretary for the Far East for a long time. Thirty WMC graduates are laboring there to­day. This area holds among its number the two Bachelor of Arts degree graduates who have served the longest period of time in mis­sion service. In the beautiful city of Hong Kong, with its teeming multitudes, are Robert and Alma Milne, still serving their Master after forty-one years of dedicated service in South China, Malaya, India, and Thailand. "We have been happy in having a small part in the Lord's work," write the Milnes. "We only wish we were younger and had more years to give." Others in this part of the world field who have outstanding records are Bessie Irvine, Gertrude Green, and Muriel Howe, with a total of eighty years of nursing service.

Inter-American Division

The second largest number of graduates, fifty-nine, has gone out to Latin America. These alumni have given a total of 538 years of foreign service to the cause. In fact, twenty-four WMC graduates are currently serving in the Inter-American field. Douglas Prenier, whose father graduated in WMC's class of 1905, writes from Costa Rica: "I have been proud to rep­resent my alma mater here in this field for the past seventeen years. My special pride is my membership in the class of 1943, because it holds our all-time record of foreign mission­aries graduated from a single class." The class of 1943 does have an enviable record. Twenty-one graduates out of forty-eight have given a total of 189 years of mission service so far. Honorable mention should be made also of the twenty-nine years of teaching service which Carl Montgomery gave to Inter-America before his untimely death about a year ago.

Middle East Division

The Middle East makes up one of our young­est divisions of world territory in the denomina­tion, yet it is the oldest in terms of world history. Twenty-seven WMC graduates have already given a total of 211 years to their Master. Eight graduates are currently serving in the area of the Bible lands. George Arthur Keough, class of 1946, writes: "My memories of study at WMC are the pleasantest. I was a Britisher among other Britishers who had gained their independence in 1776!" George Keough estab­lished the Middle East College, the second daughter institution founded by alumni from Washington Missionary College.

North American Division

There are two kinds of missionaries—home and foreign. Only heaven holds the record for the more than 2,000 graduates who have sup­ported the cause here at home. President C. B. Hirsch writes: "Latest statistics reveal that WMC ranked as one of the three highest in the number of college students entering denom­inational work during the past school year and the number was at least 30 per cent higher than that of other schools with a larger enroll­ment. The record for the past ten years stands at 35.7 per cent of all graduates having gone into denominational work. The 1961 Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook lists 673 persons who are presently employed. This number does not include the many, many others whose names are not alphabetized in the back of the book. Who but God can estimate the influence of persons like Louise Stewart and Miriam Tyme-son, both graduates of WMC, who have touched the lives of thousands of boys and girls in the church school work for the Washington area alone? Who can total the record for H. M. S. Richards, class of 1919, in the North American Division and around the world? Who can esti­mate the influence of all the doctors and nurses, businessmen and secretaries, pastors and teach­ers, and Seventh-day Adventist neighbors from Hawaii to Bermuda, from Alaska to Key West?"

Northern European Division

The map of the Northern European Divi­sion is a good place to check up on world geog­raphy. This field is stretched from spots above the Arctic Circle to spots near the equator. J. O. Gibson is one of 42 missionaries who have given a total of 201 years of service to this part of the world field. In fact, twenty-two of our graduates, and many from Newbold Missionary College with which we are affiliated, are still serving there. Dr. Carl Houmann, from Addis Ababa, writes: "There are two things in my life for which I am especially grateful: a Chris­tian education and a place in the Lord's work. Many of my school years were spent in worldly schools. What a difference it was to go to our Seventh-day Adventist schools in the United States! This prepared me for mission service."

South American Division

Thirty of our graduates have served for a total of 253 years in South America. C. P. Crager gave more than twenty years to this field, as did Roger Wilcox, who is now in the Middle East. He writes: "We are grateful for the won­derful opportunity to enjoy the South Ameri­can Division for so long a time among the Brazilian people. They became our people, and their language is still our language. We are grateful for the Gateway to Service and the inspiration that it gave us in preparing us to go forth to the fields beyond." Thirteen gradu­ates are currently in this division. There are Leslie and Donna Scofield on the Sao Francisco River launch; Ruth and Ed Davis at Brazil College, and many others. Don and Dorothy Christman write from Southern Brazil: "The medical launch program is being intensified, and along with it the treatment of the horrible skin disease wildfire. This work has given Ad-ventists national prominence."

Southern African Division

Fifty-one graduates have given a total of 441 years of love to Southern Africa. There Rena Curtis and C. E. Wheeler hold the record for service—fifty-three years between them. At pres­ent there are twenty-eight graduates serving in a field that is troubled by war clouds. Phil Lemon writes about the supplies that they had for the refugees. Transportation was needed to get these supplies to the suffering ones in the interior, so our leaders went to a government official for help. "Most people are coming to me these days to ask for something for them­selves," the man said, "but you Adventists have come to offer help and supplies and to do some­thing for my people." They got the plane they needed, and Phil Lemon was on it when it flew within range of enemy gunfire.

Southern Asia Division

From the breath-taking mountains of North India across the sandy, arid plains to the sticky, humid jungles of Burma, the call came to forty-nine WMC graduates who have given a total of 558 years of missionary service there. Eric Meleen, class of 1917, gave thirty-six years of his life to this field. There are twenty-two of our graduates still in this division. Dr. Walter and Norma Mackett write: "Ours has been a humdrum institutional life with no spectacular stories, but we would not change it. There are rewards. Last week a division-wide Pathfinder leaders' training camp was held on our campus. It seemed that our students, most of whom we had not seen for years, were flocking home to see us. Several of them are ordained now and serving in far-flung parts of this great division in ways we could never have hoped to do."

Southern European Division

The Southern European field is another one that makes up a spotted map from Austria to Madagascar. The Odoms were in Spain, but 11 other graduates from WMC were scattered abroad in many countries. These missionaries gave a total of 116 years of service to their Master. Holding the record among them is Dr. Roy Parsons in Angola, Portuguese West Africa, with thirty years of service. Dr. Roy's Christian influence is known far and wide in this part of the world. His son, Dr. David Parsons, also graduated from WMC, is now under appoint­ment to leave for Angola in July of this year. This is a troubled area. A letter from the Bongo Mission states: "We have worked along just as well as we have been permitted. The govern­ment authorities have been very kind to us and we have done our best to cooperate with them in every way possible. We are not certain, be­cause of happenings near us, that we shall be able to continue our school until the close of the year."

And there you have the picture of what Washington Missionary College has done for foreign missions during the past forty-five years: 120 educational workers, 92 evangelists, 87 medical workers, 69 administrators, eight publishing house workers, and four secretaries. These make up the 380 missionaries who have given a total of 3,363 years of foreign service dedicated to their alma mater and their Master.

It is fitting that Elsa Lind should put the fin­ishing touch on this record. It all might appear like an obituary of Washington Missionary Col­lege without Elsa to lift our sights to new horizons. Elsa will graduate within a few days from WMC in the class of 1961. Our college will then have its fifth new name. Elsa will leave Columbia Union College and go immedi­ately to her mission post as a nurse in Western Uganda, bordering on the Congo. She will be the first on a new record for our school. Others will follow her to answer some of the ninety-one current calls that stand unfilled as of May 6, 1961, at the General Conference office. Yes, right now twenty-six doctors, two dentists, eight­een nurses, twenty-three teachers, and thirty-two various other workers are needed.

What about it? If a call came to you, would you go? Remember, if Jesus goes with us, we can go anywhere.

There is about any anniversary a sense of having arrived at a significant point. There is even about it a physical sensation such as one experiences when standing on high ground. One feels exhilarated. Even a little breathless from a hard climb. The perspective is different from what it is below. From this vantage point, the value and the need for Christian education comes into clear focus.

Ahead awaits a grand and glorious home­coming in the world made new. May the Gate­way to Service continue to serve until Jesus comes.

A mission talk given during the 1961 homecoming celebra­tions of the CUC Alumni held in the Sligo church, Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.


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Department of Education, General Conference

August 1961

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