Monday, October 06, 2014

Monday Memories—missionaries to Nigeria

When I was a youngster, the Church of the Brethren in Mt. Morris, IL would host our Nigerian missionaries. Later my high school principal Evan Kinsley and his wife Lucile went to Nigeria as teacher missionaries in the mid-1960s.  The Church of the Brethren was very successful in Nigeria and had begun work with women and girls establishing a school. The kidnapped girls in the news recently were from a school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram the group terrorizing that area  is an extremist Islamic sect in northern Nigeria violently seeking a “pure” Islamic state. The girls are probably great grand daughters of those early converts. Most of the affected families are part of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN--Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria). EYN, the CoB mission, now has about a million members and is much larger than its shrinking grandmother in the U.S.

My mother’s cousin, Marianne Michael (on the George side), served in Nigeria. From 1948 to 1961, the Michaels carried out missionary work for the Church of the Brethren, including the organization of the Garkida Girls’ Life Brigade and the establishment of an adult literacy program for women. Michael published extensively in the Gospel Messenger about her missionary work. Her archives are at the University of Iowa Libraries. We usually correspond at Christmas, but now that she’s in a nursing home and in her late 90s, I don’t hear from her.

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