World Gospel Mission

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WGM logo as of 2006

World Gospel Mission (WGM) is an interdenominational Christian holiness missionary agency headquartered in Marion, Indiana, United States. From its inception, WGM has been aligned with the Wesleyan Holiness tradition of Protestantism. It was organized on 10 July 1910 at University Park, Iowa as the Missionary Department of the National Association for the Promotion of Holiness, and from 1926 as the National Holiness Missionary Society. In April 1981 it became a separate legal entity from the National Holiness Association (now Christian Holiness Partnership).

Although WGM has not been controlled by the Christian Holiness Association for many years, WGM remains solidly committed to the proclamation of scriptural holiness. [5]

The agency's website says "World Gospel Mission is interdenominational in organization, evangelistic in method, Wesleyan in doctrine, cooperative with other evangelical agencies, and backed by an organized prayer network." [6] The WGM uses the faith mission approach. Therefore, all missionaries (short-term or career) and volunteers with WGM are responsible for raising their own financial support with the help of the organization's Church Ministries Department. Missionaries raise the funds needed to pay for salaries and housing, provide medical and life insurance, fund children’s educations, and provision for retirement. [7] More than twenty Christian denominations, as well as non-denominational groups are represented among their missionaries. Its trans-denominational base has been strengthened in recent decades by the decisions of several smaller denominations to designate the WGM as their official agent for sending foreign missionaries to the field. These include the Churches of Christ in Christian Union, the Evangelical Methodist Church, the Congregational Methodist Church, and the Methodist Protestant Church. (Jones 241)

WGM is affiliated to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), the Evangelical Fellowship of Missions Agencies (EFMA), and Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission. [8]

The mission's largest ministries are in Kenya, Honduras, and Bolivia.[9]

Beliefs[edit]

World Gospel Mission's Statement of Faith is:

We Believe:

...in the absolute authority of the Bible.
...in one God, eternally existent in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
...in the full humanity and the full divinity of Jesus Christ.
...that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is essential for the salvation of the human soul.
...in the present and personal ministry of the Holy Spirit, purifying and enabling Christians to live holy lives.
...all people have sinned.
...God created man in His own image to reflect His glory.
...that the Church is the body of Christ made up of all who trust in and obey Him.
...that the Church’s purpose is to worship God, reach those without Christ, and nurture believers.
...in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in the resurrection of all who believe in Him to life eternal.

...in Jesus Christ’s personal return in power and glory.[1]

Activities[edit]

According to the World Gospel Mission blog:

World Gospel Mission will minister through preaching, teaching and healing ministries. World Gospel Mission will assist in forming culturally relevant congregations composed of maturing disciples of Jesus Christ who will evangelize and reproduce themselves within their own cultures and across cultural boundaries ( 2Timothy 2:2) and call believers to the deeper work of God in the human heart of being cleansed from all sin and filled with the Holy Spirit by faith (1 Thessalonians 4:3).[2]

WGM’s strategic areas of service include church ministries, children’s and youth ministries, educational ministries, medical ministries, support ministries, and humanitarian ministries. The organization also partners with churches, colleges, and individuals to send 1,100 volunteers annually on short-term missions experiences.[10]

Although the Mission's focus is on evangelism, WGM ministers to the whole person through church planting, education, medical care, community health and development, and even crisis relief for persons with whom WGM is directly involved. WGM concentrates on developing self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating churches which are indigenous to their respective country or region.[11]

History (1910–2008)[edit]

Administration (1910–2008)[edit]

At the instigation of Mrs Iva May Durham Vennard (1871–1945), a Methodist evangelist and later founder and first president of the Chicago Evangelistic Institute (now Vennard College),[3] and the support of Holiness Association president, Rev Charles J. Fowler, the Missionary Department of the National Association for the Promotion of Holiness was established at University Park, Iowa on 10 June 1910, with the specific purpose of "spreading scriptural holiness to the ends of the earth."[4] Rev. Cecil Warren Troxel and his wife, Ellen Armour Troxel (born 1875), and the Rev. Woodford Taylor and his wife, Mrs. Harriet Armour Taylor, members of the Free Methodist Church of North America, became the first missionaries in China with the Missionary Department of the National Association for the Promotion of Holiness, directly under the Christian Holiness Association (now Christian Holiness Partnership).

Officers[edit]

In November 1910 Mrs Beatrice C. "Mother" Beezley was selected as secretary of the China Bureau by the Missionary Department, with only her briefcase as her office. In 1929 Dr James Bishop (died 12 May 1970), former missionary to China, became the chief executive. In 1934 he was replaced by Rev. George R. Warner (died 1 June 1974), also a former missionary to China. Initially appointed as General Secretary, the title was eventually changed to president. Upon Warner's resignation in 1967, a Directorate was established, which included Dr Hollis F. Abbott (Administration), Dr Harold Good (Business), and Dr Burnis Bushong (Homeland).[5] Abbott was elected chief executive officer (later president) in October 1969.[6] In 1979 Dr Thomas H. Hermiz was appointed as president of WGM.[7] The current president is Hubert P. Harriman.[8]

Headquarters[edit]

By 1919 the headquarters was located at 825 Woodbine Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois. In 1925 the organization's homeland headquarters moved from Mrs. Beezley's briefcase to the a room in the Kletzing Building at the Chicago Evangelistic Institute (now Vennard College) at 1804 Washington Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois.[9] [12] In 1939 the headquarters was relocated to five rooms at 219 North Parkside, Chibago, Illinois.[10] In 1942 a permanent headquarters was established in the sixteen-room C.W. Ruth Memorial Building at 733 North Parkside in Chicago.[11] Ten years later, the headquarters was again relocated to new offices in a former YMCA building at Fifth and Boots Streets in Marion, Indiana adjoining the Marion Hotel.[11] In 1975 the headquarters was moved from downtown Marion east of town to the new George R. Warner Missionary Center, located at 3783 State Road 18 East.[12] The Warner Center was officially dedicated at the International Celebration of Missions in July 1976.[12]

Name Changes[edit]

Initially founded as an entity within the National Holiness Association, WGM was established as the Missionary Department of the National Association for the Promotion of Holiness on 10 June 1910 at University Park, Iowa. In 1926 the Mission became incorporated in Illinois as a separate legal entity and renamed as the Missionary Society for the Promotion of Holiness, even though it remained under the administrative control of the National Holiness Association. The organization's name was changed again in 1937 to the National Holiness Missionary Society.[13] In 1954 the name was changed to World Gospel Mission.[14]

Mission Fields[edit]

In 1946 the mission reported 102 missionaries in seven fields namely China, India, Kenya, Burundi, Honduras, Bolivia, and the Mexican border. In 1949 it took over the remaining mission fields of the Peniel Missionary Society, as well as some of the American Rescue Missions of the Peniel Mission. The Peniel Missions in California and Egypt, which had joined the WGM as a distinct entity, became fully integrated into its ministry with the amalgamation of the two boards in 1957.(Jones 241)

In 1969 WGM reported active ministry in sixteen world areas.(Jones 241) Between 1969 and 1992 WGM founded ministries in another eight areas: Argentina, Nicaragua, Haitian American Ministries, Israel, Tanzania, Paraguay, Hungary, and Uganda.

Currently,

WGM is composed of over 350 missionaries from more than twenty denominations. These missionaries currently serve on five continents. The fields of service include Argentina, Bolivia, Burundi, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, St. Croix, Sudan, Taiwan, Uganda, and Ukraine, as well as Muslim Ministries, the American Indian Field, Haitian American Ministries, Hispanic Ministries USA, and Stockton Neighborhood Center (California).[13]

China (1910–1948)[edit]

On 23 November 1901 Rev. Cecil Warren Troxel and Rev. Woodford Taylor arrived in China to serve as missionaries in the South Chihli Gospel Mission, an independent missionary organisation directed by Rev. Horace W. Houlding. In 1904, two sisters, Harriet and Ellen Armour, arrived in China as new missionaries. By 1908 Harriet married Woodford Taylor, and Ellen married Cecil Troxel. Theological incompatibility and differences over mission philosophy, prompted the Troxels and Taylors to resign from Houlding's mission and return to the USA.[15]

On 1 November 1910 the Troxels and Taylors sailed for China as the first missionaries of the newly established WGM. They were assigned by comity arrangements with other Christian denominations to the Shantung (now Shandong province in eastern China. They established headquarters at Nankwantao, and occupied their mission compound (comprising five two-storey brick buildings on 1.5 acres (6,100 m2) of land) on 29 September 1911.[16] Additionally, the support of two Chinese preachers was also approved by the new organisation.[17] Mr. C. Yang was a Chinese Christian who started a mission in his home. Over 100 Chinese attended Mr. Yang's special services. [14]

They established the Tientsin Bible School in Shantung province. In 1917 a large tent was purchased to facilitate evangelistic meetings. By 1920, the Chinese Mission Field reported 15 missionaries, 50 Chinese workers, and hundreds of Chinese Christians. [15]

In 1926 Dr Henry Wesche, WGM's first medical missionary, was appointed to China. In 1948 all WGM missionaries were withdrawn from China.

Kenya (1929)[edit]

The Board of the National Holiness Association Missionary Society voted in 1927 to open work in Africa after the request of students from Asbury College: Rev. and Mrs Robert (Bob) Smith and Rev. and Mrs Virgil Kirkpatrick. In 1929 Clara Ford, daughter of Friends missionaries in Kenya, was appointed as WGM's first missionary in Africa, and asked to explore possibilities for WGM ministry. Among her contacts was Dr. Willis R.Hotchkiss, who had worked among the Kipsigis in Kenya since 1905, and had founded the Lumbwa Industrial Mission. Due to the failing health of Hotchkiss' wife, he decided to turn over his Mission to the WGM.[18] In October 1932 the Smiths and Kirkpatricks arrived in Kenya. In 1935 a 10-acre (40,000 m2) property was granted to WGM at Tenwek, in northeastern Kenya, about 140 miles (230 km) east of Nairobi in the fertile highlands of the Bomet District among the Kipsigis people, through the assistance of Hotchkiss and the Africa Inland Mission.[19]

Tenwek Hospital, one of the largest Protestant mission hospitals in Kenya, began as a clinic in 1936, at Tenwek. The clinic’s first staff members were registered nurse Miss Mildred Ferneau (later married to Orville Leonard) and Miss Gertrude Shryock. However, Tenwek’s first doctor, deceased WGM missionary Dr. Ernie Steury, did not arrive for another 22 years. The fifty-bed hospital was enlarged with the addition of a new men's ward in 1967. In 1985, the hospital at Tenwek was enlarged to accommodate 300 patients, and renamed the Johanna A. Ng'etich Memorial Center in honour of the patriarch of the African Gospel Church of Kenya, who had died in 1977 aged over one hundred years old. Since 1959, the hospital has been under the day-to-day management of a missionary. However, in July 2001, the hospital hit one of its most important milestones as Tenwek’s board appointed Steven Mutai as its first Kenyan executive officer.

In addition to being the primary hospital for the area’s 1 million people, it is also a referral hospital that receives patients from other parts of the country. Tenwek’s staff, which now totals 500 employees, treats more than 10,000 inpatients and 70,000 outpatients each year. Approximately 3,000 major surgeries and 2,500 deliveries are also performed at Tenwek each year. In addition, several thousand people find Christ as Savior each year, and many more are impacted through Tenwek’s compassionate ministries and training programs.[20]

Kenya Highlands Bible College, a post-secondary school near Kericho, Kenya,[21] was started in 1953 by WGM missionaries Gerald (Jerry) Fish (1917–2008) and Burnett (Bunny) Fish.[22] The school, which began holding classes in 1955, 'seeks to train young people to emulate Christ as church leaders by providing Bible, theology, and Christian education instruction for students from a number of African countries and tribes. Approximately 80 students attend the college each year."[23] In 1972 an extension seminary program (Theological Education by Extension (TEE)) was begun in 1972. Kenya Highlands Bible College is registered with the Commission for Higher Education of Kenya as a private College and is in process for accreditation. The college has been granted candidacy status by the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA). KHBC is a member of the Nairobi Fellowship of Theological Colleges.[24] According to its website,

The mission of KHBC is to advance the Kingdom of God and serve society through promotion of a Christo-centric education within the Wesleyan tradition by integrating faith with scholarship and inspiring servant leaders.[24]

On 29 August 1961, the WGM churches were registered with the Kenyan government as the Africa Gospel Church. After Kenyan independence from Britain in 1963, many of the responsibilities of the WGM were transferred to the Africa Gospel Church. In 1967, ministry was started among the Maasai. In 1972 all WGM properties and ministry were voluntarily turned over to the Africa Gospel Church. In April 2006 the Africa Gospel Church Baby Center was opened in Nakuru, Kenya, to care for orphaned and abandoned infants affected by the AIDS crisis.[25][26] Africa Gospel Church has more than 1,300 congregations throughout Kenya with an average weekly attendance of 300,000.[23][27]

The Literature Center was opened at Kericho, Kenya, in 1961. A new bookshop was opened in Kitale, Kenya in 1968. In 1969 missionary Rev. Gene Lewton was imprisoned (but later exonerated).

In 1993 WGM and the Africa Gospel Church joined forces to open Kaboson Pastors’ School in southwest Kenya. The school was opened to meet the vital need of getting national pastors the formal education and theological training they were lacking. Many AGC pastors were untrained and unable to attend Kenya Highlands Bible College (Kericho) because of expense, distance, or family responsibilities or because they did not meet admission requirements.

The training program at Kaboson was designed to emphasize the practical skills every pastor needs for effective ministry: a good grasp of Bible knowledge and doctrine, the ability to speak and preach well, the capacity to lead people to Christ and disciple them, and the training to lead a church forward.... More than 117 pastors completed Kaboson’s training program between 1993 and 2001 and returned home to serve their local churches.[28]

India (1937)[edit]

During a world tour in 1933–1934, evangelist Rev. Anna E. McGhie spent several months in India. lobbied for a Bible school in India.[29] McGhie lobbied the WGM Board to establish a holiness Bible school for training indigenous ministers. The WGM Board approved the establishment of the South India Biblical Institute (since 1971 South India Biblical Seminary) in March 1937. In May 1937 McGhie returned to India, and with the assistance of and Annie Greiner, began to prepare for the founding of the school. Later in 1937, Rev. James R. Bishop arrived to serve as initial principal. Classes were commenced first opened its doors on 16 November 1937.[30] The seminary’s basic purpose is to train Indian young people for Christian ministry. At the time of its formation, SIBS was located in Madras (now Chennai). In May 1940 the first class of 11 Indian preachers graduated. In 1942 the seminary became co-educational.[31] In the following years, the seminary moved two times (first to Bangalore, then to Kolar District, Karnataka) before settling in its current location outside Bangarapet in 1952 atop the hill of Anandagiri (Hill of Joy). The early students at SIBS were all men. However, by 1942, women were also admitted. Since those early years, SIBS has admitted students from throughout India and even some from outside the country. In 1963, the Seminary was accredited by the Board of Theological Education of the N.C.C.I. for the granting of a Diploma with the Graduate in Theology Distinction. In 1972, SIBS was reorganized into an indigenous organization with an Indian governing board. The seminary was restructured again in 1981 to include the Church of the Nazarene as a partner with World Gospel Mission. A third partner, Immanuel General Mission of Japan, was added in 1984. Most of the seminary’s professors are Indian.[32] In 1976, SIBS affiliated with the Senate of Serampore College (University) in order to offer the Bachelor of Theology degree to its students. The school withdrew from this affiliation in 1993 and began relying on an accreditation from the Asia Theological Association.[33][34] ATA accredits both the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th) and Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degrees until 2011.[35]

In 1960 the Vacation Bible School ministry reached 25,000 children, by 1964 there were 40,000 children, and enrolment had increased to 50,000 children by 1970. A new VBS building in Bangalore, India was dedicated in 1971. By 1990, over 300,000 children were reported to have attended VBS in India. Today, more than 50 years after the first program, VBS materials are published in 13 languages and reach an amazing 1.5 to 2 million children and young people in India each year.[30][36]

In 1972 control of the WGM work in India, known as the Anandagari Christian Fellowship, was transferred to the South India Biblical Seminary. In 1976, Rev Frank and Christine Dewey were the first WGM missionaries to be granted visas to enter India since 1960.

Burundi (1938–1979)[edit]

In 1938 Free Methodist Rev J.W. Haley invited WGM to assume responsibility for a portion of their field in Urundi (now Burundi). In 1939 Rev. and Mrs Virgil Kirkpatrick transferred from Kenya to Urundi. Their first mission station was at Kayero.[37]

The first general conference including three established mission stations, Kayero, Murore and Murehe was held in 1954, as a step towards autonomy. In 1966 the Buhonga as fourth mission station was opened, and property was purchased for the Burundi Literature Center in Gitega, Burundi. In 1968 the Kirundi Bible was printed by Burundi Literature Fellowship, the first time the Kirundi people had both the Old and New Testaments available to them replacing the Rwandese version, similar language to Kirundi. In 1970 an interdenominational Bible School,in which WGM had share was started at Mweya, Burundi. A WGM guesthouse for missionaries and other church workers stopover was established in Bujumbura, Burundi in 1972. In 1976 ground was broken for the Kibuye Union Hospital in Burundi shared between Free Methodist and Friends Missions. In 1979 four senior missionary couples were expelled, and another couple not permitted to return, due to changing government attitudes toward Christian missions. As a consequence, full responsibility for the Africa Gospel Church in Burundi was placed in the hands of indigenous leaders. In 1980 the first national Bishop John Alfred Ndoricimpa was consecrated and the church took the name of Evangelical Episcopal Church of Burundi. In 1984, it integrated into the United Methodist Church.[38]

In 1990 Karen Brebner who served before in Burundi as a missionary attempted to restart WGM ministry in Burundi, but returned within months to the USA after a diagnosis of cancer.[39]

Bolivia (1944)[edit]

The first WGM missionaries arrived in La Paz, Bolivia in January 1944.[40]

WGM missionary Jonathan Tamplin started an airplane ministry in Bolivia using a plane christened Wings of Peace. Wings of Peace, WGM’s aviation ministry in Trinidad, Bolivia, was started in 1952. The Wings of Peace ministry was temporarily closed down following a terrible event on September 28, 1998. On that day, Wings of Peace plane CP-1528 and its seven passengers disappeared while on a return flight from the village of Yucumo. On January 18, 2003, Wings of Peace VII was dedicated to the Lord’s service by the president of the national church, and the plane was ready for its first test flight on January 30, 2003.[41]

Berea Bible Institute in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was started in 1955 by WGM missionaries Garnett and Sunny Townsend and Meredythe Scheflen. The school, whose name was changed to Berea Bible Seminary in 1987, was opened

to prepare Bolivian leaders for Christian service. At the time of the school’s opening, World Gospel Church of Bolivia did not have any means of formally educating or training its leaders.[42]

Responsibility for the seminary was turned over to the national church in the 1980s, and in January 1995 the school opened a branch campus in Cochabamba. The seminary also oversees a Theological Education by Extension program with hubs in various strategic locations in Bolivia.

The first Bolivian national pastor was ordained in 1961. In 1963 Evangelism in Depth, an inter-mission evangelistic campaign, was launched.

On 15 April 1982 WGM missionary Meredythe Scheflen founded Bolivian Evangelical University, which is located five miles (8 km) from the center of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The founding board of BEU was composed of representatives from World Gospel Mission, Evangelical Friends Mission, United World Mission, South American Mission, Bolivian Holiness Mission (along with the national churches of these missions), Church of the Nazarene in Bolivia, and the Rio Nuevo Educational Cooperative. BEU has the prestige of being the first private university in Bolivia and the first evangelical university in Spanish-speaking South America.[43] According to Scheflen

Bolivian Evangelical University is an academic, Christian, and disciplined atmosphere with the mission to form competitive, well-rounded, creative, and service-oriented professionals with a commitment to the community and the development of the country and the work of Christ....The main ministry goal of BEU is to reach the youth of Bolivia for Christ through higher education and to influence the country and other countries by means of its students and graduates.[43]

BEU operates its own educational television station, educational radio station, agricultural center, daycare center, and a medical center with an operating room. BEU attracts approximately 2,000 students each year. The university originally operated on the campus of Berea High School, using the classrooms in the evenings. However, BEU outgrew those facilities and construction of a new 60-acre (240,000 m2) campus was completed in October 1993. In May 2002, BEU was granted full accreditation as a PLENA university. This certification signifies that BEU has more than satisfactorily completed the basic requirements of the Bolivian government for this level of recognition, which at present is the highest for Bolivian universities.[43][44]

In partnership with the Immanuel General Mission of Japan, there is ministry to Japanese immigrants and their families in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Honduras (1944)[edit]

The first WGM missionaries arrived in Honduras in March 1944.[45] In 1947 the first airplane ministry was begun in Honduras, with Rev David Schneider as the pilot for a three-seat Piper, christened Gospel Wings. In 1954 a farm school, El Sembrador, was started by Don and Twana Hank. Later that year, the WGM churches in Honduras were incorporated as the Honduras Holiness Church (Iglesia Evangélica de Santidad en Honduras) "under a mutual agreement between WGM’s mission station in Honduras and the national church. Based on the agreement, WGM and the national church would work in partnership with the ultimate goal of Honduran Holiness Church becoming self-governing."[46] Five Honduran pastors were ordained in 1955, becoming the first Protestants in the nation to be ordained.

In 1962 classes began in the Evangelical High School in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. By 1975, there was 450 students enrolled. Additionally, 931 students studied Bible correspondence courses that year, and 130 boys were enrolled at El Sembrador. In 1982, WGM began work (initially in partnership with Project Partners with Christ) in the village of Punta Gorda on Roatan Island in an effort to reach an indigenous people group known as the Garifuna, a tribe of Black Caribs.[47]

As of 2004, Honduran Holiness Church was composed of approximately 200 churches with a combined membership of roughly 25,000 people located throughout the country. While the focus of the church throughout the years has been church planting and evangelism, other vital ministries include education (grade school, high school, and theological training), social outreach (community development and micro industries), medical assistance, and outreach to street children.[46][48]

Mexican Border Work (1945)[edit]

WGM’s work in Mexico began on the border in McAllen, Texas, in 1945. At the time, WGM missionaries to China, including Rev Woodford Taylor, had just been banned from returning, so they transferred to the US-Mexico border. They started a church and eventually established Taylor Christian School. Ministries quickly spread from McAllen to Saltillo, Coahuila.

In 1966 the Inter-American Bible Institute was opened in La Feria, Texas, under the joint administration of the WGM and the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination. However, it was closed in 1973, and education was now provided through the extension seminary in Mexico.

Mexico (1949)[edit]

WGM founded its first church in Saltillo, Coahuila, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Construction on the actual church building began in 1955 and was completed in March 1959. This congregation was followed by preaching points in rural villages including Jaquay, Acatita, and Sierra Hermosa in the 1950s. Around that same time, ministries emerged in Madero and Valle Hermoso, Texas. Around 1968, WGM acquired a church in Matehuala, San Luis Potosí, from the United Society of Friends. Work began in Concepción del Oro and San Pedro, a neighborhood of Monterrey, in the 1970s. Los Pinos Church in San Pedro was later transplanted to Santa Catarina following the destruction from Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Additional preaching points developed in the 1970s in San Javier, Calabazillas, San Juan del Retiro, San Felipe, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rita. Two churches were also founded during the late 1980s in the towns of Abasolo and Allende near Ciudad Victoria in northeast Mexico. A church plant started in El Tunal in 1993 as an offshoot of the first church in Saltillo. Construction on the church building began during the spring of 1994, and a vision followed for a campground ministry near El Tunal. Property was acquired for this new ministry, dormitories were built on the property, and a multipurpose building and other facilities are in progress.[49]

Also during the early 1990s, WGM missionaries saw a need in central Mexico, and work began in a region called the Bajío, where there had been much resistance to the gospel. A mother church was started in the town of Irapuato, and in 1997 work spread into León, Guanajuato, where a church is now established. A family center was also started in a military zone in Lazaro, a neighborhood of Irapuato. In 1995 another vision arose to start a community center in McAllen, Texas, to minister to the needs of the Hispanic young people in that area. The Taylor Community Center project became a reality within the next few years. Currently, the first phase of the project is nearly completed, and ministries are expanding to reach out to entire families in the McAllen area.[50]

In 1997 ministries developed in the Guerrero area of Saltillo, and by August 1997 a group that had begun meeting as a married couples Bible study officially became Valle Verde Church, the second church in Saltillo. A new work started in Nuevo Laredo at the beginning of 1999 and continues to grow. In 2003 outreach ministries were initiated in two other areas of Saltillo and have since grown into established churches. During 2004 outreach began in Aquascalientes with a contact from the Irapuato church.[51]

Japan (1952)[edit]

David and Edna Kuba, WGM’s first missionaries to Japan, arrived in September 1952. Since 1954, WGM missionaries in Japan have worked as part of the Immanuel Wesleyan Federation in cooperation with Immanuel General Mission, an indigenous holiness denomination.[52] By 1966, this denomination had entered every one of the 46 prefectures in Japan.

Immanuel Bible Training College in Yokohama, Japan, was founded by Dr. David Tsugio Tsutada in 1949. The college trains young men and women for ministry as pastors in the Immanuel General Mission church. Each year, Immanuel ministers to approximately 10 students.[53] WGM missionaries often serve as faculty members.

The Kuba Student Center was started in 1960 by David and Edna Kuba.

The Kubas originally held Bible studies with university students in their home, but as attendance grew, the home setting became inadequate. WGM owned the house next to the Kubas’ home and converted it into the WGM Student Center. However, before the Kubas retired in 1983, plans were in the works to rebuild the center. After extensive remodeling and new constructions, the center was dedicated in November 1984 and renamed in honor of David and Edna Kuba. Today, the center is used for weekly Bible studies, Saturday suppers, monthly prayer fellowship, Christmas meetings, and parties with university students. Approximately 20 students are involved at the Kuba Student Center each year.[54]

In 1970 the Wesley Book Club was founded.

American Indians (1952)[edit]

In 1952 ministry was commenced among American Indians in Arizona. The Southwest Indian School (SIS) was founded that year in Peoria, Arizona, as a school for American Indians. Students lived in dormitories on the campus, bussed in from reservations. By 1975, there was 180 students enrolled. SIS closed as a boarding school in 1998 and became WGM’s current Southwest Indian Ministries Center.[55] Since this transition, WGM’s focus on the field has been in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area and on the Navajo and Tohono O'odham Reservations.[56][57]

Living Word Academy is a Christian day school located on the Tohono O’odham reservation in Sells, Arizona. The school was started in 1978 by current principal Carol Conway, the wife of a local Nazarene pastor. In 1999, WGM accepted responsibility for the academy, making it part of the American Indian Field’s strategy of increasing missionary presence on the reservations. Today, the school is known as Southwest Indian School/Living Word Academy and provides an education for students in first through 12th grades.[58]

Taiwan (1953)[edit]

John and Laura Traschel, former missionaries to China, started the WGM work in Formosa (now Taiwan) in 1953. After several years of inactivity occasioned by the departure of the Traschels for Indonesia in 1969, the work was re-opened in 1974 by Mr and Mrs Cliff Good, who served for the next three years. In 1981, the WGM work was re-opened by Miss Elaine Banks, who worked in partnership with the Evangelical Friends International Mission.

Lebanon (1955)[edit]

In 1955 work was begun in Beirut, Lebanon, by John and Laura Traschel, in partnership with Rev. Samuel Doctorian (born 1930), a missionary of the Peniel Mission (and from 1957 part of WGM).[59][60][61][62][63]

Egypt (1957)[edit]

In 1957 the work of the Peniel Missionary Society in Port Said, Egypt, was assumed by the WGM. New WGM missionaries were appointed in 1959. By 1968, enrolment at the Peniel American School (operated by WGM) was 275 students. Due to warfare along the Suez Canal, WGM missionaries Miss Christine Spurlin and Miss Ethyl Young began working with the Free Methodist Church in Assuit, Egypt in 1969. 10,000 children were enrolled in the Vacation Bible Schools operated in Egypt by the WGM that year.

Stockton Peniel (1957)[edit]

Stockton Peniel missionaries have been ministering to the lost and serving God since 1896. In 1886, Theodore Pollock Ferguson and Manie Payne Ferguson started Peniel Missions in Los Angeles, California. Over the years, Peniel Missions opened ministries in a number of cities. In 1896, the Mission moved into a storefront location in downtown Stockton, California, and began a rescue ministry, feeding the street people both physically and spiritually. In 1957, Peniel Missions, Inc. officially became the American inner-cities ministry of World Gospel Mission. In the 1960s, Peniel Missions moved to its current location in south Stockton. In 1988, the field’s ministry focus shifted from repairing adults to building children.[64]

Haiti (1962)[edit]

Radio Lumière (French for light) in Haiti was founded on February 20, 1959, by West Indies Mission (now World Team). As the country’s main Protestant radio station, Radio Lumière is known as the voice of the Protestant church in Haiti and covers more than 90 percent of the country with Christian broadcasting.[65] Contacts made through Radio Lumière preceded the entry of the first WGM missionaries to Haiti in 1962.In December 1971 the work in Jeremie was transferred to Faith Missions. From 1972 WGM began working in partnership with The Missionary Church in central Haiti.[66] Theological Education by Extension (TEE) was commenced in 1973.

Brazil (1966)[edit]

Mr and Mrs Dale Sloat pioneered WGM ministry in Brazil in 1966, primarily through radio and television ministry.

Indonesia (1969)[edit]

WGM ministry was started in Indonesia in 1969 by John and Laura Traschel, who were relocated from Taiwan, with the assistance of Mr and Mrs Bert Alexander.

Argentina (1970)[edit]

Frank and Doris Robbins, former missionaries to Bolivia, pioneered WGM ministry in Salta, Argentina in 1970, however it was under the administration of missionaries in Bolivia. In 1979 Argentina became an independent WGM field. Religious recognition was granted by the Argentine government in December 1980.[67]

Nicaragua (1973–1978) and (2008)[edit]

Mel and Sara Eberhard moved to the Nicaragua to open the ministry of WGM in that Central American republic. However, in 1978 all WGM missionaries were forced to leave due to civil unrest associated with the Sandinista Revolution.[68]

In October 2007 WGM’s Board of Directors named Nicaragua as a new field for WGM. The Honduras Field has wanted to expand into Nicaragua for some time as ministries in Choluteca have led to contacts and presented opportunities in Nicaragua. AMSLA (Latin American Holiness Missionary Agency) is taking the lead on this initiative, partnering with the Honduran Holiness Church to send AMSLA missionaries Ubaldo and Teresa Salazar into Nicaragua in 2008.[69]

Bangladesh (1975)[edit]

In 1975 Mr and Mrs John Powdrill and Miss Deborah Kellems entered Bangladesh to pioneer WGM ministry there.

Hispanic-American Ministry (1980)[edit]

In 1980 the Hispanic-American ministry in Los Angeles, California was started by Rev and Mrs Garnett Townsend with them pastoring the Community House of God.

Haitian Ministry (1980)[edit]

In 1980 Miss Sue Martin pioneered work among Haitians in Florida.

Tanzania (1984)[edit]

In 1984 official permission was granted by the government of Tanzania for the Africa Gospel Church and WGM to begin ministry in that nation. WGM finally entered in 1986 and ministered primarily to refugees from Burundi. In 1990 the Tabora Bible Institute was founded.

Paraguay (1986)[edit]

In 1986 Harold and Evelyn Harriman pioneered WGM ministry in Paraguay. House-to-house visitation started in Asunción and, as interest grew, Bible studies were introduced and discipleship classes were offered to new converts. The primary focus of WGM Paraguay is church planting. As new congregations are established, they reproduce themselves in smaller towns as they seek to reach the unreached with the gospel.[70]

Since its opening in September 2000, the Guarani-Jopara Institute for Missionaries has offered English-speaking missionaries in Paraguay an accessible and practical method of learning Guarani, the heart language of the people of Paraguay. It is also the first language of more than 90 percent of Paraguay’s population. The institute is the result of World Gospel Mission missionary Andy Bowen’s vision. Bowen felt a growing burden to help other missionaries learn Guarani so the gospel message would be more understandable to Paraguayans. His desire was to teach Guarani-Jopara, the form of Guarani spoken by most Paraguayans in which Spanish words are mixed in with Guarani. Representatives from various evangelical missions organizations, including WGM, New Tribes Mission, and SIM (Serving In Mission), agreed to serve on an advisory committee. Currently, the institute functions under the umbrella of WGM and will do so until a permanent legal structure is arranged.[71]

Spain (1986)[edit]

In 1986 three WGM couples arrived in Barcelona, Spain to start WGM ministry.

Hungary (1992)[edit]

In 1976, the Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship came into existence, and on October 1, 1981, it was given government recognition. At that time, there were 12 churches with a membership of about 300 and a growing work among the gypsies in Hungary.[72]

In 1992, in response to an invitation by HEF, the first WGM missionaries, Bill and Betsy Tarr, were sent to Hungary. Although the ministries of WGM focus primarily on church planting, missionaries are also involved in children’s and youth work, theological training, teaching English, and other opportunities. Today, the HEF consists of 180 congregations in 120 villages and cities with a membership of approximately 2,300 believers.[73]

Uganda (1992)[edit]

In 1992 Uganda granted permission for missionaries Larry and Joy McPherson, who had been serving in Kenya, to pioneer the African Gospel Church and WGM ministries. Several Ugandans had been living in Nairobi, Kenya, during the late 1970s and 80s and were active in the church there. Returning to Uganda to live, they periodically offered invitations for WGM missionaries to come and begin church work in their homeland. The McPhersons later planted Africa Gospel Church Kisugu in the city limits of Kampala. Since 1999, WGM missionaries have been working to train Ugandan church planters and pastors to start and grow dynamic new congregations. More than 600 Ugandan church planters and pastors are being trained at six centers throughout the country.[74] As a result of this training, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of converts and congregations in Uganda. From two congregations in November 1999 to November 2001, the ministries in Uganda jumped to 40 congregations.[75]

Papua New Guinea (1996)[edit]

WGM’s work in Papua New Guinea officially began in 1996, when WGM and the Churches of Christ in Christian Union became partners. At that time, WGM took over the administration of Christian Union Mission, CCCU’s work in PNG that was first started in 1963.[76]

St. Croix (1996)[edit]

WGM has ministered on the island of St. Croix since 1996.[77]

Ukraine (1998)[edit]

The Ukraine Field was officially opened in 1998 with the first WGM missionaries arriving in June 1999.[78]

Wesley Bible College, formerly Kiev Wesley Bible College, was established in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1993 for the purpose of training church leaders, Christian workers, and missionaries. Evangelical Bible Mission sent an American evangelistic team to work in Ukraine in 1992. As a result of the evangelists’ work, a church was planted and Kiev Wesley Bible College was opened, drawing students from the local church. WGM joined the work in 1999. In December 2005, the school suffered a massive fire, forcing the students and faculty to find a new home. The college moved to Uzhgorod in western Ukraine in September 2006 and officially became known as Wesley Bible College.[79]

El Salvador (2006)[edit]

El Salvador became an official field of WGM in March 2006 and was opened with the help of the Honduras national church. The first WGM missionaries sent to minister in El Salvador were David and Debbie Hawk.[80]

Sudan (2006)[edit]

Sudan was suggested as a target field for WGM in October 2003. In August 2006, WGM sent missionary Joy Phillips to Sudan in cooperation with Samaritan’s Purse and the Kenya field of WGM.[81]

Hispanic Ministries USA (2006)[edit]

Hispanic Ministries USA became an official field of WGM in the fall of 2006. Tim and Sharon Hawk, former missionaries to Honduras, were named regional directors of the ministry while Brian and Paula Kushman, former missionaries to Bolivia, were named the first missionaries to Hispanics in the U.S. Since then, Rod and Kathy Johnson, former missionaries to Mexico, have joined the Hispanic Ministries USA team. A historic strategic planning meeting for Hispanic Ministries USA was held at WGM headquarters in Marion, Indiana, April 26–27, 2007. A group of 24 pastors, church leaders, missionaries, and WGM staff came from Bolivia, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, and the United States with the goal of exploring ministry opportunities within Hispanic communities in the U.S.A.[82]

Peru (2007)[edit]

The WGM Board of Directors officially approved Peru as a WGM field during their March 2007 meeting. The ministry began with a Peruvian couple who settled in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in the 1990s because of political unrest in Peru. While in Bolivia, they came in contact with the Bolivian World Gospel Church and studied at the Berea Bible Seminary extension campus in Cochabamba with WGM missionaries Dan and Peggy Zimmerman. When things settled down in Peru, they sensed a call to return to their home city of Cuzco and to spread the gospel. Currently, there are several congregations meeting regularly in Cuzco, Peru.[83]

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Sources and Further Reading[edit]

  • Beezley, Beatrice C. Some an Hundred Fold Some Sixty Fold Some Thirty Fold. Chicago, IL: National Association for the Promotion of Holiness, 1920. Six page booklet.
  • Brown, Michael L. Sent to the Heart: The Story of World Gospel Mission in Bolivia. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1995.
  • Brown, Michael L. Taking Up the Southern Cross. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 2000.
  • Bushong, Burnis H[arvey]. The Best of the Story: Miraculous Answers to Prayer. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1993.
  • Bushong, Burnis H[arvey]. R.U.N. Reaching the Unreached Now: A Brief History of World Gospel Mission. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1995.
  • Cary, William Walter. Story of the National Holiness Missionary Society. Chicago, IL: National Holiness Missionary Society, 1940.
  • Cordell, Bessie. Blossoms from the Flowery Kingdom. Chicago, IL: National Holiness Missionary Society, 1944. Focuses on WGM ministry in China.
  • Frizen, Edwin L. 75 Years of IFMA, 1917–1992: The Nondenominational Missions Movement. South Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1992.
  • Harrell, Billy W. "The Honduras Holiness Church". Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1983.
  • Heinemann, Marie H. My Africa: Falling in Step. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1988.
  • Hittson, Paul A. "Peniel and W.G.M." in History of Peniel Mission. Homeland, CA: Hittson, 1975.
  • Hohensee, Donald W. Church Growth in Burundi. South Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1977.
  • Jones, Charles Edwin. The Wesleyan Holiness Movement: A Comprehensive Guide (ATLA Bibliography Series) 2 vols. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2005. See pages 241–244 for bibliographic and prosographical details regarding WGM.
  • MacGillivray, Donald. A Century of Protestant Missions in China (1807–1907): Being the Centenary Conference Historical Volume. Christian Literature Society for China, 1907. Printed at the American Presbyterian mission press.
  • Reynolds, H.F. World-Wide Missions. Publishing House of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene, 1915.
  • Morrison, Henry Clay. The Movement Moves. Chicago, IL: National Holiness Missionary Society, 1941. Reprinted from Pentecostal Herald (12 February 1941).
  • Saoshiro, Isaac Teruo and Tadashi Noda, eds. Immanuel Wesleyan Federation: Experiment in Mission Partnership. Japan, 2004. Written on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of IWF, a cooperative mission organization made up of Immanuel General Mission, based in Japan, and the Japanese offices of World Gospel Mission and Wesleyan World Mission.
  • Taylor, Mrs Woodford [Ellen Armour Taylor]. Bountiful Grace, a Chinese Preacher. Chicago, IL: National Holiness Missionary Society, 1931.
  • Trachsel, Laura. Kindled Fires in Africa. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1960.
  • Trachsel, Laura. Kindled Fires in Asia. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1960.
  • Trachsel, Laura. Kindled Fires in Latin America. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1961.
  • Trachsel, Laura. Kindled Fires in the U.S.A. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1988.
  • Troxel, Cecil Warren. "The Religions of China." Unpublished Typescript, 1925.
  • Troxel, Ellen Armour and Mrs. John Jacob Trachsel. Cecil Troxel – The Man and the Work: Missionary to China with the National Holiness Missionary Society from Its Inception. Chicago, IL: National Holiness Missionary Society, 1948.
  • Watts, Alice and Bessie B. Cordell. Silver: The Story of a Chinese Girl Whose Life has been Touched and Set Aflame by the Spirit of God. Chicago, IL: National Holiness Missionary Society, 1934.
  • World Gospel Mission. Laborers Together: Handbook on Missionary Policy. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1959; 1980.
  • World Gospel Mission. Personnel, Progress, Prospects of World Gospel Mission. Marion, IN: World Gospel Mission, 1957.

External links[edit]