This Week in AG History -- March 4, 1951
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Assemblies of God missionary Florence Steidel (1897-1962) wrote a letter recounting the sacrificial spirit of the congregation. The letter, published in the March 4, 1951, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, explained that the offering was quite generous, given the meager wages earned by the lepers (7 to 10 cents per day).
Steidel had founded New Hope Town in 1947 with $100 and the help of lepers. Tribal chiefs gave her 350 acres of land upon which she could build a town for people with the skin-eating disease who were unwelcome in their own communities. Steidel, a nurse who came to the mission field in 1935, took a class in elementary building construction. She rallied those with leprosy to work alongside her in building roads and houses. From 1947 until 1962, she oversaw the construction of a well-laid-out town, including 70 permanent buildings and six main streets.
While the lepers were diseased, they were not helpless. Steidel established a school to train them to become carpenters, weavers, brick makers, and clinic workers. They also planted 2,500 rubber trees, which helped the town to become economically self-sufficient.
Steidel realized that economic poverty has roots in poor spiritual and social conditions, which she worked to ameliorate. And only four years after establishing New Hope Town, its residents were already giving of their very limited resources to help others.
Steidel is remembered as one of the missionary heroes of the Assemblies of God. She melded compassion with proclamation of the gospel. Her work among the lepers helped to give credibility and strength to the Assemblies of God in Liberia.
Read the article by Florence Steidel, “I Still Have Strong,” on page 9 of the March 4, 1951, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue
• “Pentecost’s Lost Coin,” by Paul Gaston
• “Our Greatest Need,” by Robert J. Wells
• “Words of Life,” by Wesley R. Steelberg
And many more!
Click here to read this issue now.
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.