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This Week in AG History -- Sept. 18, 1977

The Touch the World Fund, a ministry of Women's Ministries, has a long history of providing for the needs of missionary efforts.

The Touch the World Fund — the missions arm of Assemblies of God Women’s Ministries — celebrates its 65th anniversary this year. The fund provides indoor equipment and furnishings for designated missionaries from AG World and U.S. Missions as well as compassion ministries.

When the fund was established in 1957, it was called The Etta Calhoun Fund. Women and girls who were part of Women’s Ministries and Missionettes (now National Girls Ministries) would take up a special offering for this fund on or near September 19, which is the birthday of Etta Calhoun, the founder of Women’s Ministries. Etta Calhoun died without realizing her ambition to go to the mission field. But she set a pattern of Spirit-inspired work for women by which the WMs have literally “reached their arms around the world.” The Touch the World Fund is one way that AG women and girls ministries can help support U.S. and World missions. Missionaries are indebted to funds received from programs such as BGMC, National Girls Ministries Coins for Kids, Royal Rangers Master’s Toolbox, Speed the Light, and the Touch the World Fund.

The original goal for these funds was to “help the missionary to get to the field and stay there.” This goal then led into many related avenues where funds were needed for equipment and furnishings. Over the years, this fund has helped Hillcrest Children’s Home and Highlands Child Placement Service (now COMPACT Family Services), servicemen’s centers, Teen Challenge centers, missionary Bible institutes, missionary rest houses, and special programs such as Hope for the Handicapped. A few of the items purchased through the Etta Calhoun Fund include refrigerators, stoves, water coolers, washing machines, dryers, beds, mattresses, desks, tables, chairs, pianos, and organs.

In September 1977, Linda Upton, WM representative, wrote an article titled, “Thanks to the Wonderful WMs,” which focused on the Etta Calhoun Fund. She shared some testimonies from recipients of the fund. Sam Johnson, head of the Mount Hope Portuguese Bible Institute in Lisbon, Portugal, said, “Please know we are indebted for your sacrificial contribution of $2,000.” One of the items purchased was a dishwasher. Leo Bankson, president of Good Shepherd Indian Bible School in Mobridge, South Dakota, wrote, “We have received the Etta Calhoun check, and from the deep of our hearts we are grateful!” Those funds helped the school to purchase two electric stoves, two refrigerators, and dorm furniture.

Howard Foltz, director of the Eurasia Teen Challenge, wrote, “We deeply appreciate the vital assistance that the Women’s Ministries gives to world evangelism…. We want to express special appreciation for $1,500 from the Etta Calhoun Fund for the equipment in our Teen Challenge Training Center here in Wiesbaden.” Missionary Byron Niles of Quito, Ecuador wrote, “Thanks to the wonderful WMs for your tremendous help in beginning our new Bible school program here in Quito.… Please accept our gratitude for the desks and blackboards.”

Testimonies also came from Verne Warner, coordinator of the Program of Advanced Christian Education (PACE) in Miami, Florida; the International Bible College in the Republic of South Africa; a group of AG missionaries in Temuco, Chile who gathered for a pastor’s retreat; Bethel Bible School in Bethel, Alaska; and the American Indian Bible Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

A special project organized nationally in 1976 was the purchase of a new organ for the American Indian Bible Institute. The project in 1977 was to raise money for classroom furniture and equipment for the Assemblies of God School in Suva, Fiji Islands. Many districts designate a special project each year to earmark for a special offering for Touch the World. Some churches take up special offerings once a year, but monies can be given throughout the year to the Touch the World Fund.

Read, “Thanks to the Wonderful WMs,” on page 20 of the Sept. 18, 1977, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Jesus Noticed,” by C.M. Ward

• “Jesus Took Bread and Blessed It,” by Stan Michael

• “What Mean These Stones?” by Del Tarr

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

PHOTO: (L-R): Emily Hunter, office manager, Lloyd Lee, Student Council president, and Eugene Herd, business manager for American Indian Bible Institute, receiving a check from the Etta Calhoun Fund, circa 1977.

Glenn W. Gohr

Glenn W. Gohr is the reference archivist at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri.