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This Week in AG History -- Jan. 10, 1960

God took a tragedy and ultimately turned it into a victory as he used Alva and Louise Walker to impact millions with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Alva Walker (1895-1982) and Louise Jeter Walker (1913-1998) were born in different countries and ministered on different continents; yet God brought them together to form a team that would raise a family, plant churches, lead Bible schools, and write curriculum that impacted millions around the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Alva Walker committed his life to Christ in a small church in Vancouver, Canada, in 1914. In 1917, he joined the medical corps of the Canadian army and soon found himself in the trenches of France where he led many wounded soldiers to faith in Christ as he treated them for injuries. After his release from the army, he attended a Pentecostal conference in Bradford, England, staying in the home of Smith Wigglesworth. During this conference he met a missionary to the Congo and committed his life to serve God in Africa. In 1924, he and his new wife, Mary, left New York for the heart of Africa.

Meanwhile, Louise Jeter was growing up in Arkansas with three ambitions for life: to be a missionary, to be a teacher, and to be an aunt to her sibling’s children. After high school, she attended Northeastern Oklahoma Junior College, where she studied Spanish, and then Southwestern Bible School (now Southwestern Assemblies of God University) where she received academic instruction and practical experience in vocational ministry. In 1933, she set sail for Peru to assist in pastoring the first Pentecostal church in the capital of Lima. She traveled to remote villages by mule to conduct services, distributing the Spanish children’s paper she published, Chosen Jewels, along with writing and translating papers for the discipleship of the many who were coming to Christ.

In 1938, tragedy struck in the Belgian Congo when Mary Walker died from blackwater fever, leaving Alva a widower with four children ages 6 to 14. Alva and the children returned to the United States in 1939 where Noel Perkin, director of AG Foreign Missions, arranged for Alva and Louise to speak at the same missions convention in Minneapolis. While Louise had not expressed any interest in marrying up to this point, she was impressed that Alva washed the dishes after the missionary dinner and thought, Well, this one is house-broken! She began to think that he might make a nice brother-in-law and determined to invite him to her family Christmas celebration and introduce him to her sister. However, despite the 18-year difference in their ages, Alva seemed to have more interest in Louise and began corresponding with her.

After just a few months, Louise received a letter from Alva saying, “the missions department has decided to assign some of the Congo missionaries to other fields. You are a very effective speaker, and as I’ve listened to your presentations on the need for workers in Peru, my heart has been touched. Could I go along with you and carry your suitcases?” Louise was surprised and spent much time in prayer. She loved children but had never considered any role other than “aunt.” Marrying Alva would make her an immediate mother to four children who had just experienced the traumatic loss of their mother and who would now be facing a move to an entirely new country with a new language.

After a considerable time of patient waiting on Alva’s part, he received a tentative response: “Yes, if it is the Lord’s will.” Through a series of events, God soon confirmed to them that they had His blessing. In 1940, Louise received not only her ordination with the Assemblies of God but also became Mrs. Alva Walker and the mother of four children.

After 16 years serving together in Peru, the Walkers were transferred to assist in the Bible school work in Cuba where they served until the Communist revolution forced Christian missionaries to leave in late 1960. They continued their ministry by writing Spanish curriculum and assisting with opening several Bible schools throughout Latin America. In 1968, Louise’s skill as a writer led to an invitation from George Flattery to join him in Brussels, Belgium, to write courses for the newly established International Correspondence Institute (ICI, now Global University).

When Alva was 82 years old, the Walkers returned to the United States, where Louise continued to write for ICI. Alva passed away in 1982, having completed 54 years in missionary service and 42 years of marriage to Louise. Louise served the Assemblies of God for 16 more years, publishing more than 20 books, most of them in Spanish, and countless articles and lessons. Along with her writing for ICI, her works were distributed in 164 nations in 91 languages. At her death at age 81, it was said that she was likely the most prolific missionary writer in the Assemblies of God.

Read the announcement of the Walkers’ return to Cuba in “Missionary News Notes” on page 11 of the Jan. 10, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue

• “Labor That Is Not In Vain,” by W.G. Hinecker

• “No Place to Hide,” by Louise Nankivell

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

Ruthie Edgerly Oberg

Ruthie Edgerly Oberg is an ordained Assemblies of God minister and fourth generation Pentecostal. She served in senior and associate pastoral roles for 25 years. Oberg speaks at national conferences and local churches.