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As an assignment for their Missionary Relationships class, senior Moody students researched late nineteenth-century Moody graduates. The past collided with the present as these missionaries-in-training learned about the students who had gone before them.
Moody senior, David, researched the life of Walter Jackson Clark
David is a senior TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) major. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he grew up on the mission field in Berlin, Germany. “Growing up as the child of missionaries, I have always been interested in the stories of other missionaries,” David says. “When my dad was a college graduate, he spent three months doing missions work in India, and I grew up hearing stories about his time there.”
David was intrigued by some parallels between his own life and that of Clark, an early Moody missionary. From his research, David discovered that, like himself, Clark was also the son of missionaries. After spending the early years of his life on the African mission field, Clark had a hunger for spreading the gospel. Converted at age 12, he attended Park College and then Union Theological Seminary, graduating in 1891. Two years later, Clark studied at Moody Bible Institute. School records say that he was “a good man, intellectually and personally.”
On July 12, 1893, Clark married Nettie, the daughter of Rev. Ransom and Cyrena Dunn. Months later they moved to Punjab, India, as missionaries, and then to Lahore, the largest city in the region, presently part of Pakistan.
William and Nettie had six children. After serving in India for 26 years, the family returned to the States for a furlough in 1918. They returned to India in 1919 on the Steamship China. After a lifetime of ministry, at the age of 85, Clark passed away on December 30, 1947, in Bangalore, Madras, India. Nettie died afterwards in 1948, also in India.
David chose Moody because of its focus on biblical teaching and training. He will graduate this May. “I recently got offered a job with Teach for America and am planning on teaching middle-schoolers in Indianapolis next year."
"Moody has been a great place to have a firm biblical foundation in many areas of life,” he says. “I'm thankful for my time here.”
Moody senior, Jessie, researched the life of Nellie Naomi Russell
Jessie writes, “Often in the history of missions, women missionaries have married and had their mission work sidelined because of their husband’s work. However, many single women missionaries have pioneered the way for other women in missions throughout the years. One of these bold and godly women is Nellie Naomi Russell.”
Jessie is a TESOL major, graduating this May. Born in Naperville, Illinois, Jessie came to Moody because of its missions focus. Jessie says, “When we signed up to research a missionary, the only information we had was their name and the country they went to as a missionary. I chose my missionary because she went to China, and I am interested in ministry to Asian people groups.”
Nellie Naomi Russell was born on March 31, 1862, in Ontonagon, Michigan, where she taught in a country school at age 17. Nellie strongly desired to be a missionary, so she saved funds to enroll in Northfield Seminary, which D. L. Moody had just founded. While in Northfield, Nellie was president of her class and of the first student missionary society. Just before graduation, she and her roommate were taken on a drive by Mr. Moody, who asked them to go to Chicago. In 1885 she left to teach a Sunday school class in Chicago for boys from the poorest areas. Her class grew to more than 150 boys!
Nellie spent five years as a city missionary, and then, when she was 28 years old, an opportunity opened up for her to go to China. She was featured in the Chicago Tribune in July of 1900 where she wrote about how she and fellow missionaries and Christians were under siege in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion. The Tribune editor observed that the missionaries “seemed to have little concern for their own safety, expressing great pity for ‘our people’, meaning the converted Chinese.”
Nellie remained in China until her second and final furlough from 1903 to 1904. She passed away on August 22, 1911, and was buried in China. One person wrote about Nellie: “She had an insight in discovering people, tact in winning them, and a grip that never let go of them. . . . What a splendid record of such work she has left behind her! Upon whom shall her mantle fall?” Jessie was inspired by the story of this early Moody missionary. “I loved how Nellie saw the people she ministered to as people made in God's image,” she says. “She took a lot of care to fit herself into Chinese culture and not pressure the Chinese to conform to American culture. I want to be a missionary with the same mindset as her.”
She adds, “Moody has helped further my goals by equipping me with Bible and ministry knowledge, as well as practical experience through PCMs (Practical Christian Ministries), the Study Abroad program, and my TESOL internship.”
Jessie studied abroad in Europe in the summer of 2015 and did her internship in Cambodia and Hong Kong.
Thank you for your support of Moody Bible Institute. When you give to launch leaders like David and Jessie into ministry, you are part of a tradition that goes back for 131 years. Together, we continue to send men and women across the globe to impact our world for Christ!
Thank you for helping launch the next generation of ministry leaders!
As a special thank-you for your gift of any size to Moody Bible Institute, we'd like to send you a resource written by two of our professors, Drs. John Koessler and J. Brian Tucker. All Together Different: Upholding the Church's Unity While Honoring Our Individual Identities will help you better understand what the Bible has to say about unity within the body of Christ.
Please request your copy of All Together Different when you give your gift today!
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