Great is His Faithfulness
The story of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions is a testimony to each missionary’s total dependence on God’s faithfulness. We’ve been sorting through the archives for dates in IBPFM history that provide a window on the way He has called and equipped some 300 missionaries for service. This timeline is not meant to be a comprehensive historical record, but a useful reminder of that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. This is truly His Story.
June 27, 1933
Princeton Seminary professor J. Gresham Machen was elected the first president at organization meeting of the IBPFM. The Board is formed in response to rising modernism in Presbyterian missions. “But I had rather be condemned for an honest adherence to the Bible and to my solemn ordination pledge than enjoy even the highest ecclesiastical honors and emoluments as the reward of dishonesty,” said Machen.
April 9, 1934
Presbyterian missionary veteran Miss Louisa Lee, appointed missionary to India under the IBPFM – “Praise God there are no impossibilities with Him!”
February 18, 1938
Pioneer missionary to northern China Dr. Albert B. Dodd writes a P.S. to his letter, “Battle apparently nearing. Thank God for Psalm 46:1 and 91:1.” – during the Sino-Japanese War.
June 24, 1938
Rev. and Mrs. Delbert Jorgensen sail on the S.S. Santa Rita from New York for Callao, Peru.
February 8, 1939
Missionary to Korea Rev. Floyd Hamilton writes from Japanese occupied Pyongyang, “Last night, after the exercises were over, the chief of police called the students…that they would have to go out to the shrine right then. One boy stood out and told them that he would not go for it was contrary to the Word of God.”
October 23, 1939
Dr. Dodd preaches the opening sermon “The Lord is My Shepherd” at the opening of the Shankiang Presbyterian of the Presbyterian Church of Christ in China. The Dodds would later flee to Formosa before the fall of China.
May 13, 1940
Dedication of new IBPFM headquarters at 153 Maplewood Ave., Philadelphia.
February 14, 1942
Dr. Sarah Hosmon reports a severe epidemic of smallpox in towns north of her location in Muscat. In 6 days she vaccinated 6,755 and left 2,000 disappointed because the vaccine was finished.
Rev. Francis Schaffer resigns as a member of the Board of Trustees of the IBPFM, to become, along with his wife Edith, the Board’s first missionaries to Europe.
Dwight and Pauline Malsbary begin an 8-year teaching term at the Pusan Bible Institute in Korea. They began with 30 students and increased to 300. The institute testified marvelously to the Lord’s glory.
April 14, 1954
Dr. Thomas A. Lambie, pioneer medical missionary, statesman and author, was called home to be with the Lord in the Garden Tomb, as he prepared for the Easter Sunrise Service. His ministry extended to the Sudan, Ethiopia, and what is today Palestine.
Dr. Matthew Johnson performed the first surgery at the Roland K. Armes Memorial Hospital in Mwingi, Kenya.
Dr. Maclolm St. Clair Frehn visits snow covered region beyond Jozankei, Japan and finds “not one of the homes had ever read anything on Christianity. The darkness and dullness of their minds is deadening. Well, each home received six pieces of literature” (gospel tracts).
April 2, 1961
Dr. and Mrs. Albert B. Dodd celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary in Tamsui, Taiwan.
June 27, 1961
Dorothy Roberts and Marian McNeil have completed another term in Africa and sail for America.
July 25, 1964
Dr. Sarah Hosmon passes into glory after serving the Lord in missionary service since 1911.
Longtime India Mission head Miss Louisa Lee reports that during this month they made 96 visits to 78 different villages; 60 of these visits had Bible lessons and prayer.
December 24, 1966
Roland K. Armes Memorial Hospital in Mwingi opens its first laboratory.
October 4, 1967
This day marked the opening of Faith Bible Institute in Kang-Won-Do province of Korea. Missionary Malcolm Frehn writes that the course of instruction is the Reformed Faith as set forth in the Westminster Confession and the catechisms.
Rev. Paul Moore writes from Cameroon: “Our correspondence course in Bulu is mushrooming. Already 230 believers have send back their lessons . . . pray that the people will be faithful in their study of the Word . . .”
January 30, 1975
Log book reads: “Marian McNeil had heart attack . . . Dr. Arriagada said she could not survive the trip to Nairobi. He and missionary staff took over treatment. The Lord handled the rest.” Miss McNeil completely recovered.
The Creamer Family writes that the Christmas services in the Holy Land were a real blessing. “The hospital chapel was full for the service here, and about 150 came to the service at Shepherd’s Field, where the Word was given in Arabic and English.”
July 28, 1977
Rev. Dwight Malsbary, D.D., was killed in a Korean taxi accident while returning to Seoul from the mission station in Too Chon. He was 78 years of age. He posthumously received the Korean Order of Merit.
July 1, 1981
First Student Overseas Missionary Endeavor (SOME) teams, sponsored by the IBPFM. Leaving from Philadelphia to Kenya and Israel, this was the first of many six-week teams to assist missionaries on the field and educate young people in missionary work.
January 2, 1982
Dr. William Le Roy writes from São Paulo, Brazil, that they had one of the best Fundamentalist Pastors’ and Laymen’s Institutes with 114 paid students along with visitors.
January 11, 1985
Dr. and Mrs. Charles Jackson arrive in Nairobi to take over leadership of the Bible College of East Africa.
Africa Mission veteran Judith Collins writes, “Our Headman, good Segelan, needs prayer. He is a force for good, but hesitates to make the final commitment. When he and I were talking during our visit there last month, he admitted to me he is not “in Christ,” but he honors Christ for who He is.”
The Bethesda Nursery in rural northeast Brazil opened its doors, taking in 130 abandoned children. These children will be fed and have regular schooling as well as Bible lessons. IBPFM’s Rev. and Mrs. Woo Sun Kim inaugurated this ministry.
February 27, 2010
Earthquake in Chile saw the IBPFM raise $9,500 to assist the Andes Mission in responding to immediate needs.
From the pen of Rev. Tim Ki in London: “People have given their hearts to their national sport, which is soccer. They talk about 2012 summer Olympics, but the churches of Christ are empty. What shall we do? Would you pray for this land?”
January 17, 2012
Zion Middle School started the new school year with 107 students. The Kang Family reports that they have two junior classes with 50 students and three freshman classes with 57 students. Praise God for the five girls meeting after school for extra Bible study.