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352 – Dec. 18 – This Day in Baptist History Past


They settled the Wild West


1878 – Was the founding of the Hordville Baptist Church in Hordville, Nebraska. The church was never very large. At its peak the membership never rose to more than 107, but from its membership, and other surrounding churches, the Lord called preachers, missionaries, and evangelists. One such church, the First Baptist Church of Oakland, NE, produced Dr. Ola Hanson, who became known as the “Apostle to the Kachins,” a large tribe in the hills of northern Burma. After reaching the Kachins, he reduced their language to writing, translated the entire Bible, and established a number of   Baptist churches. This story begins with the long procession of ox trains on the Oregon Trail, slowly winding their way towards the west coast that carried many sturdy pioneers who were motivated by spiritual convictions. A host of those who were traveling, were  Swedish. When spiritual awakenings had taken place in Sweden, a large company of the converts had embraced Baptist convictions, and particularly upon these the wrath of the Lutheran Church was vented. Because of this a great emigration of these new converts of  Swedish Baptists came to America, many of which settled in Iowa and Nebraska because our government gave free land to those who were willing to settle in the Wild West. Few of us today can imagine the hardships of these dear people as they inched their way across the prairie to where they would stake out their cabins and a church house. Prairie fires, blizzards, dust storms and plagues of grasshoppers to destroy their crops. But this suffering caused reliance on God, and produced Ola Hanson and the other men of God.
[This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 690-92. Carl J. Seaquist, Conference Churches by the Oregon Trail (Privately published, 1947), p.10.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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