Eric Alfred Nelson: the first Baptist missionary on the Amazon, 1891-1939Show full item record
|Eric Alfred Nelson: the first Baptist missionary on the Amazon, 1891-1939
|Landers, John Monroe
|Doctor of Philosophy
|Eric Alfred Nelson was born in Sweden in 1862. His parents were Baptists who, in search of freedom of religion, immigrated to Kansas, where they homesteaded near the present-day town of Chanute. At the age of fourteen he professed faith in Christ and was baptized by his father, but eight years later he left home and church to roam the plains as a cowboy. Returning in 1889, he renewed his spiritual quest and began preaching the following summer. With only a third-grade education and without church support, he became a freelance missionary to the Amazon Valley of Brazil, arriving in Belem, Para, on 19 November 1891. He began preaching aboard ships in Swedish and English and caring for victims of yellow fever. He invited Ida Lundberg of Randolph, Kansas, to join him as his wife; she came to Belem, and they were married on 7 January 1893. Nelson began selling Bibles and preaching in Portuguese. He gathered a small flock and organized the First Baptist Church of Belem on 5 February 1897. A short time later he was ordained and appointed as a missionary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Nelson established churches along the northern coast of Brazil in the state of Maranhao, Piau(')i, and Ceara, but Baptists remember him as the Apostle of the Amazon because of his work among rubber cutters and Indians in the states of Para, Amazonas, and Rondonia. When Nelson returned to the United States for retirement in 1936, he was still a Swedish citizen. Complications surrounding his visa forced him to leave the United States, and in 1938 he returned to Brazil, where he died the following year. The short biographies of Nelson by Jose dos Reis Pereira and L. M. Bratcher emphasize his personal qualities as a tireless and heroic missionary. The present dissertation incorporates additional sources and presents his work in the light of secular events, concluding that he was one of the few pioneers of the Brazilian Baptist movement, which today numbers over 500,000.
|Worcester, Donald E.
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- Doctoral Dissertations