Nalgonda, a Baptist mission station in India, 60 miles (100 km) from Hyderabad, was founded in 1890 by a Mennonite from Russia named Abraham Friesen, who had been a student in the Baptist seminary in Hamburg, Germany, on behalf of the Baptist Missionary Union of Boston. For a considerable time it was maintained by the Mennonite Brethren in Russia. In 1897, when Friesen left on a furlough trip to Russia, the congregation among the Telegus numbered 700 members. Other Mennonite Brethren of Russia volunteered to serve as missionaries in this work of evangelization with Friesen. In 1898 Abraham Hubert came to the field, followed in 1899 by Heinrich Unruh, and in 1904 by Cornelius Unruh and Johann Wiens. About 1912 J. A. Penner went to India; in 1940 he was still in Mahbubnagar. An agreement was reached by which the Mennonite Brethren of Russia would be responsible for the total expenses of evangelization, and the Baptist Union for the expenses of youth work and the care of the sick.
The development of the Nalgonda Mission encouraged the Mennonite Brethren in America to open a mission station in India. As early as 1884 they had offered the Baptist mission a sum of money for the education of a native preacher. Since they had raised a larger sum than necessary for this purpose, they organized a Missions Committee in 1885 to take care of these surplus funds. As the missionary opportunities expanded, it was decided at a conference meeting in Reno County, Kansas to establish an independent mission in the same general area of Nalgonda in India, which was founded with the arrival of the first missionaries on 27 October 1899.
Harms, J. F. Geschichte der Mennoniten-Brudergemeinde. Hillsboro, 1924.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: III, 198.
Peters, G. W. The Growth of Foreign Missions in the Mennonite Brethren Church. Hillsboro, 1952.
Unruh, A. H. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten-Brüdergemeinde 1860-1954. Winnipeg, 1954.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 807-808. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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