Missionaries, Visionaries and Revolutionaries: the Experiences of Fernando and Ana Stahl in South America

Speaker: Categories: Oct 13, 1990


[1hr, 19min, 41sec / 13min, 10sec]


The concept of "missionary" and of "missions" is an ingrained part of Adventism. From Cradle Roll through the Senior Sabbath School, we are made aware of the importance and the impact of mission activities in near and remote areas of the world. The "Mission Spotlight," a contemporary audio-visual presentation of mission successes and needs, has helped us to see, as well as hear, about the thrilling experiences of those who chose to become a part of the "missionary band" as a career choice or calling.

We typically consider the success of the missionary effort in terms of numbers converted to Adventism from heathenism -- or even from another church affiliation. When growth in numbers is rapid, we know that God is blessing the endeavor. When growth is difficult, slow, or negligible, we charge that Satan doesn't want us to succeed and is therefore putting forth special efforts to thwart the spread of the Gospel.

But the impact of missions may be far more reaching, far more socio-political, far more revolutionary in its effect than anything we might have intended when, as adults, we give our Thirteenth Sabbath offerings or, as children, dropped our coins into the Mission Offering device.

It is that larger effect, that extra-religio effect, which will be the focus of the October meeting. And the extraordinary story of Ana and Fernando Stahl, missionaries who paid their own travel costs to be able to work for the people of the altiplano in Peru, will serve as a case study. Their experiences and the legacy remaining eighty-plus years later provide a bigger-than-life success story -- with results far exceeding the conversions of native peoples.


During the past decade Dr. Charles Teel, Jr., has addressed our San Diego AAF Chapter four times. His focus has been on "liberation theology" and on the "dilemmas facing Adventism." His fifth visit to San Diego, on October 13, will reflect much of what he has researched in recent years regarding the real impact of missionary endeavors, particularly in South America.

Dr. Teel earned his bachelor's degree from Pacific Union College; a Master of Arts from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary; a Master of Theology from Harvard; and a Doctor of Philosophy from Boston University. His dissertation studied the experiences of activist clergy who were imprisoned for their civil disobedience during the 1960's.

Prior to joining the faculty at Loma Linda he pastored and/or taught at Newbury Park, California, and Boston, Massachusetts. He and his wife Marta have two daughters, Alma, 18, and Melony, 16, both of whom are natives of Honduras.

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