Christian missionaries played a key role in educating Indian masses who were denied education by Aryan Hindu system. Ancient Dravidians [the so called dalits] are the worst sufferers of the caste system imposed by Aryan Hindus. American Baptist Mission led by Rev. Clough introduced Madiga and Mala [Ancient Dravidians] communities to Christianity in the Ongole region of India and provided them with European education. Rev. Thorleif Wathne and Mrs Wathne followed up the mission of Rev. Clough.
Rev. Thorleif Wathne
Thorleif Wathne was born in Horten, Norway, May 24, 1888. In 1907 he was converted and joined the Baptist Church in Skien. Having just been graduated from a junior college he came to America to study at the Morgan Park seminary. After his graduation he taught at that seminary for some time, and in 1913 he went to India as a missionary together with his wife. The missionary couple has rendered a valuable service in India. At the present time Rev. Wathne has charge of the large station at Ongole on the Telugu field. Mrs. Wathne’s maiden name was Miss. Ellen B. Nielsen. She was born in Denmark, Oct. 6, 1883, and she became a Baptist there. She was a member of the Logan square Norwegian Baptist Church, Chicago, when she married and went out as a missionary. During one of his furloughs Rev. Wathne took the Ph.B. degree at the University of Chicago.
Ongole (On-gole’) 1866. Ongole, situated in the heart of the Telugu country, is the mother of nearly all the Baptist stations in South India. Opened in 1866 by John E. Clough, “the Apostle to the Telugus,” after the great famine of 1877-8, it became the scene of one of the most remarkable revivals in mission history, in which 2,222 outcastes were baptized in a single day and over 9,000 in six months. After being divided and sub-divided again and again during the years, the Ongole field still registers over 13,000 church members, representing a Christian community of over 30,600. Practically the whole Madiga community (one of the divisions of the outcastes) have become Christians. And now a movement has begun among the Sudra caste people, over 500 of whom have been baptized on the Ongole field.
Ongole is also the center of one of the largest and most productive mission undertakings in the world. The schools, of which the High School for Boys and the Harriet Clough Memorial School for Girls are the most important, aim to meet the requirements of a large Christian community for their leadership in evangelism, education and industrial work. New dormitory arrangements for the Girls’ School include cottages in each of which twenty girls live and form their own household. The Clough Memorial Hospital serves an area of over 100 square miles. This modern, well-equipped hospital of 150 beds was made possible by contributions from Indians, the Government of Madras and American friends, and it ministers alike to men, women and children, regardless of religion or caste. Recent new equipment includes a new operating and delivery room. Important recent additions to the staff have been an Indian doctor and a young Indian woman evangelist. The Ongole Town Church, worshiping in the beautiful Jewett Memorial, is entirely self-supporting and aids materially other churches and institutions. Practically all evangelistic work in the field is now under the direction of the Field Association which employs a large number of evangelists and Bible women.
Population in field 277,500; missionaries 9; native workers 538; churches 26; members 13,770; baptisms 365; schools 246; pupils 8,910; hospitals i; dispensaries i; patients 12,632.
Thorleif Wathne, Mission Secy. Clough Memorial Hospital
Mrs. Thorleif Wathne
A. G. Boggs, M.D.
Mrs. A. G. Boggs
Harriet Clough Memorial E. Hoisted, M.D.
School Mrs. E. Hoisted, R.N.
*Miss Helen L. Bailey *Sigrid C. Johnson, R.N.
Book Title: All Kindreds and tongues [microfilm]: an illustrated survey of the foreign mission enterprise of Northern Baptists (1940)
Rev. Thorleif Wathne