Review and Herald, Vol. 100, No. 30, July 26, 1923
Pioneers in Colombia
NOEMA F. TRUMMER
OUR little Adventist family in the capital of Colombia met recently with some friends and interested ones, to bid farewell to Brother and Sister Frank C. Kelley, who were returning to the States after several years of labor in this country.
Twenty-nine years ago Brother Kelley, then a young man, landed in Bogota, alone, as a self-supporting missionary, with the one desire to set up the light of truth in this part of the world where spiritual darkness is indeed dense. Brother Kelley had with him as part of his baggage 175 pounds of our literature,— a leaflet on salvation by faith translated by himself, the only tract to be had in Spanish at that time, he himself having defrayed the expense of its publication. He made good use of these gospel pages, and scattered them like the leaves of autumn. While engaged in giving private instruction in English, he made many friends, especially among influential people, counting among his pupils members of the presidential family and high government officials. Brother Kelley gave hundreds of Bible readings, and spared no effort to inculcate in the minds of those he had opportunity to reach, the principles of the true Christian religion.
If we are to measure his success by numbers accepting the message, his work might have been considered, a failure when, as a very discouraged man, he found it necessary to leave the country twenty- five years ago on account of the health of Sister Kelley who had come to share with him the anxieties of pioneering work. Yet those of us who have in more favorable times come to this the most remote of South American capitals, are finding friends who appreciate our work because of their association with Brother Kelley years ago.
Brother and Sister Kelley returned for the third time to Colombia three years ago, fully expecting to remain in the country. And for a time they were the sole representatives of our work in this city of numerous and massive churches, the bulwarks of the counterfeit Christian religion which dominates in the affairs of the land as well as in the consciences of the people. They have had the pleasure of seeing a little church definitely organized, with the coming of other laborers; but above all, they have had the supreme joy of seeing some step out in faith to keep the commandments of God, as the result of their own personal work.
At our little farewell gathering, one of Brother Kelley’s students read a well-worded statement of appreciation, which he had prepared as a document to present to Brother Kelley, in which he stated his determination to obey God, having already kept three Sabbaths, and given up the service, as he put it, of his majesty, the cigarette. Another man, a young lawyer, who is also keeping the Sabbath, spoke of his being directed to Brother Kelley for instruction in English as a providential guiding to the truth he had so long been seeking.
When we learned that Brother and Sister Kelley would have to leave us, Sister Kelley’s health making their return imperative, we experienced a rather strong feeling of lonesomeness, as we found ourselves with Brother and Sister Cleaves settled1 in the heart of Colombia, thousands of miles away from our loved ones and best friends, and communications with them so painfully slow! But these tokens of God’s goodness to us, and of His love toward the people we have come to labor for, have made our hearts warmer, and filled us with hope and courage. So we are anxious to do our best, and not disappoint Him who is counting on us.
Apartado 599, Bogota.
Brother and Sister F. C. Kelley at the
Bogota Station, on Their Way to