Work Begins in Persia
The Kurdistan Missionary’s first issue declared the purpose of the society: To further Lutheran work among the Kurds by attending to the spiritual and physical needs of the local people and to attend to the needs of their neighbors in the Near East.
News of the society spread quickly, prompting an outpouring of support for the first field team, led by Rev. L. O. Fossum and Dr. E. Edman. The two men embodied the commitment stated in the LOMS charter to “combine evangelistic with medical work.”
The editors wrote: “The best way to combine these two agencies in the Soujbulak (Mahabad) region is to have a hospital, strongly manned with a good surgeon and physician; and where the ordained can hold private and public spiritual service with patients and their friends. The whole personnel and atmosphere of the hospital must be strongly spiritual, and steeped in prayer, so as to bring all who tarry, or even visit there, strongly under the influence of the Gospel of the Grace of God.”
Fossum and Edman set out immediately to forge this work in Kurdish Iran. Along the way two other missionaries joined the Americans; Miss Augusta Gudhart from Russia and Miss Meta von der Schulenburg of Germany, both nurses. The party arrived in Soujbulak on September 6, 1911.