A Passionate Sense of Mission

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“And to her was given the gift of prophecy.”

 

Thus aptly inscribed is the graduation picture of Myrtle Mangum in the Pasadena College yearbook of 1920, for she had proven her mettle after a decade of preaching and teaching ministry.

 

A native Texan, Myrtle Mangum was converted and sanctified in 1907 under the preaching of B. F. Neely. Ordained by Dr. Reynolds in 1910, she offered herself for service on the mission field in 1912 with three years’ experience as an evangelist and two as a pastor. Her application to the General Missionary Board listed “preaching and singing the gospel” as her special gifts. With Lela Hargove, her companion in evangelism in Arkansas and Texas, Miss Mangum sailed in 1912 for India, where she taught at Hope School in Calcutta, helped establish the Nazarene work with Leoda Grebe in Kishorganj (in present-day Bangladesh), and contributed frequently to The Other Sheep.

 

After five years on the field, declining health forced Myrtle Mangum’s return to America and prevented the resumption of her missionary service, but she remained active in deputation work. Then “providence led her to Pasadena University to finish her college work,” states the copy editor of the 1920 student yearbook. She taught missions at Pasadena College, later earned advanced degrees in theology, and taught the blind.

 

Miss Mangum married Dr. Robert White, an English professor at Pasadena College, in 1927. He too was an ordained elder, and until his death almost 30 years later, they intertwined their careers, active together in both education and the preaching ministry, sharing their last assignment as copastors of the church in Alpine, Tex. After her husband’s passing, she continued in the ministry until 1962.

 

The widely varied career of Myrtle Mangum White testifies to the passionate sense of mission that motivated the early Nazarenes, and reflects the conviction that the “spirit of mission”—whether expressed in home missions, foreign missions, or education—is indivisible.

 

“And to her was given the gift of prophecy”—true of Myrtle Mangum White and many others.

 

(Myrtle Mangum correspondence with the General Board of Foreign Missions, 1912–26; La Sierra, 1920; The Other Sheep, 1912–1917.)

 

Ingersol, S. (July, 1986). Nazarene Roots; A Passionate Sense of Mission. Herald of Holiness, 9

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