Monday, October 27, 2008

Ida Shumaker

Ida Cora Shumaker was born on October 27, 1873. From her girlhood days she loved the church and taught a Sunday-school class even before her baptism at the age of fourteen. After graduation from high school, she began to teach school which came naturally to her. For twenty-one years she taught in Pennsylvania's public schools.

Then came the conviction that she should serve in India. For about two years this consciousness increased and at last she laid her feeling of unworthiness, her desire for a home of her own, and also the question of her health upon the Lord and promised that she would serve Him wherever He led. Approved for India at the Winona Lake Conference in 1910, in October of the same year she sailed from New York. One month later she reached Bulsar and was given a hearty welcome.

As in America she had spent much of her time in the schoolroom, so also in India she soon found that teaching was her chief activity, whether in Sunday school or day school, inside a classroom or out under the spreading branches of a banyan tree. Her classes being always filled with children, she had the opportunity of giving full expression to her love for them.

Miss Ida had the gift of storytelling. It made no difference whether she stood before a crowd of hill-tribe boys and girls, surrounded by a circle of missionary children, or in front of a great Annual Conference audience. Her messages and her characters were real and animated.

Her life was full and happy. She would have been the last one to call her efforts a sacrifice. She had an alert sense of humor which helped her to appreciate the fun in nearly every situation. This redeeming characteristic helped her over many rough places and through misunderstanding and persecution.

In 1940 - at the age of 67 - she came home to stay, but the desire to return to India was too strong. After four years she went back to India and had the joy of being with her beloved friends for another fifteen months. She died on February 16, 1946 at Bulsar.

Source: Anetta Mow in Brethren Builders in Our Century, 1952