Church History
Lady Missionary Program
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Lady Missionary Program

Netherlands: Sister Missionaries

Sister missionaries in the Netherlands, circa 1939

While missionaries were not evacuated from the Netherlands during World War I, government quotas reduced their numbers to one-sixth the prewar level. In response to the sudden change, numerous Dutch sisters accepted part-time calls into a new lady missionary program. During the evenings, they distributed tracts, spoke with their neighbors, and arranged public meetings at which the missionaries could preach. With the sisters’ assistance, the annual rate of baptisms per missionary tripled during the war years.

When World War II began, full-time missionaries were evacuated from all of continental Europe. Wartime conditions were difficult for Dutch members: German forces occupied the country, seized many buildings (including the branch meetinghouse in Rotterdam), and drafted many men to work in war-related projects. With no outside support, members in the Netherlands reinstituted the lady missionary program. Despite the many obstacles they faced, part-time sister missionaries and other members throughout the Netherlands continued to share the gospel and distribute literature as often as they were able. During World War II, baptisms in the Netherlands did not decline, despite the lack of full-time missionaries serving in the country.