Thursday, October 9, 2008
"Not to Minister unto but to Minister"
Annie Clemmer Funk was born on April 12, 1874 in Bally, Pennsylvania. Her parents were devout Mennonites, and her father was even a deacon at Hereford General Conference Mennonite Church. She at first studied to be a teacher at West Chester College, but transferred to Moody Bible College to study the bible. She was a teacher in Chattanooga, Tennessee to blacks for a couple of years, then she taught in New Jersey to the Young woman's Christian Association. In 1906, she decided to be the first Mennonite woman missionary with this statement: "Our Heavenly Father is as near to us on sea as on land. My trust is in him. I have no fear." The mission board agreed to allow her to go to Janjgir, India. Slowly, she learned the Hindi language and in 1907, she opened the first school for girls, in Janjgir. The Mennonite community raised money and got her a bicycle she rode around in India on it with her bible and portable organ. After 6 years of ministering and teaching, she received a telegram saying that her mother was sick. She immediately booked passage on the Haverford and after 3weeks of travel, she reached Southampton, England. However, the ship was canceled due to the coal strike, so she booked passage for the TITANIC as a 2nd class passenger. She celebrated her 38th birthday on April 12, 1912 on the grandest ship in the world. On April 14, 1912, the TITANIC struck an iceberg at 11:30 P.M. She was awoken by a steward just passed midnight, and told to go up on deck. She got into a lifeboat, and then a woman came up and cried, "My children, My children"! There was no more room on the boat, so Annie got up and gave the woman her seat so that she could be with her children. Later, her friends commented,"That's just like her." Annie Funk died in the sinking, and she has two memorials for her. One in her hometown of Pennsylvania, and one in India where Annie Funk Memorial School is standing. Her body was never recovered.