India's Oldest American missionary Maxton Strong enters Heaven. Special Report.
11 Apr 2003
The oldest American-born missionary serving in India went to be with the Lord last week. Maxton Strong, born in Ohio in 1915, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, April 2 in Banbassa, India. He served the Lord over 62 years in India, his adopted country. He was 88.
Strong graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1940 with a B.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering. From there he went straight to India as a missionary with the Presbyterian Board of Missions to teach at the Agricultural Institute at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh State.
After completing his seven-year contract in 1947, he returned to America to round up farm machinery to take back with him to develop a farm he had been promised in North India. When he landed in Bombay, he learned that the farm was no longer available, but he acquired 120 acres of malaria-infested land just west of the Nepal border on condition he clear and develop it into a farm.
His heart went out to the hundreds of Anglo-Indian children that nobody wanted, so he built a home and school to care for them. Thus began Good Shepherd Mission in 1948. The home still cares for about 100 poor, destitute or abandoned children.
Realizing that India would soon close its doors to foreign missionaries, Strong renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1948 and applied for Indian citizenship. For 26 years he was a man without a country, not receiving his Indian citizenship until 1983.
Strong sacrificed not only a comfortable life in America, but he lost members of his family as well. He soon lost one son to malaria, and the second son was crushed in a tractor accident at age 27. His daughter married an Australian and they were not allowed to remain in India. He married an Indian wife. When she became seriously ill, he sent her to America and never saw her again; she went to be with the Lord in 1993.
Besides the farm, home and school, Strong developed an effective outreach among the Tharu tribe that inhabits both sides of the India-Nepal border. He discipled a number of Tharu workers who planted at least seven congregations.