Missionary to Africa - teacherby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
Margaret Marsh was not a famous missionary. Although she is not mentioned in history books or encyclopedias, she is important to me; she was my great grandma. I would like to share her life with you.
On Friday, November 15, 1895, Margaret Engle was born in Industry, Pennsylvania to David Jackson Engle and Mary L. Stevenson. Everyone thought that when she grew up, she would become a teacher like her mother. Because of her life on a farm, Margaret learned how to work hard at an early age. In the end, it would be easier for her when she lived in the bush country of Africa without the comforts of easy living.
In 1905, Mr. Engle moved his family to Beaver so that they could go to high school. Although he never felt at home in a church, he took his family every week. Thirteen years later, Margaret realized she was a sinner and she became a Christian. She never doubted her Christianity from that moment on and openly proclaimed Godıs word.
Margaret met her first missionary when she was 15. When she was 22, Margaret learned from Miss Gray, who was another missionary, that the Africa Inland Mission was an interdenominational mission. Margaret and Miss Gray became best friends and prayer partners. Miss Gray was challenging Margaret to pray about what God's will for her life was.
After going to Penn State to get a Teaching Certificate, she met someone, whose name was not given, who was going to Africa. They kept in touch, even after he went to Africa and soon after, he asked Margaret Engle to join him in Africa. She agreed to go, and her life was forever changed.
Margaret's family was shocked. They never imagined that their daughter would go to Africa. In those days, Africa was for explorers or adventurous men, not for ordinary people like Margaret.
Unfortunately when Margaret was preparing to go to Africa, World War I was just starting. Her brother had to leave home at the same time, but her mind was made up and nothing could stop her. She was desperately lonely the first night away from home. Margaret would have gone home that night, but fortunately she didn't have enough money. She had spent it all on clothes that would have to last her for 5 years. She started working at a store nearby for some money, but it wasn't much and soon was only eating the evening meal that the mission was paying for. A friend of Margaret, who didn't know she was having money problems, came up to her and gave her a five-dollar bill, which was a lot of money in her time, and another job in which she would get a meal and cash.
When they first landed in Africa, it was in Cape Town, South Africa. After leaving Cape Town on a military boat, Margaret and the other missionaries with her sailed up the east coast to Dar-es-Salaam where they were introduced to the malaria carrying mosquitoes. Because Margaret caught malaria from the mosquitoes, the trip was delayed until she was feeling well enough to travel. Margaret and the rest of the missionaries traveled up the coast again, this time by train, to Kijabe, which was close to Mount Kilimanjaro. She stayed in that town teaching MK's and she knew she was a natural born teacher.
Tom Marsh had buried his wife and baby before joining the mission. He was totally devoted to the Africans. The Woodleys, who were Tomıs friends, were weighed down by the sadness that Tom felt. They made it their mission to pair Tom up with another single missionary lady. The Woodleys also knew Margaret, and they knew that they would be perfect for each other.
Before the Annual Conference the Woodleys, some friends of Tom Marsh, held a party, making sure that Tom and Margaret were both there. Margaret was introduced to Tom Marsh at the Annual Conference on January 1920. She had broken up with the guy that had originally invited her to Africa because he wasnıt as devoted to the Africans as she was. Tom and Margaret were married on May 31, 1920, 5 months after they had met.
Margaret and Tom had their first child on October 1, 1921. It was a boy that they named Allan, who was a very healthy, strong, and curious baby. When Allan was a year old, they moved to Luhumbo. On October 23, 1923, Margaret was born. She was never very healthy, and when she hadnıt even turned two, she developed septic poisoning from an abscess. She got better, but she had to relearn how to do all the things that she had been taught.
The Marsh family went on furlough that year, and was very happy to go home again. They lived happily after that taking a furlough every 7 years. They were happy and they had another daughter on October 16, 1932, and she was named Dorothy Marsh. At that time Allan was 13 and needed to go to boarding school. He went to a school for missionary kids in South Carolina. Dorothy didn't meet her brother until she was 4.
When the time came for another furlough, the Marshes were excited. Unfortunately, it would be the last trip as a family. On their way to America, Tom got appendicitis on the ship, and was rushed to the hospital right on their arrival. 3 days after being in the hospital, Tom died on July 1, 1936. He had not arrived soon enough to get the operation that would have saved his life. Dorothy did not get to say good-bye to her dad and hadnıt even had the chance to talk to him after getting off the boat. Margaret went back to Africa and taught at an all girls' school until her 3 kids had graduated. After leaving Africa, she went to visit her daughter, Margaret, who had become a missionary like her mother, and her family in Guatemala. She also went to Virginia to visit Dorothy, and then she visited Allan and his family. She visited her family and continued to go to Africa on different occasions until she retired in 1985. She died 6 years later on July 9, 1991.
Waddell, Genny. Safari Servant.: General Conference Board of Missions of The Southern Methodist Church, 1980.
David Stoddard, descendant of Margaret Marsh (Grandson)