Mail Tribune 100
Aug. 23, 1914
About 50 Swedish people assembled at Smith's Hall last Thursday evening, and by prearranged conspiracy, the well known Frank L. Benson kidnapped his brother, Rev. Nels Benson, and his bride of a month and brought them in an auto to the hall. The young people were much surprised at this heathenish act, but they soon recovered sufficiently to be able to eat American ice cream and Viking cake.
Rev. Benson is a recent graduate of Augustine college at Rock Island, Ill., the largest and oldest Swedish-American school. His wife is a graduate nurse of Augustana Hospital, Chicago, and in a few days they go from Medford to Kiashien, province of Honan, in China, to begin their missionary labors under the auspices of the Swedish Lutheran Church in this country.
Many of the Swedes in this city would undoubtedly prefer to fight for or against the kaiser rather than be preachers in China just now. But they respect and honor courage and self-sacrifice, and hence give the guests a hearty reception.
Eloquently and earnestly, the Revs. retain and cultivate the noble heritage of the land of the midnight sun, because a composite nation like America needed and demanded the best spiritual and intellectual products which the sons and daughters of the Northland could supply.
A notable feature of the evening was an original song, composed and rendered by Miss Dina Ekstrom, and especially suitable for the entertainment. Short remarks were also made by Rev. C. Wilker, Emil Andren and O.N. Nelson.
It will take several weeks of travel before the missionaries reach their destination. Here the Augustane Synod, which is the official name of the Swedish Lutheran Church in this country, has been for nearly 10 years engaged in trying to convert the inhabitants. Several primary schools have been established, a high school, an institution for the blind and two hospitals are maintained. This fall 10 pastors with their wives will be in the field. These, together with doctors, deaconesses and teachers, constitute a force of over 30 Christian Swedes in the midst of millions of heathen (Chinese people).