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Collection 228 Oral History Interview with Lyndon Hess

Identifier: CN 228

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Lyndon Roth Hess in which he describes his missionary service in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) between 1932 and 1975 as a teacher of missionary children, assistant to village pastors and other work with the Lunda people. Topics include cultural influences on missionary children, education at Wheaton College, missionary service with Brethren Assemblies in Zambia teaching children of missionaries, the national African church, tribal tensions, Marxism, influence of Islam, medical work, and Africa's needs and strengths. The time period covered by the interview is1927 to 1982.

Lyndon Hess was interviewed by James Hansen on Octover 27, 1982 at the Hess home in Wheaton, Illinois.


  • Created: 1982

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Lyndon Roth Hess was born in Buffalo, New York, on January 24, 1909. He was reared in a Christian home and attended Wheaton College between 1927 and 1931 where he trained as a teacher. While on campus, Hess was involved in the sports program, and was captain of the track and cross-country teams. He also met and married Ruth Edna De Velde, a fellow student at Wheaton. Both Lyndon and Ruth made the decision to become missionaries, and to work as teachers of children of missionaries. As preparation after their graduation in 1932, they attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and left for the mission field in Africa in November of that year under the sponsorship of the Brethren Assemblies.

The Hesses were assigned to the Sakeji School, which contained grades one through eight, in Northern Rhodesia. When the British supervisor of the school left to work with evangelism and church planting, Hess replaced him. In addition to his teaching and supervisory responsibilities, Hess also did some pastoral work in the villages with the Lunda tribe, helping local congregations and assisting in establishing new churches. In 1964 the country gained independence and was renamed Zambia, but the work of the school continued uninterrupted. In 1968, in recognition of his work in Africa, Lyndon was named Wheaton Alumnus of the Year.

During their years in Africa, the Hesses had five children: James, Paul, David, Margaret, and Elizabeth. Lyndon and Ruth Hess remained with the school until 1975, when Lyndon resigned his post because of a suspected heart problem. When examination revealed no serious health difficulties, the Hesses returned to Zambia to resume pastoral work with the Lunda tribe.

The Hesses retired in 1982 and lived in Wheaton until they moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1994 where Lyndon died on June 29, 1994.


1.00 Audio Tape

91 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Lyndon Hess in October 1982.

Accession 82-144

August 14, 1985

Frances L. Brocker

J. Hansen

J. Nasgowitz

Collection 228 Oral History Interview with Lyndon Hess
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US