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Walter Guy Bond

Photo courtesy of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Archives.

Bond, Walter Guy (1879–1914)

By Brenda Fusté-Bond Payne

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Brenda Fusté-Bond Payne is the great-granddaughter of Frank Starr Bond, one of the first Adventist missionaries to Spain. A native of Spain herself, she moved to the United States during her elementary school days and graduated from Andrews University with a Masters in Architecture. Currently, she lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her husband, Pastor Rodney Payne II, and their two children.

First Published: April 27, 2022

Walter Bond was one of the first Adventist missionaries to Spain.

Early Life

Walter Guy Bond (Gualterio Guido Bond) was born February 6, 1879, in Leemore, California. He was the sixth of eleven children of James Monroe Bond (November 17, 1847 - March 22, 1914)1 and Sara Talitha Starr (March 29, 1851 - May 23, 1936).2 James Monroe Bond, a farmer, was converted to the Adventist message about 1870 by his brother, Seth Hayes Bond. Walter attended the school on the corner of their farm up until the twelfth grade, helping work the farm.3

Education and Marriage

Walter attended Healdsburg College with his older brother Frank. They graduated in 1899 with a Biblical degree. After graduation, Walter and Frank went to Phoenix to sell religious books to Spanish-speakers. Walter and Frank attended the California camp meeting in Fresno September 30-October 12, 1902. The keynote for the meetings was “Foreign Fields.” An appeal was made for missionaries to open the work in Spain, and the brothers Walter and Frank volunteered.4 Although they had studied French and Spanish in college, they were requested to go to London and study these languages further. Walter was engaged to Leola Addie Gerow (born October 25, 1883), and they were wed on November 12, 1902.5

Walter, Leola, and Frank stopped in Battle Creek, Michigan for the farewell missionary service on November 22, 1902, and by November 26, 1902, they set sail for England. They enrolled in the London Bible School and at the end of the school year traveled to Spain, arriving at the Spanish border June 22, 1903. For the first three months they spent most of their time studying the language.6 (The region of Barcelona speaks Catalan, which is similar but distinct from the Castilian they had studied.). 

Ministry

From the beginning of their missionary work, they were faced with illiteracy throughout the population, and the opposition of Catholic priests. “It is estimated on good authority that seventy per cent of the people are unable to read. This, no doubt, will be a great hindrance . . .”7

Progress was made almost immediately when, the day after arriving in Barcelona, they called on a gentleman who had shown some interest, under the efforts of B.G. Wilkinson. Within days they began Bible studies, and he soon declared that he would keep the Sabbath. This same gentleman had previously been an evangelical worker and, having a little flock in Sabadell (about fifteen miles from Barcelona), invited Walter and Frank to come and share the message with them.8 The brothers accepted and reported, “The only way a place can be secured to be used for religious purposes is to rent it for school work. For this reason, and also because we thought it would enable us to enter homes, we decided to carry on a little school in connection with the meetings.” The school began with nineteen boys.9

As a result of those efforts, on June 29, 1904, the Adventist Church in Spain had its first three baptisms,10 María Serra Casals, her daughter Lola Casals (future Spanish Mission secretary), and José Abella (future missionary),11 performed by Professor B.G. Wilkinson. 

The next month Walter and Leola returned to the United States to attend to the death of Leola’s mother.12 The school in Sabadell was not mentioned after this furlough. On April 4-9, 1905, Water attended the third annual conference of Seventh-day Adventists of Arizona in Phoenix, and was granted a ministerial license.13 

On November 11, 1905, they sailed to Spain, where they continued working in Barcelona and Sabadell.14 Bond made Barcelona his basecamp, where he translated lesson quarterlies, articles, and tracts, and located a publisher for them.15 On April 18, 1907, Walter and his family traveled to Valencia to assist Frank,16 but returned to Barcelona, where in November 1907 Walter held a series of hall meetings.17 On April 17, 1908, Walter returned to Valencia to assist Frank again.18 Later that summer Walter attended the 6th annual session of the Roman-Swiss Conference, held in Orbe, August 10-14, 1908.19 On their way back to Barcelona, he and his family stopped at the first meeting of the French Conference, held on August 24-29, 1908.20

On July 14, 1906, Walter Bond was ordained in Gland, during the Latin Union and Roman-Swiss Meetings.21 The following year, Walter and Frank attended the General Conference Committee Council in Gland, Switzerland, were Frank was ordained. The brothers reported 23 baptized members in Spain.22 Walter and Frank would now baptize many believers, including Pedro Sanz in 1909 (future first Spanish ordained minister),23 Salvador Iserte Santafé (future colporteur), and Lope San Nicolás (future evangelist).24

There was civil unrest in Barcelona at the time. Walter Bond wrote about a near-death experience during this time:

Last evening about seven o’clock . . . I was returning from a meeting held on the opposite side of the city from our home and was accompanied by an interested man who had attended the meeting. As we reached the principal street of the city, we were shaking hands to separate, when within twenty yards of the place where we were standing, a bomb exploded. It was the sixth that has exploded in this city during the last twenty-four hours. . . . Four persons were fatally wounded, and a score of others were badly injured. . . . When these things begin to take place about us, the Master commands us to look up and lift up our heads for our redemption draweth nigh.25

Walter Bond reports of the Insurrection of July 26-31, 1909, where “. . . several of our acquaintances and friends were killed. For some time we were unable to hold any meetings, or even to visit the interested ones.”26

In the fall of 1910 the Adventist Church in Spain held its first General Meeting, with 39 of its 65 members in attendance at 40 Mercaders Street in Barcelona.27 The following year, the Annual Meeting was in late September 1911, with L.R. Conradi present. The church membership was 90.28 

Walter Bond and his family returned to the United States in May 1913,29 and were delegates at the General Conference Session (May 15-June 8),30 then spoke at the 42nd California Camp meetings (July 23-August 3) in Stockton and San Jose, California.31 Bonds returned to Spain in August 1913, in time for the Spanish General Meeting.32 Walter’s father died on March 22, 1914,33 then Lola Casals, the secretary of the mission and one of the first baptized in Spain, on April 24, 1914.34

Later Life 

In the late summer of 1914, Walter Bond held meetings at Jérica, Rubielos de Mora, Valencia, Alicante, Cartagena, and Murcia. He made his way to Baeza to assist Brother Lope Nicolas, where on October 15 they began a series of meetings. Bond wrote,

I am now in Baeza, . . . But it has been a continual warfare with the priesthood. Ignorance, superstition, priests, and fanaticism abound, making it probably the most difficult place that we have thus far entered. But even here we have hope.35

On November 1 he telegraphed Frank to come to Baeza, for he was gravely sick. Frank arrived the following morning and immediately wired Leola a message. She made arrangements to leave her two eldest children with Elder and Mrs. Forga in Barcelona, while she and her youngest daughter quickly went to meet them. Frank writes,

[T]hose were days of great anxiety for us all. We employed the best medical help available, and gave water treatment freely, finding it necessary to send a distance of about fifteen kilometers for ice. . . . From almost the very beginning of his sickness, Walter seemed impressed that it might prove fatal. . . His earnest desire was to have a further part in the Lord’s work, and to be with his dear little family, . . but he seemed resigned to God’s will.

He died on November 12, 1914, his 12th wedding anniversary, at two in the morning36 at the home they were renting.37 Though his death certificate states Peritonitis as the cause, his daughter Elsa later revealed, “When we left Spain the doctor told my mother that Walter had been poisoned.”38 By all indications, it had been administered through his daily milk by the dairy farmer.  

Less than one month after Bond’s death, Lope San Nicolas died on December 10, 1914. He was in poor health before Bond came to Baeza, and leaving Baeza soon after Bond’s death, had surgery in Barcelona, from which he never regained consciousness.39

On April 1, 1915, Frank Bond returned to Baeza, to continue the work and minister to those who had made decisions for Christ under the influence of Walter Bond.40

While in Spain, Walter had three children, Paul James Edward Bond, born January 7, 1904, in Sabadell; Elsa Gerow Bond, born January 19, 1907, in Barcelona; and Frances Sarita Elberta Bond, born July 20, 1911, in Barcelona. On January 6, 1915, the pregnant and widowed Leola, with her three children, boarded the Rotterdam and sailed from Genoa, Italy to New York. From there she was received by relatives, and Leola later gave birth to Walter’s fourth child, Margaret Arnalda Bond on May 17, 1915.41 Leola later married Walter Albert Moore on January 29, 1920, and lived until April 20, 1970, at the age of 86.

Incident

Sometime between 1943 and 1945 Walter Bond’s tomb was desecrated, and his bones disappeared.42 On April 30, 2009, José Rodríguez Cámara wrote an article for the local newspaper Diario de Jaén, with the help of Pastor Daniel Posse.43 This article was read by a non-Adventist professor at the University of Sevilla, who contacted the director of archives for the Spanish Union, Pastor Andrés Tejel, which in turn led to a meeting with the mayor of Baeza and a restoration of Walter’s tomb.44

On Sunday, May 23, 2010, at noon, at the municipal cemetery of Baeza, a public ceremony was held honoring Walter’s life with a new plaque, attended by the mayor of Baeza, D. Leocadio Marín; president of the Spanish Union, Elder Jesùs Calvo; Andrés Tejel; and a representative of the Euro-African region, Elder Roberto Badena, amongst others.45    

Legacy

Walter Bond, together with his brother Frank, were the first Adventist missionaries to Spain. Walter became the first superintendent46 of the Spanish Mission, and established Barcelona as the genesis for the Advent movement in Spain. He often referred to Spain as “priest-ridden”47 and “the home of the Inquisition”,48 and on his death bed, according to family tradition, he “forgave his executioners.”49

Sources

Bergherm, W. H. “Our Work in Spain.” ARH, July 18, 1957.

Bond, Frank. “Spain.” ARH, September 15, 1904.

Bond, Frank and Walter. “Entering Spain,” ARH, October 15, 1903.

Bond, Frank and Walter. “First Fruits in Spain.” ARH, October 22, 1903.

Bond, Frank S. “Fallen at the Battle’s Front.” ARH, December 24, 1914.

Bond, Frank S. “Lope S. Nicolas.” ARH, February 11, 1915.

Bond, Frank S. “Spain.” ARH, June 28, 1906.

Bond, Frank S. “Spain.” ARH, July 16, 1908.

Bond, Frank S. “Switzerland.” ARH, February 13, 1908.

Bond, Frank S. “Victories in Spain.” ARH, September 2, 1915.

Bond, Walter G. “A Thrilling Experience.” ARH, May 16, 1907.

Bond, Walter G. “Barcelona, Spain.” ARH, May 30, 1907, 18.

Bond, W. G. “Lola Casals Obituary.” ARH, June 4, 1914.

Bond, Walter G. “Spain.” ARH, July 14, 1904.

Bond, Walter G. “Spain.” ARH, March 3, 1910.

Bond, Walter G. “Spain.” ARH, December 5, 1912.

Bond, Walter G. “Spain.” ARH, February 19, 1914.

Bond, Walter G. “Words from the Late Walter G. Bond.” ARH, January 7, 1915.

Conradi, L. R. “General Meetings in Austria and Spain.” ARH, December 21, 1911.

County of Sonoma, State of California, Standard Death Certificate, James Monroe Bond, State Index No. 527 449.

Dail, Guy. “The Latin Union and Roman-Swiss Meetings.” ARH, October 25, 1906.

Dail, Guy. “The Roman-Swiss Conference.” ARH, October 29, 1908.

“Delegates to the General Conference.” ARH, May 22, 1913.

Dexter, H. H. “France.” ARH, October 15, 1908.

Elsa Bond Reed to Andrés Tejel, March 12, 1978, Letter March 22, 1978, Safeliz, S. L.

Estebanell, Jonathan Valls ed. Compartiendo la esperanza, Cien años de adventismo del séptimo día en España. Madrid: Safeliz, December 2003.

Farnsworth, E. W. “California Conference and Camp-Meeting.” ARH, August 28, 1913.

Jessie Bond-Johnson and C. Lester Bond, Our Ancestry, 1968. Private book, personal family history record of Brenda Fuste-Bond Payne.

Jones, A. T. “The California Camp Meeting.” ARH, November 25, 1902.

Pacific Union Recorder. “Arizona.” ARH, June 22, 1905.

Rodríguez Cámara, José. “La curiosa historia del pastor californiano de Baeza.” Diario de Jaen, April 30, 2009. https://www.diariojaen.es/historico/la-curiosa-historia-del-pastor-californiano-de-Baeza-XADJ32011.

Rasmussen, Steen. “The Message Advances in Spain and Portugal.” ARH, May 2, 1929.

Spicer, W. A. “Openings in Spain.” ARH, December 31, 1903.

Spicer, W. A. “The General Conference Committee Council at Gland, Switzerland.” ARH, June 13, 1907.

Torres Martinez, Pedro. “Nearly 100 years later, city honors Spain’s first Adventist missionary.” Adventist News Network (Online), June 9, 2010. Accessed April 7, 2022. https://adventist.news/news/nearly-100-years-later-city-honors-spains-first-adventist-missionary

Wilkinson, B. G. “The Latin Union Field.” ARH, February 25, 1904.

Notes

  1. County of Sonoma, State of California, Standard Death Certificate, James Monroe Bond, State Index No. 527 449.

  2. Jessie Bond-Johnson and C. Lester Bond, Our Ancestry, 1968. Private book, personal family history record of Brenda Fuste-Bond Payne, 15.

  3. Ibid., 39.

  4. A.T. Jones, “The California Camp Meeting,” ARH, November 25, 1902, 18.

  5. Jessie Bond-Johnson and C. Lester Bond, Our Ancestry, 1968. Private book, personal family history record of Brenda Fuste-Bond Payne, 41.

  6. Frank and Walter Bond, “First Fruits in Spain,” ARH, October 22, 1903, 16.

  7. Frank and Walter Bond, “Entering Spain,” ARH, October 15, 1903, 15.

  8. B.G. Wilkinson, “The Latin Union Field,” ARH, February 25, 1904, 15.

  9. W.A. Spicer, “Openings in Spain,” ARH, December 31, 1903, 5.

  10. Frank Bond, “Spain,” ARH, September 15, 1904, 16.

  11. Jonathan Valls Estebanell, ed., Compartiendo la esperanza, Cien años de adventismo del séptimo día en España (Madrid: Safeliz, December 2003), 44.

  12. Jessie Bond-Johnson and C. Lester Bond, Our Ancestry, 1968. Private book, personal family history record of Brenda Fuste-Bond Payne, 41.

  13. Pacific Union Recorder, “Arizona,” ARH, June 22, 1905, 19.

  14. Frank S. Bond, “Spain,” ARH, June 28, 1906, 15.

  15. Walter G. Bond, “Spain,” ARH, July 14, 1904, 16.

  16. Walter G. Bond, “Barcelona, Spain,” ARH, May 30, 1907, 18.

  17. Frank S. Bond, “Switzerland,” ARH, February 13, 1908, 18.

  18. Frank S. Bond, “Spain,” ARH, July 16, 1908, 15.

  19. Guy Dail, “The Roman-Swiss Conference,” ARH, October 29, 1908, 12.

  20. H.H. Dexter, “France,” ARH, October 15, 1908, 15.

  21. Guy Dail, “The Latin Union and Roman-Swiss Meetings,” ARH, October 25, 1906, 14, 15.

  22. W.A. Spicer, “The General Conference Committee Council at Gland, Switzerland,” ARH, June 13, 1907, 6.

  23. W.H. Bergherm, “Our Work in Spain,” ARH, July 18, 1957, 20.

  24. Jonathan Valls Estebanell, ed., Compartiendo la esperanza, Cien años de adventismo del séptimo día en España (Madrid: Safeliz, December 2003), 53,54.

  25. Walter G. Bond, “A Thrilling Experience,” ARH, May 16, 1907, 18.

  26. Walter G. Bond, “Spain,” ARH, March 3, 1910, 12.

  27. Jonathan Valls Estebanell, ed., Compartiendo la esperanza, Cien años de adventismo del séptimo día en España (Madrid: Safeliz, December 2003), 50.

  28. L.R. Conradi, “General Meetings in Austria and Spain,” ARH, December 21, 1911, 14.

  29. See the image of the ship log showing their passage in More Photos.

  30. “Delegates to the General Conference,” ARH, May 22, 1913, 12.

  31. E.W. Farnsworth, “California Conference and Camp-Meeting,” ARH, August 28, 1913, 14.

  32. W.G. Bond, “Spain,” ARH, February 19, 1914, 14.

  33. County of Sonoma, State of California, Standard Death Certificate, James Monroe Bond, State Index No. 527 449.

  34. Walter G. Bond, “Lola Casals Obituary,” ARH, June 4, 1914, 21.

  35. Walter G. Bond, “Words from the Late Walter G. Bond,” ARH, January 7, 1915, 13.

  36. Frank S. Bond, “Fallen at the Battle’s Front,” ARH, December 24, 1914, 12.

  37. Frank S. Bond, “Lope S. Nicolas,” ARH, February 11, 1915, 17.

  38. Elsa Bond Reed to Andrés Tejel, March 12, 1978, Letter March 22, 1978, Safeliz, S. L.

  39. Frank S. Bond, “Lope S. Nicolas,” ARH, February 11, 1915, 17.

  40. Frank S. Bond, “Victories in Spain,” ARH, September 2, 1915, 10.

  41. Jessie Bond-Johnson and C. Lester Bond, Our Ancestry, 1968. Private book, personal family history record of Brenda Fuste-Bond Payne, 22.

  42. Pedro Torres Martinez, “Nearly 100 years later, city honors Spain’s first Adventist missionary,” Adventist News Network (Online), June 9, 2010, Accessed April 7, 2022. https://adventist.news/news/nearly-100-years-later-city-honors-spains-first-adventist-missionary

  43. José Rodríguez Cámara, “La curiosa historia del pastor californiano de Baeza,” Diario de Jaen, April 30, 2009. https://www.diariojaen.es/historico/la-curiosa-historia-del-pastor-californiano-de-Baeza-XADJ32011.

  44. Andrés Tejel, email to Elizabeth Knight, March 3, 2010.

  45. Pedro Torres Martinez, “Nearly 100 years later, city honors Spain’s first Adventist missionary,” Adventist News Network (Online), June 9, 2010, Accessed April 7, 2022. https://adventist.news/news/nearly-100-years-later-city-honors-spains-first-adventist-missionary

  46. Steen Rasmussen, “The Message Advances in Spain and Portugal,” ARH, May 2, 1929, 21.

  47. Walter G. Bond, “Spain,” ARH, December 5, 1912, 11.

  48. Walter G. Bond, “Rome never changes,” ARH, October 18, 1906, 13,14.

  49. Jonathan Valls Estebanell, ed., Compartiendo la esperanza, Cien años de adventismo del séptimo día en España (Madrid: Safeliz, December 2003), 58.

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Payne, Brenda Fusté-Bond. "Bond, Walter Guy (1879–1914)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 27, 2022. Accessed June 17, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5ILG.

Payne, Brenda Fusté-Bond. "Bond, Walter Guy (1879–1914)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 27, 2022. Date of access June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5ILG.

Payne, Brenda Fusté-Bond (2022, April 27). Bond, Walter Guy (1879–1914). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5ILG.