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Almeda and Frank Lyndon and daughters.

Photo courtesy of Adventist Heritage Centre, Australia.

Lyndon, Frank Edward (1868–1945) and Almeda (Aikman) (1874–1960)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Frank Edward Lyndon was a teacher, pastor, evangelist, and missionary. Frank and Almeda Lyndon are best remembered for their mission to the Polynesians, whom they served for twenty years.

Early experiences

Frank Edward Lyndon was born in Napier, New Zealand, on April 18, 1868. He was employed as a bank clerk for the Union Bank of Australia when he attended a tent crusade by Elder Arthur G. Daniells in 1889.1 This led to his conversion to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the furthering of his education at Battle Creek College in the United States.2 He spent six years at the institution, including some practical experience in Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s Chicago clinic for the destitute.3

Lyndon began full-time rural evangelism in North Carolina in October 1895 where he assisted with the preaching in little villages such as Penelope,4 Bethel,5 and Sandy Mush.6 Beginning in the fall of 1896, he was appointed to work at Graysville Academy, Tennessee, where he remained until the end of the summer term in 1898.7 At this relatively new school Lyndon met a recent convert, Almeda Aikman. She was born in 1874 at Pinhook Landing, Tennessee, and became an Adventist in 1892, the same year as the academy opened. She attended Graysville Academy, but before she graduated she married Lyndon in July 1897.8 Both Frank and Almeda Lyndon were the only members of their families to become Adventists. After they moved to Australia, Almeda Lyndon never returned to America. Frank Lyndon never published anything about his New Zealand family.

To Australasia

The Lyndons arrived in Sydney, New South Wales, in September 1898 bound for the new Avondale School at Cooranbong. Lyndon served as preceptor and teacher, starting with the summer school and continuing throughout 1899. He taught units of physiology, bookkeeping, Bible and the basic reading, writing, and arithmetic.9

When the 1899 school year finished Lyndon transferred to nearby Newcastle for ministerial duties during 1900.10 This proved to be an interim position because he soon moved to New Zealand where he pastored or the next seven years. He cared for church groups at Gisborne, near his birthplace,11 and Eltham, at the foot of Mount Egmont.12 At the New Plymouth camp meeting in January 1904 he was ordained at an early morning service.13

The Lyndons’ first child, Myrtle Lourina, was born in Gisborne in 1901. They later adopted a second daughter, Vera Robertson, who was nearly the same age as Myrtle.14 Another daughter, Cora, was born into their family in 1910 while they were in Papeete in the Society Islands (French Polynesia).

Pacific Islands service

The Lyndons are best remembered for their mission to the Polynesians, whom they served for twenty years. Lyndon was first appointed mission director of the Cook Islands, arriving at Rarotonga in mid-1908. The culture shock was profound. He wrote of the armies of ants, rats, and cockroaches in their home, and the numerous geckos that would devour the mosquitos.15 There were only eighteen church members in the island group. During his brief stay, he made a pioneering visit to Aitutaki Island, selling subscriptions to the mission paper, “Tuatua Mou” (Truth), giving away numerous tracts and treating the sick.16 However, early in 1910 he swapped places with other missionaries in the Society Islands.17

Lyndon found the Tahiti Mission to be in a perilous condition. Tiny groups of adherents were scattered among various islands.18 One group had become independent.19 Half of the remainder were smoking and not observing other church standards. One church had islanders camped in the building with their pigs tethered outside.20 Another major problem centered on the fact that previous missionaries had tried to make the mission a self-supporting enterprise by operating various commercial projects that absorbed their energies and left little time for evangelism. Twenty years after the Adventist Church entered the islands, there were only about twenty loyal churchgoers. After consulting with some senior administrators Lyndon restricted commercial trading, trimmed the church roll to fifteen members and began to rebuild.21 Government authorities favored Roman Catholicism and would not allow tent crusades. They also insisted that schools use the French language.22 Therefore Lyndon was left with the one method he did best, personal evangelism. He attempted to visit every house on each island and sold Adventist literature in the English, French, Tahitian, and Chinese languages.23

In September 1916, Lyndon’s territory was extended to include the Cook and Marquesas Islands.24 A few European missionaries were appointed to assist him, and one or two islanders who spoke the local languages had begun to take an active role.25 Successes gradually increased until a membership of 145 was reported in 1918.26 Then the international influenza epidemic struck, decimating the membership. Although Church leaders, both local and expatriate were all spared, the Papeete group was reduced by fifty per cent and others almost wiped out.27 By 1919, Lyndon was pleased to report that trained island leaders had entered Maiao and Maupiti Islands and Europeans were entering the Marquesas Islands.28

Lyndon remained in Tahiti as superintendent for another decade. During his stay he contracted elephantiasis, but recovered. In 1922, he reported a membership approaching two hundred.29 He had tried to establish an Adventist presence on every inhabited island, motivated by the belief that everyone had to hear the Adventist message. Lyndon even went to some of the scattered atolls of the Tuamotu group, but when he later departed Tahiti, he lamented that the endeavor was unsuccessful. By 1929, the Church in Tahiti numbered thirteen companies with 243 Sabbath School members, cared for by two European couples and three local young men.30

Western Australia

After a furlough in 1930, the Lyndons were appointed to work in the West Australian Conference. They spent the first six months of 1931 in the Perth metropolitan area31 and the remainder of the year at Narrogin. This was followed assignments in Geraldton in 1933-193432 and Northam in 1935-1936.33 In 1937, they were back in the Perth area, specifically South Perth in 1938.34 Two-year assignments followed in Three Springs (1939,-1940)35 and Midland Junction (1941-1942).36 Finally, they were appointed to the Glen Forest district37 where Lyndon died on December 5, 1945.38

The Lyndon’s ministry in Western Australia was characterized by door-to-door visitation. Not a home was missed. Lyndon had learned that form of evangelism in the backwoods of North Carolina and continued it through to New Zealand, Polynesia, and Western Australia. From the time of their marriage the Lyndons worked together as a team to share the Adventist message. All their energies were focused on the conversion of others. Their earthly goods could have been put into a suitcase and carried on the back of their old bicycle. After Frank Lyndon’s death, Almeda Lyndon rented a home in the nearby Adventist community of Bickley, conducted one-on-one Bible studies for the conference,39 served as a member of the Bickley church board, and as their Dorcas leader.40 In 1956, due to her increasing frailty, Almeda Lyndon moved to New South Wales where her daughter Cora could care for her. Later, they moved to Brisbane where Almeda Lyndon died on September 18, 1960.41

Sources

“At a recent meeting of the Union…” Australasian Record, October 13, 1930.

Baines, W[illiam] A. “Almeda Lyndon obituary.” Australasian Record, October 17, 1960.

Bickley SDA Church Board Minutes. 1948-1957. Bickley, Western Australia.

Borgas, E[mma] J. “Narrogin Church.” Australasian Record, January 4, 1932.

“Brother R.R. Gooding, secretary…” Australasian Record, March 17, 1919.

Butler, S[idney] C. "The Annual Conference," Australasian Record, April 27, 1931.

Butler, S[idney] C. “The Conference Session.” Australasian Record, May 8, 1933.

Butler, S[idney] C. “Thirty-fourth Annual Session.” Australasian Record, April 19, 1937.

Butler, S[idney] C. “Thirty-second Annual Session.” Australasian Record, April 15, 1935.

Butler, S[idney] C. "West Australian Conference Session,” Australasian Record, April 13, 1936.

Daniells, A[rthur] G. “New Zealand.” The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, September 1, 1889.

Farnsworth, E[ugene] W. “Distribution of Labour.” Union Conference Record, October 1, 1900.

Frank Edward Lyndon and Almeda (Aikman) Lyndon Work Service Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Wahroonga, NSW.

Howse, W[illiam] R. “A Week in Huahine, Society Islands.” Australasian Record, December 8, 1913.

Irwin, Geo[rge] A. “The New Zealand Camp Meeting.” Union Conference Record, March 1, 1904.

Litster, W[illiam] R. “Report of West Australian Camp Meeting and Conference.” Australasian Record, June 5, 1939.

Litster, W[illiam] R. “West Australian Conference Session.” Australasian Record, May 5, 1941.

Litster, W[illiam] R. “West Australian Conference.” Australasian Record, March 29, 1943.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. and [Almeda Lyndon]. “Three Springs, West Australia.” Australasian Record, January 22, 1940.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Aitutaki, Cook Islands.” Union Conference Record, November 15, 1909.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Albany Church at Work.” Australasian Record, June 6, 1932.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Eastern Polynesia and the Cook Islands.” Australasian Record, October 18, 1926.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Eastern Polynesian Mission.” Australasian Record, October 21, 1918.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Eastern Polynesian Mission.” Australasian Record, September 1, 1919.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Eastern Polynesian Mission.” ARH, October 2, 1919.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Eastern Polynesian Mission.” Australasian Record, October 30, 1922.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Eastern Polynesian Mission Field.” Australasian Record, February 19, 1917.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “From Eastern Polynesia.” Australasian Record, July 12, 1926.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Moorea, Society Islands.” Australasian Record, February 6, 1911.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Providential Openings.” Australasian Record, July 21, 1919.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Rarotonga.” Union Conference Record, November 16, 1908.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Rarotonga.” Union Conference Record, January 4, 1909.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Society Islands.” Australasian Record, November 4, 1912.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Society Islands.” Australasian Record, September 28, 1914.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Society Islands.” Australasian Record, October 11, 1915.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. "Tahiti," Australasian Record, January 15, 1912

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “The Eastern Polynesian Mission Field.” Union Conference Record, October 24, 1910.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “The Society Islands.” The Missionary Leader, November 1930.

“Notes.” Union Conference Record, September 15, 1898.

“Notes.” Union Conference Record, October 19, 1908.

“Notes and Personals.” Union Conference Record, February 15, 1904.

Paap, C[harles] H. and F[rank] E Lyndon, "Eltham, N. Z." Union Conference Record, May 15, 1905.

“Pastor F. E. Lyndon, who is now…” Australasian Record, November 20, 1933.

“Pastor F. E. Lyndon wrote from…” Australasian Record, October 26, 1931.

“Pastor F. E. Lyndon wrote recently…” Australasian Record, May 30, 1938.

“Personal.” Union Conference Record, September 1, 1899.

“Personal.” Union Conference Record, April 1, 1901.

Sanford, E[dward] L. “North Carolina.” ARH, June 16, 1896.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1904-1961.

Shireman, D. T. and B. F. Purdham. “North Carolina.” ARH, October 22, 1895.

Shireman, D. T. “North Carolina.” ARH, February 11, 1896.

Speck, D[avid] A. “Frank Edward Lyndon obituary.” Australasian Record, February 4, 1946.

White, W[illiam] C. “The Work at Avondale.” Union Conference Record, December 15, 1898.

Notes

  1. Frank Edward Lyndon Work Service Record, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Wahroonga, NSW, Work Service Record,. Folder: Frank Edward Lyndon, Document: "Frank Edward Lyndon."

  2. A[rthur] G. Daniells, "New Zealand," Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, September 1, 1889, 268; "Notes," Union Conference Record, September 15, 1898, 100.

  3. W[illiam] C. White, "The Work at Avondale," Union Conference Record, December 15, 1898, 121; F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Rarotonga," Union Conference Record, January 4, 1909, 3-4.

  4. D. T. Shireman and B. F. Purdham, "North Carolina," ARH, October 22, 1895, 684.

  5. D. T. Shireman, "North Carolina," ARH, February 11, 1896, 92.

  6. E[dward] L. Sandford, "North Carolina," ARH, June 16, 1896, 381.

  7. W[illiam] C. White, "The Work at Avondale," Union Conference Record, December 15, 1898, 121.

  8. Almeda (Aikman) Lyndon Work Service Record, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Wahroonga, NSW, Work Service Records. Folder: Almeda (Aikman) Lyndon, Document: "Almeda (Aikman) Lyndon."

  9. W[illiam] C. White, "The Work at Avondale," Union Conference Record, December 15, 1898, 121.

  10. "Personal," Union Conference Record, September 1, 1899, 15.

  11. "Personal," Union Conference Record, April 1, 1901, 15.

  12. C[harles] A. Paap and F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Eltham, N.Z," Union Conference Record, May 15, 1905, 3.

  13. "Notes and Personals," Union Conference Record, February 15, 1904, 7; Geo[rge] A. Irwin, "The New Zealand Camp Meeting," Union Conference Record, March 1, 1904, 3-4.

  14. Frank Edward Lyndon Work Service Record, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Wahroonga, NSW. Work Service Records. Folder: Frank Edward Lyndon. Document: "Frank Edward Lyndon."

  15. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Rarotonga," Union Conference Record, November 16, 1908, 4.

  16. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Aitutaki, Cook Islands," Union Conference Record, November 15, 1909, 4-5.

  17. Frank Edward Lyndon Work Service Record. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Wahroonga, NSW, Work Service Records, Folder: Frank Edward Lyndon, Document: "Frank Edward Lyndon."

  18. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "The Eastern Polynesian Mission Field," Union Conference Record, October 24, 1910, 16-17.

  19. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Society Islands," Australasian Record, September 28, 1914, 38-39.

  20. W[illiam] R. Howse, "A Week in Huahine, Society Islands," Australasian Record, December 8, 1913, 4.

  21. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Tahiti," Australasian Record, January 15, 1912, 3-4; F[rank] E Lyndon, "Society Islands," Australasian Record, September 28, 1914, 38-39.

  22. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Society Islands," Australasian Record, October 11, 1915, 4.

  23. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Moorea, Society Islands," Australasian Record, February 6, 1911, 2.

  24. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Eastern Polynesian Mission Field," Australasian Record, February 19, 1917, 3-4.

  25. "Eastern Polynesian Mission," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1917), 144-145.

  26. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Eastern Polynesian Mission," Australasian Record, October 21, 1918, 51-53.

  27. "Brother R. R. Gooding, secretary..." Australasian Record, March 17, 1919, 8.

  28. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Providential Openings," Australasian Record, July 21, 1919, 3.

  29. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "Eastern Polynesian Mission," Australasian Record, October 30, 1922, 85-86

  30. F[rank] E. Lyndon, "The Society Islands," The Missionary Leader, November 1930, 7.

  31. S[idney] C. Butler, "The Annual Conference," Australasian Record, April 27, 1931, 3.

  32. S[idney] C. Butler, "The Conference Session," Australasian Record, May 8, 1933, 4.

  33. S[idney] C. Butler, "Thirty-second Annual Session," Australasian Record, April 15, 1935, 5.

  34. "Pastor F. E. Lyndon wrote recently..." Australasian Record, May 30, 1938, 8.

  35. W[illiam] R. Litster, "Report of West Australian Camp-Meeting and Conference," Australasian Record, June 5, 1939, 5-6.

  36. W[illiam] R. Litster, "West Australian Conference Session, Australasian Record, May 5, 1941, 3.

  37. W[illiam] R. Litster, "West Australian Conference," Australasian Record, March 29, 1943, 2-3

  38. D[avid] A. Speck, "Frank Edward Lyndon obituary,” Australasian Record, February 4, 1946, 7.

  39. "West Australian Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1948), 74-75.

  40. Bickley SDA Church Board Minutes, 1948-1957, Bickley, Western Australia.

  41. W[illiam] A. Baines, "Almeda Lyndon obituary," Australasian Record, October 17, 1960, 10.

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Hook, Milton. "Lyndon, Frank Edward (1868–1945) and Almeda (Aikman) (1874–1960)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed August 03, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=67ZD.

Hook, Milton. "Lyndon, Frank Edward (1868–1945) and Almeda (Aikman) (1874–1960)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access August 03, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=67ZD.

Hook, Milton (2020, January 29). Lyndon, Frank Edward (1868–1945) and Almeda (Aikman) (1874–1960). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved August 03, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=67ZD.