Jorge Juan Lust was part of the first Seventh-day Adventist generation in Argentina and a fundamental supporter of the Diamante Academy (currently, River Plate Adventist University) during its beginning; among his descendants have been many servants of the Church.1
He was born in Schwab, a village of German Lutheran immigrants from Saratov, in the lower Volga (Bergseite), Russia, on February 11, 1856. His parents were Enrique Lust and Catalina Felker, whose ancestors came from Swabia, Germany.
Lust was a soldier in the war between Russia and Turkey. In the same region of the Volga, he married Amalia Gross (1863–1899), born in Kraft, Saratov, Russia, and with whom he had six children. Their eldest daughter, Emilia (1885–1970), was born in Hamburg, Germany, during their trip to Argentina. Jorge and Amalia Lust’s other children—Alejandro (1887–1929), María (1889–1978), Amalia (1893–1971), Jorge (1894–1975) and Lydia (1898–1977)—were born in Camarero (currently, Libertador San Martín), Entre Ríos, Argentina.
Jorge Lust and his family were among the Russian Germans who accepted the Adventist message presented by Pastor Frank H. Westphal (1858–1944), leader of the Adventist work on the eastern coast of South America, and were baptized in 1896. On September 26, 1898, he participated in the Adventist meeting that decided the establishment of the Diamante Academy. or that project, Jorge Lust offered 17 hectares of land on his property where the institution could be built.2 The site was on the top of a hill, partially covered by a wheat plantation known as Colonia Camarero, in the Diamante Department, Entre Ríos, Argentina, and was on the neighborhood road that linked the town of Diamante with Crespo. The first school building was built in 1899 on the 17 hectares offered by Lust, and classes began in April 1900. Jorge Lust sent his children to the Diamante Academy. Pastor Joseph W. Westphal, Godofredo Block, and Dr. Roberto Habenicht lived near the Lusts’ house for a while.
Amalia Gross de Lust died in Camarero, Entre Ríos, Argentina, on January 15, 1899, at the age of 35, shortly after that historic donation of land for the school. On July 11, 1899, Jorge married Hanna Saller (1868–1949), born in Switzerland, the teacher at the first Adventist school in the province of Entre Ríos. She was a 27-year-old widow, with three young children, coming from Buenos Aires. Her children were Roberto Saller, Iris Saller (who married Pastor David Dalinger), and Ema Saller. Hanna taught between 1896 and 1898. Eight children were born from the union of Jorge Lust and Hanna Saller: Santiago (1900–1986), David Edmundo (1901–1982), Daniel (1903–1971), Enrique (1905–1980), Marta (1906–1991), Reynaldo (1909–1988), Ruth (1910–2002), and Nelly (1912). Among Jorge Lust’s descendants, many have contributed to the work of the church in various ministries.3
Jorge Lust worked with the committee in charge of establishing the River Plate Sanitarium, Entre Ríos, Argentina (1907–1908), along with church workers Robert H. Habenicht, Joseph W. Westphal, Nelson Z. Town, and Brother Jorge Riffel. They oversaw the construction of the first building. Riffel and Lust continued as members of the sanatorium board of directors. During a meeting in San Jerónimo, Santa Fe, Argentina, in 1904, Lust promised money for the purchase of an Adventist printing press in Chile. He continued to support the educational work; among other things, he donated to River Plate Academy his best horses, the old entrance porch, and a large number of bricks for the construction of one of the boarding schools. Lust also built a simple house for Pastor Frank Westphal.
Jorge Juan Lust died in Puiggari, Entre Ríos, Argentina, on May 23, 1929, at the age of 73. He left 30 grandchildren and two great grandchildren; several of his children worked in many branches of the Adventist organization.
Jorge Lust is linked to the beginnings of South American Adventism, particularly its first leaders, its first churches, and its emerging institutions.
Peverini, Héctor J. En las huellas de la providencia [In the footsteps of providence]. Buenos Aires: Asociación Casa Editora Sudamericana, 1988.
Plenc, Daniel Oscar. 25 Historias de misioneros [25 missionary stories]. Buenos Aires: Asociación Casa Editora Sudamericana, 2013.
Plenc, Daniel Oscar, Silvia Scholtus, Eugenio Di Dionisio, and Sergio Becerra. Misioneros fundacionales del adventismo sudamericano [Founding missionaries of South American Adventism]. 3rd ed. Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos: Editorial Universidad Adventista del Plata, 2012
Daniel Oscar Plenc, 25 Historias de misioneros [25 missionary stories] (Buenos Aires: Asociación Casa Editora Sudamericana, 2013), 15–19. Jorge Lust’s name is inseparably linked to River Plate Adventist University for the simple reason that he donated the land where that educational institution was established. See Daniel Oscar Plenc, Silvia Scholtus, Eugenio Di Dionisio, and Sergio Becerra, Misioneros fundacionales del adventismo sudamericano [Founding missionaries of South American Adventism], 3rd ed. (Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos: Editorial Universidad Adventista del Plata, 2012), 5–9, 30, 32, 45.↩
Héctor J. Peverini, En las huellas de la providencia [In the footsteps of providence] (Buenos Aires: Asociación Casa Editora Sudamericana, 1988, 114. See also Egil H. Wensell, El poder de una esperanza que educa y sana [The power of a hope that educates and heals] (Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos: Editorial Universidad Adventista del Plata, 1993).↩
Three of Jorge Lust’s daughters from his first marriage were married to missionaries: María, to Pastor Arturo Leroy Westphal; Amalia, to Pastor Felipe Sittner; and Lydia, to the missionary Francisco Brouchy. The men dedicated themselves to the tasks of the mission field. Two children from Jorge Lust’s second marriage were missionaries: Pastor David Lust, and Professor Ruth Lust.↩