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Family of Alvin Allen

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Allen, Alvin Nathan (1880–1945)

By The Brazilian White Center – UNASP

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The Brazilian White Center – UNASP is a team of teachers and students at the Brazilian Ellen G. White Research Center – UNASP at the Brazilian Adventist University, Campus Engenheiro, Coelho, SP. The team was supervised by Drs. Adolfo Semo Suárez, Renato Stencel, and Carlos Flávio Teixeira. Bruno Sales Gomes Ferreira provided technical support. The following names are of team members: Adriane Ferrari Silva, Álan Gracioto Alexandre, Allen Jair Urcia Santa Cruz, Camila Chede Amaral Lucena, Camilla Rodrigues Seixas, Daniel Fernandes Teodoro, Danillo Alfredo Rios Junior, Danilo Fauster de Souza, Débora Arana Mayer, Elvis Eli Martins Filho, Felipe Cardoso do Nascimento, Fernanda Nascimento Oliveira, Gabriel Pilon Galvani, Giovana de Castro Vaz, Guilherme Cardoso Ricardo Martins, Gustavo Costa Vieira Novaes, Ingrid Sthéfane Santos Andrade, Isabela Pimenta Gravina, Ivo Ribeiro de Carvalho, Jhoseyr Davison Voos dos Santos, João Lucas Moraes Pereira, Kalline Meira Rocha Santos, Larissa Menegazzo Nunes, Letícia Miola Figueiredo, Luan Alves Cota Mól, Lucas Almeida dos Santos, Lucas Arteaga Aquino, Lucas Dias de Melo, Matheus Brabo Peres, Mayla Magaieski Graepp, Milena Guimarães Silva, Natália Padilha Corrêa, Rafaela Lima Gouvêa, Rogel Maio Nogueira Tavares Filho, Ryan Matheus do Ouro Medeiros, Samara Souza Santos, Sergio Henrique Micael Santos, Suelen Alves de Almeida, Talita Paim Veloso de Castro, Thais Cristina Benedetti, Thaís Caroline de Almeida Lima, Vanessa Stehling Belgd, Victor Alves Pereira, Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Vinícius Pereira Nascimento, Vitória Regina Boita da Silva, William Edward Timm, Julio Cesar Ribeiro, Ellen Deó Bortolotte, Maria Júlia dos Santos Galvani, Giovana Souto Pereira, Victor Hugo Vaz Storch, and Dinely Luana Pereira.

 

 

Alvin Nathan Allen, pastor, evangelist and missionary, was born in Portage, Wisconsin, on June 25, 1880. Son of George W. Allen and Ann Permelia Cook Allen. He was raised in an Adventist home and was baptized in his adolescence. Allen attended Union College (1898-1899) and Battle Creek College.1

On July 11, 1901, he married Luella Emily Goodrich, to which union six children were born:2 Winifred Allen (Floodman) (1903-1990),3 Esther M. Allen (Rentfro) (1908-1986),4 Alvino Arthur Allen, Lulu Allen (Tadlock) (1913-2005),5 Victor Allen (born 1915) and Ana Allen (born 1918), the last two not reaching adulthood.6 Alvin's career as an Adventist missionary began shortly after his marriage. As a licensed missionary, he joined the work of his wife Luella and her parents in Honduras and the Bay Islands where H. C. Goodrich was one of the mission leaders. There Alvin devoted himself to canvassing, preaching, and teaching. In addition, he took a dentist course to meet the needs of that population.7

He remained in the Central American Mission until early 1907, when he returned to the United States on vacation8 and attended health improvement courses at Washington Missionary College (now Washington Adventist University) and Battle Creek Sanitarium.9 In 1908, he was ordained to the ministry and accepted the call to lead the newly founded Peru Mission with Pastor F. L. Perry.10 It was in this country that Allen's interest in working among the indigenous began. Among them were the Aymara, possibly Incan descendants who lived in Puno Province, near Lake Titicaca.11

In 1909, Allen traveled with W. R. Pohle, who had replaced Pastor Perry in the Peru Mission, from Lima to the Plateria District, Puno, to meet Aymara Manuel Zúñiga Camacho.12 Camacho had learned Christianity by receiving a Bible from Adventist Eduardo F. Forga. In 1896, he contacted the Church in Chile and in 1898 he returned to the Andes to establish a school to teach Spanish literacy to the Aymara communities. However, the school, which operated at home, was strongly opposed by local clergy and farmers. As a result, he contacted Adventists for help. The canvasser Fernando Osorio was sent to the region, and his work aroused the interest of more indigenous people in the Adventist message. Through these studies, Camacho began to keep the Sabbath.13

It was in this context that Allen and Pohle arrived at Plateria. The path between the Andes was difficult to reach. Nevertheless, by God's providence, they found Camacho. The arrival of the missionaries is reported to have been revealed to the Indian in a dream.14 A short time later, at Allen's invitation, missionary Ferdinand (or Fernando) A. Stahl arrived. Stahl had been working in the city of La Paz, Bolivia. Subsequently, the mission among the Aymara progressed under Stahl's leadership and became well known in the Adventist milieu, becoming a model at the time for indigenous missions. Allen's work was concentrated in Lima but made regular visits to Stahl in Plateria.15 He was director of the Peru Mission until 1912.16

After that, he was sent to be the director of the Cuban Mission from 1913 to 1915,17 returning later to the United States, where he was president of the South Carolina Association in 1916.18 In the following years, he was pastor at the River Tennessee Association and secretary of war-related affairs in the Southern Union at the time of the First World War.19

Allen still wanted to work among the Indians because, in his words, he wanted to "reveal Christ to those who have not even heard of Him." In 1918 and 1919, he wrote letters to W. A. Spicer, secretary of the General Conference, making himself available to continue the work began by Ovid E. Davis in British Guyana. He had died in the Indian countryside in 1911 as a result of an unknown type of fever, being buried by the Indians themselves. Subsequently, no missionaries had been sent to that area. Despite Allen’s willingness, the resources were not sufficient to continue the mission. Fluent in the Spanish language, in 1920 Allen was chosen to serve as a pastor in the Mexico Mission. He worked in the country until 1921, where he was responsible for the southern part of the territory and led out in the construction of a church. There he also worked among the Tehuantepec Indians.20

In 1922 Allen accepted the call to serve as pastor in the Hispanic Division of the General Conference, where he remained until 1925. During this time, he worked in the Arizona Association, United States.21 He was one of the directors of the newly founded (1920) Spanish-American Training School in Phoenix and conducted evangelistic series for Hispanic audiences in several cities, including Nogales and Sanchez.22

At the General Conference session held in Milwaukee in 1926, his name was voted to be a Bible teacher at Brazil College (now Central Adventist University of Sao Paulo). He accepted the call, moved to Brazil, and served in this role for the second half of 1926.23 Conscious of Allen's experience among the Indians, in early 1927 the commission of the South Brazilian Union proposed the task of starting a mission in the State of Goiás. The Goiano indigenous field was already being worked by the self-supporting missionary Carlos Heinrich who, in October 1925, had requested a missionary to assist him. In response, the union decided that the offerings from Missionary Volunteers (MV) during 1926 would be devoted for the work among the indigenous people in Goiás. Allen's arrival was propitious to begin the mission. There was great anticipation, as Allen had worked with F. Stahl among the Aymara of Peru, and news of the large number of baptisms achieved in the missions subsequently organized by Stahl had reached Brazil.24

Allen left São Paulo for Goiás on April 11, 1927, intending to take his first trip to the Karajás people. After performing baptisms in the cities of Pires do Rio and São José dos Tocantins, he left the city of Goiás in the company of Rubens Anderson, a recent convert and Antônio Pereira, from Brazilian Adventist College, heading to the city of Leopoldina, on the bank of the Araguaia River. In that place, they studied the Bible with several people and on July 14 went down to the Karajás villages.25 Allen reports in his diary that he contacted several villages and was well received by all, despite some difficulties with the language, because the Indians did not know much Portuguese and the missionaries didn’t know their language. The villages visited were Dumbá, Monteria, Santa Isabel, Fontoura, and Mato Verde. On this first trip, they saw the need for health care and education.26

Allen followed the river north until he reached the city of Marabá, state of Pará, where he rested for 25 days, being very sick. After an absence of six months, on October 13 he returned to São Paulo. While proposing the creation of the Indigenous Mission of Araguaia, it had some difficulties. At the time, the goal of the world Church was for Unions and Associations to have financial autonomy. To this end, they should first evangelize the urban centers which, through tithes and offerings, would provide the conditions for missionaries to evangelize regions where minorities lived. Despite this challenge, in 1928 the Araguaia Indigenous Mission was created.27

In August of 1928, Allen and the group returned to the Araguaia. After traveling 216 km, they arrived in Piedade (today São Felix do Araguaia) where they established the mission headquarters.28 At the Tocantins River, they founded an independent school, with the help of his daughter Esther and son-in-law Charles Rentfro. Esther took care of the Karajá children in the morning and Charles taught young people in the afternoon. At night, Ernesto Bergold taught the adults to read.29 Indigenous girls also had the opportunity to learn sewing.30 They made butter, had rice husking, farming, and cattle raising. They offered medical assistance in the region, helping people who got yellow fever, malaria, typhoid fever, and other tropical diseases.31

Allen led the Araguaia Mission until 1932.32 Because of the effects of malaria and heart disease, he left in 1933 to serve in the small Goias Mission where he worked until 1937.33 After 12 years in Brazil, he returned to his homeland in 1938.34 He was pastor at Winchester (1939)35 and Arlington (1940) in the state of Virginia, and in the Florida Ridge area of Florida (1942-1944).36 He died on December 31, 1945 from a heart attack.37,38

Alvin Nathan Allen left an important legacy for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As a pastor and missionary, he pioneered the work among the Aymara in Peru and Karajás in Brazil. The work begun by him was continued by other people and resulted in many people won to Christ. Today, there are Adventist churches in Aruanã, Goiás; São Félix do Araguaia, Mato Grosso; Santa Izabel, on Bananal Island, with a Pathfinder club made up of Karajás children; Fontoura, Tocantins; Luciara, Mato Grosso, and other places along the Araguaia River.39

Sources

Alomia, Merling. Breve Historia de la Educacion Adventista em el Peru. Lima, PE Peruvian Union University, 1996.

“Alvin Nathan Allen.” National Center of Adventist History (Online), September 18, 2013.

Casebeer, Homer D. “Spanish Division of the Bureau of Home Missions.” ARH, February 5, 1925.

Filho, Ubirajara Preste. “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist Missionaries and Indigenous Peoples in the First Half of the 20th Century.” Ph.D. Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006.

Neilsen, N. “Notícias do Sul.” Revista Adventista, February 1927.

Neilsen, N. P. “Nossos Missionários Voluntários e os Indígenas.” Revista Adventista, May 1927.

“Pertaining to the Union.” Southern Union Worker, October 17, 1918.

Pickard, U. D. “A. N. Allen.” ARH, January 31, 1946.

Pinheiro, Paulo. Carajás Mission. Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 1994.

Porto, José Justino. "Adventist Mission among the Karajá of Santa Izabel do Morro: 1980 to 2000," Master's dissertation, Pontifical Catholic University of Goiás, 2009.

“Rentfro, Esther M. Allen.” ARH, July 31, 1986.

Sandborn, A. R. “Arizona Academy.” Pacific Union Recorder, October 16, 1924.

Sarli, Wilson. A Time Trip: Adventures of pioneers in Araguaia Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2014.

Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Second revised edition. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association. Various years.

“Tadlock, Lulu.” Southern Tidings, October 2005.

Westphal, Bárbara, Aventuras nos Andes e Amazonas. Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2018.

Notes

  1. U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen,” ARH, January 31, 1946, 20; Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, second revised edition (1996), s.v. “Allen, Alvin Nathan.”

  2. U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen,” ARH, January 31, 1946, 20; “Alvin Nathan Allen,” Centro Nacional da Memória Adventista Network, setembro 18, 2013, accessed in January 6, 2020,http://www.memoriaadventista.com.br/wikiasd/index.php?title=Alvin_Nathan_Allen Wilson Sarli, A Time Trip: Adventures of Pioneers in Araguaia & lt; / i & gt; (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2014), 32.

  3. “Floodman, Winifred L., James White Library Obituary Index, accessed in January 06, 2020, https://jewel.andrews.edu/record=b3444248~S3.

  4. Rentfro, Esther M. Allen,” ARH, July 31, 1986, 22.

  5. “Tadlock, Lulu,” Southern Tidings, October 2005, 37.

  6. U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen,” Review and Herald, January 31, 1946, 20; “Alvin Nathan Allen,” National Adventist Memory Center Network, September 18, 2013, accessed January 06, 2020, http://www.memoriaadventista.com.br/wikiasd/index.php?title=Alvin_Nathan_Allen Wilson Sarli, A Time Travel: Adventures of Pioneers in Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2014), 32.

  7. Wilson Sarli, A Time Travel: Adventures of Pioneers in Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2014), 32; U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen, Review and Herald, vol. 123, no. 5, January 31, 1946, 20; and Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist missionaries and indigenous peoples in the First Half of the Twentieth Century, 2006 "(Doctoral Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 208.

  8. “Miscellaneous Conferences and Missions,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1904), 75; “West Indian Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1907), 100; Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (1996), s.v. “Allen, Alvin Nathan”; U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen,” ARH, January 31, 1946, 20.

  9. Wilson Sarli, Uma viagem no tempo: aventuras dos pioneiros no Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2014), 32; U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen,” Review and Herald, vol. 123, no. 5, January 31, 1946, 20.

  10. “South American Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1909), 128; U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen,” ARH, January 31, 1946, 20; Wilson Sarli, Uma viagem no tempo: aventuras dos pioneiros no Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2014), 32.

  11. Wilson Sarli, Uma viagem no tempo: aventuras dos pioneiros no Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2014), 32; “Alvin Nathan Allen,” Centro Nacional da Memória Adventista Network, setembro 18, 2013, accessed in January 06, 2020, http://www.memoriaadventista.com.br/wikiasd/index.php?title=Alvin_Nathan_Allen; U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen,” ARH, January 31, 1946, 20.

  12. Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist Missionaries and Indigenous Peoples in the First Half of the 20th Century, 2006” (Ph.D. Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 107.

  13. Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist Missionaries and Indigenous Peoples in the First Half of the 20th Century, 2006 ”(PhD Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 101, 107-108; Barbara Westphal, Adventures in the Andes and Amazon; (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2018), 40-41; Merling Allomia, Brief History of Adventist Education in Peru (Lima, PE: Universidad Peruana Unión, 1996), 46-50.

  14. Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist Missionaries and Indigenous Peoples in the First Half of the 20th Century, 2006 ”(PhD Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 107-108 ; “Alvin Nathan Allen,” National Adventist Memory Center Network, September 18, 2013, accessed January 06, 2020, http://www.memoriaadventista.com.br/wikiasd/index.php?title=Alvin_Nathan_Allen.

  15. Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist Missionaries and Indigenous Peoples in the First Half of the 20th Century, 2006” (Ph.D. Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 15 and 209.

  16. “Peruvian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1913), 132.

  17. “Cuban Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1914), 152; e “Cuban Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1916), 164, 272.

  18. “South Carolina Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1917), 88.

  19. “Tennessee River Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1919), 100; “Tennessee River Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1920), 112; U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen,” ARH, January 31, 1946, 20; “Pertaining to the Union,” Southern Union Worker, October 17, 1918, 08.

  20. Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist missionaries and indigenous peoples in the First Half of the Twentieth Century, 2006” (Doctoral Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 16, 209-212; "Mexican Mission,”(Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1921), 146 ; "Missão Mexicana,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1922), 240, 153.

  21. “Spanish Division,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1923), 15; “Spanish Division,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1926), 16.

  22. A. R. Sandborn, “Arizona Acadeny,” Pacific Union Recorder, October 16, 1924, 3; Homer D. Casebeer, “Spanish Division of the Bureau of Home Missions,” ARH, February 5, 1925, 18.

  23. “Brazilian Seminary,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1927), 238; N. Neilsen, “Notícias do Sul,” Revista Adventista, February, 1927, 10; Ubirajara Preste Filho, “O indígena e a Mensagem do Segundo Advento: Missionários Adventistas e Povos Indígenas na Primeira Metade do Século XX, 2006” (Tese de Doutorado, Universidade de São Paulo, 2006), 208.

  24. Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist Missionaries and Indigenous Peoples in the First Half of the 20th Century, 2006” (Ph.D. Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 207-208.

  25. Ibid., 243.

  26. Ibid., 248-253.

  27. Paulo Pinheiro, Carajás Mission, (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 1994), 49; Wilson Sarli, A Time Trip: Adventures of Pioneers in Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2014), 38; Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist Missionaries and Indigenous Peoples in the First Half of the 20th Century, 2006” (Ph.D. Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 259, 262.

  28. Wilson Sarli, A Time Trip: Adventures of Pioneers in Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2014), 43; Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist Missionaries and Indigenous Peoples in the First Half of the 20th Century, 2006” (Ph.D. Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 273.

  29. Ubirajara Preste Filho, “The Indigenous and the Second Advent Message: Adventist Missionaries and Indigenous Peoples in the First Half of the 20th Century, 2006” (Ph.D. Thesis, University of São Paulo, 2006), 284.

  30. Paulo Pinheiro, Carajás Mission (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 1994), 54.

  31. “Alvin Nathan Allen,” National Adventist Memory Center Network, September 18, 2013, accessed January 06, 2020, http://www.memoriaadventista.com.br/wikiasd/index.php?title=Alvin_Nathan_Allen

  32. “Araguaya Indian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1933), 169.

  33. “Araguaya Indian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1934), 172; “Araguaya Indian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1938), 184.

  34. Wilson Sarli, A Time Trip: Adventures of Pioneers in Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2014), 73.

  35. “Potomac Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1940), 38, 374.

  36. “Florida Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1943), 59; “Florida Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1945), 59; U. D. Pickard, “A. N. Allen,” January 31, 1946, 20.

  37. Wilson Sarli, A Time Trip: Adventures of Pioneers in Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Brazilian Publishing House, 2014), 38.

  38. “Columbia Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1941), 36, 380.

  39. Wilson Sarli, Uma viagem no tempo: aventuras dos pioneiros no Araguaia (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2014), 71.

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UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Allen, Alvin Nathan (1880–1945)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BGCZ.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Allen, Alvin Nathan (1880–1945)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access July 26, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BGCZ.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center – (2021, April 28). Allen, Alvin Nathan (1880–1945). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved July 26, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BGCZ.