Ellen Arnold

Ellen Arnold, was one of the five Australian Baptist women who ministered in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) in British India. All in their twenties, these five single women set out as missionaries to make known the true God to idol worshippers in India, especially to women.

Birth: 1858
Home Calling: 1931
Native Place: Warwickshire
Country: England
Place of Vision: India

Although Ellen was born in England, her family migrated to Adelaide, South Australia, in 1879. She was a teacher by profession. During that time, Punchanon Biswas of Faridpur Mission in East Bengal traveled to South Australia to encourage the churches to consider sending women missionaries to India.

He firmly believed that the women of his country needed to be ministered to by women. His visit was instrumental in helping Ellen identify her vocation as a missionary.

Ellen Arnold ministry in India

After a brief medical training, she reached Faridpur, India, in 1882 and commenced her language study. But soon, she had to return to Australia to recover from severe weakness in 1884. However, her strong will to serve Christ brought her back to Bengal in 1885 with four other women missionaries to help her in the mission work.

These women were affectionately called ‘The Five Barley Loaves’ in reference to the miracle performed by Jesus Christ when he fed a multitude of people with only two fishes and five barley loaves. These women went forth to provide spiritual food to the multitudes in India. Ellen supervised medical, educational, and building projects at Faridpur before shifting to Cumilla in 1886, where she started a mission station.

She then ministered in Pabna and Ataikola, where she continued to preach the Gospel and established schools and dispensaries for the welfare of the people. The locals very much loved her for her services. After a brief visit to Australia in 1930, Ellen returned to Ataikola, where she continued her voluntary work until her death in 1931.

Beloved, are you satisfying the spiritual hunger of the people?

Take away from the article

“Lord, like a loaf in Your hand, bless me and break me such that the people may be spiritually fed. Amen!”

Word of Prayer

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