Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ms Gertrude Carina Bellin

Conrad Mbewe has posted of his visits to the mission station where Gertrude and Olive served.
Gertrude Carina Bellin was born in Johannesburg in a devoted Christian home, and found the Saviour early in life. She was educated at the Jeppe Girls’ High School. Later she accompanied her parents on their return to Australia. She completed a course of training at the Melbourne Bible Institute but Lambaland was her goal but she did not settle until the SABMS Mission Station at Kafulafuta, 17 mines from Luanshya, became her home. Thereafter, she worked in association with Miss Olive Doke, and the Lamba people became her people, and their conversion, her passion.
That was in 1938 and she continued to serve in Lambaland until mid 1971. That year, very reluctantly, she left the field upon retirement. But, in reality, she neither “retired” nor “left the field” for her thoughts, her prayers, her interest and all her deputation work in Australia, centred around Lambaland and the needs of the Lamba people.
Carina Bellin’s contribution to Lambaland cannot easily be assessed. When she arrived in 1938, things were still rather primitive. She and Miss Doke were happy to be practically pioneer missionaries. They often had to assume great responsibilities – sometimes almost too great for two lady missionaries to manage.
Carina had completed her midwifery training before going to the field. Subsequent experience taught her much concerning the diagnosis and treatment of various ills. She once told me: “In the beginning of our medical work, it was aspirin for all complaints above belt and castor oil for all below.” But the people greatly appreciated her efforts. Her ministry of healing and her attendance at confinements brought her life-long friends.
In those far off days of 30 years ago the country was still wild and on one occasion during the early years of her service, a leopard prowled through her home.
Carina set herself a task of learning the Lamba language and completely mastered it.
She trekked, she preached, she taught. Her greatest joy was to be out in the bush with the people. She held classes - both of a secular and of a spiritual nature - she taught the people to read and write, as well as being their spiritual mentor. She took an interest in their families, their homes and their problems. No one lavished more love to the Lamba people than she did. She was willing to sit in discussions with them for hours, counseling, guiding, encouraging and praying with them. The pace at which they lived could never be her natural pace for Carina was quick of thought and action, but she had infinite patience with them because she loved them.
Carina started a boarding school for girls. It was small and austere. She battled with the BU Executive, with the Government Commissioner and with the Education Authorities until she got her way. Ultimately, a fine girls’ school, with boarding facilities, was established and many precious souls were won for the Lord Jesus Christ through the labours of the Head Mistress, Miss Gladys Larkin B.Sc.
Later, Carina found great joy in teaching older illiterate women to read in order that they might be able to appreciate the Lamba Bible.
At the end of her service in Lambaland, the BU Assembly paid tribute to her 32 years of devoted ministry. We quote part of that tribute:
“Miss Bellin has shown a unique versatility on the Field as nurse, teacher in the women’s Bible School, youth worker, manager of schools and as itinerant evangelist. All this she has done most acceptably. During the period of 32 years, Miss Bellin has seen tremendous changes on the Field but to her credit it can be said that she has kept in step with changing circumstances and the political life of the country. Of one thing we can be sure, no matter where Miss Bellin may dwell, her heart will still be in Lambaland.”
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

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