Emil Olson

China, 1891-1900

Emil OlsonEmil Olson was born on May 2, 1867, in Skane, Sweden. He immigrated to America in the spring of 1882 with his parents. He and his family attended a church, which was conducted in English, which helped them learn English. He was soon converted and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Through temptations found in the new Americas, he soon drifted from his newfound Christianity and formed a “resistance,” and he gave in to many temptations. In the fall of 1888, at a meeting in Chicago, in answer to other believers praying for him, he fell at Jesus’ feet and confessed his sin, and received freedom and forgiveness. Immediately after this experience, he began to both privately and publicly praise God, and his goal became to live for God and confess His Name. That done, he immediately became a “soul winner” and answered Gods call to “go today and work in God’s vineyard.” The first time he witnessed, he chose an Alliance pastor to witness to. After that experience, he found witnessing easy. As an immigrant, he was always fearful because of language problems. However, he started to witness to anyone that would listen to him, and he was known in his church as a soul winner.

In the summer of 1890, he married Hanna Rolander from Smaland, Sweden. She had been the means to his conversion and had prayed for him many times. In January, they both had a clear calling from God to go to China. The Alliance pastor of his church helped him apply and because of the Swedish Mission the Alliance was sponsoring, he was accepted, and they sailed for China the same year. In 1894, he was named by the “Mission Committee” in New York to be the local Superintendant in place of Emanuel Ohlson who had suddenly died on the mission field.

He became the missionary’s missionary because of his good linguistic skills, talent, practical disposition, and industrious energy. He always had time to talk to each missionary assigned to him, and he continuously prayed for them and their wellbeing. One of his notable accomplishments was in the Kueihuacheng province; he established a small printing company where he published newspapers and writings. This was the first publishing company north of the Great Wall of China. This became a great evangelistic tool for the area, and it was also used to feed God’s Word to the local missionaries. Missionaries in other parts of China requested copies of the newspaper.

In May of 1900, at the annual China conference of missionaries, He presented a Bible study entitled “God’s Will.” It was noted in the “Alliance Witness” that at this conference all that attended had good fellowship, and the prayer time was sweet, and they made plans to increase the size of the Alliance mission field in China. However, neither he nor his comrades could have predicted that it would be God’s will that this would end their labor, and with their death they would glorify God. During the last time they were together, he prayed that if they were to be parted that they would meet again even in death.

Translated from Swedish article into English.

Hanna Olson

China, 1891-1900

Hanna OlsonHanna Olson (f. Rolander) — no less talented than her famous husband — was as zealous and active as a missionary to China as her husband. She was a good wife, mother, and a great help to her husband. He related that if it were not for her encouragement and prayer, he would have remained a heathen on the streets of Chicago.

Hanna was born in Thorsgarde parish in Samaland, Sweden. At the age of 17 she accepted Christ. She and her family came to America in 1889. Hanna married Emil Olson in the summer of 1890. He related that she had been the means to his conversion. In January 1891, at a revival meeting, she and Emil had a clear calling to become missionaries to China, and when they received the call from the Alliance to go, they packed up, got on a steamer and went to China. The Alliance had assigned the Swedish missionaries a territory in Northern China, North of the Great Wall.

They had a humble home in the Kueihuachieng province. The Olsons were known as good hosts and at one time, they had the Head of the Foreign Department of the Alliance in their home. She was known as the person for a single woman to go to for advice, counseling and prayer. As well as taking care of her home, she did not neglect work to spread light to the heathen. She was known to take her small children and to go into the city to teach women about God in their homes. With love and much energy, she taught a Sunday school class for both the missionary ladies and one in Chinese in the city.

He then made plans to have his wife and the other female missionaries moved to another portion of China where it would be safe for them. He stated that he felt that it was his job to remain in his territory as superintendent and represent God. However it was too late. A letter from a survivor of the massacre stated that the Boxers and the Chinese army stoned Emil and his wife, Hanna, to death. They are together again in God’s care.

Missionary Olson and Hanna had three small children while on the field. Samuel, born in 1896, Josef, born in 1897, and Edit, born 1899. In late 1899, during the Boxer rebellion, she her husband and three children were tortured and martyred at the hands of the Chinese army. After suffering, they entered eternal rest at the “secure dwelling” as they followed the Lamb’s blood-washed army. They were willing to suffer and die for their Lord.

On their marker, it says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Yea,” says the Spirit. “they will rest from their labors and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:13.

Translated from Swedish article into English.

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