How one brave lady launched a century of Elim missions
100 years ago Elim sent its first missionary out of the UK. A century after Dollie Phillips’ pioneering venture, Elim Missions is still reaching lives across the world, as Danielle Face explains
This year marks the 100th of Elim empowering missionaries around the world. Yet it all began through a young, single lady travelling to India to share the gospel: Dorothy Phillips, known to her family and friends as Dollie.
Dollie’s parents were Jews who then converted to Pentecos- talism. Her brother Hubert Phil- lips became Elim’s first missionary to South Africa in 1928, and her brother EJ Phillips became Elim’s first Bible College Dean in 1926, and later the first General Secretary. Dollie’s family were therefore intimately involved with Elim’s earliest revival meet- ings, encountering the revival sweeping across the UK – see- ing healings, miracles, signs and wonders. It was this fire of the gospel fuelled by her love for the Lord that inspired Dollie to share her faith so courageously.
The world was recovering from the disaster of the First World War, yet at a time when most would seek comfort and peace, Dollie heard the call of Christ, to pick up her cross and follow him. And she did. Dollie obediently packed her bags and left behind the world that she knew.
The journey was long and arduous, but after weeks of trav- elling she arrived in Mumbai. She stayed and served in Mumbai as a teacher until the Lord asked her to travel further into the heart of cen- tral India, into Chandur, located in today’s Hyderabad.
Dollie wrote letters back to the UK, expressing her desire to study Marathi, the local language, to enable her to ‘enter more into real village mission life and work’.
In one of her letters, dated 1919, she recounts that peo- ple would walk 24 miles every Sunday, just to attend the church service. Many people were receiving salvation and being filled with the Spirit: “Not a day goes by without many hearing the good news of salvation from sin – a full salvation for spirit, soul and body. Their lives are changed, their faces are changed, yet they are standing persecution and many hardships for the Lord’s sake, and gladly telling others the way out of dark- ness into light.”
Dollie returned to the UK in 1920, before setting sail for Mumbai once again in 1923. She eventually returned to the UK in 1928 due to ill health from a tropical disease. However, she continued to serve the Lord and later became the pastor of Letch- worth Elim Church, before overseeing the Elim Guest house in Eastbourne.
Dollie’s niece, Mary Stor- mont, expressed how Dollie’s intimacy with the Lord was evident to all who knew her. “Dollie did not consider herself a pioneer, her motive was the love of the Lord, not position or denomination; she was simply a very humble person.”
Mary goes on to describe Dollie as a great encourager and prayer warrior who was never cross and never spoke detrimentally of anybody. To sum her up as a person, she said: “Dollie was a saint. She was the last person who would say that about herself, but that’s how she came across.”
Dollie’s letters home and her faithful service not only impacted the people of India but inspired the next genera- tion of Elim missionaries to follow the Lord’s call.
To date Elim has sent more than 200 missionaries to all parts of the world, and currently has 82 missionaries serving in 56 nations.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Elim’s partner- ship with Dollie Phillips, as our first missionary, this Feb- ruary we launched three cel- ebratory conferences across India, in Bihar, Bangalore and Chennai. We have had the honour of gathering with our partners and leaders currently serving in India, with an esti- mated attendance of 12,000 people.
Dollie never knew the legacy that she would leave behind, and as Elim Missions we want to encourage you to consider the legacy that you will leave. Will your life impact others by revealing the love of Jesus?
If you’re interested in finding out more about how you could get involved with international missions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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