Billy Graham Center

Papers of Mark Richard Larson - Collection 207

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Mark Richard Larson

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description
Interview with Larson concerning his experiences as a missionary under Sudan Interior Mission in Nigeria, 1979-1981. Centers on agricultural mission work in the Kano area of northern Nigeria. Accompanied by prayer letters and a scrapbook about the work.

Collection 207 [July 13, 2000]
Larson, Mark Richard; 1956-
Papers; 1981-1984
1 Box (DC, .2 cubic foot), 1 Reel of Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Mark Richard Larson was born in Geneva, Illinois, June 9, 1956, the son of A. Raymond and Marianne Akerstrom Larson. As a teenager, he joined the Evangelical Covenant Church of Batavia, Illinois. He attended the Geneva public schools, graduating from its high school in 1974. He received a B.S. degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1978.

Larson applied to Sudan Interior Mission in the summer of 1978. He attended SIM's candidate school in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, in November of that year and was accepted for service. Aside from his time at this school, he was employed by a poultry farm near Champaign, Illinois, from mid-1978 to April 1979. In June 1979 Larson flew to Kano, Nigeria, to begin a two-year term in an agricultural ministry to the Kano area.

He returned to the United States in 1981 and enrolled in the Interdisciplinary track of Wheaton Graduate School. In June 1982 he returned to Nigeria under SIM, where he planned to complete his graduate degree while continuing mission work. In August 1984, Larson returned to Wheaton College Graduate School and received an M.A. in 1986. In December 1984, he married Ilse Marie (Immie) Wiebe.

Scope and Content

[NOTE: In the Scope and Content description, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]

This collection consists of a taped interview, prayer letters dated from October 1982 to August 1984 and an Sudan Interior Mission Prayer Guide (folder 1-2), and a scrapbook (folder 1-1). The scrapbook was used as a point of reference throughout the interview and should be used by researchers in tandem with the tape.

Mark Larson was interviewed by Galen Wilson on March 24, 1982, at the Billy Graham Center Archives. The column to the left of topics discussed indicates time elapsed since the beginning of the tape.

T1 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:15 Introduction to interview
01:45 Early life; upbringing and religious instruction; personal salvation during high school years at a Youth for Christ program
05:45 Plans for spending life with Christ and for Christ; spiritual growth in turning from inward to outward focus; reading C. S. Lewis
07:00 First ideas about being a missionary; college career at University of Illinois; major in agricultural science
09:00 He runs into literature from Intercristo, and finds out about mission opportunities in agriculture; Urbana missions conference, 1976; John Stott's speeches
11:30 He writes to mission boards, including Sudan Interior Mission; initial contacts with candidate secretary
14:00 Candidate school, November 1978, Cedar Grove, New Jersey--description and purposes; he is accepted by mission; only one from his candidate group is not accepted
17:30 Summer, 1978: working at poultry farm near Champaign; leads a Bible study as an Inter-Varsity associate staff member; returns to Geneva, Illinois, April 1979
19:00 Leaves for Kano, Nigeria, June 5, 1979 on SIM missionary charter flight; description of charter-flight workings; amount of luggage allowed; veteran missionary's recommendations on what to take; description of accommodations furnished by mission
23:30 Openings with SIM for agricultural degree; assignment to Kano; living conditions; SIM staff in Kano
25:45 Kano Eye Hospital--strike by workers; nationals employed by hospital in all ranks of position, from physician on down; hospital no longer operated solely by SIM
27:30 SIM relations with Evangelical Churches of West Africa (ECWA)
28:45 [Beginning of going through scrapbook]
29:45 [Cover] Type of climate--expectation vs. reality; Kano a center of Northern Nigeria; he finds he will be stationed at Kano
33:45 Language study at Miango; textbook--Teach Yourself Hausa
36:15 [Inside front cover] Predominance of Hausa language in Nigeria; religious composition of Kano area; Nigerian economy based on oil; Kano-area economy based on agriculture
39:00 [Page 1] Description of Kano and its city wall
40:00 [Page 2] Islam the dominant faith; difficulties involved in witnessing to Muslims; approach of "friendship evangelism;" specific instances of personal evangelism; reasons that Christianity has had difficulty making inroads into Muslim-steeped society; ECWA's evangelism in "Operation Good News" in Kano area; Eye Hospital as an opportunity for evangelism
44:45 End of tape

T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:00 Continuation of side 1
01:15 [Page 3] Emir; political power of emir; social position; relations with Christian missions
03:30 [Pages 4 and 5] Description of countryside in its seasons
04:30 [Page 6] Status of women in Kano area; in rural areas, women have more responsibilities, therefore more freedoms
06:00 [Page 7] Maguzawa tribe--pagan, not Muslim; success of evangelism among this tribe; description of Maguzawa religion, closely associated with farming; Maguzawa relations with Muslims; as tribal religions die out, the choice is Christianity or Islam; Africans naturally religious; spiritism, witchcraft, and demonic activity; carry-overs of this into Christianity, where the two traditions can exist side-by-side within an individual
13:00 [Pages 8 to 11] Farming economy; most work still done by hand; high reputation of Nigerian agricultural exports; neglect of agriculture when oil was developed; present crisis in food production; federal government favorable to agricultural missionaries but State Ministry of Agriculture unfavorable; difficulty in securing residence permit
18:30 Break in interview
20:00 Continuation of interview
20:15 [Pages 12 and 13] Education in Nigeria; government involvement in primary schools; Christians more interested in having children educated than non-Christians; quality of state schools
22:15 Fate of Christian schools--nationalized in 1970s; illiteracy rate in northern Nigeria; Christians have motivation to become educated; adult education, staffed by ECWA
25:45 Education evangelism among Maguzawa people
26:30 [Pages 14 to 17] Occupations other than farming
27:30 Staples of diet; his adjustment to the local food; he always takes own drinking water
31:15 [Pages 18 and 19] Status of women in Christian society
33:15 Maguzawa-Fulani tribal relations; Christian populations in each tribe; polygamy
35:30 His own work with farmers; slide shows concerning agriculture and the Gospel in the evenings; how he ran projector in areas without electricity; sanitation facilities; health care
39:00 Purpose of agricultural mission: both to support Christians and to attract attention of non-believers; "witness is more an indirect effect"
41:45 [Pages 20 and 21] Markets and shopping; open-air markets compared to Western-type supermarkets; dickering with merchants; Westerners are assumed to have much money; missionaries are generally financially middle-class in Nigerian society
42:15 [Pages 22 and 23] Leisure time--tennis, basketball; letter writing
43:00 End of tape

T1 - side 3
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:00 Continuation of side 1
01:30 His support system; expenses of underwriting his service
04:00 [Pages 24 and 25] Description of Poultry Project near Jos; other food production projects; he translates some English pamphlets for farmers into Hausa
09:00 [Pages 26 and 27] Extension teaching--teams go out to local areas to give seminars on farming methods, etc.; combined with Gospel presentation; description of foods grown
13:15 [Pages 28 and 29] Nutrition education; willingness of nationals to try growing vegetables--an encouraging sign; list of foods available in rural northern Nigeria
17:00 [Pages 30 and 31] Pastor Dano, a national with whom Mark worked closely in rural program; Dano was first convert among his Maguzawa village where he now pastors; value of Mark's ministry increased when Dano accompanied him on tours (as opposed to Mark's going out alone)
20:00 Plans for future--returning to Nigeria as a career missionary; reasons he opted to go back; short-term work compared to career work
24:45 Study at Wheaton Graduate School; value of coming to grad school after having had mission experience
27:45 End of tape


The materials in this collection were received from Mark Larson in March 1982. His scrapbook was photocopied, and the original returned.

Accession 82-42
September 1, 1982
Galen R. Wilson

Revised, February 14, 1997
Janyce H. Nasgowitz

Accession 82-42
Type of material: Audio Tape
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE. Request by the T# at the beginning of each entry below.

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 114 minutes. Two sides. Interview with Mark Larson by Galen Wilson, March 27, 1982.

Box Folder Item
1 1 Scrapbook; ca. 1981
1 2 Prayer Letters; 1982-1984

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Last Revised: 7/13/00
Expiration: indefinite