Sprunger, Agnes (1885-1973)

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Agnes Sprunger, 1916 passport picture.
Photo courtesy of Max Haines

Agnes Sprunger was born 25 September 1885 to Johann and Elisabeth Sprunger in Berne, Indiana, where she early came to faith in Christ and conviction about Christian service. She graduated from Fort Wayne Bible Institute in 1909 and from a nurses' training course in Cincinnati in 1911. After engaging in church service in Detroit, she applied to the Congo Inland Mission (Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission) with promised support of the Berne Missionary Church, of which she was a life-long member. She was commissioned in 1916 and sailed to the Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo) that same year.

Her first term was spent at Djoko Punda where she learned the Tshiluba language and served in the station dispensary and schools. In 1923 she accompanied Henry and Emma Moser and Erma Birky to pioneer a new work among the Baphende people west of the Loange River at Mukedi. There she found a language still in process of analysis with only small parts of Scripture translated. While she had no training in linguistics, Agnes decided to do what she could to give the Baphende people the Scriptures in their own tongue. In consultation with the British and Foreign Bible Society of London she began her task. In 1935 the first edition of the Baphende New Testament came off the press at Kinshasa, the capital of Congo. She then turned her attention to the Old Testament. The conclusion of the first manuscript coincided with her retirement in 1953. Agnes Sprunger died 11 January 1973 in Berne, Indiana.


"Former Missionary to Zaire Dies at Retirement Home." Mennonite Weekly Review (25 January 1973): 7.

Author(s) James E Bertsche
Date Published 1989

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bertsche, James E. "Sprunger, Agnes (1885-1973)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 18 Oct 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Sprunger,_Agnes_(1885-1973)&oldid=172303.

APA style

Bertsche, James E. (1989). Sprunger, Agnes (1885-1973). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 October 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Sprunger,_Agnes_(1885-1973)&oldid=172303.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 854-855. All rights reserved.

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