Life stories updated
march 4, 2007
All my life I have been fascinated by and often inspired by life stories
of other people. In my mother's diary I can read about some Uighur coworkers in
the Swedish Hospital in Yarkend. Like Samuel Akhon. When my parents in 1931 had
been riding on horseback over the Karakorum mountain for almost 2 months Samuel
Akhon came riding from Yarkend to meet them. For the last two weeks of their
journey they had been riding through desolate places. So one day Samuel
came riding to meet them! I can feel my mother's joy on seeing him when she
writes: ".. it was just wonderful."
How I would like to know more
about Samuel Akhon! I will try to find out about him and others in East
Turkestan from that time and let you know. Maybe I can trace more about him in
the Samuel Franne East Turkestan Collection in the National Archives in
Stockholm. (See Home)
Looking at old photographs some faces start to become familiar! The
photograph below shows Ismael Akhon and Abdullah Akhon with their families. They
were teachers in the Swedish Mission school in Kashgar in the 1930-s. Does
anybody recognize them?
recognized them and gave me their names!
Thanks to the albums
of Stina Mårtensson we have been able to copy some photographs of Uighur
co-workers at the Swedish Mission and their families, some from the work and
from the church fellowship.
came from Ovanåker in Hälsingland, Sweden. She worked as a nurse midwife in
Jarkend and Kashgar for more than 22 years in periods during the years 1907 -
1936. From 1939 she worked in India for 7 years. She died in Sweden 1962 at the
age of 80.
Below are some of the
pictures. Peoples names are taken as written in the album.
My plan is to add
some more information of the people as I can get it from other sources like
Samuel Fränne's Östturkestan Collection in the National Archives, Stockholm.
The Church in
Kader Akhond's home
worker Emin Akhon
The Uighur Dr Nur
Luke worked with Bible translation in India. (from "Sett och hört i Indien",
photo: G Niklasson)
Avetaranian. John Tornquist took this photo. It is found in a book about
the first 25 years in East Turkestan, published 1917 by the Swedish
first person to stay in Kashgar 1892 to work for the Swedish Mission was
not a Swede but a Turk from Turkey: Johannes Avetaranian. Let us look at
the life of this pioneer. He was born in Erzurum in Asia Minor 1861 in a
Muslim family. His birth name was Muhammad Shukri. His father was a
dervish. His mother, who was deaf, mute and blind, died when Muhammad
Shukri was only 2 years old. At the age of 18 his father died.
supported himself as a schoolteacher and imam. He was very zealous in
his spiritual search, studying the depths of Islam. At that time a
Turkish soldier had returned to Turkey from imprisonment of war in
Russia. In the prison the soldier had received a New Testament. Muhammad
Shukri borrowed this New Testament and later on bought a copy of his
own. He was reading it with growing interest. After some time he found
the salvation he had been searching for. One day he openly confessed
himself as a Christian. He spent a full year studying the Bible and also
preaching his new-found faith. For this he was persecuted. During
several years he had to flee for his life from one place to another. He
came to Persia and then to Caucasus. In Tiflis he met an Armenian
preacher, Abraham Amirkhanjanz, who became a great support to him. There
he was baptised and took the name Johannes Avetaranian.
Tiflis Avetaranian first met the Swedish missionary Hoijer A long
lasting friendship started. They went together preaching in Armenia. In
1886 he went with Hoijer to Sweden and studied at the Mission School in
Kristinehamn. He returned to Central Asia where he felt his calling was
to be a witness for Christ.
Hoijer 7 Dec l891 started his journey to explore the possibilities of
starting mission work in Kashgar some Armenian Christians and
Avetaranian travelled together with him. In the end of January l892 they
reached Kashgar. When the others after only one week left Kashgar
Avetaranian stayed on alone. At their departure Avetaranian received a
memory verse from the prophet Isaiah: "Fear not for I am with you,
be not dismayed for I am your God."
employed a couple of poor boys. After some time one of them became a
Christian and was baptised. His name was Omer. He was also called
Lazarus. But Avetaranian passed his time mostly in loneliness and
was the first evangelical preacher in this part of Central Asia. In the
ordinary way of street preachers he went to the bazaars talking to
people and preaching to them about Jesus Christ.
waiting for the Swedish missionaries Avetaranian started to translate
the New Testament to Eastern Turkish. During the two years and six
months before the Swedes arrived he managed to translate the Gospels of
Matthew and Luke. Later he also translated the gospels of Mark and John
so that all the four Gospels could be published 1898. The Kashgar
citizen Mirza Abdul Kerim assisted him.
left Kashgar l897 thinking he would return soon. However he got employed
by the German Orient Mission and was stationed in Bulgaria. He continued
his translation work of the New Testament into Uighur. The Swedish
linguist and missionary Raquette worked together with him for some time
in Filippopel. There the whole New Testament in Uighur was printed for
the first time. In 1914 it was ready for distribution. Soon before this
Avetaranian wrote: "I thank God if He will let me live till the
autumn, when the translation is likely to be ready. Then I can say:
Lord, now you will let your servant depart in peace." He died in
1920 in Wiesbaden, Germany.
name of Johannes Avetaranian will always be remembered in the history of
the Swedish Mission in East Turkestan.
Akhon was born around 1900. As a young boy he came to the Swedish
Mission in Kashgar. He was partly brought up by the Raquette family. He
worked for them as a cook. He learnt quite a lot of Swedish by listening
to their children but also from a Swedish cookery book. The other young
Turkish (Uighur) boys held him in great respect as he could speak a
language that they could not understand. When the Raquettes left for
Sweden 1921 Ibrahim continued to work as a cook for other missionaries.
He had been to Yarkend for a Bible course and was also a preacher.
was married to Helema. 5th of December l932 their son Bilqus was born.
Stina Martensson writes in her diary 9th April l936: "
Tonight we have had baptism when Ibrahim Akhond's wife Helema, Ismael
and Honera have been baptised. It was such a blessed moment. In the
faces of the men one could see how happy they were that their wives took
Moen tells that Ibrahim Akhon was arrested and put into prison because
of his Christian faith. "He just disappeared and we saw him never
again. Most probably he suffered the death of a martyr as so many others
of the Christian men." This happened l938.
This page will continually be under construction so you are welcome back
to read more!