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Augusta Gudhart








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Period building, Mahabad (Soujboulak)





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Read Alma Fossum on the birth of a baby...
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Upon Fossum's death, the society sent Miss Augusta Gudhart, who had been in Kurdistan with pastor Fossum, to join the grief-stricken recruits.  Her knowledge of the language, the people and the country would be an invaluable service.  The new team arrived at Soujbulak on May 27, 1921.

Not four months into their work, tragedy again struck the mission.

The Minneapolis Journal, Wednesday, February 8, 1921:

" They have a saying in Persia that 'Mission folk do not know what death means.'  And Alma Fossum has proved it... 

...in the last two weeks, word has been received of another tragedy.

On October 6 at midnight, firing began at Soujbulak she says, in the letter just received, by her brother's wife, Mrs. L. O. Fossum...

'Simko was coming in' Simko is an insurgent Kurd, who led 2,000 men against 800 Persians guarding Soujbulak.  'On October 7,' Miss Fossum write, 'he took the town, robbed, looted, and killed right and left.  Our houses were ransacked, we lost our all, clothing was torn from our backs. Rev. Bachimont was shot and died in his office -.'

'After that we escaped from the house and made our way to speak to Simko on the mountainside.  Mrs. Bachimont was lost, having fled from the house after her husband was shot.'

 'Now we are here and getting some rest. The Lord willing, we shall again work in Kurdistan. For missionaries never learn what death means.'

Hannah Shonhood reported the events in a letter home: "On the afternoon of the sixth was the first that it became evident.  Soldiers were stationed in the mountains, and it was reported that Simko's men (the Shakack Kurds) were appearing in the city.  The firing began during the night, machine guns and cannon, and continued until the early part of the afternoon, when the horsemen of Simko's men were coming over the mountain into the city.  

Looting began immediately.  They took practically everything in the house, even to the clothing we had on, leaving us enough to partly cover our bodies; and the cruel treatment was too horrible to describe, hitting with their guns, kicking, pulling hair, etc.  Mr. Bachimont, having given up the box containing money and Mrs. Bachimont's watch, came down stairs, telling his wife that all was gone, but comforted her by saying, 'That is nothing, we have our lives.' 

Shortly after, other groups came and much confusion ensued.  As Mrs. Bachimont came toward the office she saw her husband coming slowly down the stairs with three men following.   By the pallor on his face she knew something serious had happened.  

When she spoke to him he was unable to answer, but turning to her he carefully seated himself then lay down on the floor.  The blood began to flow from a wound in the region of the heart.  Closing his eyes he continued breathing for about five minutes and he passed away. 

He often expressed the wish that if he should be killed that he might not be tortured, but go quick, and his wish was certainly granted.

 A short time before the mob entered the house, Mr. Bachimont came in from the office saying, 'I just came across this pamphlet of Fossum's'.   It contained two stanzas of 'Jesus lover of my soul', which he wished us to sing together.   He brought in the big Bible, opened it with the hope of finding an appropriate scripture passage.  When he came to Isa. 43:1, 'Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by they name, thou art mine,' he closed the book with a look of relief and satisfaction.  This large Bible was the first thing to be flung on the floor.

 In order to secure some protection from the authorities, Miss Gudhart, Javahir, Miss Fossum and myself fled out the gate where we found the gatekeeper groaning in agony.  He had been shot.   Mrs. Bachimont was nowhere in sight.  She had sought refuge first in the gatekeeper's room, and from there to some ruins back of our house, where she lay crouched in the corner of those mud walls until the next day in the afternoon, when the gatekeeper's wife found her and carried her back over to the house. 

In the meantime we, having wedged our way between the horsemen in the narrow streets, made our way, barefooted, across the river and up the thorny slope of the mountain where Simko greeted us, expressing his regret for what happened and sending an officer to bring us to a place of safety. 

Miss Gudhart and Miss Fossum with the help of some natives, made a coffin, nailing together two boxes from the storeroom. 

The Moslem idea of becoming unclean from touching the dead body of a Christian, made it necessary for us three women to lift the body from the floor onto a ladder on which it was carried to the cemetery...

Miss Gudhart and Miss Fossum accompanied them to the grave, where one old man who had shown a great deal of sympathy, finally said, 'If he is unclean, then I am unclean,' and so assisted in lifting the body into the roughly made casket.

 Miss Gudhart performed a short service in Kurdish at the grave where a few of the natives had gathered. 

 The Sunday before his death, Mr. Bachimont preached his first Kurdish sermon, the liturgy in Kurdish being used also. 

Mirza Kerrin, who had worked with him in correcting translations, was present during the sermon.

 The day before his death he was engaged in translating the hymn 'Werde munter mein Gemute.' (B Cheerful Oh my Soul). 

The attack on the mission and the murder of Pastor Bachimont was not motivated by ill will to the mission or any of the missionaries.  It was a case of invading warriors making a mistake.  The tribal entering the city thought the opposing chief might be hiding in the mission.  Seeing Pastor Bachimont, who in many ways resembled a Kurdish chief, they made their attack.   The killing was a case of mistaken identity."

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LOMS Iraq and Iran Fossum Years Bachimont and Simko