Progress and Pain
The missionaries worked at a feverish pace for four years, completing a body of work that would have taken most teams a life-time. They founded the area’s first hospital, built a church, translated the scriptures into the Kurdish language, started colloquial education in Kurdish for children and cared for orphans. In this short span, they had marked the history of the Kurds and of Mahabad, where the world’s first and only Kurdish republic would be established by Fossum’s friend and neighbor Ghazi Muhammad some years later.
All was not well, however. The Great War was on the horizon and with it erupted hostilities involving Turks, Persians, Russians and Armenians. The Kurdish mission lay at the crossroads of civilization, and suffered the brunt of some of history's most bitter and awful battles. The missionaries valiantly cared for thousands of refugees before finally being forced to flee.
The Lutheran compound at Soujboulak/Mahabad before the war. Fossum is in a top hat and suit.