Cora Taylor's Missionary Letter to Norway

"Dear Norwegian Friends and Relatives,

Greetings from Brazil,

From Cora Katrine Stadem Taylor,

Aug. 21, 2002

Some of you may have met my brother, Rev. Leroy Stadem as he visited Norway a few years ago.

Our mother was Bergit Wilhemine Holbeck until she came to the USA in 1903 and married our father, Alfred Jorgen Peter Stadem, son of Norwegians, but born in the US.

Mom was born in the village of Vatnedal Holmesogn, Mandal, on May 22, 1885, raised in Mandal and sailed to the US in 1903 from Bergen [sic: it was from Kristiansand, Norway, as Peder & Oline Olson-Stadheim and four children sailed from Bergen to America in 1866]. She went to heaven at the age of 98.

Mama gave birth to 9 children, 7 girls and 2 boys.

I was born in 1915. We were raised on a small farm near Bryant, South Dakota. My father broke the sod, raised animals and built us a house in 1919 that is still being used. My parents saw to it that we all attended the American Lutheran Church, even though it was 5 miles away.

We only learned English when we went to school. When it was time to go to High School, we took the train to Canton, SD, over 100 miles away to find work and attend school. All nine of us graduated from there and it was in my last year at the school that I came to understand Salvation by grace, and my what a change it produced in my life. My greatest joy was to win souls. It was there that I dedicated my life to missions [see note 1 below].

While reading the Word of God one day in 1 John 5:13, it said, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

I was so thrilled that I told hundreds of people. I could see no need for staying in the USA since they had so many churches and so I began to study about the needs in foreign lands. I was 19 years old at the time.

Soon I moved to Sioux Falls and found work and fellowship. It was there that the Lord used a friend, Bernice Carlson, to pray with me about re-opening the Union Gospel Mission [in downtown Sioux Falls, SD]. God blessed and doors opened every night, 365 days of the year. There were children's Bible Classes in various parts of the city, which I took very seriously. There were also meetings on Sunday morning and each night of the year. Bernice did a great job of getting speakers for each of those. It was my job to get these speakers a place to eat their noon meal. The Lord opened up a home for each speaker. These men never were promised an offering, and we pretty well kept our promise.

One young University graduate by the name of Carl Taylor was asked to be the superintendent of the Mission for one year and he accepted. He stayed in a home of a believer and preached every night. He was so surprised to receive $5.00 for his birthday he didn't know what to do with it so he sent it to his mother. I thought, but didn't say, "He's the kind of husband I need."

Carl had received a letter from the founder of his University asking him to consider going to Homer, Alaska and start a church. He was offered $60.00 a month for 6 months and then it would be cut off. The founder wrote saying that if he insisted on marrying first, the deal would be cut off because he needed to go there first and pioneer the work and then after 6 months to a year he could take unto himself a "helpmate." I wasn't happy about that since just a few days before Carl had asked me to be his wife and go with him to alaska. It was most difficult to come down from 7th Heaven and take orders from the founder. My love and confidence increased with the very next statement Carl made: "This could be of God. I need to leave right away and you will need to get your wardrobe ready for the cold." Carl left in a few days to spend some valuable time with his Mom and then he took a ship to Alaska.

I was impressed to see how quickly the Lord had a surprise all worked out for me. I was invited to live with a Christian doctor and his wife. She had been elected to be the Child Evangelism director for half of the State of Iowa. She had a big problem, however, she couldn't drive. So I was her driver and helped her teach those that wanted to be teachers, using flannel graph with Bible stories. Without saying a word to the doctor about my needs, he began to get real concerned about my needs for proper clothing for my move to Alaska. I was so in love with Carl that I couldn't even think right. The couple took me into a store and told the clerk to fit me out for 40 degrees below weather.

Carl arrived in Homer, Alaska in 1940. Most of the men had gone fishing and they would stay away for three months and live on what they had won for the next 9 months. Carl was very careful not to enter any homes [a lone, young, unmarried male while the husbands were away fishing--Ed.] but would visit standing on the front porch. He offered to help the women with haying and wouldn't charge anything. These women became very grateful for his help.

After six months I arrived on December 25 in Seldovia and that very night we were married. We crossed the dangerous "Katchemak Bay" the next day to live in a log cabin in Homer. We started Bible classes in their homes and church and Sunday School. Our first meeting was in a School House. There sat many strangers that had come skiing from far and near. Skiing was new to us. Carl told about his first trip to kill a moose, accompanied by his friends who were in the Ski Army. He told how every time they would look back, he was getting up.

Our first daughter, Carleen Joy, was born there in Homer but before she was 6 months old Carl became deathly ill with rheumatic fever. The order came from the doctor across the Bay that he would die if we didn't take him to a desert.

We were able to move to Tucson, Arizona where God gave back to Carl his health and so once again we started another church. In 1944 Calvin Lee was born into our home but before he was two the Lord challenged us to get back into mission work, and this time with New Tribes Mission [see note 2] No other mission board would take us because by now we had our third child, Beth Ann. In 1949 we flew to Brazil with 19 others...In 1950 Hudson James Taylor was born into our family.

Carl served as director of the Mission for many years, looking for tribal groups and placing new missionaries. In 1989 he was on his way to his last meeting challenging the Brazilian church to sent out their own to reach tribal groups. He was in a terrible car wreck and went immediately to be with the Lord. [See note 3]

All four of our children have become missionaries with NTM. Carleen and her husband [Ken Newton] have served in Columbia, South America since the 1960s training Columbian missionaries. The other three have served in Brazil since the 1970s. Calvin and Gwen are back in the US since 1999 representing the mission, looking to the Lord to raise up many missionaries for the fields [see note 2]. Beth and her husband [Dan Templeton] are doing the same in the churches in Brazil while Hudson and his wife [Resa] work with the Pataxo Tribe on the Atlantic coast of Brazil.

One of my favorite verses to answer the question, "Is an Indian lost if he has never heard the Word of God?" is Romans 2:12: "As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law." How important it is that we who are believers live our lives seeking to give each of the language groups a chance to hear the wonderful Good News that I heard there in South Dakota.

My main ministry is now in prayer meetings and in counseling here in Jacutinga, Brazil. I love it here. It has been 53 years [now 65 years, in 2014, with Cora Taylor reaching 99 years of age!--Ed.] since arriving and God has given me the privilege of working with these wonderful people.

When we arrived in Brazil the Roman Catholic people were not allowed to read the Word of God. Many things have changed now. Then only 3 percent of the population were believers [true Christians who knew the grace of Christ for personal salvation]. This year the census revealed that 25 percent consider themselves to be evangelical believers. There are now 330 unreached groups in South America, 1000 in Africa and 2100 in Asia and the Pacific.

The Lord is worthy! His name isn't known in these 3450 groups. He loves them. He sent His Son, and now it is our privilege to go and tell.

I hope you will participate wholeheartedly in reaching the tribal people of the world. If you can go, "Go," please go. If you can help someone else to go, then give and pray so they can go. I am so happy I had the chance to go. I am grateful to those who have given and prayed for me and my family.

Stadem Family Web Site:

Calvin and Gwen Taylor: E-mail:

Evangeliet til Unadde Folkegrupper, "The Gospel to Unreached People Groups," the Norwegian New Tribes Mission-ETUF

Note 1: the noble three or four storied, towered building, called "Old Main," where Cora was saved and found Salvation by grace of Christ alone, is still standing, restored as retirement apartments, long after the Christian school was closed; there my own mother was baptized in 1909, in the Chapel of the building, so a baptism of my mother and a salvation experience by my Aunt occurred in that same wonderful structure where I also studied for three years when my time came in the late 1950s, and a short distance away in my room on the second floor in the boys' dormitory I too was saved and born again at the age of 15, becoming a New Creation in 1957!

Note 2: Calvin Taylor (eldest son of Cora Taylor) has followed his uncle Leroy Stadem and numerous singers in the Stadem family touring Norway in Augsburg college choirs, not to mention families of Stadem Descendants on tours of their own, and made a missionary trip to Norway and visited relatives among the Holbeks and Stadems his Norwegian cousins. He forwarded this missionary letter from his mother to us to put on the Stadem Website for all to enjoy. We offer it now to you, both in America and Norway and Brazil and other countries as well. Our Aunt Cora is now turned 99 in the last few days, and is still at work praying for salvation for various people and tribal groups and for her own missionary family. She resides in the Cora Taylor Guesthouse built for her and also visiting missionaries, constructed by her son-in-law Dan Templeton on the grounds of the Peniel Bible Institute, Jacutinga, Brazil.

Note 3: Cora makes no mention of this, but along with Carl Taylor, Cora's beloved granddaughter Lenita Templeton, in training to be a missionary at age 19, was injured so badly in the wreck she stayed in a coma and passed to Heaven a week later.

A national Brazilian missionary in the car also died immediately with Carl Taylor, the father to some young children-- which shows the costs missionaries and their families must be prepared to pay for the Lord's Work--life itself sometimes.--Ed.

Plain View Farm Home Pages: The Introductory (or Front Door)

Stadem Families Saga Continues

Stadem Families Master Photo Album

Cora Taylor's Letter from Homer, Alaska, 1940s

Tribute to Cora & Carl Taylor

Tributes to Lenita Templeton, Granddaughter of Cora and Carl Taylor, Daughter of Beth and Dan Templeton

Cora Taylor's Salvation Experience at Age 19: Her Spiritual Rescue

The Holbek Summary

Trips to Norway by American Stadem/Holbek Families

The Holbek Lineage Remembered

"Oline Madsdatter Vikoren Starts Her Day," How Oline (Stadheim) and her husband and family lived prior to 1866, by Gr Gr Grandson Ronald Ginther

Tributes to Bart Lindstrom, Portrait Artist for Bergit Wilhelmine Holbek Stadem

(c) 2014, Butterfly Productions, All Rights Reserved