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Missionaries & Science

Posted by Jennifer Whiteman , 29 September 2010 · 1345 views

Hello from the C&MA Archives!

My name is Jenn Whiteman and I am the Managing Archivist here at the National Office. A co-worker's stroke of genius (ahem...Marvin Harrell) encouraged me to start posting stuff from the Archives - things we've stumbled upon that we think you may also find interesting and challenging. So here goes..our first post!

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We got a request earlier this year from a doctor who was giving a presentation on an antibiotic called Vancomycin - Vanco what?! The doctor wanted to verify a story he had heard about C&MA missionaries from Indonesia, Bill Conley and William Bouw, being contracted by the Eli Lilly Company to gather soil samples to hopefully be used in their antibiotic screening program. As random as I initially thought this request was, I ended up finding an article in the Alliance Magazine confirming that in 1952 Conley and Bouw teamed up and did deliver the samples to Eli Lilly. The dirt contained a substance that when isolated would inhibit the growth of staphylococci...which eventually led to the development of a powerful antibiotic that was found to be an effective treatment for drug-resistant bacteria.

When I answered this request, I was actually on a round of antibiotics to treat an illness that I had been struggling with for months. I remember sitting at my desk and shaking my head thinking - Wow. Although they didn't directly have a hand in making the medication I was on, they were one piece of the puzzle in the lives of others who needed a "drug of last resort" - as vancomycin has traditionally been described.

These guys brought glory to the Father by working not only in their gifts as missionaries but as ambassadors for science. I am reminded today that the God we serve a is a GREAT Creator...and He shows Himself through creation in amazing ways.

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Attached Images

  • Attached Image: Conley.jpg
  • Attached Image: Bouw.jpg





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Julie Daube
Sep 29 2010 03:54 PM
Cool! Thanks for such an intriguing post.
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Jason Linscombe
Sep 30 2010 07:39 AM
very cool!
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Peter Burgo
Sep 30 2010 08:56 AM
Thanks for the dirt on our missionaries. Great stuff! Keep digging, Jenn!
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Don't your love your job? Thanks for keeping the archives alive, Jen!
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Don't your love your job? Thanks for keeping the archives alive, Jen!
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Fascinating, Jenn. Appreciate you taking the time to share.
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