Monnier, Henri (A)
Pioneer missionary in Africa. Born in Switzerland, he received his education there. At the age of fifteen he was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist faith at Lusanne. In 1915, finding the war affecting his prospects in Switzerland, he went to England, where he practiced his trade of watch repairing. In 1920 he married a young English girl and looked forward to living permanently in England. But a few months after the wedding he met D. E. Delhove, who had brought his family to England from Belgium. Delhove, who had been a missionary in East and Central Africa, persuaded Monnier and his wife to accompany him and his family back to Africa. Unfortunately, Mrs. Monnier, suffering complications from childbirth, died there when their child was only five months old. The Delhoves added her to their own growing family.
In 1921 Delhove and Monnier pioneered at Gitwe Mission. The next year the two men pushed northward to Rwankeri Mission. Here Monnier was stationed alone for nearly three years. Delhove would make the 100-mile (160-kilometer) trip to Rwankeri by mule occasionally, to encourage his fellow missionary. In 1924 he found him ill and homesick. Delhove packed him off to Europe and told him not to return until he had received medical treatment and had found a wife.
Successful in his mission, Monnier in 1925 brought back his bride, Olga Parlor, a nurse and Bible instructor. They continued working, alternating between Rwankeri and Gitwe. Most of the time they were at Rwankeri Mission, which Monnier lovingly referred to as his mission. In 1927 Delhove and Monnier paid a visit to Gendia Mission in Kenya, where both were ordained by officers of the European Division who were visiting there. Monnier then returned to Rwankeri. He had become proficient in the Ruanda language, and took a prominent part in translating portions of the Bible into the vernacular. Four children were born into the Monnier family in Ruanda.
The Monniers were on furlough in Europe when World War II broke out. Government authorities refused to permit them to return to Ruanda. In spite of this, Monnier reached his post, but was finally forced to leave. Instead of returning to Europe, he went to Lebanon, where his family joined him. For some time he was stationed in old Damascus, and there died of typhoid fever.
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