Malla Moe was a missionary to Swaziland with the Scandinavian Alliance Mission. As a young woman, she left Norway and immigrated to Chicago, where she came under the influence of Fredrik Franson, who persuaded her to enroll in his two-week Bible school and then go to Africa as a missionary. Arriving in Swaziland in the mid-1890s, she quickly identified with the people and their culture, but was often viewed as difficult and domineering by her missionary colleagues. She established the Bethel mission station near Mhlosheni and Nhlangano, in southern Swaziland, as her base of operations. Conducting her ministry, with no regard to gender limitations, she served as evangelist, church planter, teacher, and preacher. She was not ordained, but she also functioned as a bishop, assigning ministers to churches she planted and overseeing their development. In 1928 she initiated a new ministry of itinerant evangelism, traveling from region to region in her “gospel wagon.” She continued for more than a decade and left behind dozens of new churches. The climax of her career came in 1949 when a new brick church was opened at Bethel. She died two months before her 90th birthday, surrounded by African friends.
Ruth A. Tucker
Maria Nilsen, as told to Paul H. Sheetz, Malla Moe (1956); Ruth A. Tucker, Guardians of the Great Commission: The Story of Women in Modern Missions (1988).
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.