“ He took him [Abraham] outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
~ Genesis 15:5 ~ ~ ~
“And so from this one man, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” ~ Hebrews 11:12
Haldor Lillenas (1885-1959) = Pastor, Composer, Publishing. Best known for his (3000 +) hymns. Haldor Lillenas was born in the country of Norway on the island Stord, south of Bergen on November 19. His family immigrated to America when Haldor was two, eventually settling in Minnesota.
In 1906, Haldor experienced a conversion at the Peniel Mission in Astoria, OR. He joined the Nazarene church and moved to Deets Bible College (future Point Loma Nazarene University) in Los Angeles, CA where he met his future wife, Bertha Mae (1889-1945) through one of the college’s music groups. She was the second child of a Methodist pastor, W.C. Wilson. Her mother died in 1893 and her father remarried two years later. Then they moved from Kentucky to Pasadena, CA after her father joined the Church of the Nazarene in 1905. Haldor and Bertha married in 1910. They became proud parents of Evangeline and Wendell.
Haldor and Bertha, both ordained, shared the preaching and music ministries in each of their pastorates. They couldn't afford a piano, so bought a "wheezy little organ" for $5.00 from a neighbor and wrote several songs on that instrument. They served in California (1910-14, 1920-23); Illinois (1916-19); Texas (1919-20); and Indiana (1923-26). He founded his own music publishing company, which Nazarene Publishing house in Kansas City purchased as a subsidiary in 1930.
They moved to central Missouri near the Lake of the Ozarks and built a stone house which they called Melody Lane in the 1940s. Haldor would travel to Kansas City by train one day a week for meetings at the publishing house, but composed music in his home office.
After Bertha’s death, he married Lola Kellogg. He died in 1959 after a car accident and was buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City, MO.
More to Read:
1. Called Into Holiness. By W.T. Purkiser. Nazarene Publishing House, 1983. Vols. 1, 2
2. Hymns: Inspiring Stories About 600 Hymns and Praise Songs. By Wm. J. & Ardythe Peterson. Tyndale, 2006.
3. Nazarene Roots: Pastors, Prophets, Revivalists & Reformers. By Stan Ingersol. Beacon Hill Press, 2009.
4. The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of Iberia Church of the Nazarene: 1908 - 1983, A History. Main & High Street, PO Box 152, Iberia, MO 65386. Rev. Aldean Wood, Pastor.
5. Awakening Messages and Stirring Experiences Including a Brief Sketch of His Sainted Wife, Evangeline. W.L.Surbrook, President of Kingwood Holiness College, Kingswood, KY, 1930. (contains a copy of one of Haldor's poems)
6. Kansas City Star-Times Obituary, August 18, 1959. 7. Bertha's Death Certificate #17547 8. Findagrave # 6872074
Places to Visit in MO.& KS.
1. NOTE: Melody Lane Estates, in Miller County, MO. is a private residence.
2. Iberia Church of the Nazarene, Iberia, MO.
3. Nazarene Global Ministry Center & Archives, 17001 Prairie Star Parkway, Lenexa, KS. 66220, 913-577-2970 www.nazarene.org (guided tours by appointment)
4. Forest Hill Cemetery, 6901 Troost Ave., Kansas City