David Ivory Jeffrey
Canadian missionary Rev. David Ivory (D.I.) Jeffrey was born December 21, 1894. He served as a pioneer missionary of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) in Indo-China and Vietnam (1918-1967). Two years after his arrival in Danang his fiance Ruth Isabel Goforth (1898 -1974) came to the field after spending a year at Nyack. Ruth was well acquainted with Asia being the daughter of well-known China Presbyterian missionaries Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth . The Jeffreys were married in June 1921 and continued their service until retirement in 1967 after completing 46 years of service.
After learning the Vietnamese language the Jeffreys taught at the Tourane (Danang) Bible Institute which was first opened in a missionary home and in 1921 moved to a renovated horse stable. He served as a teacher for three years training Vietnamese Christian workers prior to their one year practicum.
In 1927 Jeffrey was chosen as chairperson of the field. In 1929 he accompanied Rev. Paul Gunther to Siam (Thailand) to open that field for the CMA. In that same year he accompanied Rev. G.E. Roffe to the Kingdom of Laos for opening mission work in that country. The last leg of the journey in Laos was on horse back over the mountains to Luang Prabang from Vientiane.
Excepting for two years of internment by the Japanese in Mytho, Vietnam from 1943-45, Jeffrey alternated with Rev. E.F.Irwin in the capacity of chair of the mission. The philosophy of D.I. and other mission leaders was rather progressive for the times. As local church bodies were formed they became part of a national church administered by the Vietnamese themselves as rapidly as possible, even when started by missionaries. The development of the national church and leadership was constantly a priority goal. The purpose was to bring all matters under the control of the national church. Jeffrey stated: "Self support was our objective. We did not hire nationals." Small sums of financial assistance was given to get a local church body of believers functioning and self-supporting. Immediately following WWII the national church was given considerable financial assistance because of the devastation, but this was withdrawn gradually to return the national church to self-support.
The Jeffreys were always a team while being effective individually as well. They were pioneers in opening the evangelical work among the Vietnamese (Kinh) in the (then) capital city of Hue. Later, when assigned to Saigon, Ruth raised the funds and supervised the construction of the large Vietnamese church building on Galliene (Tran Hung Dao) Blvd. She was also very active in youth work in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh city) and launched the publication of a magazine to reach youth called Rang Dong, which was very successful in reaching the unchurched youth culture. She also supervised the publication of literature to assist pastors in 1948, and raised support for translators and secretaries from friends and churches abroad in Canada and the USA.
While D.I. was tied to administration of the mission, Ruth was active in holding short-term Bible Schools in Nhatrang and Saigon, and carried on extensive church visitation throughout the South Vietnam during the 1960s when the two Vietnams were at war. She was known as determined to fight her way through the complex bureaucracy of French and nationalist restrictions to open ministries to military hospitals and the Chi Hoa prison in Saigon. It is believed that thousands of converts resulted from her inspired ministry.
Mr. Jeffrey served at Alliance headquarters in New York City as a regional director and on the Board of Managers, gave a year of his life to the Bible Society of Saigon and retired in Canada in 1967 with 48 years and 8 months of combined service on his record. Again in 1974, following the death of Mrs. Jeffrey, he returned to Vietnam for 11 weeks of ministry.
David Ivory Jeffrey went to be with the Lord August 25, 1984.
: Material not intended for publication use. Data was compiled from various sources by someone years ago. Completeness and accuracy of the information provided here have not
been verified. Use with caution.]
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