Homegoing For Retired Philippines Missionary

Mrs. Esther E. Kowles, retired missionary to China, Taiwan and the Philippines, entered into the presence of the Lord on Tuesday, February 10, 2009. She was 91.  Esther served as a missionary with The Christian and Missionary Alliance for 42 years.

In 1938 at the age of 20, Esther Kirchmeyer accepted Christ and soon after attended Buffalo Bible College. In July 1941, Esther married Raymond Kowles, who was home from China on his first furlough. When World War II began, Raymond and Esther remained in the United States and completed studies at Nyack College from 1941 to 1945. In 1945 Raymond was asked to accompany a special post-war party to China for rehabilitation of the mission station properties.  Esther and two of their children joined him soon after. They enjoyed fruitful ministry until the country was overtaken by the Communist regime in 1949. 

The Kowles were relocated to the Philippines in 1950 where their service included evangelism among the Yakan tribe on Basilan Island, production of the first Yakan hymnal and the Gospel of Mark, and supervision of the Manila field office and guest home. While in Manila, they organized and built the first church in the northern Philippines. One of their greatest joys was to hear one of the old men remark at their farewell, “Because you have been here, we have seen God.”

In 1970 they were transferred to Taiwan to work among the Chinese. Esther served as librarian at the Bethany School in Taipei. Raymond served as Board representative of the Taiwan field until his death in 1973. Two years later Esther returned to the ministry in the Philippines and was involved in general station work, Bible studies, and church planting in Manila. She also served as school librarian at Faith Academy, worked in the Manila guest home, and continued in various ministries among the Yakan people. She retired from International Ministries in 1984. 

 Mrs. Kowles is survived by her four children: Miss Ruth Kowles, Mr. Robert Kowles, Mrs. Elizabeth DeMaggio and Mr. Timothy Kowles; 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

 A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 21, 2009, at Community Bible Church in Valley Cottage, New York. Rev. Bryan Burrell will officiate the service.


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