Amy Entwistle (1897 - 1992)
Amy was a Blackburn lass born and bred. She was one of seven children in the Entwistle household and a cotton mill worker from the age of 14.
Her brother Hubert was one of the first contacts of Fred Watson of Blackburn and she was introduced to the church by him. As a result, she became one of the first converts and founder members of the Blackburn church and its first missionary. On a visit to the Easter Convention in Preston, she heard Burton and Salter speaking of their work in the Congo and knew that was where God was calling her as a nurse. She prepared by learning French. It is said, she propped a French book up on her loom and learned as she worked. Eventually she left Blackburn, supported by the church, for France to learn the language properly, then off to South Africa for Midwifery training. On qualifying as a midwife in 1926 at 29 years of age, she made the long, difficult six weeks trek to the Congo.
On arrival, she had to start all over again learning the native language. Life was hard, especially for a young British woman, battling heat, sickness and meagre rations but she learned to become very independent. She had to fend for herself and even learned to make bricks to build her own home and the hospital. She delivered many babies and cared for the physical and spiritual needs of the people of the Congo with great commitment for 32 years. She courageously shared her faith and sought to lead her people, especially the mothers, to Christ. On the closure of her mission whilst on furlough in the early fifties, she returned very unhappy but remained until 1958 retiring due to illness. This was just before the Belgian government granted the Congo independence in 1960 with all the horrendous events that followed.
Around 1970s/80s, without the relevant permission, Amy visited the mission and people again. True to her determined and intrepid nature, she set off on her own. She flew to Nairobi and got a Mission Aviation Fellowship plane to Congo then made her way to the mission. She was shocked to see the state of the building and roof. So, on her return to Britain, she set about raising funds for repairs and did so and sent it off.
Hubert, her brother, a pastor and later a local councillor in America, felt she should be honoured for her years of loving service to the people of Congo. So, he wrote to the Belgian authorities and requested she be given an award for her long and loving service in the Congo. They complied and granted her the Royal Order of the Lion (silver medal) which is given to people for their service in the Belgian Congo. It is pictured in her photo above. Later, Bill Counsell states, he also petitioned the UK authorities in the 1980s for an award and they responded with the M.B.E. A fitting token for such a dedicated lady.
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