Of British Christians in the evangelical tradition who have influenced the twentieth-century through the printed page, Oswald Chambers ranks probably next to C. S. Lewis. My Utmost For His Highest, his famous devotional classic, has been translated into twelve languages. Yet Oswald Chambers never wrote a book. Thirty-two volumes bear his name on the cover, but he never knew about any of them.
Many devoted readers of these books are aware that Chambers died in 1917 in Zeitoun, Egypt, during his World War I service as YMCA chaplain to British army troops. Some know that he left behind a wife and a four-year-old daughter. Not many realize that his daughter, Miss Kathleen Chambers, is living today in her home in North London, and that for fifty years she and her mother were responsible for the continued influence of Oswald Chambers upon the Christian world.
Undetected appendicitis, which led to peritonitis, caused Chambers’s death in November, 1917, at the age of forty-three. His wife soon returned to Zeitoun and began holding evening prayers in her family bungalow. She continued to conduct devotional meetings for the soldiers every night as well as services on Sundays, just as Oswald had done.
A year later Gertrude and little Kathleen sailed back to England with no money and no prospects. Eventually they took a small cottage outside Oxford, “which had no light and no water laid on.” They held meetings for countrymen from around the district. Mrs. Chambers became a Methodist preacher and also, in response to many requests, began printing some of her husband’s messages.
Moving into a larger house but still in financial straits, Mrs. Chambers and Kathleen looked after four college students. Gertrude (better ...1
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