Carol Williams Sagness Memorial at Mt. View Lutheran Church, Puyallup This new year of 1998 is the Thirtieth Anniversary of Carol Williams Sagness\rquote s death in Cameroon, Africa, as a missionary of the former American Lutheran Church and Mt. View Lutheran Congregation. It is fitting to commemorate her sacrifice and her death in 1968, but even more fitting to commemorate her life and achievements. \par Though Carol was not destined to live out her full life-span--cut short by a sudden attack of hepatitis--she lived fully, with a love of life and people and an enthusiasm that communicated and left no doubt that life could be exciting and meaningful, full of purpose. She and her parents resided in Edgewood (later in Sumner, on the edge of the Valley). She attended local schools. Her parents, Oscar and Doris, were long-time members of Mt. View Lutheran Church, so Carol regularly attended and also completed training in Confirmation Class. She went on to attend Pacific Lutheran College, excelling in her studies and artistic abilities. An exceptionally gifted, even brilliant student, she produced oil paintings, wrote poetry, sang in the Choir, and learned to speak French fluently with French instructors. Highly social, she cultivated a large circle of friends that included PLC faculty. Anyone who knew her at that time was struck by her intelligence, vivacity, and interest in people. The PLC faculty clearly regarded her as a star among the student body. \par Carol did not neglect her spiritual heritage, however. She sang in the Pacific Lutheran College Choir, sharing her unusually beautiful voice at Mt. View as well. And, most importantly, she experienced Christ during her high school years and made a decision to follow God, her reply to philosophers who at that time were calling the Historic Faith into question. She taught Sunday School at Mt. View, and she met the intern. Ronald Sagness, considered a fine intern, gave well-thought-out sermons and was also memorable for a solemn, gentle manner . They were married and the newlyweds left to continue his seminary training in Minneapolis. \par This period of Carol\rquote s life was a struggle, no doubt (Carol seemed to prefer life that way). Ronald was occupied day and night at his seminary studies, and Carol worked at various jobs to help with the finances. Pay was low in the 1960\rquote s. One job she had was at a downtown factory. This experience, in which she worked with factory workers, many of them young women, must have deepened her understanding and compassion for people on the lower rungs of society. But the Sagnesses persevered, Ronald graduated, and together they dedicated themselves to the calling of missionaries. To gain their goal they were required to study French in France, so they moved to Paris, another relocation and new set of challenging circumstances. After training in advanced French for the former French Cameroons, they set out on a boat for their mission field, having gained the full endorsement of the American Lutheran Church. \par Cameroon was their biggest challenge, of course. Locating in the very dry uplands, in a completely rural area among nomadic and semi-nomadic herdsmen, a tribe known as the Fulani, the Sagnesses struggled to create a home out of virtually nothing. Ronald proved he had carpenter skills, for he fashioned sturdy furniture out of local lumber (probably not very abundant in this area of the Sahal, an arid zone n the edges of the Sahara). Carol went to work making the little house on the big, red-earthed hill a home, adding finishing touches with her artwork and painting. They had no running water, no television, but they had a radio they used to pick up classical music broadcasts from the BBC of London, which they loved. \par What was life for this young couple in so isolated a mission field? Carol\rquote s letters to parents and friends indicate that it was hard for the inhabitants, so by inference we can say it must have been equally or even more difficult for the Sagnesses, who weren\rquote t natives after all. No running water but in the few streams, which were heavily polluted by the Fulani Tribe\rquote s cattle and livestock! No electricity! No real roads! No Safeways! The list goes on and on, but, most significantly, no hospitals and emergency care, in case of dire need. Carol wrote repeatedly about the high death rate, even among adults. In hut after hut, she said, women had recently died in childbirth, or complications, or from untreated sickness. \par She mentioned, rarely, that the long term of missionary duty required at that time was, in her opinion, too long, especially for young couples. But she did not complain. Rather, her letters were full of the excitement and enthusiasm she had always evidenced in living life. Cloud-cover formed }{\b\fs24 beneath}{\b\i\fs24 their little house, and when lit by the sun at sunrise and later at sunset, the effect was glorious, which she described in her letters. The challenges continued amidst the sheer beauty--for example, birds came and ate their garden, but rather than get upset she said they would replant. \par It came as a shock, despite her writing of the primitive conditions, when Carol died. She had just given birth to Hans, and then one day she fell deathly sick to an unknown malady and had to be rushed to a far-off hospital over very bumpy, rudimentary roads and trails. She died the same day she took ill. Only a plane could have gotten her to the hospital in time for a diagnosis of hepatitis and emergency care that should have saved her life. \par Carol\rquote s death affected many people, both among the missionaries in the region, but also in this country. A fund was subscribed that bought and staffed a plane to be used by missionaries for such emergencies, so that this would not happen again to mission field personnel in isolated districts. Who can say how many lives have been saved and painful conditions treated because of this plane? \par For this reason, it would be a worthy endeavor to create a plaque to her memory at Mt. View and, if possible, give her name to the new addition that will become a Lutheran school. Children and their instruction were special loves of Carol. Children also appear often in her paintings. As Christ died for us sinners, Carol Williams Sagness went to Cameroon that the people there might hear the glorious Good News of His Cross-beamed Salvation, the Gospel, and come to know her Savior and God. It cost her life itself. We ask that you prayerfully consider this Proposal\rquote s aim and worth. \par On the 30th Anniversary of Carol\rquote s death on the mission field, in loving memory of an outstanding college student, churchwoman, and missionary, we are happy to submit this Proposal to the Congregation of Mt. View Lutheran Church, Puyallup, Washington, that she be commemorated either by plaque or naming of the new educational building or even the re-naming of the restored chapel in her honor as a center for Mt. View\rquote s heritage. \par \par }{\b\i Respectfully, in the Name of Christ Jesus, \par \par _____________________________ \par \par March 9, 1998 \par \par Again, respectfully submitted in the Name of Christ Jesus, \par \par _____________________________________ \par February 6, 2001