In Memory of Ethel Hoff

We celebrate the life of OMF missionary Ethel Katherine Hoff who passed away on October 17, 2023. Below is a portion of what was read at her memorial service on November 11.

By Pamela Kaczmarczyk, OMF (U.S.) Retiree Care Coordinator

Before Ethel Katherine Hoff left for the mission field, her referrals said things like, “I have never known a person who excelled like Miss Hoff,” and “I truly believe that she is fit for the mission field.”

Ethel felt a strong call to missions. It was said that she turned down offers of marriage when she found the suitors uninterested in spiritual work.

Ethel HoffBeginning In 1956, Ethel was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and stayed for 17 years. Her duties included church planting, evangelistic open-air meetings, Sunday School, Bible study, church services and medical clinic work. Eventually, she became a part-time secretary to the area director.

In 1972, Ethel began over two decades of medical ministry, evangelism and teacher training for Internationals in Taiwan.

Former OMF Taiwan Field Director, Paul Buttrey, shared, “During Ethel’s time serving in Taiwan with OMF, she was ministering to Taiwan’s aboriginal people. There had been a great turning to Christ in this people group in the 1930s and 1940s, but their discipleship was still in process. She lived in Yuli, a remote, small town in the central part of Taiwan’s mountain range. As her OMF supervisor, I met with her from time to time. She had quite an independent spirit, which was necessary for a single woman missionary. She, with an OMF ministry team, provided help to Presbyterian tribal churches with their ministry programs for children which was her specialty – she held workshops, trained Sunday School teachers, advised pastors, etc. She was in a different church almost every weekend, returning to the churches every year or two. Ethel served faithfully in that ministry, even when it was frustrating. She had sticktoitiveness. What I remember most about her is her quick wit and down-to-earth common sense.”

Ethel HoffOn November 22, 1995, the day after leaving 23 years of service in Taiwan, Ethel was granted honorary Citizenship to Yuli by the mayor of Yuli because, as a foreigner, she had lived there for 20 years. This was the first time this had been granted!

After Ethel retired in 1996, JoLene Lampinen, OMF’s former Retiree Care Coordinator, said Ethel had to be one of the most charismatic, enjoyable, and fun people she had ever met. Ethel had been active in her retirement community – leading a Bible study, teaching English, and teaching Chinese.

In the spring of 2001, Linda Welch Seegraves was accepted into OMF and heading to Taiwan. Seegraves remembered, “I attended a missions conference in which I will never forget the talk Ethel gave. She demonstrated that the lower chopstick stays stationary in one’s hand, like the church; the other chopstick moves up and down by the motion of one’s fingers. Like a missionary who moves to a different location. Both are necessary to get the job done. I was so proud to be in the same missionary sending agency as Ethel.”

After many years in retirement and still serving her Lord, our dear Ethel is now rejoicing in the indescribable delights of being in the presence of Christ, her motto from Philippians 2:16 being fulfilled: “…holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”

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Sarah Houston Ibbotson
Sarah Houston Ibbotson
4 months ago

What a beautiful life lived for God!
A great and wonderful example!

Lynne Morrow
Lynne Morrow
4 months ago

What a wonderful lady! So glad to know a bit more of her history! To God be the glory!