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An enduring legacy


H.T. Maclin came to faith in Jesus in a remarkable way. He was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Anzio in the Pacific Ocean. Typhoon Cobra had just come through and taken the lives of nearly 800 men.

H.T. was in the sick bay with mumps during the storm. He saw men afraid for their lives and praying for God to save them. Then H.T. saw John Alexander, a naval cook, with a look of complete calm on his face.

H.T. met John again several nights later. John explained that his peace came from the Lord, and that H.T. could have the same peace in his life. John prayed with H.T. on the aircraft carrier, and he accepted the Lord. It was December 22, 1944.

Just two months later, in the battle for Iwo Jima, H.T.’s fleet was attacked by the Japanese. During that battle, the USS Bismarck Sea sank because of a direct hit from a kamikaze aircraft, and many of his fellow sailors died.

H.T. just missed being assigned to that ship. He wrote, “As I witnessed the Bismarck Sea slip beneath the cold waters of the north Pacific, I thought about how having mumps for the third time had placed me in a new company of sailors where all but four of us—four out of 150—had been assigned to that ship. Why was I spared? Especially when so many others went to a fiery and watery grave?

“Whatever it may be…the result of it overwhelmed me as I had never been so before. I firmly believed I was saved for a reason yet to be revealed to me by the Lord.”

After the war, H.T. married Alice Nystrom in 1947. The next year, at the Urbana Mission Conference, this young couple (at ages 22 and 19) was challenged to give their lives to world missions. That event would shape the trajectory of their lives.

H.T. attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas. Then, to complete a master’s in theology degree, he attended Dallas Theological Seminary and the Perkins School of Theology at SMU. Alice graduated with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from SMU, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors.

In 1952, H.T. and Alice were appointed as cross-cultural workers by the Board of Missions of The Methodist Church for service in what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Maclins moved to the Congo with their two young daughters, ages two and three. Their son was born in the Congo, and their youngest daughter was born while the family was in the US on home leave. In the Congo, H.T. served as the director of the Teacher-Training Institute and later taught at the conference seminary.

In 1960, the Maclins were the first United Methodists cross-cultural workers appointed to Kenya. There they founded an institution for the training of Christian broadcasters/scriptwriters and audio-visual specialists. In 1964, H.T. was honored by President Tubman of Liberia who named him as Knight Grand Commander of the Humane Order of African Redemption.

While in Africa, Alice taught for the International Press Institute. The first extensive program ever offered in Africa for journalists and broadcasters from more than 30 emerging countries, this program helped governments produce internal media communications to their citizens.

Returning to the United States in 1971, H.T. joined the staff of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Council in Atlanta where he was the director/producer of The United Methodist series on The Protestant Hour. Alice taught English at DeKalb College (now Georgia Perimeter College).

In 1974, the General Board of Global Ministries asked H.T. to serve as the field representative for mission development in this same jurisdiction. In that role, he promoted project and cross-cultural worker support.

During that time, Alice organized and developed curriculum for an English as a Second Language program at DeKalb Community College. Her textbook, Reference Guide to English, has been used by colleges in the US, Canada, and worldwide by the US State Department. She also wrote Useful Swahili, a language guide for expatriates in East Africa. Alice spoke French, Swahili, and Otetela with some degree of fluency, and read other languages.

In early 1984, H.T. became the founding president of the newly launched organization, The Mission Society for United Methodists, which is now TMS Global. By the time he officially retired in 1991, H.T. had seen 75 cross-cultural workers sent to serve in 18 countries. He remained active on TMS Global’s board of directors for many years.

H.T. passed away on April 14, 2014. He was preceded in death by their daughter, Ruth Maclin Golley, in 2008. Alice passed away on June 23, 2020 surrounded by her three children. She is survived by her children and their spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Please join us in praying for the Maclin family during this time. We praise God for the lives of H.T. and Alice, for their faithful service, and for the rich legacy they have left to the TMS Global community.

Photo: H.T. and Alice pictured with their four children, Greg, Cathie, Susie, and Ruth.