Bearl & Virginia Smalldridge – Founders
Bearl Smalldridge was born June 18, 1928 in Newton, Iowa and preached his first sermon at the tender age of ten. At the age of eighteen after a brief period in the Navy during World War II he started in fulltime evangelical ministry traveling the United States and preaching in churches and on street corners. Bearl met his lovely bride Virginia in 1949 at Altersgate University in Florida where they shared a common vision of missionary work in Africa.
While in Cameroon, the Smalldridges established a chain of churches in both West Cameroon and East Cameroon. Over 50 of these Churches are ministering to this day. Many previous students were fortunate to travel to the United States and England to further their education. Over ten of these students currently live in the States and hold positions as professors and attorneys yet continue to support their villages and further the educational and financial needs of their peoples.
The Smalldridge’s first missionary endeavor was a summer ministry in the Bahamas Island in 1952. In 1962 Bearl & Virginia gathered their family of five children and went to the remote village of Poe River Beach, Liberia were they spent three and a half years building a primary mission school and establishing churches in the region. Their youngest daughter was born while on this mission field in Africa.
Bearl and Virginia founded World Wide Missions Secondary School Cameroon in 1969 and became the largest secondary school in West Cameroon. For the five and a half years that they were the proprietors.
After leaving Cameroon, Bearl continued to minister in Uganda, Kenya, Philippines, India, and Russia.
The Smalldridges are now retired in Vinton, Iowa and purchased a Bed and Breakfast named The Lion and the Lamb, which their daughter operated for many years. They continue to actively support many mission group throughout the world.
In 2008 Bearl was able to return to Cameroon with his son Jon Smalldridge. Jon felt inspired to continue the work which his father started 40 years earlier. Jon is the current Director of World Wide Missions Cameroon.