Retired missionary Evelyn Knapp dies at 82
Aug 1, 2012

KINGSPORT, Tenn.—Evelyn Knapp, 82, of Lithia, Fla., International Mission Board missionary to Tanzania for 26 years (1964-1990), died July 27. She and her husband, Douglas, who survives her, labored in the extraordinary work of God, which saw 56,000 new believers in their last 8 years in the Kyela District of Southern Tanzania.   

Evelyn, a very fluent Swahili speaker, founded a youth ministry based on Bible memorization and drills that spread over the whole area. She was also the key figure in the local women’s ministry, encouraging women as leaders of this ministry. She taught pastors in a local Bible School, and with Douglas started a music ministry that led to many new hymns being written by local musicians. A new songbook had to be written with all the new songs that were composed.

Along with Douglas, an agriculturist, she set up a program to improve nutrition for local pastors and their families who often struggled with health issues related to poor nutrition. Rabbits were given to each pastor and his family to increase protein in their diets. She was also the press representative for the Baptist Mission of Tanzania and attended many important Tanzania government and Baptist events in that capacity in order to report these to either local people or Baptists in the USA.    

Evelyn had repeated, life-threatening health problems, most of them related to the difficult isolated area where she served alone most of their years. The couple retired in 1990 due to her health, and the burgeoning work was taken over by others. 

On frequent return trips, however, Evelyn and Douglas continued to have a strong influence on the work there. In later years when they could not return for health reasons, they continued to encourage and counsel pastors and lay leaders in Kyela district and send comfort to those pastors’ families who had lost their loved ones. Now after this great loss, the comfort will extend in the other direction.    

The funeral will be Aug. 4 at 9 a.m. in Kingsport, Tenn. (Hamlett-Dobson), where Evelyn and Douglas have lived with their son Dr. Edson Knapp. She is also survived by her other three children, Suzanne Groce, Walter Knapp and Dr. Richard Knapp, 16 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.    

Submitted by the Knapp family 

Danny Davis (8/2/2012)
I was saddened when I read of Evelyn Knapp's passing. I don't know why. She's going to a wonderful reward. But I am sad in knowing that she has left us. I served with her and her husband Doug back in the summer of 1987 on my first ever mission trip. The Knapps were some of the finest and godliest missionaries/ Christians I've ever met. What an impact they had for the Kingdom of God. When I think about all of those tens of thousands of Tanzanians who will be in Heaven because God sent the Knapps to invest their lives in the Kyela District , I can't help but say "praise God" for a life well lived! If you can ever get your hands on a copy of "Thunder In The Valley", an out-of-print missionary biography of the Knapps from the mid-1980s, please do so. It was one of the most inspiring books I read as a young pastor. - Danny Davis, Danville, VA

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