September 22

Fredrick Ludwig Rymker was born on this day in 1819 in Stige, Denmark. At the age of twenty he went to sea. On one occasion when his ship docked in New York harbor, he went ashore and stayed in a sailor’s lodging house which was sponsored by Christians. While there he was invited to visit the Mariner’s Temple where he was introduced to the gospel and where the Lord saved him. Immediately he began serving his Savior. Unfortunately, within the year he was involved in an accident which forced the amputation of a leg, after which he was fitted with a wooden prosthesis.

While still in New York Brother Rymker was licensed to preach. Shortly thereafter which he was sent as a Baptist missionary back to his homeland of Denmark. He was ordained to the ministry in Copenhagen where he was preaching and editing the paper The Missionary Magazine for Baptized Christian Churches. After several years, when he was 38, he felt a call to minister in Norway. He settled near Porsgrund, but he established preaching stations in other communities as well – some as far away as 20 miles. Having no means of transportation, the one-legged preacher would walk to each of the missions. In good weather he could cover the distance in 8 or 9 hours, but in winter it took much longer. Once he fell on the icy road and broke his leg – the wooden leg. There was nothing he could do but lay in the snow until someone found him and drove him to town.

In 1861 Rymker’s first Norwegian church was established. When Mrs. Kari Kristensdatter requested water baptism and membership, her husband declared that both she and the preacher would be immersed in blood. When the appointed day arrived, Rymker, Kari and the members of the small church all gathered at a nearby river, but so did Mr. Kristensdatter with some friends – all armed with axes. The Christians peacefully bowed their knees and calmly besought the Lord for His blessings, after which the baptism proceeded without interference.

After about ten years of labor in Norway, Bro. Rymker had overseen the establishment of six churches; about 150 people had been baptized and two converts were ordained to the ministry. The Baptist ministry had begun in that country.