1898 - 1926
Niels Laudjids Nielsen was born in Denmark in 1863. At age 14, he felt called to be a missionary. In 1892, he spent the summer at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, learned the Sequoyah Syllabary of 85 characters, which he mastered well enough in three weeks to read the Cherokee language, but not to speak it. In September of the same year, he opened his first school with an enrollment of eight children. He preached through an interpreter. One year later, Niels traveled to Blair, Nebraska, to marry Jensine Christensen.
This Danish Missionary established a number of preaching stations and schools. In 1903, grammar schools were operating in Little Kansas, Oklahoma (approximately seven miles east of present day Oaks), where Mr. Emil Hansen was the teacher. The same year Clara Soholm taught at Pumpkin Springs (a community located southeast of Oaks), and Dorothea Jensen conducted a third school at Oaks.
Because of a predominance of whites in some of his schools and because the Moravian Church Board requested him to look after scattered Moravians, Nielsen was invited to go to Oaks. He gladly accepted and moved to Oaks early in August 1902. In 1902, the Moravian Mission passed its heritage onto the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church. Lutherans approved Nielsen’s transfer in 1902 after a visit by G. B. Christensen, President of United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Missionary work among the Native Americans was a slow and trying process. Not until 1898 did Rev. Nielsen experience the joy of baptizing his first convert, a girl of 16. Thus, a church was established in late October 1903 named Eben Ezer Lutheran Church.
OAKS INDIAN MISSION CHILDREN'S HOME
1926 - 1980
From its beginning, the Lutheran Missions were primarily focused on the education of Native American young people. The Oaks Mission as a Children’s Home was established in 1926 and is located approximately 65 miles east of Tulsa, Oklahoma, just 23 miles west of Siloam Springs, Arkansas.