Scope and Contents
The collection is in three main sections: (1) biographical and personal items including articles and papers by Dring about his life and work, diary entries from his voyage to Argentina, and two photographs (1911-1989); (2) news and prayer letters, some under the title of Chaco Grace (1935-1995); (3) and correspondence between Dring, his mission, supporters, fellow missionaries, and family (1936-1995).
Biographical / Historical
John Harry Dring (Harry), missionary in Formosa, northern Argentina, was born in Nottingham on 13 May 1911 to a Methodist family. He became a committed Christian at the age of 19 during a Pentecostal meeting and was subsequently strongly influenced by the life of Fenton Hall, a missionary to Brazil. He trained as a missionary at the John D. Drysdale Emmanuel Bible and Missionary Training College in Birkenhead and sailed for Argentina from Liverpool on 22 June 1935. He was based in Formosa and spent his first four years concentrating on working with the Indian population in the interior. Often at risk to his own health, he travelled throughout the province evangelising and teaching basic reading, writing, sanitary and medical skills. In 1939 he was married to Harriet Cubbin (Cubbie) who had also been at Emmanuel College and who had been working as a medical missionary in Formosa since 1937. The two continued working with Indians and set up home in Estanislao del Campo. They had been attached to the Emmanuel Mission, part of the Drysdale School, but in 1944 they left the mission and from then on lived and worked independently. They relied on support from friends and family and developed a network of supporters among the Pentecostals in America, sending regular prayer and newsletters (called for a time Chaco Grace). Also in 1944 they and other missionaries bought the premises for what was to be the Gracia y Gloria church in Formosa (Iglesia Evangelica Gracia y Gloria) but it was not until 1957 that the Drings moved to the city permanently. Once there they concentrated on working among the Spanish speakers and their first year saw a revival in the city with thousands of converts. In February 1960 they opened the biggest evangelical church building in Argentina, by 1974 there were 12 churches in city and 120 in the province, as well as bible schools and schools for children. Meanwhile work among Indians progressed with 30 churches established by 1974. Harriet Dring died in 1981 and her husband opened a memorial church for her in Belgrano. He remained in Argentina, apart from a brief spell in Paraguay during the Falklands war, and in 1990 was married to Ana Tokarzchuk, a church worker in Formosa. Ana died in March 2000 and Dring died on 13 November 2000. He was buried in Formosa but a memorial service was held for him in Nottingham. He was survived by his two daughters from his first marriage, Lois and May.