Frank Charles Laubach (September 2, 1884 – June 11, 1970), from Benton, PA was a Congregational Christian missionary educated at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University, and a mystic known as "The Apostle to the Illiterates." In 1915 (see Laubach, Thirty Years With the Silent Billion), while working among Muslims at a remote location in the Philippines, he developed the "Each One Teach One" literacy program. It has been used to teach about 60 million people to read in their own language. He was deeply concerned about poverty, injustice and illiteracy, and considered them barriers to peace in the world.
In 1955, he founded Laubach Literacy, which helped introduce about 150,000 Americans to reading each year and had grown to embrace 34 developing countries. An estimated 2.7 million people worldwide were learning to read through Laubach-affiliated programs. In 2002, this group merged with Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. to form ProLiteracy Worldwide.
During the latter years of his life, Laubach traveled all over the world speaking on the topics of literacy and world peace. He was author of a number of devotional writings and works on literacy.
One of his most widely influential devotional works was a pamphlet entitled "The Game with Minutes." In it, Laubach urged Christians to attempt keeping God in mind for at least one second of every minute of the day. In this way Christians can attempt the attitude of constant prayer spoken of in the Epistle to the Colossians. The pamphlet extolled the virtues of a life lived with unceasing focus on God. Laubach's insight came from his experiments in prayer detailed in a collection of his letters published under the title, Letters by a Modern Mystic.
Laubach is the only American missionary to be honored on a US postage stamp, a 30¢ Great Americans series stamp in 1984.
Laubach had a deep interest in the Philippines. He wrote a biography of the Filipino national hero, Jose Rizal: Man and Martyr, published in Manila in 1936. He also translated the hero's valedictory poem, "Mi Ultimo Adios" (My Last Farewell.)
His emphasis on the use of Easy English for literacy led directly to the development by WEC International in 1962 of an evangelistic paper using his basic vocabulary called SOON, which now prints 3 million copies a year.
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