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Elladean Harrell

Making People a Home
"...the gracious, busy hostess"
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, 2016

Elladean Miles spent her childhood near Laurel, Mississippi, living in a four-room house with four sisters and two brothers. Her father drove a school bus and worked for the Masonite Corporation. Elladean was taught the Bible from infancy, and, at age 12, she was converted in her home church of Mount Vernon Congregational Methodist Church.


Following high school, Elladean enrolled in Bible college in Tehuacana, Texas (now Wesley College in Florence, Mississippi), and worked as a dishwasher. Later, she was employed by the school to teach girls’ physical education. She met Billy Harrell, a Texan, and they were married following her freshman year. They returned to college and together sought God’s will for the future.


While studying at John Brown University in Arkansas, Billy and Elladean attended a youth camp in Texas where Elladean experienced a call to missions. She wanted to be sure that the call was genuine and not just a sympathetic feeling since her sister Viola was serving with World Gospel Mission in Kenya. Not wanting to influence Billy, she said nothing. Hours later, she learned Billy had experienced a similar call.


In 1959, the Harrells were accepted as missionary candidates with WGM for service in Honduras. After language study in Costa Rica, they arrived in Honduras with their three small children in August 1961 and joined the staff of Tegucigalpa Bible Institute. A year later, the Harrells were transferred to a church-planting assignment in Comayagua, where a successful ministry provided valuable experience. Later, they returned to the Bible institute with Billy teaching and directing the school. Elladean was a busy mother; served as the Bible institute treasurer; and worked with Frances Beard in the orchid project, which financed the school. In 1964, when Billy became field director, they moved into the mission home in Tegucigalpa, and Elladean became the gracious, busy hostess.


During an extended furlough starting in 1974, the Harrells worked at WGM’s headquarters, where Billy served as assistant to the vice president of Field Ministries and Elladean was secretary to the president, Dr. Hollis Abbott. When the Harrells returned to Honduras in January 1979, Elladean served as the field treasurer and mission hostess, was involved in camping and youth and children’s ministries, directed a radio program, and helped with logistics for visiting medical and dental teams.


Returning to the States, Elladean studied at the School of World Missions at Fuller Seminary while Billy was earning his master’s degree in missiology. Shortly thereafter, the Congregational Methodist Church elected Billy as director of missions and evangelism. Elladean remained on staff with WGM and served as the South Central regional representative. She scheduled missionaries to speak in churches and camps in this area. Periodically, Billy and Elladean made trips to Latin America to minister among those they dearly loved. She retired in 2000 after 41 years of service.


WGM joins with Elladean’s family and friends in celebrating her life and faithful service to our Lord.

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