Dreaming Big is Mosaic’s History

It was 106 years ago today that Bethphage Mission (now Mosaic) was founded. Its history is well-known and documented, and inspired our oft-repeated, “We look back with gratitude and forward in faith.”

But the founder of Bethphage, the Rev. K.G. William Dahl, was an immigrant who did not come to the United States with the intention of becoming a pastor, much less starting an organization that has served thousands of people over more than a century.

When he emigrated from Sweden to the U.S. at age 19, just past the turn of the 20th century, Dahl was a self-described dreamer, seeking an unknown future. In his diary he had written:

“I had always been a dreamer, with strong inclinations for everything romantic, often deeply melancholy at times – and hoping that ‘getting out into the world’ would help to dispel this troublesome mental disposition.”

Whatever his dream for the future in the U.S., he began his life here as a manual laborer, work that he was unaccustomed to – in Sweden his father was a Lutheran clergy member.

But one Sunday, by chance (or God’s design), his life changed.

At one of his lowest points, with his health faltering and a hand that had been injured in a machine at his job, Dahl was walking down a street in Manchester, Conn. when he heard the familiar music of his Swedish Lutheran faith. He entered the church and found a new direction for his life; he was now on a path toward ordained ministry himself.

He enrolled in college and was ordained at age 24. Six years later in 1913, this ‘dreamer’ founded Bethphage Mission and poured himself into it. Health issues took their toll, and Dahl died young, at 34, in 1917.

His dream lived on, and Mosaic now celebrates 106 years of ministry.

There are many lessons we could take from his life, but one I want to highlight: dream big and work to make the dream happen. That is what Mosaic is about today. We believe that every person we support should be able to pursue their own dreams.

On this anniversary, we’re grateful for one man’s big dream that became Mosaic.

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