Cowman was born in Toulon, Illinois. A telegraph operator, he was making rapid promotions when he was converted. Called to serve the Lord, he left the secure future in the business world, and he and his wife, Lettie Burd Cowman, sailed for Japan in 1901. There they engaged in successful missionary evangelization both in Japan and in neighboring countries. Their work showed the need for a Bible school for new converts, to train future national missionaries. They incorporated the Oriental Missionary Society and Bible Training Institute in 1910. Cowman continued in the work until 1917, when his health broke from complete exhaustion. During the six years of his last illness, in which he suffered terribly, his wife wrote Streams in the Desert.
Charles E. Cowman (1868 to 1925)
Founder of OMS