D. L. Moody's interest in educational endeavors took root in the summer of 1870, when he met Emma Dryer, principal and teacher at Illinois State Normal University. The following year, while ministering to the needs of thousands who were left homeless by the Chicago Fire, Dryer began developing a program of Bible study, teaching, and home visitation for young women. Moody persuaded Dryer to stay in Chicago and carry on her Bible work under the auspices of his church. During the next decade, Moody continued his involvement in evangelistic work around the country, and Dryer developed the training program among women in Chicago. At every opportunity she encouraged Moody to start a training school for both young men and women. Early in 1883, several Chicago residents began meeting weekly with Dryer to pray that Moody would return to Chicago and develop the new school. During a meeting to discuss evangelization in Chicago on January 22, 1886, the subject of a training school again came up. By this time Dryer's persistent message had taken hold in Moody's heart.
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