Mrs. Charles E. Cowman was the wife of Rev. Charles Cowman, founder of the Oriental Missionary Society. This organization was founded by Rev. Cowman with the purpose of evangelizing and setting up native ministries in Japan, Korea, China, and Formosa. Rev. and Mrs. Cowman served for 20 years until Rev. Cowman's failing health forced them to return to their home in California.
Streams in the Desert is a devotional compiled by Mrs. Cowman from various sermons, readings, writings, and poetry she had read over the years. The immense popularity of this book has allowed at least 19 editions of the book to be printed. The initial response to the devotional brought letters from China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Africa, and many island countries. The widespread appeal grows daily as new readers discover the joy, challenge, and inspiration found in Streams in the Desert and Mrs. Cowman's other compilations.