December missions history: It happened today
Exam study guides
1600 to the present
William Borden story
African martyr's commitment
Mission trip fund-raising
Ways to ruin
Nazarene Missions International
On this date in Missions history
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of
witnesses . . ." -- Hebrews 12:1
Key events, locations, people and movements in world evangelism
- December 1, 1999 - Several house church movements in China begin a "missionary month."
Many Chinese Christians have the aim of winning three others for Christ. [ Another story from China ]
- December 2, 1946 - E. V. Steele founds the European Christian Orphanage and Mission
Society in Alberta, Canada. In 1953 the name will be changed to World Missions Fellowship.
Now headquartered in Grants Pass, Oregon, this evangelical interdenominational sending agency
has missionaries doing evangelism, orphan care and camping programs in India, Austria, Ireland,
Brazil and Japan.
- December 3, 1552 -- Jesuit founder Francis Xavier dies awaiting admission to China. He claimed to
have had 700,000 converts in Portugal, India, Indonesia, Japan, and elsewhere.
- December 4, 1674 -- French Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette erects a mission on Lake
Michigan, the first building in what would become the city of Chicago.
- December 5, 1862 -- C.T. Studd,
pioneer missionary, is born in England. Originally famous as a cricket star, he became a Christian
at age 21 under the preaching of D.L. Moody. Studd then dedicated his life and considerable
inherited wealth to Christ. In 1885 he and six others -- the "Cambridge Seven" -- sailed to Asia to
serve with the China Inland Mission. Studd later ministered as well in India and Africa.
- December 6, 1664 - Governor Richard Nicolls grants liberty to New York Lutherans,
allowing them to hold services and to have their own pastors.
- December 7, 521 -- Irish monk Columba, missionary to Scotland and founder of Iona and
many other monastic communities, is born in Donegal.
- December 8, 1934 -- American missionaries John and Betty Stam are beheaded by Chinese
communists. The couple had met while attending Moody Bible Institute and married just the year
before their death. Publication of their biography prompted hundreds to volunteer for missionary
service. [ Another story from China ]
- December 9, 1943 -- M.T. Rankin of the Southern Baptist Mission Board reports that 40
missionaries from war-ravished China have arrived in New York aboard the S. S.
- December 10, 1953 - Albert Schweitzer, medical missionary to Africa, accepts the Nobel
- December 11, 1910 -- Norwegian missionary Lars Skrefsrud dies. In 1862, when Lars
Skrefsrud asked the Norwegian Missionary Society to send him out as a missionary, they turned
him down. They didn't want an ex-convict representing them and Lars had just spent four years in
prison for theft. But he persevered and became Norway's best-known missionary. He worked
among the Santal people who lived north of Calcutta. He translated the Bible into the Santal
language and produced a hymnal using native tunes. He wrote textbooks and even published a
book of traditional Santal myths. He founded schools that taught such things as farming, animal
care, and carpentry. He also wanted to give the Santalese a church they could run themselves.
"It is the heathenism we want to get rid of, not the national character," he said. By
the time of Lars death, there were 15,000 to 20,000 Santal Christians.
- December 12, 2000 -- Nanjing Publishing House prints a biography of Minnie Vantrin, an
American missionary who helped women and children escape being killed and hurt during the
Nanjing Massacre which was committed by Japanese invaders in December 1937. Vantrin was
professor and president of a women's college in Nanjing from 1919-1940. After the massacre,
she hosted various professional training programs for the women and their families who had been
decimated and broken up.
- December 13, 2000 -- A statue is set up in Nanking, China to honor missionary Minnie
Vautrin who turned her Ginling college campus into a sanctuary for 10,000 women and children
during the infamous "rape of Naking" by Japanese occupation forces. Vautrin stood up to the
soldiers who demanded women to brutalize, and she did her best to negotiate with their superiors
to keep her haven safe. She also brought order and hope to the refugees' lives by organizing
classes, as well as Christmas and other celebrations.
- December 14, 2004 -- The Free Methodist church reports that over a half a million dollars
has been contributed for relief needs in Haiti following a Sept. 18 hurricane. The funds have
repaired schools and churches as well as going to restore family homes and belongings, meet
continued food needs, buy seeds for gardens and replace lost farming tools.
- December 15, 1843 -- Birth of Albert B.
Simpson, who is regarded as the father of the Bible college movement. Though A.B. Simpson was primarily a local pastor, he had a vision for
establishing a missions organization. So, he helped form two evangelization societies: The
Christian Alliance and The Evangelical Missionary Alliance. Those two groups would
eventually fuse into one. In 1881, Simpson would launch America's first illustrated missionary
magazine, The Gospel in All Lands. In his local church, Simpson's creative
missions passion gave birth to what local churches now call Faith Promise Conventions. [
missionary hymns by Simpson ]
- December 16, 1867 -- Amy Carmichael, Scottish-Irish missionary to India, was born in
Millisle, Ireland. Raised a Presbyterian, she was influenced by the Keswick movement and
became a missionary under the Church of England's Zenana Missionary Society. She arrived in
India in 1895 and remained there without furlough until her death in 1951.
- December 17, 1912 -- Yale-educated Chicago native Bill Borden, heir to a fortune in real
estate and milk production, boards a ship to China via Egypt. Converted to Christ as a young
man, Borden had given his inheritance and his life to the cause of world evangelism. Only a
month after arriving in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis and died. Publication of his story
prompted many young people to enter missionary service. [ more
on Borden ]
- December 18, 1850 -- Missionary group led by Allen Gardiner lands in Terra del Fuego,
Patagonia. Tragically, supplies for the seven missionaries will not arrive until October 31, 1851.
That supply ship will discover that the entire missionary party has one by one starved to death
between June 8 and September 6.
- December 19, 1950 -- Missionary doctor Bill Wallace is arrested in an early morning raid in
Wuchouw. Urged to flee from China during the communist takeover, he replied, "I will
stay as long as I am able to serve." Claiming they found a gun under the Southern Baptist
missionary's pillow, the Communists accused him of being a foreign agent. Brutal interrogation
would follow with Bill dying in his cell two months after his arrest. [ Another story from China ]
- December 20, 1859 -- The Territorial Legislature charters Whitman Seminary (now
Whitman College) at Walla Walla, Washington. The school, which was granted the first charter
to an educational institution in the territory, honors the memory of missionary Marcus Whitman
- December 21, 1631 -- The Spanish government furnished two soldiers for the protection of
Pedro de Miranda, missionary to the Indians of Taos. On this day, as it was very cold, the two
soldiers came into the kitchen of the convento to warm themselves. They were followed by a
crowd of Indians, who for some reason had become incensed against the Spaniards, and wound
up killing the soldiers and then the priest.
- December 22, 1838 -- John Hunt is appointed as a missionary to Rewa, Fiji
- December 23, 1906 -- Peter Friesen, who had already been commissioned as a missionary to
India, is ordained by the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church. The Friesens will arrive in
Mumbai on March 7, 1907, and travel the last fifty miles from Raipur, Madhya Pradesh, to
Dhamtari by oxcart.
- December 24, 1789 -- Jackson Kemper, Episcopal missionary bishop, is born in Pleasant
Valley, New York. In 1835, the Episcopal Church undertook to consecrate missionary bishops to
preach the Gospel west of the settled areas, and Kemper was the
first to be chosen. He promptly headed west. Finding that clergy who had lived all their lives in
the settled East were slow to join him on the frontier, Kemper began recruiting priests from men
already in the West, and established a college in St. Louis to train them. He constantly urged a
more extensive outreach to the Indian peoples, and translations of the Scriptures and the services
of the Church into Indian languages.
- December 25, 1931 -- A 200-watt
transmitter in a converted farm building in Ecuador becomes HCJB, the world's first missionary
- December 26, 2002 -- Two weeks after laying off nearly a third of its St. Louis office staff,
the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) World Mission organization eliminated 28 overseas
missionary positions -- one-fourth of its career-missionary force. Eliminated were missionary
posts in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central and South America.
- December 27, 1846 -- Friederich A. Craemer baptizes the first Chippewa Indians as part of
the Lutheran mission effort in Michigan.
- December 28, 1800 -- William Carey, missionary to India, baptizes Krishna Pal, his first
- December 29, 1745 -- David Brainerd, missionary to Native American Indians, writes in his
journal: "After public worship was over, I went to my house, proposing to preach again
after a short season of intermission. But they soon came in one after another, with tears in their
eyes, to know what they should do to be saved. . . . It was an amazing season of power among
them, and seemed as if God had bowed the heavens and come down... and that God was about to
convert the whole world."
- December 30, 2002 -- An Islamic militant shoots and kills three U.S. Christian missionaries
working at a Baptist-run hospital in Yemen. William Koehn, the administrator of Jibla Baptist
hospital, Kathleen Gariety, a supplies purchaser, and medical doctor Martha Myers all die
instantly from bullets to the head. Pharmacist Donald Caswell is left in critical condition with
- December 31, 1821 -- Rev. Jonathan Price, M. D., a medical missionary, arrives with his
family in Burma to join the missionary work of Adoniram Judson.
SNU missions course materials and syllabi
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