July missions history: It happened today
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On this date in Missions history
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses . . ."
-- Hebrews 12:1
Fulfilling the Great Commission: Key events, locations, people and movements in world
- July 1, 1871 -- Many Torres Strait Islanders (Australia) commemorate today as the Coming
of the Light Festival. This was the day that missionaries of the London Missionary Society first
arrived in the Torres Strait where they landed on Erub Island.
- July 2, 1950 -- Evangelical pastor Martinez Quintana stepped outside a house in Columbia to
face the angry mob beating at the door. "Down with the heretics!" they screamed. The mob had
already burned the homes of several evangelical families. Inside pastor Quintana's home,
Christians prayed for his life and for their own. Martinez tried to reason with the crowd but they
weren't buying it. Finally, a policeman stepped forward and shot Martinez through the head.
Then, the mob rushed to dynamite the evangelical church building.
- July 3, 1838 -- William Richards, missionary to Hawaii since 1822, resigns from his mission
to accept the request of King Kamehameha III Kauikeaouli that he become the king's personal
translator, chaplain, counselor, and political adviser. Richards had already completed translating
one-third of the Bible into Hawaiian.
- July 4, 1825 -- Missionary J. Jeffreys dies on a passage
from Madagascar to the Isle of France. He was 31 years of age.
- July 5, 1948 -- Far Eastern Bible Institute and Seminary opens in Manila with 20 students. It
had begun with the vision of young American soldiers who had helped liberate the Philippines at
the end of World War II and who had fallen in love with the Filipino people. On September 21,
1945, some soldiers and chaplains crowded into the tiny living room of a missionary couple that
had survived the war. In prayer they committed themselves to start Far Eastern Bible Institute and
- July 6, 1842 -- Birth of John Ross (1842-1915), called "one of the most effective
missionaries of his generation." Making China his home for almost four decades, Ross also
became the father of Protestant churches in Manchuria and Korea. He had a grasp of eleven
languages, made significant contributions in Bible translation and commentary, and opened new
vistas in the theory and practice of missions.
- July 7, 1873 -- The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention appoints
Lottie Moon as a missionary to China. In the fall, she will set sail for Tengchow. Lottie will
spend most of her missionary years in Tengchow and P'ingtu teaching in mission schools and
ministering to women. She will eventually adopt Chinese dress and learn the Chinese language,
thereby earning great respect among the Chinese people.
- July 8, 1862 -- Arthur Stephen Paynter, mission pioneer, was born. In 1897 he founded the
Indian Christian Mission in the Kumoan District of North India. In 1904 the I.C.M. headquarters
moved to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka (Ceylon). This evangelical interdenominational agency
supports agriculture, education and orphanage work in India and Sri Lanka.
- July 9, 1737 -- George Schmidt, the first Protestant missionary to South Africa, arrives. As a
Moravian, Schmidt had already suffered brutality in the prisons of his homeland for the crime of
sharing his faith. In Africa, George Schmidt became determined to reach the Hottentot people for
- July 10, 1990 -- Death at age 92 of Donald McGavran, missionary to India and "father" of
the modern Church Growth movement
- July 11, 1850 -- Anne Armstrong is born. Under her leadership the Baptist Woman's
Missionary Union was formed. In 1934 the annual offering that was collected for the Southern
Baptist Home Mission Board was named after her.
- July 12, 2002 -- Lamin Sanneh, professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale
Divinity School, receives an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the University of
Edinburgh, Scotland. Sanneh's books include: Abolitionists Abroad: American Blacks
& the Making of Modern West Africa, Whose Religion is Christianity?: The Gospel
Beyond the West, West African Christianity: The Religious Impact, The Crown and the
Turban: Muslims and West African Pluralism, Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact
on Culture, Piety & Power: Muslims and Christians in West Africa, The Jakhanke Muslim
Clerics: A Religious and Historical Study of Islam in Senegambia,
Encountering the West: Christianity and the Global Cultural Process, and
Religion and the Variety of Culture: A Study in Origin and Practice.
- July 13, 1968 -- Wycliffe missionary Henry F. Blood dies in Viet Cong hands, about five
months after his capture during the January Tet offensive. During nine years of mission work in
Vietnam, Blood made only one convert. However, that one convert, Tang, would lead many
Vietnamese to Christ.
- July 14, 1912 -- E.L. Arndt sets out for China. Arndt laid the groundwork for the China
missions work of The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod.
- July 15, 2001 -- Canadian missionary David Waines was arrested, detained and interrogated
for his opposition to two Liberian secret societies. "We are in a battle against injustice," fellow
missionary Ralph Bromley said. "The secret societies are a prominent part of Liberian culture.
[They] pressure girls into female circumcision, early pregnancies and compliance with sexual
abuse. Boys are forcefully initiated into these societies and made to comply with the societies'
strategies to keep women, children and the uninitiated terrified of being sacrificed for ritualistic
purposes. . . . We will not back down from this battle."
- July 16, 1974 -- Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization opens in Switzerland with
2500 participants from 150 nations. Sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association,
the congress gave visibility to the broad evangelical movement committed to world
- July 17, 1996 -- A senior from Wake Forest University, Matthew Alexander, heads to
Marseilles, France, for a summer of volunteer work with Youth With a Mission. He never made
it. Minutes after takeoff, Matthew's Paris-bound flight, TWA 800, explodes in mid-air and
plummets into the ocean off Long Island. There were no survivors.
- July 18, 1804 -- Birth of Dan Beach Bradley (1804-1873), pioneer missionary to Thailand.
Bradley arrived in Siam (Thailand) in 1835 at age 32. His professions included: evangelist,
doctor, printer, writer, government advisor and unofficial American Ambassador. Bradley loved
the Thai people and made contributions to public health, schools, prison reform, education for
women, and care for the mentally ill. He performed the first surgical operation in Thailand and
published the country's first newspaper. Sadly, because the Buddhist culture of Thailand was not
fertile soil for the gospel at that time, Bradley saw little evangelistic fruit.
- July 19, 1649 -- Edward Winslow, governor of Plymouth Colony (in what is now
Massachusetts) helped to organize the Society for Propagating the Gospel in New England. The
purpose of the Society was to evangelize the native people who had helped the beleaguered
colonizers through their first winter, in which Winslow lost his own wife.
- July 21, 1827 - Johann Jaenicke, pastor of Bethlehem Church, Berlin (Germany), died. In
1800 he had founded a mission seminary from which 81 foreign missionaries were sent out.
- July 22, 1860 -- Moritz Braeuninger, missionary to Native Americans, was shot by
- July 23, 1860 -- William W. McConnell, missions pioneer was born on this day. In 1891,
McConnell became the first missionary sent out by the Central American Mission which had
been founded a year earlier.
- July 24, 1900 Ferdinand Hamet, Dutch missionary in Mongolia, is murdered at age 59
- July 25, 1899 - Stuart W. K. Hine, English missionary, was born. In 1923, while he and his
wife were in Ukraine, they heard a Russian version of the Swedish hymn, "O Store Gud." They
learned it and began singing it as a duet. Later, while crossing the Carpathian Mountains into
southern Russia, the beauty of the surrounding mountains inspired them to write original English
lyrics to the song. They titled it "How Great Thou Art."
- July 26, 1864 - Death of Fidelia Fiske, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign
Missions missionary to the Nestorian Christians of Persia. In June of 1843 she had landed at
Orumiyeh, Iran. Her services as a nurse about Urmia and her missionary work into the
countryside and among mountain tribes gradually
won her respect and helped set an example that contributed to the slow improvement of the lot of
- July 27, 1834 -- Along the Snake River in the northwestern U.S.A., local mountain men and
Indians gather to hear Methodist missionary Jason Lee preach the first Protestant sermon
delivered in Oregon Country.
- July 28, 1861 -- A diary entry on this day by Willis Folsom laments the language obstacles
faced by cross-cultural missionaries: "This day I tried to preach in Choctaw and in English at
Buck Creek . . . but got confused."
- July 29, 1824 -- Russian Orthodox missionary John Evseyevich Popov-Veniaminov -- who
came to be called "Apostle to America" -- arrives on the Aleutian island of Unalaska
- July 30, 1750 -- Christian Friedrich Schwartz, one of the foremost Lutheran missionaries in
India, arrives in Tranquebar. Schwartz had come under the auspices of the Danish-Halle mission
largely because of A. H. Francke's influence. Remarkably, just four months after Schwartz'
arrival, he was able to preach his first sermon in the Tamil language.
- July 31, 1834 -- Marcus Whitman applies to American Board of Commissioners for Foreign
Missions for appointment as a medical missionary. He is rejected because of ill health.
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