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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
- October 1, 1883 -- Former Presbyterian minister A. B. Simpson opens Missionary Training School for Christian Evangelists (which would later be re-named The New York Missionary Training College).
- October 2, 1792 -- A dozen English ministers form the Baptist Missionary Society "for the propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen, according to the recommendations of [William] Carey's Enquiry."
- October 3, 1954 -- Herbert and Alice Ratcliff arrive in British Guinea (now Guyana) as missionaries. They will serve in Guyana and various Caribbean islands for more than 30 years.
- October 4, 1930 -- Missionaries Eleanor June Harrison and Edith Nettleton were beheaded in China. They had been abducted in July at Chungan. Their ransom was originally set at $500,000.
When the ransom was not forthcoming, the bandits cut off one of Miss Nettleton's fingers and sent it along with the same ransom demand to the provincial authorities. The Church Missionary Society authorized a representative to pay $10,000 in gold for the women's release. The bandits received the money, but the outlaws, believing that they had been betrayed when provincial troops attacked them, killed the two missionaries.
- October 5, 1744 -- David Brainerd, kicked out of Yale for criticizing a tutor and attending a forbidden revival meeting, begins missionary work with Native Americans along New Jersey's Susquehanna River. Jonathan Edwards' biography of Brainerd was very influential in promoting Christian missions. It was an important book in the life of William Carey.
- October 6, 1861 -- Tai Ping rebels in Yentai, Shantung Province, China, murder missionary J. Landrum Holmes.
- October 7, 1873 -- Southern Baptist missionary hero Lottie Moon reaches China. Later, she would write: "If I had a thousand lives, I would give them all for the women of China."
- October 8, 1853 -- Miles Justin Knowlton is ordained as a Baptist minister. Soon afterward he will sail as a missionary for Ningpo, China. In 1871, while on a visit to the United States, Knowlton wrote a prize essay titled "China as a Mission Field." He also delivered a lecture series at several theological seminaries that was published under the title The Foreign Missionary, His Field, and His Work.
- October 9, 258 (?) -- During Decius' persecution, an Italian missionary to Gaul, Denis, is arrested along with two other church leaders and beheaded on Montmartre (Martyrs' Hill) which is in modern-day Paris. Their bodies were thrown into the River Seine.
- October 10, 644 -- Paulinus, missionary and First Archbishop of York, dies. In 627, Paulinus' preaching led to the conversion of King Edwin of Northumbria (roughly the northern quarter of modern England)
- October 11, 2002 -- The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) reports that their missionaries are safe amid Cote d'Ivoire fighting in a military uprising that began there Sept. 19.
- October 12, 2000 -- In India, K.S. Sudarshan told members of his Hindu nationalist group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), that the Indian government should expel foreign churches
and set up a state church similar to the government-controlled church of China.
- October 13, 1799 -- A party of new missionaries arrives in India to join with William Carey. Among the new arrivals are Joshua and Hannah Marshman with their three children, and a single man, William Ward.
- October 14, 1829 -- Alexander Duff, first missionary of the Church of Scotland to India, sails from London for Calcutta aboard the Lady Holland. The ship was wrecked near Cape Town, South Africa, and the Duffs lost everything except the clothes on their backs and their Bible and Psalm book. In May -- eight months and another shipwreck later -- they arrived in Calcutta praising God for the hardships. Duff founded an English-speaking college in which the Bible was the chief textbook. By 1844 he had a thousand students.
- October 15, 1932 -- A small party of supporters gathers in Liverpool, England, to send Gladys Aylward, a 28-year-old parlormaid, off on a dangerous missionary journey to China. Though she'd been turned down by the missions agency she applied to, she went on to become one of the most amazing single woman missionaries of modern history. Her dramatic rescue of a hundred orphans is told in the movie "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness."
- October 16, 1877 -- William Taylor, who has been a Methodist missionary to South Africa and India, sets sail for South America to see if the ideas on self-support he has been expounding would work there as well. He taught that when missionaries insisted on establishing structures that were expensive to maintain, they made it impossible for a church to achieve independence and vitality. Eventually, this eminent missions thinker would have a university -- Taylor University in Upland, Indiana -- named after him.
- October 17, 1895 -- Peter Cameron Scott's Africa Inland Mission team arrives in Mombasa, Kenya. Scott pressed inland to plant missions and share the gospel. Peter contracted deadly blackwater fever. He died on December 8, 1896. After his death, his teammates also died one by one. Others came to replace them, some carrying their supplies in coffins! Such dedication eventually opened the hearts of the Africans.
- October 18, 1855 -- Francis McDougall is officially named leader of Anglican work in Labuan and Sarawak. He had initially turned down an opportunity to go to Borneo as a missionary. Later, he repented of that decision and in December 1847 sailed for the mission field. Francis was a pioneer in medical missions. His supervisors actually thought he was stepping out of line when he began to tend the sick. He had little success among the Muslim Malays who were overlords to much of Borneo. He did better among the Chinese traders who had settled Borneo, but best among the indigenous Dyaks. Among McDougall's achievements was a Book of Common Prayer and Catechism in Malay.
- October 19, 1893 -- John Livingston Nevius, Presbyterian missionary to China, passes away. He is well known for promoting the concept that mission work should aim, from the very beginning, to establish self-propagating, self-supporting, self-governing indigenous churches. Nevius' writings include The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches.
- October 20, 1833 -- Dr. Justin Perkins arrives in Urmi (northwestern Iran) as the first American missionary in that area.
- October 21, 1944 -- Alois Kayser (born 1877 in Alsace) dies in Chuuk where he had been deported by the Japanese. Kayser was a German Roman Catholic missionary who spent almost 40 years on Nauru and wrote a Nauruan grammar (and possibly a Nauruan dictionary). The government of Nauru had named a technical school after Kayser.
- October 22, 1941 -- Presbyterian missionary Bruce Hunt is arrested and imprisoned in Manchuria by Japanese occupying forces. The 38 year-old father of five was released on December 5, after 45 days of imprisonment. While reluctantly preparing to return to the States, he was arrested again two days later, in
the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack. He was then sent to a concentration camp, where he grew weak and sick from semi-starvation. He was finally freed as part of a prisoner exchange.
- October 23, 2003 -- Yakup Cindilli, a Turkish convert to Christianity is severely beaten for distributing New Testaments in his hometown of Orhangazi in northwestern Turkey. Yakup Cindilli's interest in Christianity had begun when he made a telephone call to "Alo Dua", a prayer hotline ministry organized by Turkish Christians after a devastating 1999 earthquake in their country.
- October 24, 1869 -- Scottish Presbyterian missionary John Paton holds the first Communion service on the small island of Aniwa (part of what is now Vanuatu). Paton eventually saw all the islanders on Aniwa become at least nominally Christian.
- October 25, 1933 -- John and Elisabeth Stam were married in Jinan, China. A year later they would be taken hostage by communist forces. The Red army took the Stams and many Chinese captives to nearby Miaosheo. John wrote a letter to the CIM headquarters, saying they would be released in exchange for $20,000. He closed the letter, "God give you wisdom in what you do and give us grace and fortitude. He is able." The next day, John and Elisabeth were executed by decapitation. The Stams' death was later cited by many Americans as the event that caused them to become missionaries.
- October 26, 1966 -- The first World Congress on Evangelism opens in West Berlin, attracting approximately 600 delegates from about 100 countries.
- October 27, 2000 -- A Western news agency reports that radical Hindu leader K.S. Sudarshan has said that all Christian missionaries should be expelled from India and that all
churches should be required to join a national ecclesiastical body such as exists in China.
- October 28, 1646 -- At Nonantum, Massachusetts, missionary John Eliot preaches the first worship service for Native Americans in their native language.
- October 29, 1885 -- English missionary James Hannington is murdered in Uganda
- October 30, 1838 - In a letter, Marcus Whitman, missionary to Native Americans in the Northwest part of the U.S., announces the safe arrival of several missionary reinforcements and discusses how best to deploy them. In addition to providing updates on the Waiilatpu mission, Whitman describes a plan to obtain a printing press from Hawaii and mentions his desire to build a grist mill.
- October 31, 1825 -- George Muller, who founded orphanages in Great Britain that would house more than 10,000 orphans, converts to Christianity at a Moravian mission. Muller's living-by-faith approach to finances will become a key inspiration for Hudson Taylor (China Inland Mission) and other "faith" mission leaders.
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