August in world missions history: It happened today!
On this date in global outreach
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of
witnesses . . ." -- Hebrews 12:1
Fulfilling Acts 1:8 -- Significant events, locations, people, and movements in world
- August 1, 1895 - Several Western missionaries were attacked in Hwa-Sang, China. Eight
- August 2, 1863 - Robert Wilder was born to missionary parents in Kolhapur, India. As a
student at Princeton in 1883, Wilder helped form that school's Foreign Missionary Society.
While Wilder did spend two 4-year terms as a missionary in India, his most significant
contributions to world missions were as a leader of the Student Volunteer Movement for
Foreign Missions. That group dramatically jolted the Protestant churches of America to new
levels of missionary enthusiasm and action by enlisting thousands of young people.
- August 3, 1492 - Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain for the "Indies." Though the
Italian explorer was motivated by gold and glory, he also saw himself as a missionary. He
thought that if there were a shortcut to the East by sea, missionaries could get there faster.
- August 4, 1892 - English medical missionary Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell arrived in
Labrador, Newfoundland. He labored as a physician and missionary for 42 years and was
instrumental in setting up orphanages, hospitals, cooperative stores, and other community
- August 5, 1988 - The 12,000 Cora Indians living in the Sierra Madre del Norte mountains of
Mexico received their first completed New Testament from Wycliffe Bible Translators. At one point in the translation process, the
American translators were refused visas by the Mexican government, forcing them to do
their work in Tucson, Arizona.
- August 6, 1942 - English missionary Vivian Redlich was beheaded by the Japanese in Papua
New Guinea. The Japanese had invaded earlier that year, and Redlich had decided to remain at
- August 7, 1771 - Francis Asbury answered John Wesley's call for volunteers to go to
America as missionaries. Asbury would become the father of American Methodism.
- August 8, 1745 -- Missionary David Brainerd began experiencing the most glorious week in
his life as the power of God came down on a group of Indians to whom he was preaching near
Trenton, New Jersey. When news got out of conversions taking place, other Indians came to hear
the young white preacher. Some members of the white community also showed up and were
converted. By the end of August, Brainerd had baptized 25 Indians. Years of prayer and suffering
began bearing fruit.
- August 9, 1900 -- The Lambuth Monument in front of the Pearl River Church
near the Natchez Trace in Madison County, Mississippi was unveiled. The monument honors
Rev. and Mrs. James William Lambuth, founders of Methodist work in Japan, who first went to
Asia in 1854 as missionaries to China. Many of Lambuth's descendants also became missionaries
in China and Japan.
- August 10, 1815 - Samuel Leigh, the first Methodist minister or missionary to Australia,
arrived in Sydney.
- August 11, 1847 - Presbyterian missionary Charles Williams Forman sailed for India. With
John Newton, Forman began Protestant missionary work at Lahore. He spent more than forty
years in the Punjab, founding a college in Lahore which still bears his name.
- August 12, 1859 - Presbyterian missionary A.B. Simonton arrived in Rio de Janeiro on
the merchant ship Banshee. In November of 1864, Simonton took the lead in
establishing Impresna Evangelica, a semi-monthly newspaper that garnered great
respect among educated Brazilians.
- August 13, 1964 - Trans World Radio's station on the Caribbean island of Bonaire went on
the air from a 500,000-watt AM transmitter
- August 14, 1616 - Shen Huai, a high-ranking Chinese official, arrested dozens of missionaries
in Nanjing. He thought Western missionaries were spies, that they were teaching Chinese
not to respect parents or worship ancestors, that they are stealing proprietary Chinese
knowledge, and that they are practicing weird customs like baptism and allowing male and female
followers to study in the same room (something not allowed at that time by conservative Chinese
- August 15, 1571 -- Italian Matteo Ricci, the first Roman Catholic missionary to China, quit
law school to become a Jesuit. Ricci sail for Asia on March 24, 1578. Other missionaries
sharply criticize Ricci's adoption of Chinese customs and his willingness to ally himself with
Confucianism (which he believed was not a religious group like Buddhism and Taoism).
- August 16, 1952 - Rudolfo Haase of Brazil started a Lutheran mission in Portugal.
- August 17, 1850 - Baptist missionary William Ashmore sailed out of New York, headed to
Hong Kong on board the Channing. Arriving on January 4, 1851, Ashmore
spent the next half-century in China and Thailand as a missionary.
- August 18, 1732 - In an emotional farewell service, Moravian Christians at Herrnhut sang
100 hymns and commissioned Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann as missionaries to African
slaves in the West Indies. Between 1732 and 1742, Herrnhut, a community of only 600 members
sent out more than 70 foreign missionaries.
- August 20, 1961 -- Missionary translator
William Sedat presented the completed New Testament to the Kekchi tribal people of
- August 21, 1883 - Presbyterian missionary Kate Mills illustrated the frustrations and
challenges of language learning in China when she wrote to her medical doctor father Samuel A.
Wilson saying, "It is one thing to be able to make them understand in conversation and quite
another to be sufficiently correct to preach." In a May 23 letter, Kate had related how a friend of
hers received a can full of dead cockroaches because a request she made to household help had
- August 22, 1670 - English missionary John Eliot founded a church for Native Americans at
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
- August 23, 1828 -- Karl F. A. Guetzlaff of the Netherlands Mission Society landed in
Bangkok, Thailand. He and his wife translated the Bible into Siamese and parts of it into Lao and
Cambodian. Guetzlaff has become known as "the apostle to the Chinese."
- August 24, 1924 -- A week of self-denial for U.S. members of the Church of the Nazarene began with participants being urged to give
sacrificially for the building of Bresee Memorial Hospital in China. Because needed funds did
come in, the dispensary/clinic of the hospital began operation on October 17, 1925. By January
1, 1926, both men's and women's wards were occupied and a training school for nurses
was launched on October 22, 1926.
- August 25, 1792 - John Thomas wrote a letter to Rev. John Rippon in which he raised the
possibility of English Baptists missionizing in India. Thomas wrote the letter when he returned to
London from years of secular work in India. Later, on January 9, 1793, the
"Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen" (i.e. Baptist
Missionary Society) agreed to send John Thomas and William Carey
to India as its first two missionaries.
- August 26, 350 -- Nynia or Ninian was born. The first known Christian missionary in
Scotland, Ninian was probably the son of a Roman soldier stationed at Hadrian's Wall. After
studying in Rome and Gaul, he wound up establishing the first Christian church north of
Hadrian's wall. He is reputed to have been friends with Martin of Tours.
- August 27, 1727 - A band of 600 Moravians in Herrnhut launched what became known as
the hundred-year prayer meeting. It was simply a round-the-clock prayer meeting that lasted for
one hundred years. Within 65 years after beginning that prayer chain, that small movement had
already sent out 300 foreign missionaries!
- August 28, 1975 - Nazarene missionary Armand
Doll was imprisoned by Mozambique's Marxist government. Over the next
several months he smuggled letters out to his wife inside empty toothpaste tubes. Those
letters were published in a book: Toothpaste Express -- Letters from Prison. [ more
on Armand Doll ]
- August 29, 1936 - Missionaries John and Georgia Cochran sailed for Argentina where they
served for 37 years.
- August 30, 1858 - Presbyterian missionary John Gibson Paton landed at Aneityum, the
southernmost inhabited island of the New Hebrides archipelago (now called Vanuatu). Ordained
a missionary to the New Hebrides on March 23, Paton had left Glasgow with his wife Mary Ann
Robson on April 16. He would begin his missionary work on the island of Tanna on November
- August 31, 1998 - Ten-year-old Mbwizu "Tantine" Ndjungu, daughter of United
Methodist Missionaries Nkemba and Mbwizu Ndjungu of the Democratic Republic of Congo,
died in a swimming accident in Dakar, Senegal.
-- compiled by Howard Culbertson,
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