March in global missions history: It happened today!
On this date in world missions outreach
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses . . ." -- Hebrews
Ends-of-the-earth outreach: Significant events, locations, people and movements in world
- March 1, 1854 -- Hudson Taylor, the eventual founder of the
China Inland Mission (now OMF), landed in Shanghai, China.
- March 2, 1971 -- E.W. "Hatch"
Hatcher, Missionary Aviation Fellowship's technical training, evaluation, and orientation
director, was killed in an airplane accident near Corona, California. Also killed in the accident
was John Wilson, a potential MAF recruit. Wilson was being given a check-out flight by
- March 3, 1870 -- Lettie B. Cowman, American
missionary and author, was born in Iowa. In 1901 Lettie and her husband went to Japan as
missionaries where they founded the Oriental Missionary Society. After her husband's death (1924), Lettie became president of OMS and led the work until her
retirement in 1949. Her devotional guide, Streams in the Desert, first published in
1925, has been translated into at least fifteen different
- March 4, 1970 -- The Theological
Convention of Confessing Fellowships published a declaration to counter relativistic positions
being promoted within the World Council of Churches. Peter Beyerhaus was a primary author of
that document which was titled "Frankfurt Declaration on the Fundamental Crisis of
- March 5, 1797 -- After a 207-day voyage from London, the
three-masted Duff arrived in Tahiti's Matavai Bay. The ship, commanded by
Captain John Wilson, carried 37 lay and clerical missionaries of the London Missionary Society
(L.M.S.) along with their families. Their plan was to settle on the South Pacific islands of Tahiti,
Tonga and the Marquesas.
- March 6, 1901 -- Amy Carmichael
took in her first temple runaway, a young girl dedicated to the Hindu gods and forced into
prostitution to earn money for the priests.
- March 7, 1804 -- The British and Foreign Bible Society was formed.
- March 8, 1698 -- British missionary Thomas Bray and four laymen
founded the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (S.P.C.K.) "to advance the honor
of God and the good of mankind by promoting Christian knowledge both at home and in the
other parts of the world by the best methods that should offer."
- March 9, 1931 -- The World Radio
Missionary Fellowship (TransWorld Radio) was incorporated in Lima, Ohio, by Clarence W.
Jones and Reuben Larson. Today, this interdenominational mission organization, now
headquartered in Florida, broadcasts the Gospel in fifteen languages to South America and
- March 10, 1557 -- A French Hugenot preached the first Protestant
sermon (based on Psalm 27:3) to be heard in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- March 11, 1812 -- Fire engulfed missionary
William Carey's print shop in Serampore, India. The fire
destroyed a massive polyglot dictionary Carey had compiled, grammar books he had
composed for two Indian languages, his sets of type for 14 Asian languages, and whole versions
of the Bible that he had translated into Indian languages. Undaunted, Carey said, "The
loss is heavy, but as traveling a road the second time is usually done with greater ease and
certainty than the first time, so I trust the work will lose nothing of real value . . . We are cast
down but not in despair." News of the fire touched hearts in England, bringing in funds
and volunteer labor. (more on William Carey)
"I will remember William Carey and the impact he had. One person might seem
unimportant, but the resulting ripples can be gigantic." -- Melony P., Nazarene Bible
- March 12, 1880 -- British missionary Alfred Saker died in London. Earlier, he had
established the first British mission in the Cameroons and was, in the opinion of David
Livingstone, the most important English missionary in West Africa. Among other
accomplishments, Saker translated the Bible into Douala, a local language of Cameroon.
- March 13, 1815 -- Presbyterian medical missionary James Hepburn was born in Milton,
Pennsylvania. Hepburn compiled the first Japanese-English dictionary and supervised the
first complete translation of the Bible into Japanese. It was eventually was published in
- March 14, 1949 -- Robert P. Evans founded the European Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1952, its name was changed to Greater Europe Mission. Today, this interdenominational
evangelical organization engages primarily in evangelism, theological education and literature
distribution. GEM has helped establish new churches in a dozen European nations.
- March 15, 1645 -- Eusebio Francisco Kino, an Italian Jesuit missionary and explorer was
born. Kino would become noted for his success in converting the Pima Indians while respecting
their customs, and for the historical value of his letters, journals, and maps. From 1687 to the end
of his life Kino worked in Pimeria Alta (now southern Arizona and northern Sonora in
- March 16, 1700 -- French missionaries reported that lightning had struck a pagan temple in
the Taensa village on Lake Saint Joseph near modern Newellton, Louisiana. When the building
caught fire, the tribal shaman told the women of the tribe to throw their small children into the
fire to try to appease the angry god who had started the fire. French missionary Francois Joliet de
Montigny attempted to stop the women.
- March 17, 461 -- Patrick, missionary to Ireland, died. Irish raiders captured young Patrick, a
Romanized Briton, and enslaved him. Patrick eventually escaped to Gaul (modern France) but
returned to Ireland after a vision called him back to preach. Patrick had great success as a
missionary, and, at his death, only the far south of Ireland remained predominantly pagan.
"I find it really cool that Patrick used the three-leaf clover to help people in Ireland
understand God being three in one." -- Eric H., Nazarene Bible College student
- March 18, 1885 -- The "Cambridge Seven" -- young British aristocrats who became
celebrities for going to China as Christian missionaries -- arrived in Shanghai.
- March 19, 1955 -- Billy Graham began All-Scotland Crusade.
- March 20, 1747 -- David Brainerd, colonial American missionary, ended his labors among
the Indians of New Jersey and Delaware because of his deteriorating health. He had started two
and a half years earlier but was continually plagued with illness. Brainerd died of tuberculosis
seven months later. His diary, published by Jonathan Edwards, became a major force in
promoting missions work, inspiring missionaries like William Carey, Henry
Martyn, and Thomas Coke.
- March 21, 1863 -- Davis Griffiths, missionary to Madagascar who had translated the Bible
into the island nation's Malagasy language, died.
- March 22, 1901 -- "Mark Twain" brought down upon his head the wrath of the Peking
Missionary Association and the American Board of Foreign Missions. Both organizations
demanded that the author-humorist retract statements he made in the February issue of
The North American Review attacking missionary W. S. Ament of the American
Board of Foreign Missions concerning monies he collected from rural Chinese in payment for
properties destroyed and people killed during the Boxer rebellion.
- March 23, 332 -- Gregory the Illuminator, who converted a nation before Constantine even
embraced Christianity, died. Under Gregory's ministry, King Tiridates of Armenia was
converted. When much of the kingdom followed suit, Christianity was established as the
national religion with Gregory as bishop.
- March 24, 1927 -- Chinese Communists seize Nanking, killing missionary John E. Williams.
A little more than twenty years later the communists took control of the whole country and
- March 25, 2004 -- Funeral in Cary, North Carolina for Baptist
missionaries Larry and Jean Elliott. The Elliotts, along with two other missionaries, were killed
in a drive-by shooting in Iraq.
- March 26, 809 -- Liudger, missionary to the Friesians and Saxons, died at about age 66.
Born near Utrecht (Modern Holland), Liudger felt called to missionary work as a result of the
death of Boniface whose work he wished to continue. Ordained a priest in 777, Liudger began a
missionary work near the mouth of the Ems river (in modern day Germany) in 787. Knowing the
language of the peoples there, he was very effective. In 793 Charlemagne offered him the
bishopric of Trier, but Liudger declined, preferring to continue his missionary work among the
- March 27, 710 -- Rupert of Salzburg (also known as Hrodbert, Robert, Rupprecht) died in
Salzburg. Either a Frankish nobleman or an Irishman, he began his missionary work in southern
Bavaria and Austria. Instead of knocking down pagan temples, as many missionaries did, Rupert
preferred to consecrate them as Christian churches.
- March 28, 1867 -- A missionary sailing ship called Morning
Star began its work in the Pacific under the command of Hiram Bingham. It
replaced a older ship which carried the same name. To finance the new ship, children in two
thousand Sunday schools over a period of two years gave more than $28,000. Indeed, when the
ship first arrived in Hawai, two thousand Hawaiian Sunday school children flocked to the wharf
to see "their ship" since three or four thousand of the 150,000 Morning Star
"stockholders" were Hawaiians.
- March 29, 1828 -- Adoniram Judson reported in his diary that missionaries George and Sarah
Boardman were moving to Tavoy (now called Tavai) in southeastern Burma. George Boardman
had been educated at Andover Theological Seminary and sent to India by the Baptist Board for
Foreign Missions in 1825. Arriving in Tavoy, he began a ministry to the Karen people that would
be cut short by his death in 1831.
- March 30, 1820 -- The first Protestant missionaries arrived at the Sandwich Islands, now
known as Hawaii, where they are welcomed by King Kamehameha II.
- March 31, 1998 -- In return for an agreement by several Protestant groups not to engage in
active "proselytizing," Israeli parliament member Nissim Zvilli (Labor) announced he would
withdraw his sponsorship of an anti-missionary bill already introduced in the Knesset.
-- compiled by Howard Culbertson
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