October in global missions history: It happened today!
On this date in world evangelism outreach
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses . . ."
-- Hebrews 12:1
Significant events, locations, people and movements in world evangelism
- October 1, 1883 -- Former Presbyterian minister A. B. Simpson opened the 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 formed the Baptist Missionary Society "for the
propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen, according to the recommendations of [William]
- October 3, 1954 -- Herbert and Alice Ratcliff arrived in British Guinea (now Guyana) as
missionaries. They will serve in Guyana and various Caribbean islands for more than 30
- October 4, 1930 -- British missionaries Eleanor June Harrison and Edith Nettleton were
beheaded in China. They had been abducted in July at Chungan in Fujian province. 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, believing that they had been
betrayed when provincial troops attacked them, the outlaws killed the two missionaries.
- October 5, 1744 -- David Brainerd, who had been expelled from Yale for criticizing a tutor
and attending a forbidden revival meeting, began missionary work with Native Americans along
New Jersey's Susquehanna River. Jonathan Edwards' biography of Brainerd was very influential
in promoting world missions activity. That biography was an important book in the spiritual
journey 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 reached China.
Later, she would write: "If I had a thousand lives, I would give them all for the women of
- October 8, 1853 -- Miles Justin Knowlton was ordained as a Baptist minister. Soon afterward
he sailed as a missionary for Ningpo, China. In 1871, while on a visit to the United States,
Knowlton wrote a prize-winning 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 a period of persecution unleashed by the emperor Decius, a
missionary named Denis who had been sent to Gaul (modern-day France) was arrested along
with two other church leaders. All three were beheaded in an area of modern-day Paris now
called Montmartre (Martyrs' Hill). Their bodies were thrown into the Seine River.
- October 10, 644 -- Paulinus, missionary and First Archbishop of York, died. 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) reported 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 all foreign
churches and set up a state church similar to the government-controlled church in China.
- October 13, 1799 -- A party of new missionaries arrived 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 and Ann Duff sailed from London for India aboard the
Lady Holland. They were the first missionaries of the Church of Scotland to India.
The ship was wrecked near Cape Town, South Africa. 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. By 1844 he had a thousand students.
- October 15, 1932 -- A small party of supporters gathered 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." [
more on Aylward ]
- October 16, 1877 -- William Taylor, who has been a Methodist missionary to South Africa
and India, sailed for South America to see if the ideas on self-support he had 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 arrived in
Mombasa, Kenya. Scott pressed inland to share the gospel and plant missions. Peter contracted
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 was 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, passed 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
- October 20, 1833 -- Dr. Justin Perkins arrived in Urmi (northwestern Iran) as the first
American missionary in that area.
- October 21, 1944 -- Alois Kayser (born 1877 in Alsace) died 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 was 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 was 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
- October 24, 1869 -- Scottish Presbyterian missionary John Paton held 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 an event that caused them
to become missionaries.
- October 26, 1966 -- The first World Congress on Evangelism opened in West Berlin,
attracting approximately 600 delegates from about 100 countries.
- October 27, 1874 -- Presbyterian missionary Mary Parker wrote in her diary that on this day a
Japanses believer named Takahashi was sending a letter to a Japanese government ministry
asking for the right to bury Christian Japanese "according to our way."
- October 28, 1646 -- At Nonantum, Massachusetts, missionary John Eliot preached the first
worship service for Native Americans in their native language.
- October 29, 1885 -- English missionary James Hannington was murdered in Uganda
- October 30, 1838 - In a letter, Marcus Whitman, missionary to Native Americans in the
Northwest part of the U.S., announced the safe arrival of several missionary reinforcements and
discussed how best to deploy them. In addition to providing updates on the Waiilatpu mission,
Whitman described a plan to obtain a printing press from Hawaii and mentioned 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, converted to Christianity at a Moravian mission. Muller's
living-by-faith approach to finances became a key inspiration for Hudson Taylor (China
Inland Mission) and other "faith" mission leaders.
-- compiled by Howard Culbertson
year-by-year Refletions on
world missions history World missions history
crossword puzzle World evangelism from
1600 to the present Evangelizing
the Barbarians (400 to 800 AD) Evangelizing
the Vikings (800 to 1200 AD)