January 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
Making disciples in the nations: Significant events, locations, people and movements in the
global expansion of Christianity
- January 1, 1954 -- A Piper Pacer
airplane equipped to land on either water or land launched Missionary Aviation Fellowship's
ministry in New Guinea. MAF also began work in Indonesia.
- January 2, 1816 -- Benjamin Hobson,
medical missionary to China, was born in England. The London Mission Society sent him to
China in 1839 where he worked in Macao, Hong Kong, Canton and Shanghai. Hobson translated
and wrote on natural philosophy as well as medical subjects. His works include A Medical
Vocabulary in English and Chinese. [ story from
- January 3, 1884 -- Birth of E. Stanley Jones, Methodist missionary, in
Clarksville, Maryland. Jones went to India after his ordination in 1907. A prolific devotional
writer, Jones' best-known works include The Christ of the Indian Road (1925) and
Abundant Living (1936). In 1928 Jones was elected as a Methodist bishop, but he
refused the position so that he might remain a missionary.
- January 4, 1987 -- Second
"International Conference on Missionary Kids" opened in Quito, Ecuador. Participants included
caregivers for the children of missionaries. The first such conference was held in 1984 in the
Philippines. A third was held in 1989 in Nairobi, Kenya.
- January 5, 1989 -- Global Consultation
on World Evangelization by AD 2000 and Beyond opened in Singapore. Participating were 314
mission leaders from 50 countries. Zealous calls were issued for plans to complete the Great Commission by the end of the millennium. The GCOWE
"Great Commission Manifesto" was later condensed to the phrase: "A Church for Every
People and the Gospel for Every Person by the Year 2000". Follow-up GCOWE
conferences would be held in 1995 in Korea and in 1997 in South Africa.
- January 6, 1834 -- Samuel Ruggles,
who had studied at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut and who had gone to
Hawaii in 1819 with missions pioneer Hiram Bingham, boarded a ship in Hawaii to return to
New England for health reasons. The voyage, because it had to go around the southern tip of
South America, took more than six months.
- January 7, 1858 -- Henry W. Frost,
American missionary pioneer, was born. Frost was responsible for establishing an American
headquarters for the China Inland Mission. Founded in 1865 in Great Britain by missionary J.
Hudson Taylor, CIM relocated its offices to America in 1901. In 1965, CIM changed its name to
the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF). Since 1974, it has been headquartered in
- January 8, 1956 -- Five American
missionaries were killed in Ecuador by the Waorani tribe (earlier called "Auca") whom they were
trying to reach.
- January 9, 1836 -- Peter Reinhold
Grundemann, founder of Brandenburg Missionary Conference, was born at Bärwalde, near
Berlin. A prolific writer on missions, Grundemann's best-known publication was
Allgemeiner Missionsatlas (General Missions Atlas). Educated at Tübingen,
Halle and Berlin, Grundemann pastored at Mörz from 1869 to 1913. He founded the
Brandenburg mission conference in 1879.
- January 10, 1934 -- The Lutheran
Church (Missouri Synod) ordained its first native Chinese pastor.
- January 11, 1857 -- Eli Smith,
missionary, died (b. 1801). He served as an American Board missionary to the Near East,
especially Syria, and translated the Bible into Arabic.
- January 12, 2004 -- Around nine o'clock in the evening, intruders armed with automatic
weapons burst into a churchyard in the Tajik town of Isfara and shot and killed Baptist pastor and
missionary Sergei Besarab through a window. Besarab was kneeling in prayer at the time he was
- January 13, 1855 -- John Scudder, Dutch Reformed missionary to Ceylon and India, died in
Wynberg, South Africa (born 1793). Sent to Ceylon by the American Board, he had transferred in
1836 to Madras for literary work. The Arcot Mission grew under
his direction. He had eight sons, two granddaughters and two grandsons who wound up serving
under that mission board. Ill health eventually caused Scudder to be transferred to Africa where
- January 14, 1875 -- Birth of Albert Schweitzer -- theologian, medical
missionary to Africa, organist, musical historian, and winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize.
- January 15, 1915 -- Mary Slessor (born: 1848), Scottish missionary
to West Africa, died. Converted as a teen-ager in the Presbyterian church, Mary sailed to Nigeria in 1876 where she worked
continuously with tribal peoples for forty years. Mary Slessor's uncanny insight into the African
mind helped her as she worked to eliminate witchcraft, drunkenness, twin-killing and other cruel
customs among the Ibo people. [ More on Mary
- January 16, 1820 -- Johannes Rebmann, missionary to East
Africa, was born in Gerlingen, North Wuerttemberg, Germany (died: October 4, 1876).
Educated in Basel (Switzerland), he went to East Africa in 1846 to work with J. L. Krapf. He was
the first European to see Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. He studied Swahili and other
African languages. He translated the Gospel of Luke one of them and helped prepare dictionaries
for three others.
- January 17, 1923 -- Valborg and Peter
Torjesen, who were single missionaries with China Inland Mission, were married in Lan Xian,
China. Their story is recounted in the book We signed away our lives: How one family
gave everything for the Gospel. The title is based on what 18-year-old Peter Torjesen
did when he heard the call to evangelize China. That day, he not only emptied his wallet into the
collection plate; he also included a note with the words, "And my life."
- January 18, 1830 -- Baptism of Tauta'ahau Tupou, King of
Tonga, by a western missionary
- January 19, 1805 -- London Mission Society lay missionary Christian Albrecht arrived in
Cape Town, South Africa. Along with his brother Abraham, he was among the first
missionaries to cross the Orange River to evangelize the Great Namaqualand in southwest
Africa. After establishing a preaching station at Warm Bath, Albrecht was officially ordained in
1810 at the Cape. He died in 1815.
- January 20, 1870 -- Clara Swain,
the very first female missionary medical doctor, arrived at Bareilly, India.
- January 21 1890 -- Polish-born Solomon Ginsburg (1867-1927) left London for Brazil
where he spent 35 years as a Baptist missionary. With Erik Alfred Nelson, he founded the
first Baptist church in the Amazon Valley. Ginsburg titled his autobiography A Wandering
Jew in Brazil. When he left London for Brazil, Ginsburg was engaged to Carrie Bishop, a
trained nurse of the Royal Hospital. Their plan was for her to come to Brazil after a year or so.
When she did arrive in Brazil, they married, but she died four months later.
- January 22, 1999 -- Radical Hindus murdered a veteran Australian missionary and his two
sons as they slept in a car in eastern India. Graham Stewart Stains and his sons died when
members of the Hindu radical party Bajrang Dal doused the car with kerosene and set it ablaze.
The three burned alive as 40 Hindus shouted anti-Christian slogans.
- January 23, 1821 -- African-American Lott Carey, a Baptist missionary, sailed from Norfolk,
VA to Sierra Leone with 28 colleagues.
"Lott Carey was a great leader because he was obedient to the call that God had placed
upon his life. He gave up everything, including his own life, in order to fulfill his mission in
taking the gospel message to the lost." -- Kelli Simmons, Northwest Nazarene University
- January 24, 1964 -- Baptist Mid-Missions missionary Irene Ferrel was martyred by Marxist
guerrillas in the Congo.
- January 25, 1908 -- Anne Blake Wooding, was born in Liverpool. In the 1930s she joined
SIM (originally Sudan Interior Mission) to become a pioneer missionary to the blind of Kano, a
walled city in the north of Nigeria.
- January 26, 1859 -- Millionaire inventor of the reaper, Cyrus McCormick, marries Nettie
Fowler, a devoted Christian. Following Cyrus's death in 1884, Nettie used her enormous wealth
to support the work of D. L. Moody, John R. Mott, and countless
missionaries to Asia.
- January 27, 1910 -- The Tabor Beacon, newspaper in Fremont County, Iowa
published a letter from Effie Chambers, an American missionary helping the Armenians in
Kessab. The letter describes the aftermath of a massacre and atrocities against the Armenians by
- January 28, 1906 -- Oswald Smith, founder of Peoples Church and promoter of the Faith Promise concept for raising missions funding, was converted at
R. A. Torrey's evangelistic campaign in Toronto. [ more on Faith
- January 29, 1928 -- Arthur Edwards was appointed as the first Foursquare missionary to
Panama. A former banker from Morgan Hill, California, Edwards spent twenty years in Panama.
At his retirement, the Foursquare Church in Panama, with more than 100 churches, was said to
be the strongest Protestant group in that country.
- January 30, 1877 -- In 1875 a letter written by Henry Stanley appeared in the London "Daily
Telegraph." In that letter written from Africa, Stanley pleaded: "O, that some pious, practical
missionary would come here!... Nowhere is there in all the pagan world a more promising field
for a mission than Uganda. Here, gentlemen, is your opportunity. Embrace it! The people on the
shores of the Nyanza call upon you." On this date (January 30, 1877), three members of
Alexander Mackay's Church Missionary Society team, who had responded to that plea, arrived at
King Mutesa's court.
- January 31, 1993 -- Armed guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia,
known as FARC, enter Púcuro, Panama and seized three New Tribes Mission
missionaries: Dave Mankins, Mark Rich, and Rick Tenenoff. Their eventual death was finally
confirmed by eyewitnesses in 2001.
-- compiled by Howard Culbertson
Missions history course resources:
Evangelizing the Barbarians
Black involvement in world missions
World missions history crossword puzzle
Exam study guides
Historic missions slogans
Monastic missionary strategy Nazarene
missions Nazarene Missions International
history PowerPoint: Epochs of world mission
outreach World evangelism from 1600 to the
present Course syllabus
Yeaer-by-year timeline of
world missions history Evangelizing the Vikings
William Borden story
10/40 Window explanation and map Seeking
God's will? African
martyr's commitment Mission trip
fundraising Ten ways to
ruin your mission trip
Nazarene Missions International resources