December world evangelism history: It happened today!
On this date in global missions outreach
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of
witnesses . . ." -- Hebrews 12:1
Fufilling Acts 1:8 -- Significant events, locations, people and movements in world
- December 1, 1999 - Several house church movements in China began a "missionary
month," embracing the aim of winning three others for Christ. [ Another story from China ]
- December 2, 1946 - E. V. Steele founded the European Christian Orphanage and Mission
Society in Alberta, Canada. In 1953 the name was changed to World Missions Fellowship.
Now headquartered in Grants Pass, Oregon, this evangelical interdenominational sending agency
has missionaries doing evangelism, orphan care and camping programs in India, Austria, Ireland,
Brazil and Japan.
- December 3, 1552 -- Jesuit founder Francis Xavier died awaiting
admission to China. He claimed to have had 700,000 converts in Portugal, India, Indonesia,
Japan, and elsewhere.
- December 4, 1674 -- French Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette erected a mission meeting
place on Lake Michigan, the first building in what would become the city of Chicago.
- December 5, 1862 -- C.T. Studd,
pioneer missionary, was born in England. Originally famous as a cricket star, he became a
Christian at age 21 under the preaching of D.L. Moody. Studd then dedicated his life and
considerable inherited wealth to Christ. In 1885 he and six others -- the "Cambridge Seven" --
sailed to Asia to serve with the China Inland Mission. Studd later ministered as well in India and
- December 6, 1664 - Governor Richard Nicolls granted liberty to New York Lutherans,
allowing them to hold services and to have their own pastors.
- December 7, 521 -- Irish monk Columba, missionary to Scotland and founder of Iona and
many other monastic communities, was born in Donegal.
- December 8, 1934 -- American missionaries John and Betty Stam were beheaded by
Chinese communists. The couple had met while attending Moody Bible Institute and married just
the year before their death. Publication of their biography prompted hundreds to volunteer for
missionary service. [ Another story from China ]
- December 9, 1943 -- M.T. Rankin of the Southern Baptist Mission Board reported that 40
missionaries from war-ravished China arrived in New York aboard the S. S.
- December 10, 1953 - Albert Schweitzer, medical missionary to Africa, accepted the Nobel
- December 11, 1910 -- Norwegian missionary Lars Skrefsrud died. In 1862, when Lars
Skrefsrud asked the Norwegian Missionary Society to send him out as a missionary, they turned
him down. They didn't want an ex-convict representing them and Lars had just spent four years in
prison for theft. But he persevered and became Norway's best-known missionary. He worked
among the Santal people who lived north of Calcutta. He translated the Bible into the Santal
language and produced a hymnal using native tunes. He wrote textbooks and even published a
book of traditional Santal myths. He founded schools that taught such things as farming, animal
care, and carpentry. He also wanted to give the Santalese a church they could run themselves.
"It is the heathenism we want to get rid of, not the national character," he said. By
the time of Lars death, there were 15,000 to 20,000 Santal Christians.
- December 12, 2000 -- Nanjing Publishing House printed a biography of Minnie Vantrin, an
American missionary who helped women and children escape being killed and hurt during the
Nanjing Massacre which was committed by Japanese invaders in December 1937. Vantrin was
professor and president of a women's college in Nanjing from 1919-1940. After the massacre,
she hosted various professional training programs for the women and their families who had been
decimated and broken up.
- December 13, 1938 -- Norwegian missionary Peter Torjesen was killed in northern China
during a Japanese bombing raid. When Torjesen was just 18 years old, he was so moved during
a missionary service that when an offering was taken to support missions in China, he emptied
his wallet into the offering basket and added a small piece of paper on which he had written "and
my life." He gave nearly 20 years of his life to ministry in the provincial capital of Shanxi.
- December 14, 2004 -- The Free Methodist church reported that over a half a million dollars
has been contributed for relief in Haiti following a Sept. 18 hurricane. The funds repaired schools
and churches as well as restoring family homes and belongings, met food needs, bought seeds for
gardens and replaced lost farming tools.
- December 15, 1843 -- Birth of Albert B.
Simpson, who is regarded as the father of the Bible college movement. Though A.B. Simpson was primarily a local pastor, he had a vision for
establishing a missions organization. So, he helped form two evangelization societies: The
Christian Alliance and The Evangelical Missionary Alliance. Those two groups would
eventually fuse into one. In 1881, Simpson would launch America's first illustrated missionary
magazine, The Gospel in All Lands. In his local church, Simpson's creative
missions passion gave birth to what local churches now call Faith Promise Conventions. [
missionary hymns by Simpson ]
- December 16, 1867 -- Amy Carmichael, Scottish-Irish missionary to India, was born in
Millisle, Ireland. Raised a Presbyterian, she was influenced by the Keswick movement and
became a missionary under the Church of England's Zenana Missionary Society. She arrived in
India in 1895 and remained there without furlough until her death in 1951.
- December 17, 1912 -- Yale-educated Chicago native Bill Borden, heir to a fortune in real
estate and milk production, boarded a ship to China via Egypt. Converted to Christ as a young
man, Borden had given his inheritance and his life to the cause of world evangelism. Only a
month after arriving in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis and died. Publication of his story
prompted many young people to enter missionary service. [ more
on Borden ]
- December 18, 1850 -- Missionary group led by Allen Gardiner landed in Terra del Fuego,
Patagonia. Tragically, supplies for the seven missionaries will not arrive until October 31, 1851.
That supply ship will discover that the entire missionary party has one by one starved to death
between June 8 and September 6.
- December 19, 1950 -- Missionary doctor Bill Wallace is arrested in an early morning raid in
Wuchouw. Urged to flee from China during the communist takeover, he replied, "I will
stay as long as I am able to serve." Claiming they found a gun under the Southern Baptist
missionary's pillow, the Communists accused him of being a foreign agent. Brutal interrogation
would follow with Bill dying in his cell two months after his arrest. [ Another story from China ]
- December 20, 1859 -- The Territorial Legislature chartered Whitman Seminary (now
Whitman College) at Walla Walla, Washington. The school, which was granted the first charter
to an educational institution in the territory, honors the memory of missionary Marcus Whitman
- December 21, 1631 -- The Spanish government furnished two soldiers for the protection of
Pedro de Miranda, missionary to the Indians of Taos. On this day, as it was very cold, the two
soldiers came into the kitchen of the convent to warm themselves. They were followed by a
crowd of Indians, who for some reason had become incensed against the Spaniards, and wound
up killing the soldiers and then the priest.
- December 22, 1838 -- John Hunt was appointed as a missionary to Rewa, Fiji
- December 23, 1906 -- Peter Friesen, who had already been commissioned as a missionary to
India, is ordained by the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church. The Friesens will arrive in
Mumbai on March 7, 1907, and travel the last fifty miles by oxcart from Raipur, Madhya Pradesh
- December 24, 1789 -- Jackson Kemper, Episcopal missionary bishop, was born in Pleasant
Valley, New York. In 1835, the Episcopal Church undertook to consecrate missionary bishops to
preach the Gospel west of the settled areas, and Kemper was the
first to be chosen. He promptly headed west. Finding that clergy who had lived all their lives in
the settled East were slow to join him on the frontier, Kemper began recruiting priests from men
already in the West, and established a college in St. Louis to train them. He constantly urged a
more extensive outreach to the Indian peoples, and translations of the Scriptures and the services
of the Church into Indian languages.
- December 25, 1931 -- A 200-watt
transmitter in a converted farm building in Ecuador became HCJB, the world's first missionary
- December 26, 2002 -- Two weeks after laying off nearly a third of its St. Louis office staff,
the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) World Mission organization eliminated 28 overseas
missionary positions -- one-fourth of its career-missionary force. Eliminated were missionary
posts in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central and South America.
- December 27, 1846 -- Friederich A. Craemer baptized the first Chippewa Indians as part of
the Lutheran mission effort in Michigan.
- December 28, 1800 -- William Carey, missionary to India, baptized Krishna Pal, his first
- December 29, 1745 -- David Brainerd, missionary to Native American Indians, wrote in his
journal: "After public worship was over, I went to my house, proposing to preach again
after a short season of intermission. But they soon came in one after another, with tears in their
eyes, to know what they should do to be saved. . . . It was an amazing season of power among
them, and seemed as if God had bowed the heavens and come down... and that God was about to
convert the whole world."
- December 30, 2002 -- An Islamic militant shot and killed three U.S. Christian missionaries
working at a Baptist-run hospital in Yemen. William Koehn, the administrator of Jibla Baptist
hospital, Kathleen Gariety, a supplies purchaser, and medical doctor Martha Myers all die
instantly from bullets to the head. Pharmacist Donald Caswell is left in critical condition with
- December 31, 1821 -- Rev. Jonathan Price, M. D., a medical missionary, arrived with his
family in Burma to join the missionary work of Adoniram Judson.
-- 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 world missions
Nazarene Missions International history
PowerPoint: Epochs of world mission outreach
World evangelism from 1600 to the present
Yeare-by-year timeline of world mission events
Evangelizing the Vikings
William Borden's 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