Every time I read about what happened today in missions history, it excites me to see the bigger picture, the overall narrative of what God has been doing to reach every nation. God has called simple men and women throughout history to leave a mark of his glory upon his storyline, which leads us to right here, right now, wherever we are.

David said, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Now, with simple faith, let us go too, leaving a mark of righteousness for generations to come.

Here’s a look back through the years at what happened in missions history in the month of July. [CLICK TO TWEET]



July 1, 1871 — Many Torres Strait Islanders (Australia) commemorate today as the Coming of the Light Festival. This was the day that missionaries of the London Missionary Society first arrived in the Torres Strait where they landed on Erub Island.

July 2, 1950 — Evangelical pastor Martinez Quintana stepped outside a house in Columbia to face the angry mob beating at the door. “Down with the heretics!” they screamed. The mob had already burned the homes of several evangelical families. Inside pastor Quintana’s home, Christians prayed for his life and for their own. Martinez tried to reason with the crowd but they weren’t buying it. Finally, a policeman stepped forward and shot Martinez through the head. Then, the mob rushed to dynamite the evangelical church building.

July 3, 1838 — William Richards, missionary to Hawaii since 1822, resigns from his mission to accept the request of King Kamehameha III Kauikeaouli that he become the king’s personal translator, chaplain, counselor, and political adviser. Richards had already completed translating one-third of the Bible into Hawaiian.

July 4, 1825 — Missionary J. Jeffreys dies on a passage from Madagascar to the Isle of France. He was 31 years of age.

July 5, 1948 — Far Eastern Bible Institute and Seminary opens in Manila with 20 students. It had begun with the vision of young American soldiers who had helped liberate the Philippines at the end of World War II and who had fallen in love with the Filipino people. On September 21, 1945, some soldiers and chaplains crowded into the tiny living room of a missionary couple that had survived the war. In prayer they committed themselves to start Far Eastern Bible Institute and Seminary.

July 6, 1842 — Birth of John Ross (1842-1915), called “one of the most effective missionaries of his generation.” Making China his home for almost four decades, Ross also became the father of Protestant churches in Manchuria and Korea. He had a grasp of eleven languages, made significant contributions in Bible translation and commentary, and opened new vistas in the theory and practice of missions.

July 7, 1873 — The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention appoints Lottie Moon as a missionary to China. In the fall, she will set sail for Tengchow. Lottie will spend most of her missionary years in Tengchow and P’ingtu teaching in mission schools and ministering to women. She will eventually adopt Chinese dress and learn the Chinese language, thereby earning great respect among the Chinese people.

July 8, 1862 — Arthur Stephen Paynter, mission pioneer, was born. In 1897 he founded the Indian Christian Mission in the Kumoan District of North India. In 1904 the I.C.M. headquarters moved to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka (Ceylon). This evangelical interdenominational agency supports agriculture, education and orphanage work in India and Sri Lanka.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  Where Are You From, Little Girl?

July 9, 1737 — George Schmidt, the first Protestant missionary to South Africa, arrives. As a Moravian, Schmidt had already suffered brutality in the prisons of his homeland for the crime of sharing his faith. In Africa, George Schmidt became determined to reach the Hottentot people for Christ.

July 10, 1990 — Death at age 92 of Donald McGavran, missionary to India and “father” of the modern Church Growth movement

July 11, 1850 — Anne Armstrong is born. Under her leadership the Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union was formed. In 1934 the annual offering that was collected for the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board was named after her.

July 12, 2002 — Lamin Sanneh, professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale Divinity School, receives an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Sanneh’s books include: Abolitionists Abroad: American Blacks & the Making of Modern West Africa, Whose Religion is Christianity?: The Gospel Beyond the West, West African Christianity: The Religious Impact, The Crown & the Turban: Muslims & West African Pluralism, Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture, Piety & Power: Muslims & Christians in West Africa, The Jakhanke Muslim Clerics: A Religious & Historical Study of Islam in Senegambia, Encountering the West: Christianity & the Global Cultural Process, and Religion & the Variety of Culture: A Study in Origin & Practice.

July 13, 1968 — Wycliffe missionary Henry F. Blood dies in Viet Cong hands, about five months after his capture during the January Tet offensive. During nine years of mission work in Vietnam, Blood made only one convert. However, that one convert, Tang, would lead many Vietnamese to Christ.

July 14, 1912 — E.L. Arndt sets out for China. Arndt laid the groundwork for the China missions work of The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod.

July 15, 2001 — Canadian missionary David Waines was arrested, detained and interrogated for his opposition to two Liberian secret societies. “We are in a battle against injustice,” fellow missionary Ralph Bromley said. “The secret societies are a prominent part of Liberian culture. [They] pressure girls into female circumcision, early pregnancies and compliance with sexual abuse. Boys are forcefully initiated into these societies and made to comply with the societies’ strategies to keep women, children and the uninitiated terrified of being sacrificed for ritualistic purposes. . . . We will not back down from this battle.”

July 16, 1974 — Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization opens in Switzerland with 2500 participants from 150 nations. Sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the congress gave visibility to the broad evangelical movement committed to world evangelism.

July 17, 1996 — A senior from Wake Forest University, Matthew Alexander, heads to Marseilles, France, for a summer of volunteer work with Youth With a Mission. He never made it. Minutes after takeoff, Matthew’s Paris-bound flight, TWA 800, explodes in mid-air and plummets into the ocean off Long Island. There were no survivors.

July 18, 1804 — Birth of Dan Beach Bradley (1804-1873), pioneer missionary to Thailand. Bradley arrived in Siam (Thailand) in 1835 at age 32. His professions included: evangelist, doctor, printer, writer, government advisor and unofficial American Ambassador. Bradley loved the Thai people and made contributions to public health, schools, prison reform, education for women, and care for the mentally ill. He performed the first surgical operation in Thailand and published the country’s first newspaper. Sadly, because the Buddhist culture of Thailand was not fertile soil for the gospel at that time, Bradley saw little evangelistic fruit.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  The World Looks Like A 28 Year Old Chinese Man

July 19, 1649 — Edward Winslow, governor of Plymouth Colony (in what is now Massachusetts) helped to organize the Society for Propagating the Gospel in New England. The purpose of the Society was to evangelize the native people who had helped the beleaguered colonizers through their first winter, in which Winslow lost his own wife.

July 21, 1827 – Johann Jaenicke, pastor of Bethlehem Church, Berlin (Germany), died. In 1800 he had founded a mission seminary from which 81 foreign missionaries were sent out.

July 22, 1860 — Moritz Braeuninger, missionary to Native Americans, was shot by Indians.

July 23, 1860 — William W. McConnell, missions pioneer was born on this day. In 1891, McConnell became the first missionary sent out by the Central American Mission which had been founded a year earlier.

July 24, 1900 Ferdinand Hamet, Dutch missionary in Mongolia, is murdered at age 59

July 25, 1899 – Stuart W. K. Hine, English missionary, was born. In 1923, while he and his wife were in Ukraine, they heard a Russian version of the Swedish hymn, “O Store Gud.” They learned it and began singing it as a duet. Later, while crossing the Carpathian Mountains into southern Russia, the beauty of the surrounding mountains inspired them to write original English lyrics to the song. They titled it “How Great Thou Art.”

July 26, 1864 – Death of Fidelia Fiske, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions missionary to the Nestorian Christians of Persia. In June of 1843 she had landed at Orumiyeh, Iran. Her services as a nurse about Urmia and her missionary work into the countryside and among mountain tribes gradually won her respect and helped set an example that contributed to the slow improvement of the lot of Persian women.

July 27, 1834 — Along the Snake River in the northwestern U.S.A., local mountain men and Indians gather to hear Methodist missionary Jason Lee preach the first Protestant sermon delivered in Oregon Country.

July 28, 1861 — A diary entry on this day by Willis Folsom laments the language obstacles faced by cross-cultural missionaries: “This day I tried to preach in Choctaw and in English at Buck Creek . . . but got confused.”

July 29, 1824 — Russian Orthodox missionary John Evseyevich Popov-Veniaminov — who came to be called “Apostle to America” — arrives on the Aleutian island of Unalaska

July 30, 1750 — Christian Friedrich Schwartz, one of the foremost Lutheran missionaries in India, arrives in Tranquebar. Schwartz had come under the auspices of the Danish-Halle mission largely because of A. H. Francke’s influence. Remarkably, just four months after Schwartz’ arrival, he was able to preach his first sermon in the Tamil language.

July 31, 1834 — Marcus Whitman applies to American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions for appointment as a medical missionary. He is rejected because of ill health.


Article by Howard Culbertson. For more original content like this, visit: http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
Get The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary by David JoannesBUY NOW