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 June. [CLICK TO TWEET]



June 1, 1823 — Reginald Heber (1783-1826), author of 60 sixty hymns, including the classic “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains,” is consecrated as a missionary to India. He would become the Anglican missionary Bishop of Calcutta which meant he supervised Anglican work in all of India, Ceylon, Mauritius and Australasia.

June 2, 1901 — Throat cancer takes the life of Canadian Presbyterian missionary George Leslie Mackay. Mackay left his mark on Taiwan where his close identification with the Taiwanese led him, in contravention of the moral code of his time, to marry a “Chinese lady.” Professor Chen Chi-Rong said of him, “He was very committed to this land in a way that was different from that of other missionaries.” One of Mackay’s ambitions was to have an encyclopedic knowledge of Taiwan. Although Mackay saw medicine simply as a tool in evangelism, he has acquired fame among trivia buffs for pulling over 22,000 teeth.

June 3, 1837 — Arthur Tappan Pierson, mission authority, was born in New York City (d. 1911). A graduate of Hamilton College and Union Presbyterian Seminary, he pastored in New York, Connecticut, Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania as well as London, England. An authority on missions and a voluminious writer, Pierson edited the classic Missionary Review of the World (1888). He died immediately after returning from a trip to the Orient. A. T. Pierson’s association with D. L. Moody and his Northfield Conferences were the breeding ground for Pierson’s determination to see the world evangelized in his generation.

June 4, 1948 — Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC), which was founded in Shanghai in 1947 by John Broger and Bob Bowman, relocates to Manilla in the Philippine Islands.

June 5, 754 — Boniface is preparing a group of Friesland converts for baptism when they are attacked by pagan warriors. Everyone, including Boniface, is killed.

June 6, 1756 — John Roth, born February 3, 1726 in Germany, is commissioned for Moravian missionary service in a Pennsylvania “colony” of single brethren. When they arrived at Bethlehem, John Roth immediately began his labors among the 1ndians at Nain. Acquiring the Delaware tongue, he was in due course ordained, and in 1756 became assistant to the famous David Zeisberger.

June 7, 2002 — An American missionary, Martin Burnham, and a Filipino nurse were killed today when the Philippine military launched a raid to rescue them from the Islamic radicals which had held them captive in the jungle for more than a year. Burnham’s wife Gracie was freed but suffered a gunshot wound.

June 8, 1950 — The Fitkin Memorial Nazarene Bible College is launched in Benque Viejo, British Honduras (now Belize) with missionary David Browning as director.

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June 9, 1888 — The 10-day Centenary Conference on the Protestant Missions of the World opens in London. Participating are 1579 delegates of 10 different nationalities representing 139 denominations and societies — more than has ever been assembled under one roof. After a century of British leadership, the conference marked the coming of age of North American Protestant missions. Participants included historian Philip Schaff, A. T. Pierson, J. Hudson Taylor and even billionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt II.

June 10, 1925 — The Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board trustees acknowledge that the board is in deep financial distress. They issue “a call to prayer that Southern Baptists may realize the emergency and be faithful with their money and that the pastors and people spread the information of the urgent need of the board.”

June 11, 1970 — Good-bye to Frank Laubach, Apostle of Literacy. Laubach had become aware of the importance of literacy while serving as a missionary among Maranao Moro Muslims in the Philippines. Poverty and injustice crushed their lives. Much of it could be remedied, he decided, if only the people could read. The “Apostle of Literacy” and his wife Effa are buried in Benton, Pennsylvania under a tombstone that reads “World Missionaries.”

June 12, 1878 — Missionary Alexander Mackay arrives at the Victoria Nyanza in Uganda, Africa.

June 13, 1793 — William Carey, pioneer Baptist missionary who is sometimes referred to as “the father of the modern missionary movement”, sails for India.

June 14, 1910 — The World Missionary Conference is called to order at the Assembly Hall of the United Free Church of Scotland in Edinburgh. Of the 1200 delegates, over 80% were from Britain and North America. One hundred and seventy were from the European Continent and just 18 came from the rest of the world. It was one of the last moments in history when “worldwide Christianity” would mean Christian Europe and North America reaching out to the rest of the world.

June 15, 1755 — African-American John Marrant, the future missionary to Native Americans, is born in New York.

June 16, 1980 — Opening of Consultation on World Evangelization in Pattaya, Thailand. The 800 participants hammered out 17 landmark reports on evangelizing such people groups as the urban poor, Chinese peoples, Jews, Secularists, Hindus, Buddhists, Animists, Muslims, nominal Orthodox believers, nominal Protestant Christians and nominal Roman Catholics.

June 17, 1869 — John Boden Thomson was ordained on this day at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Born April 14, 1841 at Kirkpatrick, Kirkcudbrightshire, he studied at Western College and Highgate Missionary College. The same year he was ordained, Thomson married Elizabeth Edwards. Shortly after his ordination, the London Missionary Society appointed him to Matabeleland (western portion of what is now Zimbabwe). Thomson and his wife sailed on August 9, 1869, and arrived at Inyati, Matabeleland on April 29, 1870.

June 18, 1999 — A Southern Baptist missionary, his 11-year-old daughter and two summer missionaries died in a swimming accident on Mexico’s southern coast. Gary Sloan, 37, his daughter, Carla, and summer missionaries John Weems, 21, of Nacogdoches, Texas, and Joy Murphy, 19, of Pelham, Ala., drowned in the ocean near Tapachula. The four had gone with Sloan’s wife, Gloria, the Sloan’s three other children and three other summer missionaries to celebrate a family birthday.

June 19, 1859 — Asbel Green Simonton, missionary to Brazil with the Presbyterian Board of Foreign missions, sails from Baltimore on the merchant ship Banshee. He arrived in Rio de Janeiro on August 12. In November of 1864, Simonton took the lead in the establishment of the Impresna Evangelica, a semi-monthly newspaper for the dissemination of religious information.

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June 20, 1880 — Death of Samuel R. Brown, the first American appointed missionary to Japan. Born at East Windsor, Conn., on June 16, 1810, Brown went first to China as a missionary for nearly a decade. After a decade back in the U.S., he then sailed for Japan in 1859 as missionary of the Reformed (Dutch) Church. He assisted in the Japanese translation of the New Testament, completed just before his death and published the same year.

June 21, 1851 — Birth of Lillias Horton Underwood (physician, missionary). She went to Korea in 1888 as a single Prebyterian medical missionary. In 1908 she wrote an account of her first 15 years in Korea, titling it: Fifteen Years Among the Top-Knots or Life in Korea.

June 22, 1767 — August Friedrich Kemmerer, missionary to India, was born in Wusterhausen, Brandenburg, Germany (died 22 October 1837). Educated at Halle, he was ordained in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1789. He began his missionary service in 1791in Tranquebar, India.

June 23, 1951 — The Saturday Evening Post publishes an article titled “The Conqueror of the Congo.” It’s about the work of William Alexander Deans, missionary with Christian Mission in Many Lands. Deans (1908-1999) worked in northeast Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo) especially in the publishing of Christian literature in African languages.

June 24, 1809 — William Carey completes translation of Bible in Bengali.

June 25, 592 — Irish missionary Moluag dies. A contemporary of Columba, Moluag (also called Lugaidh) brought Christianity to the Island of Lismore and parts of northeastern Scotland.

June 26, 1892 — Pearl S. Buck, Presbyterian missionary to China and author of the bestselling The Good Earth (1931), is born.

June 27, 1819 — Adoniram Judson baptizes the first Burman believer, Moung Nau. On this day, Judson wrote in his journal: “Oh, may it prove to be the beginning of a series of baptisms in the Burman empire which shall continue in uninterrupted success to the end of the age.”

June 28, 1810 — Adoniram Judson, Samuel Mills, Samuel Nott and Samuel Newell walk six miles to present to the General Association of the Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts a formal written resolution in which they offer themselves for missionary service. The matter was referred to a committee of three. The following day the young men are approved and a foreign mission board is formed.

June 30, 2003 — Time magazine features a cover article on missionaries going to the 10/40 Window area.


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.

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