On this day in 1862, Mr. and Mrs. Meadows set sail for China. This couple would be the first helpers to Hudson Taylor and his ministry in China. For quite a while, James Meadows had worked very closely with Henry Bell in open-tent meetings throughout England. Bell, who was a strong supporter of Hudson Taylor and the work in China, had learned that Taylor was praying for and seeking helpers. He knew that a task of this magnitude required strong spiritual qualifications rather than educational, academic success. His thoughts immediately turned to Meadows, the young mechanic who had been his right hand. One day, Bell had Meadows over for tea and started the conversation like this:
” James, I have a job for you. Will you undertake it ? “
” What is it, sir ?
” Go to China.”
Meadows, taken back by this, responded: “I will, if God is calling me. But I must have time to pray over it.” In his own writings, Meadows says, “So I fasted and going into my workshop one dinner-hour, knelt down and definitely asked the Lord, ‘Shall I go ? ‘ The answer that came then and there was, ‘Go, and the Lord be with thee,’ and I have never regretted from that day to this (nearly fifty years later) that I acted upon it.”
On this day in 1807, Robert Morrison is ordained in London and sets sail less than a month later to China. Before his ordination, Robert was uncertain where to go. His continual prayer was that God would “station him in that part of the missionary field where the difficulties were greatest and all to human appearances the most insurmountable”. He finally set his sights on China. When Morrison arrived in China, he was full of vision and excitement for what God would do. But most of the English soldiers and merchants were extremely skeptical. They asked Morrison if he really expected to make any spiritual impact on the people of China. Whenever he was asked this, he always replied: “No sir, but I expect God will!”
On this date in 1867, James Chalmers and his wife were shipwrecked on their way to the Island of Rarotanga to begin their ministry. All seventy of the passengers aboard the ship were able to make it safely to shore, but all of their possessions and belongings were lost. Once ashore, they had to spend several days with the natives waiting for a ship to pass by and see them. Chalmer’s time on the island allowed him to spend time learning the culture of the Islanders he would soon be serving under. After many long days of waiting, a schooner saw the wreck and stopped to help the passengers. The only problem was that the ship was going to the island of Samoa, nearly a 1000 miles away from their destination. Knowing that it would be a long wait for another ship to pass by, they got aboard and prayed that they could find a way to Rarotanga. Once they arrived on Samoa, they scoured the city for a ship. The only ship they could find headed to Rarotanga belonged to Captain Bully Hayes, the notorious pirate leader. Against advice, Chalmers decided to seek Hayes out for passage. Hayes fell under Chalmers’ charm and agreed to take the missionary family to Rarotanga. Hayes and Chalmers became friends on the trip, and Hayes not only allowed Chalmers to hold services on his ship twice a day, but he made it mandatory for all on board to attend!
The Greatheart of New Papua by W. P. Nairne
Pioneering in New Guinea By James Chalmers
On this day in 1956, five young missionaries were brutally massacred by the very Indian tribe they were trying to reach with the Gospel. For months, Nate Saint had been flying his plane over a village of the Auca people with the other missionaries, dropping off gifts and trying to form contact with them. Finally, they landed their plane and formed a camp along a strip of beach, desperately hoping to meet some of the Indians. After three days of waiting, the first Indians appeared. Two woman approached the camp from the woods and entered into conversation with the missionaries. After a few minutes, a man also appeared, which extremely excited the missionaries. The man seemed very friendly and, after a meal of hamburgers and kool-aid, they took “George” (the name they gave the Indian man) a ride on their airplane. After George and the ladies left, the young missionaries excitedly speculated what would ensue in the next couple of days.
The very next day, they had no visitors. But on Sunday, the eigth, Nate Saint spotted a group of about ten men headed to their camp. Excitedly, he radioed the wives and said, “Looks like they’ll be here for the Sunday afternoon service. This is it! Pray for us. Will contact you again at 4:30, over and out.” The women anxiously waited to hear the report. But at 4:30, they got no answer. Worried, they continued to wait. But after an evening of waiting, they began to face the truth that something terrible may have happened. The next day, another missionary took his plane and flew over the spot were the missionaries had set up camp. All he could see was Saint’s plane stripped of its covering and a lone body near the river.
Immediately, a search party set out and after four days of trekking through the jungle, they arrived at the carnage. But it was too late. The tribe that these young men loved and prayed for so much had killed them in cold blood. All they could find was the remains of five young missionaries, so brutalized that they were unrecognizable except for their personal affects. This was all that remained of Operation Auca…or was it? Though the lives of these men were cut short and the work they could do was finished, they live on. They live on in the countless lives their sacrifice inspired to serve the Lord. They live on in the hundreds of Aucas who were reached by the work of their wives and children. And they live on in Heaven, where their sacrifice was seen by a faithful Judge. Jim ELiot, on of the one men killed, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Did they have to die? By Steve Saint (Son of Nate)
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