On this day in 1833, Peter Jones (also known as Kahkewāquonāby) was ordained to the ministry in York, Upper Canada. He was the first Ojibwa indian to be ordained into the ministry. But thanks to his work, he wasn’t the last.
Jones was the son of an Ojibwas woman and a European trader. But under pressure, his father left when Jones was not even a year old. So Jones was raised by a single mother for many of his early years. During these years, he was raised among the Ojibwas people. He learned the language, culture, and religion of his people. But as he grew older, he began to doubt the religion of his people. It came to a head when the chief of his clan, hoping to renew the declining faith of his people in their tribal religion, claimed to have experienced a vision of spirits promising that they would make him invincible to arrows and bullet. To prove it, he arranged a demonstration of his spirit-granted invulnerability. He was killed attempting to catch a bullet with a tin pot. This experience, along with others, made Jones realize that there had to be a truth out there he could believe in. But this wasn’t it.
When he was fifteen, his tribe began to experience some severe difficulties. Jone’s father, hearing about the difficulty of the tribe, came and took his sons to live with him and his family. So Jones was taken from his complete Indian culture to a European one. He didn’t even speak any English, but was sent to a one room schoolhouse. He spent nearly seven year among the settlers, learning English and their way of life. But at the age of 22, he attended a camp meeting with his half-sister. Here, he heard the gospel for the first time and accepted Christ. William Case, the missionary holding the camp meeting, saw the potential in Jones to reach out to the hard Indian tribes. Jones could already speak their language and understood their culture. They would trust him, since he was one of them, far more than a white missionary. So Case began to mentor and train Jones to be in the ministry, praying that one day, God would use him mightily.
Jones returned to his tribe and, in just over a year, more than half the tribe had turned to Christ. Along with his brother, he began to translate the Bible into different tribal languages. He soon began to travel around to different tribes, teaching them the gospel and starting churches. No matter what tribe he went to, he would learn their language, so he could give them the gospel in their own language. The rest of his life was given to reaching the different tribes with the Gospel and training young Native American men to be pastors and missionaries. Upon his death, a memorial was erected that read, “THE FAITHFUL AND HEROIC OJIBEWAY MISSIONARY. HIS GOOD WORKS LIVE AFTER HIM, AND HIS MEMORY IS EMBALMED IN MANY GRATEFUL HEARTS.”
As a young girl, she attended the weekly prayer meeting at the home of Hudson and Maria Taylor in London. She was influenced by the Taylors and their book: “China’s Spiritual Need and Claims”, that spoke of the desperate need for the Gospel message to be brought to the Chinese before they died “without God and without hope in the world”. When the Hudson’s put forth their first call for missionary reinforcements to go back to China with them, Jane was one of the first to volunteer. Though she was the youngest of the group of fifteen volunteers and she was still single, Jane worked hard to prove herself and was soon one of the most valuable members of the team.
After the new arrivals had weathered two typhoons and arrived nearly shipwrecked in China, they donned Chinese clothes and ventured down the Grand Canal, looking for a place to settle down to mission work. It caused a scandal among the other Westerners in China to see a young single woman like Jane adopt the Chinese dress, which was considered a compromise with an idolatrous culture. However, Taylor was undeterred in encouraging his missionaries to “adopt all things not sinful that were Chinese in order to save some”. In Hangzhou, Jane proved the value of being an unmarried female, as her daily walks around the neighborhood gave her opportunities to be invited in by the Chinese women who did not feel threatened as they might have by a foreign man.
After the death of Hudson Taylor’s first wife, Jane and Taylor were married and she became the matron of the China Inland Mission, directing many ministries. In one of her letters to a fellow missionary, she wrote:
How I wish that burning soul-stirring words could be written, words that would induce wrestling prayer and earnest effort. . . . How few are those who live for souls as worldly men live for riches, from year end to year end, first thing in the morning, last thing at night, every obstacle made to give way by persevering effort. . . . People speak of the progress of truth being slow, and in the half-truth hide the Church’s guilt!
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