Many Christian missionaries have gone to the poorest of the poor and to remote locations. Many missionaries preached Christ through helping people by giving medical services, hospitals, clinics and schools.
Ministering to the very sick and to the abandoned is ministering to Christ, himself.
(38) "When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? (39) When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?"...
"I say to you, what ever you did for one of these least....you did for me." MT 38-40
"I have but one candle of life to burn and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light." - John Keith Falconer
Leprosy Mission International
Leprosy Mission International has over 130 years experience working with people that are considered “untouchable” in some societies. Founded by Wellesley Bailey in the 1860s.
Wellesley C Bailey was born in Ireland in 1846. and was the founder of international charity The Leprosy Mission. In India in the 1860s he witnessed the severe consequences of the disease and vowed to make caring for those with leprosy his life work. The Mission he established all those years ago is still active today.
Wellesley Bailey's Christian faith
That was until he found himself at the start of a voyage that was to take him a long way from home. In Gravesend, fog delayed the departure of his ship bound for Australia. Remembering his childhood girlfriend's request to him before he left to attend church whenever he could, he stopped by one Sunday at Gravesend Parish church. There, he says he had a sense of God's presence in a way he'd never known before and he committed his life to Christ.
In 1917, at the age of 71, Wellesley Bailey made the decision to retire from his work with the Mission. He had spent the best part of 50 years dedicated to serving those with leprosy. By the time of his retirement, The Mission to Lepers was working with over 14,000 leprosy-affected people in 12 countries.
His granddaughter later wrote about him: 'He was not a saint, nor even a clever man... But I do not ever remember hearing from him an ungenerous remark, or seeing him angry apart from minor irritations. His great gift was single-mindedness, and a simplicity that perhaps could not see the difficulties which a more sophisticated mind might see.'
Wellesley Bailey died in 1937, aged 91.
Thomas Baker (6 February 1832—July 1867) was a Methodist missionary in Fiji, known as being the only missionary in that country to be killed and eaten, along with seven of his Fijian followers. The incident occurred in the Navosa Highlands of western Viti Levu in July 1867, and the rock used to kill Baker is still displayed in the village of Nabutatau. The soles of his leather sandals, which were also cooked by the cannibal tribe, are in Fiji Museum in Suva. Records show that Baker was killed and eaten as a result of him touching a chief's head, which in Fijian culture, is considered to be very disrespectful.
In July 1867, Baker led a party into the interior of Viti Levu, passing through the Taukei ni Waluvu's Christian enclave on the East bank of the Wainimala River. When Baker met a local chief of Navatusila, Baker presented a British comb as a gift and attempted to persuade him to convert to Christianity. When the chief refused, Baker decided to take his comb back, touching the chief's head as he did so, which was taken as a threat and offense in Fijian customs. In pursuing revenge, a dominant coastal chief, the Chief of Bau, gave a tabua (whale tooth) to the clan to seal the plot to kill the party, and for the body of Thomas Baker to be cannibalised and distributed in the old traditional village of Nabialevu (Nadrau).
David Brainerd (April 20, 1718 – October 9, 1747) was an American missionary to the Native Americans who had a particularly fruitful ministry among the Delaware Indians of New Jersey. During his short life he was beset by many difficulties. As a result, his biography has become a source of inspiration and encouragement to many Christians. Missionaries such as William Carey and Jim Elliot, and Brainerd's cousin, the Second Great Awakening evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801–1829) have been motivated by the ministry of David Brainerd.
In November 1746, he became too ill to continue ministering, and so moved to Jonathan Dickinson's house in Elizabethtown. After a few months of rest, he traveled to Northampton, Massachusetts, where he stayed at the house of Jonathan Edwards. Apart from a trip to Boston in the summer of that year, he remained at Edwards's house until his death the following year. In May 1747, he was diagnosed with incurable consumption; in these final months, he suffered greatly. In his diary entry for 24 September, Brainerd wrote:
'In the greatest distress that ever I endured having an uncommon kind of hiccough; which either strangled me or threw me into a straining to vomit'.
During this time, he was nursed by Jerusha Edwards, Jonathan's seventeen-year-old daughter. The friendship that grew between them was of a kind that has led some to suggest they were romantically attached. He died from tuberculosis on 9 October 1747, at the age of 29. He is buried at Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, next to Jerusha,who died in February 1748 as a result of contracting tuberculosis from nursing Brainerd. His gravestone reads:
Sacred to the memory of the Rev. David Brainerd. A faithful and laborious missionary to the Stockbridge, Delaware and Sasquehanna TRIBES OF INDIANS WHO died in this town. October 10, 1747 AE 32.
David Brainerd kept a journal. After the young missionary’s death, his father-in-law Jonathan Edwards edited the journal which he published as “The Life and Diary of David Brainerd.”
HUNT, JOHN (1812–1848), missionary, the third child of a farm bailiff, who had previously been a soldier and a sailor, was born at Hykeham Moss, near Lincoln, on 13 June 1812. After a few years in a parish school, Hunt was put to farm labour at the age of ten, and worked for some years as a ploughman at Balderton, near Newark, and Swinderby.
At age fourteen, John became a Christian.
John Hunt believed that God hears prayers. He prayed for his protection against the things that made him fearful--dogs, gypsies, and thunder. As he grew older, he drifted from faith. His clumsiness was mocked. Handier farm boys taunted him as an idiot. He fell in with rough companions. At times he promised the Lord he would change, but did not keep his word.
Then he got sick. Death loomed before his eyes. It was no use making the Lord more promises. He fell to his knees and vowed to serve God then and there. When he recovered, he repeated his promise to godly neighbors, making himself accountable for spiritual growth.
He became a methodist when about sixteen. At Swinderby he educated himself in his spare time, and preached there and afterwards at Potter Hanworth, near Lincoln.
In 1835 he was sent to the Hoxton theological college for Wesleyan ministers; in 1838 he was ordained and sailed for Fiji as a missionary. Here he was very successful, making long journeys to the various mission stations on the islands, and working hard at translation.
In 1848 H.M.S. Calypso visited Fiji, and Hunt made a long tour with the captain. He died of an illness the consequence of fatigue on 4 Oct. 1848, and was buried at Vewa, one of the mission stations. His wife, Miss Summers, of Newton-on-Trent, whom he had married on 6 March 1838, and several children survived him.
Hunt took part in translating the Scriptures into Fijian. The New Testament was published at Viti, Fiji, in 1853, 12mo, and the whole Bible in London in 1864-8, 8vo., He also wrote: 1. `Memoir of the Rev. W. Cross,' the life of a missionary, to which he added a short notice of the early history of the mission to Fiji, London, 1846, 12mo. 2. 'Entire Sanctification, in Letters to a Friend,' edited by J. Calvert, London, 1853, 12mo.
In 1839, John and Hannah disembarked at a missionary station on Rewa. They soon witnessed the uncivilized Fijian’s ways. The punishment for stealing was usually to have the offending fingers chopped off. The natives purged their population of the sick and aged by strangling them to death. One day the natives of the village where John lived avenged the death of one of their own by killing eleven men from the other village, cutting up their bodies, and cooking and eating them.
John and Hannah Hunt’s lives were sometimes threatened, but God always protected them. John stated in one of his journal entries, “I feel myself saved from almost all fear though surrounded with men who have scarcely any regard for human life.”
The Hunts relocated to the missionary station at Somosomo and later saw their most rewarding ministry at Viwa.
John joyously wrote in a letter, “Many who, a little while ago, were among the worst cannibals in the world, are now rejoicing in God their Savior.”
Charlotte Digges "Lottie" Moon
Charlotte Digges "Lottie" Moon (December 12, 1840 – December 24, 1912) was a Southern Baptist missionary to China with the Foreign Mission Board who spent nearly 40 years (1873–1912) living and working in China. As a teacher and evangelist she laid a foundation for traditionally solid support for missions among Southern Baptists.
Mary Mitchell Slessor
Mary Mitchell Slessor (2 December 1848 – 13 January 1915) was a British Presbyterian missionary to Nigeria. Once in Nigeria, Slessor began teaching and learned Efik, the local language. Because of her understanding of the native language and her bold personality Slessor gained the trust and acceptance of the locals and was able to spread Christianity while promoting women's rights and protecting native children.
She is most famous for having stopped the common practice of infanticide of twins among the Ibibio people, an ethnic group in southeastern Nigeria.
Hudson Taylor about 1885.
James Hudson Taylor (21 May 1832 – 3 June 1905) was a British Protestant Christianmissionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM, now OMF International). Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who began 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions, as well as the establishment of more than 300 stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces.
Taylor was known for his sensitivity to Chinese culture and zeal for evangelism. He adopted wearing native Chinese clothing even though this was rare among missionaries of that time. Under his leadership, the CIM was singularly non-denominational in practice and accepted members from all Protestant groups, including individuals from the working class, and single women as well as multinational recruits. Primarily because of the CIM's campaign against the opium trade, Taylor has been referred to as one of the most significant Europeans to visit China in the 19th century.
Taylor was able to preach in several varieties of Chinese, including Mandarin, Chaozhou, and the Wu dialects of Shanghai and Ningbo. The last of these he knew well enough to help prepare a colloquial edition of the New Testament written in it.
The beginning of "faith missions" (the sending of missionaries with no promises of temporal support, but instead a reliance "through prayer to move Men by God") has had a wide impact among evangelical churches to this day.
After his death, China Inland Mission gained the notable distinction of being the largest Protestant mission agency in the world. The biographies of Hudson Taylor inspired generations of Christians to follow his example of service and sacrifice.
Notable examples are: missionary to India Amy Carmichael, Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Liddell, twentieth-century missionary and martyr Jim Elliot, founder of Bible Study Fellowship Audrey Wetherell Johnson, as well as international evangelists Billy Graham and Luis Palau.
PRAYERS AND THEN THE CALL
Hudson came to personal faith in Jesus Christ at age 17. One day, like many teens before and since, he felt bored. He searched through his father’s library for something to read. A pamphlet caught his eye. He planned to read the religious tract until he lost interest in it.
But miles away, his mother felt compelled to pray for her son. She determined to pray intently for his salvation until her burden to do so lifted. When she felt peace from God and stopped praying, Hudson had finished reading the pamphlet and had prayed for God to take control of his life. A few months after his prayer of surrender, Hudson sensed God calling him to China.