On this day in 1917, George Brown, a missionary to Samoa, died.

As a young unsaved man in England, George grew restless with the mundane life he lived.  Desperate for something more, he ran away to sea.  However, suffering from an accident and breaking his leg, he was forced to leave the ship and stay in Canada while he recovered (Not long after the ship he was on set sail again, it got caught in a storm and all aboard the ship died.)  Not wishing to settle down in England again, he migrated to the new colony of New Zealand, where he could stay with his aunt and uncle.

Brown’s uncle, a pastor at a small church in the colony, was a major influence on his unsaved nephew.  It wasn’t long before George was lead to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by his uncle.  Almost immediately after that, his uncle began to train and mentor George to go into the ministry.  George became a local preacher, but he soon realized that he belonged among the rank of those serving on the uncharted islands of the Pacific as missionaries.  He applied to the mission society and was given an assignment on the island of Samoa.

With his newly wed wife, he set sail for Samoa and arrived in 1860.  Immediately, he set to work learning the language and culture of the people, which he picked up on with much ease.  By spending so much time with the people of the cities and villages he worked in, he developed a truly strong friendship with the people.  One time, when the tribes in his area were preparing to go to war with another tribe, George sat in the middle of the battlefield  in the heat of the day, trying to make peace.  His love and friendship for his people caused him to go to great extremes for their sakes.

The more time he spent among the young Samoan men, the greater his conviction grew that these men needed to be trained and prepared to lead the churches of their own people.  So he set out to train and equip them, being the first missionary on Samoa to really make that a focus of his ministry.  He started a seminary on the northern part of the island of Upola.  This school, called Piula Theological College (pictured as it looks today), was the first Methodist seminary in Samoa and actually continues to this day as one of the foremost Methodist schools in the area.  Thousands of young Samoans have graduated from this school, prepared to serve their Lord.

It all began with a man who had a dream of what God could do with his “friends.”  He took this dream and placed it in the heart of the Samoans.  The evidence of this dream can be seen today.  Do you have a dream of what God can do with your life?  With the life of a friend?  Have you worked to place that dream into the hearts and lives of others?


George Brown

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