On this day in 1999, Dr. Graham Staines, an Australian medical missionary, and his two young sons were murdered by an angry mob near Orissa, India.

For 35 years, Staines had been working throughout different regions in India.  He made a special focus on the work with lepers.  He saw them as social outcast who had little physical hope and absolutely no spiritual hope.  So Staines lived among these people, loving them, caring for them, and preaching to them the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He was able to speak the local language, Oriya, fluently, which opened the hearts of many of the people to him.  He was an extremely popular missionary among the people and saw great results.  But his popularity and success would be the cause of his death.

On January 22nd, Staines had gone out to a small village church, where there was a special conference being held.  On the way back home, he stopped at another village to spend the night.  He and his two young sons, aged 10 and6, slept inside their car because the weather was cold.  In the middle of the night, a mob of nearly fifty people, armed with axes and clubs, trapped them inside the car and caught the car on fire, killing all three.  Later on, it was discovered that the attack was carried out by  Indian nationalist who were irate that so many Indians were leaving their old religion and way of life and following this new one taught by Staines.

Staines’ wife continued the work he started for the next five years.  Of his death and the death of her sons, she says:

“The Lord God is always with me to guide me and help me to try to accomplish the work of Graham, but I sometimes wonder why Graham was killed and also what made his assassins to behave in such a brutal manner on the night of 22nd/23rd January 1999. It is far from my mind to punish the persons who were responsible for the death of my husband Graham and my two children. But it is my desire and hope that they would repent and would be changed.”


Graham Staines

On this day in 1877, Sarah Doremus, the “mother of missions”, died.

A wealthy socialite, Sarah was involved with many social projects and programs, but never got very involved with World Evangelism.  But in 1834, she heard Rev. David Abeel, a missionary to China, tell of how the Chinese women continually ask for a “female man” who would come and tell the women of Christ.  He continued to talk of how many woman  in countries like China and India would flock to the gospel if they had someone who would work with them.  But there were few woman trained to do that type of missionary work.

This appeal challenged Sarah to start an organization who would train, equip, and teach woman about missions.  With her funds, she founded the Women’s Union Missionary Society for this very purpose.  For the next twenty years, Sarah trained and equipped women for the mission field, whether they would go out single or married.  During this time, her home saw a constant flow of missionaries coming in and out, giving her the name “the mother of missions.”  In those years, her organization saw over 1000 missionaries trained and sent out.



Check out bcwe.org