On this day in 1875, Henry Stanley would publish a missionary plea for Africa in the London Daily Telegraph:

O that some pious, practical missionary would come here. Such a one would be a savior of Africa. Nowhere in all the world is there a more promising field for a mission than Uganda. Here is your opportunity! Embrace it! The people on the shores of the Nyanza call upon you.

Dr. Stanley had spent several years in Africa, first looking for David Livingston and then exploring the area for several different groups and societies.  The time he spent with Livingston gave him a strong appreciation for the work the missionaries were doing, and as he traveled the eastern coast of Africa, he  saw village after village that was  sitting in darkness, having never heard the truth.  His heart was so burdened by the opened field that he saw that he sent a letter back to England with the advertisement, hoping to stir the fires there for the much needed work that needed done.

Stanley’s plea lit a fire in England.  Within three days, £25,000 was raised for the work.  Within a few weeks, over a £100,000 was collected and the several young men, under the CMS, were prepared to set sail.  The first mission, while a great success, faced massive opposition.  The king of Uganda was bitterly against the new missionaries and outlawed them.  He would track down those that converted and would burn them alive.  He even killed some of the missionaries.  But God continued to work and, as one of the slain missionaries said, “the blood of martyrdom would be gladly shed if thereby a road to Uganda might be purchased.”


New Outlook

On this day in  1876, a group of about forty Japanese students from the city of Kumamoto signed the Christian Covenant, a pledge to follow Christ at a time when such a decision could mean death.

About five years earlier, an American named Captain Janes was sent over to Japan to work in a government school.  The Japanese government at this time was strongly against their young people following the “devil’s religion” that so many American’s followed, so they forbid Janes from speaking about Christ or Christianity at all in his classroom.  Janes, being a good employee obeyed.  Instead, he invited all his students over to his living room, where he boldly preached the truth to them all night long. “Japan needs great religious leaders. She needs the Lord Jesus Christ to make her truly mighty.”

Janes’ young students loved it!  Many of them turned to Christ and caught the zeal to serve him.  The meetings would often go into the dawn.  The school staff got angry because the students were so busy studying the Bible that they neglected to study their own textbooks.  The young men would go out on the streets of their city, preaching and singing.  Threats and opposition only made them stronger.

It all came to a head when the police officially gave the students ultimatums.  Either reject this crazy religion or be punished.  The students had to make a choice.  What do they do?  Early in the morning on the day the ultimatum stated, forty young men climbed to the top of the hill outside the city with Captain Janes.  At the top, they formed a circle and, one by one, made a solemn vow to preach the gospel even at the cost of life. Then they prayed kneeling and wrote out an oath paper which they sealed and signed with their names.  They chose Christ!

These young men would go on to transform their country.  Some gave in to the pressure and turned away from their vow.  And nearly all of them had to flee their city.  But wherever they went, they boldly stood before their people and taught them of their great king!  They were known as the “Kumamoto Band” and became important leaders in the Japanese churches.



The Missionary review of the World

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