On this day in 1867, a missionary sailing ship called The Morning Star begins its work in the Pacific under the command of missionary Hiram Bingham. The job of missionary ships like the Morning Star was to provide transportation to missionaries and supplies among the Pacific Islands.
This Morning Star was actually a replacement of a former ship by the same name. For ten years, the original Morning Star had sailed across thousands of miles of the Pacific Ocean as it carried missionaries to areas like the Marshall Islands, Gilbert Islands, and Ponape. The sight of the ship brought hope to both the missionaries and the inhabitants of the island. But the years at the rough sea took its toll on the ship and it soon wasn’t able to sail anymore.
Bingham and the other missionaries realized that a missionary ship was essential in ensuring that continued spread of the gospel to the Pacific islands. So they began to raise funds to build a new ship. Bingham wrote an article glorifying the work of the Morning Star and pleading for money to build a new one. And the money began to pour in…though from an unexpected source.
Forty-seven years earlier, Bingham’s father,Hiram Bingham Sr., brought the first group of missionaries to Hawaii. Before they arrived, the island had no gospel light or witness. But the Lord worked and soon hundreds of schools and churches were started throughout the island. Even the government, its laws, and policies were changed. In just a few short years, Christ had griped the heart of the Hawaiian people.
When Bingham Jr.’s plead reached the churches in Hawaii, the children took action. Children Sunday Schools across Hawaii began to raise money. Soon, the idea spread across the nation and thousands of Sunday Schools took up offerings to build the new Morning Star. Over a period of two years, the children raised more than $28,000. When the newly built Morning Star first arrived in the Hawaiian harbor, two thousand Hawaiian Sunday school children marched to the wharf to see “their ship”.
On this day in 1837, Josiah Brewer set sail from New York for Smyrna, a strategic city along the coast of Asia Minor, under the Western Foreign Missionary Society. With him was his wife and a printer, Thomas Brown. Aside from their other supplies, they took with them two printing presses.
Brewer had already spent several years in Smyrna under a mission society called The New Haven Ladies Greek Association. When he had first arrived in the Mediterranean, he had hoped to settle in Jerusalem, to work among the Jews. But at that time, Jerusalem was in a state of anarchy. A friend he had made there recommended that he settle in Smyrna, which had a massive Jewish population and a much more stable political atmosphere at the time. Brewer labored here several years, where he established a strong mission base within the city.
When the Ladies Greek Association ran out of funds, Brewer was forced to return to the states and find a new sending base. So he applied to the Western Foreign Missionary Society, where he was accepted. Among his other accomplishments, Brewer wrote a memoir of his life and a challenge for others to get involved in the work. Below is an excerpt:
If any of your people who were inquiring the way of life are halting between two opinions, let them read the warnings which are addressed to the churches of the Apocalypse, in the midst of whose ruins I now write. Alas! the glory has departed from them all Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea are but the names of churches which were. Their candlestick has been removed out of its place. Yet the promise and the providence of God encourage us to hope that he will restore the ruins of many generations. A holier cross than that borne by the crusaders shall take the place of the crescent which we now see on the top of the minarets and instead of the blood red flag with its drawn sword in the midst there shall float on these walls the white banner and branch of peace. But before that time arrives, there must doubtles be years of patient persevering and prayerful labor performed by missionaries here. Shall we hope then for the prayers of your people that in the countries around these seas the door may be fully opened for preaching the gospel of the grace of God and that the same grace may make the word effectual to salvation.
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