On this day in 1871, Benjamin Bailey, a missionary who served in Kerala, India for 34 years, died.

When Bailey first arrived in Kerala, he was given charge over small college that the Church Missionary Society had built there.  During his two years at the college, he became painfully aware of the fact that there were no books or materials in the native language of his students.

When he finished his work at the college, Bailey left and started the first mission station in Kerala.  This station soon became the center of all the work being done in that area of India.  Bailey set up a printing press and set to work at translating and printing literature in Malayalam,the language of the people.  Soon, they were printing a complete Malayalam translation of the Bible, dictionaries, prayer books, and devotionals books, all translated by Bailey and his team.  The ‘Bailey Bible’, as his translation was called became an extremely valuable tool to the people and  helped in formulating the modern Malayalam prose just as the King James Version helped in the development of the English language.

While Bailey helped to start many churches, the church in Kottayam, which he called the Christ Church, became a favorite of his.  He designed special plans for the church in the Gothic style and oversaw its construction.  Today, this church is still one of the larger and more influential churches in the area.  At that time, the beautiful church became known as the “Glory of Travancore.”  However, Bailey knew that the true glory of the land was the fact that they could read the wonderful news of Jesus Christ in their own language and share it with others.


Benjamin Bailey

On this day in 1854, Dr. Walter Medhurst was attack and nearly killed by Imperial Chinese soldiers outisde of the city of Shanghai.

Medhurst first engaged in mission work in China in 1819, where he worked with Robert Morrison and his son, John Morrison, on the translations of the Bible into different dialects of Chinese.

After the first Opium War, Medhurst was sent to Shanghai to start a mission station there.  Today, Shanghai is the 10th largest city in the world.  But at that time, it was an unimportant city that was being ravaged internal strife and uprisings.  Medhurst knew that the task wouldn’t be easy, but he readily accepted it.  Along with several other missionaries from the London Mission Society, he headed to the city to begin this awesome work.

In 1842, they began their mission there.  Medhurst took with him a printing press and other equipment and attached a printing shop to the mission.  But disaster struck when a rebel group known as the Small Swords Society took control of the city.  At this time, the Taiping Rebellion was ravaging much of the southern part of China and the Small Swords were just a small part of the rebellion.  The Chinese government responded by sending an army to retake the city.  The army arrived in 1853 and, for two years, fought to take back the city.

In the midst of this conflict, the missionaries continues to work.  On April 3rd, as Dr. Medhurst was out traveling and working.  As he was traveling down one of the roads, a group of 10-12 imperial soldiers rushed upon him, weapons drawn, with the intent of killing.  Dr. Medhurst, fifty-eight years of age, jumped up on his horse and plowed through the group of soldiers, knocking several to the ground.  He continued to race ahead until he got to safety.  That day, several other foreigners were also attacked by the imperial soldiers, the reason behind the attack unknown.

Despite the risk of his life, Dr. Medhurst continued to work in the city.  He went out with his helpers to the poor, war raved areas of the town and distributed rice and other foods to the people.  As they gathered around to receive the food, Dr. Medhurst stood atop the wagon and gave the group the gospel.  In the midst of war and rebellion, he knew that this was the only truth that could give them peace.  Sadly, Dr. Medhurst observed:

Commonly impoverished in their worldly circumstances, they care more for the bread that perisheth than for that which endureth to everlasting life.


Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicles

Walter Medhurst

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