On this day in 1862, Robert Toy was ordained and commissioned as a missionary. In less than two months after his ordination, Robert and his wife would set sail to Madagascar with the London Missionary Society.
Robert’s ordination was held at the Batter Street Chapel, which was “crowded to overflowing by an attentive and deeply interested congregation.”1 Several local pastors, who where connected with Robert and the London Missionary Society, lead the meeting. A special emphasis was made on the country of Madagascar itself, since it was still a little known place among many of the people. The pastors “delivered an introductory address on Missions with special reference to Madagascar in which in a clear forcible and telling manner facts were adduced and principles enunciated which could not fail to stimulate and encourage the Missionary zeal of the audience and to implant in their minds seeds which will bear good fruit in future years”. 1 The charge was given out of I Thess. 2:3-4, “For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”
When the Toys arrived at Madagascar, they took up residence at the capital. Robert was soon dividing his time among pastoring, Bible translating, and training you preachers from Madagascar. In just two years, Toy had over nine churches under his care, many of those being county churches. But what was even better than the fact that he had ten churches was the fact the many of the churches were displaying signs of true maturity. Mr. Ellis, who worked very closely with Toy, said:
One of the largest churches in the capital has recently taken a step, the most important that any church has yet taken, tending to the stability and permanency of Christianity in the country. They have agreed to provide an annual stipend adequate to the necessities of their two native pastors and there is no reason to doubt either that they will fulfill their agreement or that other churches will follow their example. Glad tidings of the extension of the gospel in distant parts multiply upon us and the congregations and churches both in the immediate and more remote villages manifest tokens of steadfastness and prosperity. New chapels nave been erected in several and others are in progress. 2
With the number of chapels growing rapidly, Toy realized the need to train even more pastors. So in 1869, he started to hold formal training sessions for young men who wanted to become pastors. This soon grew into a Theological Institute. Under Robert’s leadership, the college grew rapidly. But sickness soon caught up to Robert. Finding himself so sick that he couldn’t even do his work, he set sail back to England to recover. But, in 1880, Robert died at sea.
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