Less than four months earlier, John and Mary Patton has landed on the island of Tanna, one of the southern islands in the New Hebrides. They built themselves a small home and began to work among people who were “painted savages who were enveloped in the superstitions and cruelties of heathenism at its worst.” Working in such a difficult and challenging area caused John and Mary to rely heavily on each other. As the weeks turned into months, this young couple grew more and more in love.
In mid-February, Mary gave birth to the son. Their time of rejoicing, however, was short lived. Mary, still weak from the birth, began to suffer from a tropical fever. In just a few days, she was gone. Paton’s grief was so great that all he could say was, “But for Jesus, and the fellowship He vouchsafed me there, I must have gone mad and died beside that lonely grave!”
In just a few days, their little son died also. Despite these extremely dark days, John continued to trust in the Lord and continue the work he began. But he continued on as a man with hope. The hope that, one day, he would see his wife and son again. And when he would see them, hundreds of former cannibles would be by his side to welcome them.
The complete book of Christian heroes: Over 200 stories of courageous people who suffered for Jesus
William was born to Presbyterian parents , but grew up not knowing the Lord. He would follow in his father’s footsteps and become an insurance salesman. As William grew into adulthood, he became a successful salesman and joined a church, which he attended faithfully. He got married, but he still lacked a personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although his early adult life seems spotless, William later said of himself, “I was simple strolling along on my respectable way to Hell without being conscious of the fact, beyond a vague uneasiness which told me something was wrong.” Williams also dealt with the loss of four children.
On day, hoping to make a rather large sale, William agreed to meet a Christian businessman at a street prayer meeting. During the prayer meeting, William was shocked to see so many businessmen there “wasting” their time. That day, at the age of 35, the gospel message shined in the heart of William and he was given new life.
Right after his conversion, William began to study the scriptures and used his daily commute time on the train to study. Upon hearing of a financial need in Bolivia, William decided to send the needed money. But around that time, he became very ill and bed-ridden. As he lay there, the words, “who will go for us” kept ringing in his ears. William then determined to become a missionary, but, at the age of 45, not one mission board would accept him. This did not stop this man on fire for God; William founded his own mission, and by 1923, was in Tacna, Chile working with U.S. soldiers.
But in 1926, all of the U.S. servicemen were withdrawn. Instead of giving up, William just shifted his focus. At that time, every young Chilean man was required to give a year of service to the military. William began to work among them. Soon he was holding mass meetings. He distributed 20,000 Gideon New Testaments each year. Even after his death, his son continued the work he began.
By 1997, there were over 7,000 national men in various branches of Chilean military service, who called themselves the Uniform Evangelical Mission. This all began when one man said, “I will go!”
*Entry Submitted by Ian Wilson
Check out bcwe.org!