33 Jesus speaks the Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations; Pentecost occurs as the day in which three thousand Jews—from a variety of Mediterranean-Basin nations—are converted to faith in Christ.
34 In Gaza, the apostle Philip baptizes an Ethiopian who is already a Jewish convert.
36 Stephen is martyred in Jerusalem; he is the first martyr.
39 The apostle Peter preaches to a Gentile audience in the house of Cornelius in Caesarea Maritima, modern-day Israel; the Antioch church is founded, which is a multicultural congregation that becomes the first wave of missionary advance to the Gentiles.
42 The apostle Mark goes to Alexandria, in Egypt, and starts the Coptic Church; the first Christians are reported in Britain. (Future)
45 The apostle Paul, along with Barnabas and John Mark, begins his first missionary journey to Western Anatolia, part of modern-day Turkey, via Cyprus.
48 The first Christians are converted in Persia from the witness of the apostles Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot; this is the start of what would become the Assyrian church. (Future)
50 The Council of Jerusalem meets and agrees to admit Gentiles into the church.
51 Paul begins his second missionary journey with Silas, Timothy, and Luke—a trip that will take him through modern-day Turkey, Greece, Syria, and Israel.
52 The apostle Thomas arrives on the southern coast of India and founds church there.
54 Paul starts his third missionary journey through modern-day Turkey, Greece, and Israel; his journey could also have included Illyricum (now Croatia and Montenegro). (Future)
55 The Roman province of Asia is evangelized by ordinary people sent out from Ephesus in two years. (World Christian Trends online)
58 Nero becomes Emperor of Rome and is the first Roman emperor to specifically persecute Christians. (Future)
60 Paul is sent to Rome under Roman guard; he evangelizes on Malta after his shipwreck.
65 The Gospel of Mark is written; it is considered the oldest written gospel.
66 The apostle Thaddeus establishes the Christian church of Armenia.
70 The Jewish temple in Jerusalem is destroyed, causing a large Jewish Diaspora and with it many Christians were spread around the world. (Future of the Church)
70 The Gospel of Luke is written. (Future)
72 Thomas is martyred in India. (Future)
75 The gospels of Matthew and John are written. (Future)
80 First Christians are reported in Tunisia, France, and Croatia. (WCT)
90 First Christians are reported in Bosnia and Bulgaria. (WCT)
96 The Book of Revelation is completed. (Future)
100 First Christians are reported in Monaco, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, and Arabia. (WCT)
112 Pliny the Younger reports the rapid growth of Christianity in the ancient district of Bithynia.
120 First Christians are reported in Romania. (WCT)
130 First Christians arrive in Moldova from Romania. (WCT)
140 Hermas writes, “The Son of God . . . has been preached to the ends of the earth.”
150 The gospel reaches Portugal and Morocco.
156 Polycarp is martyred in Smyrna (Turkey). He is the first recorded martyr in post-New Testament church history. Monasticism appears in Phrygia, with the goal of restoring spiritual gifts and holiness in preparation for Christ’s return. (Future)
166 Bishop Soter writes that the number of Christians has surpassed that of the Jews.
167 At the request of Lucius of Britain, Pope Eleuterus sends missionaries Fuganus and Duvianus to convert the Britons to Christianity.
174 First Christians are reported in Austria.
177 Churches in Lyon and Vienne (southern France) report persecution.
190 Pataenus of Alexandria goes to India in response to an appeal for Christian teachers.
197 Tertullian writes that Christianity has penetrated all North African society ranks.
198 The first Christian Assyrian lay missionaries come to Japan. They are called the Kung Yueh.
200 First Christians are reported in Switzerland and Belgium; Roman soldiers and merchants due to Roman occupation. Austrian Christians move to Slovenia. (WCT)
202 The Roman Emperor Severus issues an edict forbidding conversion to Christianity.
206 Abgar, the Aramean King of Edessa, embraces the Christian faith.
208 Tertullian writes that Christ has followers on the far side of the Roman wall in Britain, where Roman legions have not yet penetrated.
217 A former slave, Callistus, who had worked the mines, becomes the bishop of Rome.
220 Origen writes, “The gospel of Jesus Christ has now been preached in all creation under heaven. But many people, not only in the Empire, but also in the Empire, have not yet heard the word of Christ. The gospel has not yet been preached to all nations, since it has not reached the Chinese or the Ethiopians beyond the river . . . .” (WCT)
224 First Christians move to Qatar, when the Sasanian Empire gains control over the region. (WCT)
250 Denis is sent from Rome, along with six other missionaries, to establish the church in Paris; the first Christian traders migrate to Ireland from Britain. (WCT)
270 Gregory Thaumaturgus, Christian leader in Pontus (now northeastern Turkey), dies. It is said that when Gregory became “bishop,” there were only seventeen Christians in Pontus, while at his death—thirty years later—there were just seventeen non-Christians.
280 The first rural churches emerge in northern Italy; Christianity is no longer exclusively in urban areas; first Christians travel through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan along the Silk Road. (WCT)
287 Maurice from Egypt is killed at Agauno, Switzerland, because of refusing to sacrifice to pagan divinities.
300 First Christians are reported in Greater Khorasan (now northeast Iran); an estimated 10 percent of the world’s population is Christian; 66 percent of believers are nonwhite; parts of the Bible are available in ten different languages.
304 Armenia—between Turkey and Azerbaijan—which accepts Christianity as the official state religion, is the first to do so.
313 Emperor Constantine issues the Edict of Milan, legalizing Christianity in the Roman Empire.
314 Gregory the Illuminator converts Tiridates III of Armenia and King Urnayr of Caucasian Albania.
320 Nino arrives in the Georgian kingdom of Iberia and boldly preaches the gospel. Many individuals choose to follow Jesus, including King Mirian III.
325 The Council of Nicea is held as the first gathering of churches that establishes the Nicene Creed.
328 Egyptian monk, Hilarion of Gaza, ministers in Palestine.
329 Monasticism begins, with the first monastery opening in Egypt.
332 Frumentius, a Syrian, is enslaved in Ethiopia, but chooses to stay after gaining his freedom, so that he can spread Christianity. One of the ways he accomplishes this is by encouraging Christian merchants to practice their faith openly. The Ethiopian King Ezana becomes a Christian and makes Christianity an official religion. (WCT)
334 The first bishop is ordained for Khorasan—an area of modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and southwest Kazakhstan.
337 Emperor Constantine is baptized shortly before his death.
341 Ulfilas begins work with the Goths in present-day Romania.
342 First church on the Arabian peninsula is reported in Aden, in modern-day Yemen. (Future)
345 Several families flee persecution in Babylon and travel to the church in India, where they encourage and strengthen the church there that Thomas founded. (WCT)
350 The Bible is translated into Saidic, which is a Coptic Egyptian language. (Future)
354 Theophilus, “the Indian,” reports visiting Christians in India; Philostorgius mentions a Christian community on the Socotra island, south of Yemen in the Arabian Sea.
361 Martin of Tours starts his aggressive evangelism work in Gaul (France).
364 The conversion of Vandals to Christianity begins during the reign of Emperor Valens.
369 Basil of Caesarea opens the first hospital.
370 Wulfila translates the Scriptures into Gothic, which is the first Bible translated specifically for missionary purposes.
378 Jerome writes, “From India to Britain, all nations resound with the death and resurrection of Christ.”
380 Roman Emperor Theodosius I makes Christianity the official state religion.
382 Jerome is commissioned to translate the Gospels (and, subsequently, the entire Bible) into Latin.
386 Augustine of Hippo is converted.
390 Persian missionary monk Abdisho builds a monastery on Bahrain. (WCT)
393 The Council of Hippo finalizes the twenty-seven New Testament books. (Future)
397 Ninian evangelizes the Southern Picts of Scotland; three missionaries sent to the mountaineers in the Trento region of northern Italy are martyred.
400 Hayyan, a Yemini merchant, begins proclaiming the gospel in Yemen after Nestorians in Persia convert him; he is the first native-Arabic speaker to evangelize lower Arabia and later Yemen. In starting a school for native Gothic evangelists, John Chrysostom writes, “Go and make disciples of all nations was not said for the Apostles only, but for us also.”
410 The New Testament is translated into Armenian.
420 A Pre-Islam Arabian Bedouin tribe, under sheikh Peter-Aspebet, is converted.
425 The first bishops are ordained for Herat (Afghanistan) and Samarkand (Uzbekistan).
432 Patrick goes to Ireland as missionary.
436 The Bible translation into Armenian is completed.
450 The first Christians are reported in Liechtenstein.
496 Clovis I, King of Franks in Gaul, becomes a Christian, which leads to widespread conversion among the Frankish peoples.
499 Persian King Kavadh I, fleeing his country, encounters a group of Christian missionaries going to Central Asia for preaching to the Turks.
500 First Christians are reported in North Yemen; Nairam becomes a Christian center.
508 Philoxenus of Mabug starts translation of the Bible into Syriac.
529 Benedict of Nursia, who destroys a pagan temple at Monte Cassino (Italy), builds a monastery.
535 The Hephthalite Huns, nomads living in northern China and Central Asia—additionally known as the White Huns—are taught to read and write by Nestorian missionaries.
542 Julian (or Julianus) from Constantinople begins evangelizing Nubia (now southern Egypt and northern Sudan), accompanied by an Egyptian named Theodore.
563 Columba sails from Ireland to Scotland, where he founds an evangelistic training center on Iona.
569 Longinus, church leader in northern Nubia, evangelizes Alodia (southern Nubia, in what is now Sudan).
578 Al-numan III, last of the Lakhmids kings in present-day southern Iraq, converts to Christianity.
596 Gregory the Great sends Augustine and a team of missionaries to (what is now) England for reintroducing the gospel; they settle in Canterbury and baptize ten thousand people within a year.
600 An estimated 8 million Central Asians are Christians.
604 A church is reportedly planted on Thorney Island (where Westminster Abbey now stands), just eight years after the first missionaries arrive.
610 Islam begins with the first revelation to the Prophet Mohammed.
617 Vikings massacre fifty-four monks on the Bebridean isle of Eigg, a part of Scotland.
629 Amandus of Elnon, who is consecrated as a missionary bishop, evangelizes the region around Ghent and conducts missions to Slavs along the Danube and to Basques in Navarre (Spanish kingdom).
630 Conversion of the East Angles (one of the seven kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy) occurs.
635 Alopen, who arrives in China from the Nestorian church in the Persian Empire, is the first- known missionary to China; Aidan of Lindisfarne starts evangelizing in the heart of Northumbria (England).
637 Lombards, a German people living in northern Italy, become Christians.
638 A church building is reportedly erected in Chang-an (China), then perhaps the largest city in the world.
647 Amadeus, bishop of Maastricht, performs missionary work in Frisia (Netherlands) and among the Slavs.
650 The first church in the Netherlands is organized.
673 Irish monk Maol Rubha establishes a training center at Aprochrosan, which serves as a base for missionary outreach into Scotland.
680 The first translation of Christian Scriptures into Arabic takes place.
689 Irish missionary Kilian is killed near Würzburg in what is now Germany.
692 Willibrord and eleven companions cross the North Sea, from Northumbria (England), for becoming missionaries to the Frisians (now Netherlands).
697 Muslims overrun Carthage; there are about 3 million Coptic Christians and 5 million Berber Christians prior to the Muslim invasion of North Africa.
720 Caliph Umar II exerts heavy pressure on the Christian Berbers in North Africa for converting to Islam.
716 Boniface begins missionary work among the Germanic tribes.
724 Boniface fells pagan sacred oak of Thor at Geismar in Hesse (Germany), demonstrating that God’s power is greater than any supposed power of Thor.
740 Irish monks reach Iceland.
771 Charlemagne becomes King of the Franks in modern-day France, Germany, and the Netherlands; he will decree that sermons be delivered in the vernacular, and commissions Bible translations during his reign.
781 Nestorian Stele is erected near Xi’an (China), which documents 150 years of early Christianity in China.
787 Liudger starts missionary work near the mouth of the Ems river (in Germany).
822 Mojmír I of Great Moravia (now the Czech Republic) converts to Christianity.
826 Ansgar from France is sent by papal authority to Denmark as a royal chaplain and missionary.
828 The first Christian church in present-day Slovakia is built in Nitra.
830 Scotch-born Erluph is evangelizing in (what is now) Germany when the Vandals kill him.
859 Eulogius, who is a proponent of confrontational Christian witness in Spain and other Muslim-dominated societies, is executed; opposed to any feeling of affinity with Muslim culture, Eulogius advocated implementing a missiology of martyrdom to confront Islam.
863 Rastislav invites Cyril and Methodius to evangelize in Great Moravia and the Balaton Principality; Cyril invented a written language, so that he might translate the Scriptures for the people.
864 Prince Boris of Bulgaria is converted.
867 All Serbian tribes are fully Christianized.
878 This is the year of the last definite reference to Christians in China before the Mongol era.
880 The initial Slavic archbishopric is established in Great Moravia, with Methodius as its head; the Bible is translated into Slavonic.
900 Missionaries from the archdiocese of Bremen-Hamburg reach Norway.
912 The Normans of France become Christians.
920 Eastern Christians reach Burma.
945 Christians arrive in Ukraine and Russia.
948 The leader of the Magyars (Hungary) converts to Christianity.
957 Princess Olga of Kiev is baptized.
965 Harold I of Denmark converts to Christianity and smooths the way for the acceptance of Christian faith by the Danish people.
987 Nestorian monks visiting China find no traces of Christian community left.
990 Kerait Mongolians embrace Christianity.
995 Christian missionaries from Norway begin working in Iceland.
997 Adalbert of Prague dies as a martyr in Prussia.
1000 Christianity is accepted by common consent in Iceland by Parliament; Leif Eriksson, who is sent back to Greenland for introducing the gospel, possibly went to Vinland (Newfoundland), as well.
1008 English missionary Sigfrid baptizes King Olof of Sweden.
1009 Bruno of Querfurt is beheaded in Prussia, where he had gone as a missionary.
1015 Russia is said to have been “comprehensively” converted to the Orthodox faith; Olaf II Haroldsson becomes the first king of all of Norway. He would organize Norway’s final conversion and its integration into Christian Europe during the next fifteen years.
1017 Günther tries to convert the inhabitants of Vorpommern (part of modern-day Germany and Poland); this mission is not successful.
1050 Lativia is first evangelized by Russian Orthodox.
1122 Bernhard, who is a lone and poor Spanish monk, launches an unsuccessful mission in the Duchy of Pomerania (now Poland).
1124 Otto of Bamberg successfully converts the people of Pomerania because they see that he does not want to exploit them; he comes to them with much wealth, simply wanting to convert them.
1128 Otto of Bamberg returns to Pomerania to strengthen the churches there and to convert those in West Pomerania.
1130 Peter of Bruys is burned at the stake because of his treatise, criticizing some of the Catholic Church’s practices; some consider him to be a prophet of the Reformation.
1155 Carmelites, a Catholic order, is founded.
1173 The Waldensians are founded; they are considered as forerunners of the Reformation due to their rejection of the absolute authority of the Catholic Church. They made a great effort to translate the Bible into the common language, and they (laymen) preached what they learned.
1200 The Bible is available in twenty-two different languages.
1206 Ghenghis Khan unites several tribes to establish the Mongol Empire, which became the largest continuous land empire in history. (Future)
1210 The Franciscan Order is established.
1212 St. Francis of Assisi begins his mission to Syria; he teaches that Muslims should be won by love—not hate.
1216 The Dominican Order is established.
1219 Francis of Assisi presents the gospel to the Sultan of Egypt; Franciscan friars are sent to North Africa. Friar John arrives in China.
1244 Christians are reported in Lithuania.
1253 Franciscan William of Rubruck starts his journey to the Mongols.
1266 Mongol leader Kublai Khan sends Marco Polo’s father and uncle, Niccolo and Matteo Polo, back to Europe with a request to the pope to send a hundred Christian missionaries (only two replied, and one died before reaching Mongol territory).
1276 Ramon Llull opens a training center to send missionaries to North Africa.
1291 The first indigenous bishop in Finland is appointed.
1294 Franciscan Giovanni di Monte Corvino arrives in China.
1303 Arnold of Cologne arrives in China to assist Giovanni di Monte Corvino.
1308 Ramon Llull reports that the conversion of Muslims would happen only through prayer; he advocates his entire life for Christians to study Arabic and be trained as missionaries for sharing Jesus with Muslims.
1321 Jordanus, a Dominican monk, arrives in India as the first resident Roman Catholic missionary.
1322 Odoric of Pordenone, a Franciscan monk from Italy, arrives in China.
1323 Franciscans make contacts on the islands of Sumatra, Java, and Borneo.
1326 Chaghatayid Khan Ilchigedai allows a church to be built in Samarqand, Uzbekistan.
1334 Chaghatayid Khan Buzun allows Christians to rebuild churches and permits Franciscans to establish a missionary episcopate in Almaliq, Azerbaijan.
1368 The Franciscan mission collapses in China as the Ming Dynasty abolishes Christianity.
1379 Stefan Permsky returns to where he grew up with his mother’s people, the Komi people, in the northern part of what is now Russia; he invented an alphabet and translated the Bible into their language, so that they could worship in their own language and culture.
1382 John Wycliffe translates the Bible into English from Latin.
1380 The last Christian Uighurs are forced to convert to Islam in northwest China.
1389 Large numbers of Christians march through the streets of Cairo, denouncing Islam and lamenting that they (Christians) abandoned the religion of their fathers from fear of persecution. Both men and women are beheaded, and a fresh persecution of Christians follows.
1400 Scriptures are translated into Icelandic.
1408 Spanish Dominican Vincent Ferrer begins a ministry in Italy, in which it is said that thousands of Jews and Muslims were won to faith in Christ.
1410 The Bible is translated into Hungarian.
1415 Jan Hus is burned at the stake as a heretic.
1420 Franciscan missionaries accompany a Portuguese expedition to Madeira, an island off the coast of Africa.
1445 First Christians are reported in Guinea Bissau.
1448 First Christians are reported in Mauritania.
1450 Franciscan missionaries accompany a Portuguese expedition to the Cape Verde Islands; Swedes evangelize the Lapps of northern Sweden.
1453 Constantinople falls to the Muslim Ottoman Turks, who make it their capital; an Islamic thanksgiving service is conducted in the church of Saint Sophia.
1457 The Unitas Fratrum (Moravian Brethren) is founded; it became the first Protestant movement to engage in missions in 1732.
1462 Johannes Gutenberg begins printing the Bible with his movable-type printing process; Pope Pius II assigns the evangelization of the Portuguese Guinea Coast of Africa to the Franciscans, led by Alfonso de Bolano.
1485 Following contact with the Portuguese, the King of Benin requests that a church be planted in his kingdom.
1486 Dominicans become active in West Africa, among the Wolof people in Senegambia (now Sengal and Gambia).
1489 Wolof King Behemoi in Senegal is baptized.
1491 The Congo experiences the arrival of its first group of missionaries; the king would soon be baptized and a church built at the royal capital as part of the ministry of these Franciscan and Dominican priests.
1492 The church in Angola is born; Christopher Columbus “discovers” the Americas.
1493 Pope Alexander VI commands Spain to colonize the New World with Catholic missions; Christopher Columbus takes Christian priests with him on his second New World journey.
1494 The first missionaries come to the Dominican Republic.
1495 The head of a convent in Seville, Spain, Mercedarian Jorge, makes a trip to the West Indies.
1496 First Christian baptisms in the New World are performed when Guaticaba, along with other members of his household, are baptized on the island of Hispaniola.
1497 Forced conversion of Jews in Portugal takes place.
1498 First Christians are reported in Kenya.
1499 Portuguese Augustinian missionaries arrive at Zanzibar, part of modern-day Tanzania. Their mission will end in 1698, because of the Oman-Arab conquest.
1500 Franciscans enter Brazil with Cabral.
1501 Pope Alexander VI grants to the Spanish crown all the newly discovered countries in the Americas if provision is made for the religious instruction of the native populations.
1503 Patriarch Mar Elijah, of the East Syrian church, sends three missionaries “to the islands of the sea, which are inside Java and to China.”
1506 Dominican missionaries’ work begins in Mozambique.
1508 Franciscans start evangelizing in Venezuela.
1509 The first church building is constructed in Puerto Rico.
1510 Dominicans begin work in Haiti.
1512 Dominican missionary Antonio de Montesino returns to Spain to try to convince King Ferdinand that all is not as it should be in the new western colonies. He reports the indigenous peoples are rapidly dying on the islands of Hispaniola (now the Dominican Republic and Haiti) and Cuba under the colonists’ slavery system.
1513 Bartolomé de las Casas is ordained in Cuba (possibly the first New World ordination). Las Casas renounces all claims to his native slaves soon thereafter. He spent the remainder of his life advocating for the respectful treatment of native people and teaching them about Christ.
1514 Franciscans begin missionary work in California.
1515 Portuguese missionary Francisco Álvares is sent on a diplomatic mission to Dawit II, the Emperor of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).
1515 Portuguese missionaries start work in Benin and Nigeria.
1517 The Mughal rulers of Delhi open the door of Bengal to Christian missionaries; Martin Luther proclaims the Ninety-Five Theses.
1518 Pope Leo X consecrates Don Henrique, son of the King of the Congo, as the first indigenous bishop from sub-Saharan Black Africa.
1519 Two Franciscans accompany Hernán Cortés on his expedition to Mexico.
1520 German missionary Maximilian Uhland, also known as Bernardino de San José, goes to Hispaniola with the newly appointed Bishop Alessandro Geraldini.
1521 Pope Leo X grants Franciscan Francis Quiñones permission and faculties to become a missionary to the New World, together with Juan Clapión.
1522 Portuguese missionaries establish their presence on the coast of Sri Lanka and begin moving inland in the wake of Portuguese military units.
1523 Martin Luther writes a missionary hymn based on Psalm 67, “May God Bestow on Us His Grace,” which has been called “the first missionary hymn of Protestantism.”
1524 Martin de Valencia goes to New Spain (Mexico) with twelve Franciscan friars.
1525 Italian Franciscan missionary Giulio Zarco is sent to Michoacán, on the western coast of Mexico, where he will become quite proficient in some indigenous languages.
1526 Franciscans enter Florida; twelve Dominican friars arrive in the Mexican capital.
1527 Anabaptists organize the first Protestant missionary conference, Martyrs’ Synod.
1528 Franciscan missionary Juan de Padilla arrives in Mexico; he will accompany Coronado’s expedition of searching for the Seven Cities and eventually settle among the Quivira (now called the Wichita).
1529 Franciscan Peter of Ghent writes from Latin America that he and a colleague baptized fourteen thousand people on one day.
1531 Franciscan Juan de Padilla starts a series of missionary tours among Indian tribes located southeast of Mexico City.
1532 The evangelization of Peru begins when missionaries arrive with Francisco Pizarro’s military expedition.
1533 The Pechenga Monastery is founded in the extreme north of Russia to preach the gospel to the Sami people; the Augustinian order arrives in Mexico; the first Christian missionaries come to Tonkin (now Vietnam).
1534 Missionaries arrive in Canada with explorer Jacques Cartier.
1536 Northern Italian Anabaptist missionary Hans Oberecker is burned at the stake in Vienna.
1537 Pope Paul III orders that the indigenous peoples of the Americas in the New World be brought to Christ “by the preaching of the divine Word and with the example of the good life.”
1538 Franciscans enter Paraguay.
1539 Spanish Franciscan missionary Marcos de Niza encounters the Pueblos in what is now the southwestern United States.
1540 Franciscans arrive in Trinidad and are killed by cannibals; Jesuits are founded.
1541 Franciscans start establishing California missions.
1542 Francis Xavier goes to the Portuguese colony of Goa in West India.
1545 Testifying to the power of missionaries’ letters back home, Antonio Araoz writes about Francis Xavier: “No less fruit has been obtained in Spain and Portugal through his letters than has been obtained in the Indies through his teaching.”
1546 Xavier travels to the Indonesian islands of Morotai, Ambon, and Ternate.
1547 Wealthy Spaniard Juan Fernández becomes a Jesuit, who will go to Japan as a missionary.
1548 Xavier establishes the College of the Holy Name of God, in Baçaim, on India’s northwest coast.
1549 Dominican Luis Cancer, who had worked among the Mayans of Guatemala and Mexico, lands at Tampa Bay (Florida) with two companions, whom the Calusa kill immediately.
1549 Jesuit missionaries—whom Xavier leads—arrive in Japan and build a base in Kyushu; their aggressive proselytizing is most successful in Kyushu with about 100,000 to 200,000 converts, including many daimyo (feudal lords).
1550 Printed Scriptures are available in twenty-eight languages.
1553 Portuguese missionaries build a church in Malacca Town, Malaysia.
1554 Siam (now Thailand) reports 1,500 converts to Christianity.
1555 John Calvin sends Huguenots to Brazil, so that they can be protected from growing tension between Protestants and Catholics in France.
1555 Dominican Gaspar da Cruz attempts to set up the first Christian mission in Cambodia, but it wasn’t successful.
1556 Gaspar da Cruz spends a month preaching in Guangzhou, China.
1557 Jesuit Bishop André de Oviedo comes to Ethiopia, with five priests, to convert the local Ethiopian Christians to Catholicism.
1558 The Kabardian Duke Saltan Idarov is converted to Orthodox Christianity.
1559 Missionary Vilela settles in Kyoto, Japan.
1560 Goncalo da Silveira—a Portuguese Jesuit missionary—visits the Munhumutapa Empire in southeast Africa, where he rapidly makes converts.
1563 Jesuit missionary Luis Frois, who will later write a history of Jesuit activity in Japan, arrives in that country; Omura Sumitada becomes the first daimyo (feudal landholder) to convert to Christianity.
1564 Legaspi begins Augustinian work in the Philippine Islands.
1565 Jesuits come to Macau.
1566 Fearful Indians on the sands of Fort George Island, Florida, club to death Pedro Martinez, the first Jesuit to enter what is now the United States.
1567 Missionaries Jeronimo da Cruz and Sebastiao da Canto, both Dominicans, arrive in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
1568 Diego de Herrera baptizes Chieftain Tupas of Cebu and his son in the Philippines.
1569 Jeronimo da Cruz and two newly arrived missionaries are murdered in Siam.
1570 Pirates near Palma, one of the Canary Islands, kill Ignacio Azevedo and thirty-nine other Jesuit missionaries, while on their way to Brazil.
1571 Capuchin friars of the ‘Strict Observance’ arrive on the island of Trinidad with conquistador Don Juan Ponce of Seville.
1572 Jesuits come to Mexico.
1573 Large-scale evangelization of the Florida Indian nations and tribes begins with the arrival of Franciscan friars; the Augustinian order enters Ecuador.
1574 Augustinian Guillermo de Santa Maria writes a treatise about the illegitimacy of the war the Spanish government was waging against the Chichimeca in the Mexican state of Michoacán.
1575 A church building is constructed in Kyoto; built in Japanese architectural style, it was popularly called the “temple of the South Barbarians.”
1575 Spanish Augustinians Martín de Rada and Geronimo Martín spend four months in Fujian, China, trying to arrange for long-term missionary work there; this attempt fails due to unrelated events in the Philippines.
1577 Dominicans enter Mozambique and penetrate inland, burning Muslim mosques as they go.
1578 The King of Spain orders the bishop of Lima not to confer Holy Orders on mestizos.
1579 Jesuit Alessandro Valignano arrives in Japan where, as “Visitor of Missions”, he formulates a basic strategy for Catholic proselytism in that country; Valignano’s adaptationism attempted to avoid cultural frictions by covering the gap between certain Japanese customs and Roman Catholic values.
1582 Jesuits—with Michele Ruggieri and Matteo Ricci as the pioneers—start mission work in mainland China, introducing Western science, mathematics, and astronomy.
1583 Five Jesuit missionaries are murdered near Goa (India).
1584 Matteo Ricci and a Chinese scholar translate a catechism into Chinese under the title, Tian Zhu Shi Lu (A True Account of God).
1585 Carmelite leader Jerome Gracian meets with Martin Ignatius de Loyola, a Franciscan missionary from China; they sign a vinculo de hermandad misionera (a bond of missionary brotherhood), by which the two orders would collaborate in missionary work in Ethiopia; China; the Philippines; and the East and West Indies.
1587 All foreigners are ordered out of Japan when shogun fears they are divisive and might present the Europeans with an opportunity to disrupt Japan; they stay, but persecution escalates.
1590 A book by Belgian pastor Hadrian à Saravia has a chapter arguing that the Great Commission is still binding on the church today because the apostles did not fulfill it completely.
1591 The first Catholic Church is erected in Trinidad; the first Chinese are admitted as members of the Jesuit order.
1593 The Franciscans come to Japan and establish St. Anna’s Hospital in Kyoto; they have a dispute with the Jesuits.
1594 The first Jesuit missionaries arrive in what is now Pakistan.
1595 Dutch East India Company chaplains expand their ministry beyond the European expatriates.
1596 Jesuit missionaries travel across the island of Samar, in the Philippines, to establish mission centers on the eastern side.
1597 General Toyotomi Hideyoshi crucifies twenty-six Japanese Christians for their faith in Nagasaki, Japan. Full-scale persecution destroys the Christian community by the 1620s. Converts who did not reject Christianity were martyred. Numerous Christians went underground, but their communities died out. Christianity left no permanent imprint on Japanese society.
1598 Spanish missionaries push north from Mexico into what is now the state of New Mexico.
1599 Jesuit Francisco Fernandez goes to what is now the Jessore District of Bangladesh and builds a church there.
1600 French missionaries arrive in the area that is now Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
1601 The first Japanese priests are ordained, and a season of Christian flourishing lasts in Japan until 1614.
1602 Chinese scientist and translator Xu Guangqi is baptized.
1603 The Jesuit Mission Press in Japan commences publication of a Japanese-Portuguese dictionary.
1604 Jesuit missionary Abbè Jessè Flèchè arrives at Port Royal, Nova Scotia.
1605 Roberto de Nobili, an Italian Jesuit missionary, goes to India and adopts many Indian customs that are not contrary to Christian teaching.
1607 Missionary Juan Fonte establishes the first Jesuit mission among the Tarahumara in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Northwest Mexico.
1608 A missionary expedition into the Ceará area of Brazil fails when the Tacariju kill the Jesuit leader.
1610 Jesuit Matteo Ricci, one of the first Westerners allowed into interior China, baptizes Chinese mathematician and astronomer Li Zhizao.
1611 Two Jesuits begin work among the Mi’kmaq Indians of Nova Scotia.
1612 Jesuits found a mission for the Abenakis in Maine.
1614 Anti-Christian edicts are issued in Japan, with more than forty thousand Christians being massacred.
1615 French missionaries in Canada open schools in Trois-Rivières and Tadoussac to teach First Nations children, with the hope of converting them.
1616 Nanjing Missionary Case takes place, in which the clash between the Chinese practice of ancestor worship and Catholic doctrine ends in the deportation of foreign missionaries.
1617 Portuguese missionary Francisco de Pina comes to Vietnam.
1618 Portuguese Carmelites, a Catholic order, go from Persia to Pakistan for establishing a church in Thatta (near Karachi).
1619 Dominican missionaries found the University of St. Tomas in the Philippine Islands.
1620 Carmelites, a Catholic order, enter Goa in southern India.
1621 The Augustinians are established in Bangladesh.
1622 Pope Gregory VI founds the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which becomes the major papal agency for coordinating and directing missionary work.
1623 A stone monument (Nestorian Stele) is unearthed in Xi’an (Si-ngan-fu), China. Its inscription, which a Syrian monk wrote almost a thousand years earlier in both Chinese characters and Persian script, begins with the words, “Let us praise the Lord that the [Christian] faith has been popular in China.” It mentioned the arrival of a missionary, A-lo-pen (Abraham), in AD 625. Alvaro Semedo and other Jesuits soon publicize the stele’s discovery in Europe.
1624 Persecution intensifies in Japan, with fifty Christians being burned alive in Edo (now Tokyo).
1625 Vietnam expels missionaries.
1626 Jesuit missionary Francis Pacheco is captured and executed in Nagasaki after entering Japan in disguise.
1627 Alexander de Rhodes goes to Vietnam where, in three years of ministry, he baptizes 6,700 converts.
1628 Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is established in Rome to train “native clergy” from all over the world.
1629 Franciscan missionary Alonzo Benavides founds Santa Clara de Capo, on the border of Apache-Indian country, in what is now New Mexico.
1631 Dutch missionary Abraham Rogerius, who authored Open Door to the Secrets of Heathendom, begins ten years of ministry among the Tamil people in the Dutch colony of Pulicat, near Madras, India.
1632 Zuni Indians murder a group of Franciscan missionaries, who had three years earlier established the first mission to the Zunis at Hawikuh in what is now New Mexico.
1633 Emperor Fasilides expels the Jesuit missionaries in Ethiopia; the German Lutheran Church sends Peter Heyling as the first Protestant missionary to Ethiopia.
1634 Jesuit missionary Jean de Brèbeuf travels to the Petun nation (in Canada) and baptizes a forty-year-old man.
1635 A Franciscan expedition leaves Quito, Ecuador, for trying to penetrate into Amazonia from the west; though most of them will be killed along the way, a few will manage to arrive two years later on the Atlantic coast.
1636 The Dominicans of Manila (the Philippines) organize a missionary expedition to Japan; they are arrested on one of the Okinawa Islands, and the tribunal of Nagasaki will eventually condemn them to death.
1637 Tribal medicine men blame European missionaries when smallpox kills thousands of Native Americans.
1638 Official ban of Christianity is issued in Japan, with the death penalty; The Fountain Opened, a posthumous work of the influential Puritan writer Richard Sibbes, is published, in which he says that the gospel must continue its journey until “it has gone over the whole world.”
1639 Three Ursuline nuns board the St. Joseph to set sail for New France (parts of modern-day North America); they are the first women to enter New France as missionaries.
1640 The Japanese shogunate institutes the office of the shumon aratame yaku (inquisitor) to hunt down remaining Christians after Christianity was banned in 1614.
1641 Jesuit missionary Cristoval de Acuna describes the Amazon River in a written report to the Spanish king.
1642 Mohawk Indians capture Catholic missionaries Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil, and Huron- Indian converts who are traveling with them; they tomahawk Goupil to death, while Jogues and the Huron are held for a time as slaves. Jogues uses his slavery as an opportunity for missionary work and strengthening his Huron brothers.
1643 Reformed Pastor Johannes Megapolensis begins outreach to Native Americans while pastoring in Albany, New York.
1644 John Eliot starts ministry to Algonquian Indians in North America.
1645 Jesuits are expelled from Vietnam following thirty years of work there.
1647 The Discalced Carmelites begin work on Madagascar.
1649 Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England is formed to reach the Indians of New England.
1650 The Iroquois destruction of the Huron nation ends the Jesuits’ dream of making the Huron Indians the focal point of their evangelism.
1651 Count Truchsess of Wetzhausen, a prominent Lutheran layman, asks the theological faculty of Wittenberg for the reason that Lutherans are not sending out missionaries in obedience to the Great Commission.
1652 Jesuit Antonio Vieira returns as a missionary to Brazil, where he champions the cause of exploited indigenous peoples until being expelled by Portuguese colonists.
1653 A Mohawk war party captures Jesuit Joseph Poncet near Montreal; he is tortured and finally sent back with a message about peace overtures.
1654 John Eliot publishes a catechism for American Indians.
1655 Jinga or Zinga, princess of Matamba in Angola, is converted; later she writes to the pope, urging that more missionaries be sent.
1656 The first Quaker missionaries arrive in what is now Boston, Massachusetts.
1658 Following the flight of the French missionaries from his area, Chief Daniel Garakonthie of the Onondaga Indians examines the French colonists’ customs and missionaries’ doctrines and openly begins protecting Christians in his part of what is now New York.
1659 Jesuit Alexander de Rhodes establishes the Paris Foreign Missions Society; Spanish priests establish a mission among the Manso Indians in Mexico, and hundreds of Mansos are converted to Christianity in the next decade.
1660 Catholic missionaries introduce Christianity into Cambodia.
1661 George Fox, founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), sends three missionaries to China (although they never reach the field); John Eliot translates the Bible into Algonquin, which is the first native language in the Americas with its own version.
1663 John Eliot’s translation of the Scriptures into one of the Algonquian languages is published (the New Testament came out two years earlier); this Bible is the first complete one to be printed in the New World.
1664 Justinian Von Welz authors three powerful pamphlets about the need for world missions; he goes to Dutch Guinea (now called Surinam), where he dies after just three months.
1666 John Eliot publishes his “Indian Grammar,” a book written to assist missionaries wishing to learn the Massachusett Indians’ dialect.
1667 Jesuit Pedro Suarez, the first missionary to attempt to reach the Huaorani (or Aucas), is slain with spears.
1670 Jesuits establish missions on the Orinoco River in Venezuela.
1671 Quaker missionaries arrive in the Carolinas.
1672 A chieftain on Guam kills Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores and his Visayan assistant, Pedro Calungsod, for baptizing the chief’s daughter without his permission. (Some accounts say the girl’s mother consented to the baptism.)
1673 French trader Louis Jolliet and missionary Jacques Marquette visit what is now Illinois, where the latter establishes a mission for Native Americans.
1675 An uprising on the islands of Micronesia leads to the death of three Christian missionaries.
1676 A Jesuit missionary baptizes Kateri Tekakwitha, who became known as the Lily of the Mohawks; she, along with many other Native Americans, joins a Canadian missionary settlement, where a syncretistic blend of ascetic indigenous and Catholic beliefs evolves.
1679 Writing from Changzhou, newly arrived missionary Juan de Yrigoyen describes three Christian congregations flourishing in that Chinese city.
1680 The Pueblo Revolt starts in New Mexico, with the killing of twenty-one Franciscan missionaries.
1681 After arriving in New Spain, Italian Jesuit Eusebio Kino becomes what one writer describes as “the most picturesque missionary pioneer of all North America.” A bundle of evangelistic zeal, Kino is an explorer, astronomer, cartographer, mission builder, ranchman, cattle king, and frontier defender, too.
1683 Missionary Louis Hennepin returns to France—after exploring Minnesota and being held captive by the Dakota—for writing the first book about Minnesota, Description de la Louisiane.
1684 Louis XIV of France sends Jesuit missionaries to China, bearing gifts from the collections of the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.
1685 The first Catholic bishop of Chinese origin is consecrated.
1686 Russian Orthodox monks come to China as missionaries.
1687 French activity begins in what is now Côte d’Ivoire when missionaries land at Assinie.
1688 The New Testament is translated into the Malay language (the first Bible translation into a southeastern Asian language).
1689 Calusa Indian chief from what is the state of Florida visits Cuba to discuss the idea of having missionaries come to his people.
1691 The Christian Faith Society for the West Indies is organized, with a concentration on evangelizing African slaves.
1692 Chinese Kangxi Emperor permits the Jesuits to freely preach Christianity, converting whom they wish.
1693 Jesuit missionary John de Britto is publicly beheaded in India.
1694 Missionary and explorer Eusebio Kino becomes the first European to enter the Tucson, Arizona, basin and create a lasting settlement.
1695 China’s first Russian Orthodox Church building is consecrated.
1696 Jesuit missionary Francois Pinet founds the Mission of the Guardian Angel near what is now Chicago; this mission will be abandoned in 1700, when missionary efforts seem fruitless.
1698 Anglicans organize the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge to set up schools for poor children and publish Christian literature; they sent these books and pamphlets around the world to support new churches being planted as the British Empire expanded.
1700 After a Swedish missionary’s sermon in Pennsylvania, one Native American poses such searching questions that the episode is reported in a 1731 history of the Swedish church in America. He asserted that because his ancestors had always believed that a good life would be pleasing to God, this opinion must have come to them directly from heaven, and that although it may be possible that Christians have superior knowledge, it is at the same time certain their morals are depraved.
1701 The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts is officially organized and continues today.
1705 The Danish-Halle Mission is founded and sends out the first Protestant missionaries.
1706 Missionary Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg arrives in Tranquebar (now India).
1706 Irish-born Francis Makemie, who has been an itinerant Presbyterian missionary among the American colonists since 1683, is finally able to organize the first American presbytery.
1707 Italian Capuchin missionaries reach Kathmandu in Nepal; Maillard de Tournon makes public, in Nanjing, Vatican decisions about rites, including stipulations against the veneration of ancestors and of Confucius.
1709 Experience Mayhew, missionary to the Wampanoag Indians, translates the Psalms and the Gospel of John into the Massachusett language; it is considered second only to John Eliot’s Indian Bible in terms of significant Indian-language translations in colonial New England.
1710 Count Canstein founds in Germany the first modern Bible Society for printing Bibles at reduced cost.
1711 Jesuit Eusebio Kino, missionary explorer in southern Arizona and northern Sonora, dies suddenly in northern Mexico; this “cowboy missionary” fought against Indian exploitation in Mexican silver mines.
1713 Jesuit Ippolito Desideri goes to Tibet as a missionary.
1714 The New Testament is translated into Tamil (India); the Royal Danish College of Missions is organized in Copenhagen.
1715 Eastern Orthodox Church missionary outreach is renewed in Northern China.
1716 The Mexican viceroy authorizes the Alamo Mission establishment in San Antonio as an educational center for Native Americans who are converted to Christianity.
1717 Chen Mao writes to the Chinese Emperor about his concerns over Catholic missionaries and Western traders; he urgently requests an all-out prohibition of Catholic missionaries in the Qing provinces.
1718 Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg constructs a church building in India that is still in use today.
1719 Isaac Watts writes the missionary hymn, “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun.”
1721 Mission San Juan Bautista Malibat, in Baja California, is abandoned due to the hostility of the Cochimi Indians, as well as to the decimation of the local population by epidemics and a water shortage. Chinese Kangxi Emperor bans Christian missionaries as a result of the Chinese Rites controversy. Hans Egede travels from Denmark to Greenland under the dual auspices of the Royal Mission College and the Bergen Company.
1723 Robert Millar publishes A History of the Propagation of Christianity, and Overthrow of Paganism, advocating prayer as the primary means of converting non-Christians; his book inspired prayer groups to form all over the British Isles and eventually North America.
1724 Yongzheng Emperor bans missionary activities outside the Beijing area.
1725 Knud Leem arrives as a Norwegian missionary to the Sami people of Finnmark (Norwegian Arctic); the Great Awakening Revival spreads across the North American colonies.
1727 A missionary movement is born when Count Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf leads the Moravian community to begin twenty-four-hour nonstop prayer that lasted more than a hundred years; hundreds of missionaries were sent out from this community as a result.
1728 Institutum Judaicum is established in Halle, Germany, as the first Protestant mission center for Jewish evangelism.
1729 Roman Catholic missionary Du Poisson becomes the first victim in the Natchez Massacre; on his way to New Orleans, he was asked to conduct Mass at the Natchez post, where he was killed in front of the altar.
1730 Lombard, French Jesuit missionary, founds a Christian village with more than six hundred Indians at the mouth of the Kuru River in French Guiana; he was called the most successful of all missionaries in converting the Indians of French Guiana.
1732 Alphonsus Liguori founds the Roman Catholic religious institute, Redemptorist Fathers, for performing missionary work in slums.
1733 Moravians establish their first mission in Greenland.
1734 A missionary convinces a Groton, Connecticut, church to lend its building to the Mashantucket Pequot tribe for Christian worship services.
1735 John Wesley goes to Indians in Georgia as a missionary with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
1736 There are anti-Christian edicts in China; Moravian missionaries work among the Nenets people of Arkhangelsk (a region in northern European Russia).
1737 Rev. Pugh, a missionary in Pennsylvania with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, begins ministering to blacks; he notes that the masters of the slaves are prejudiced against them becoming Christians.
1738 Moravian missionary George Schmidt settles in Baviaan Kloof (the Valley of the Baboons) in the Riviersonderend Valley of South Africa; he begins working with the Khoikhoi people, who are practically on the threshold of extinction.
1740 Moravian David Zeisberger starts work among the Creek people of Georgia; missionary Johann Phillip Fabricius arrives in South India.
1741 Dutch missionaries begin building the Christ Church building in Malacca Town, Malaysia, which will take twelve years to complete.
1742 Moravian leader Count Zinzendorf baptizes six Indians when he visits Shekomeko, New York.
1744 Thomas Thompson resigns his position as dean at the University of Cambridge to become a missionary; the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts sends him to New Jersey. Taking a special interest in the slave population there, he would later request to start mission work in Africa. In 1751, Thompson would become the first S.P.G. missionary to the Gold Coast (now Ghana).
1745 David Brainerd, a missionary to Native Americans, writes: “They soon came in, one after another; with tears in their eyes, to know what they should do to be saved . . . . It was an amazing season of power among them, and seemed as if God had bowed the heavens and come down . . . and that God was about to convert the whole world.”
1746 A call is issued to the Christians of the New World to enter into a seven-year “Concert of Prayer” for missionary work by those whom Robert Millar inspired in 1723.
1747 Jonathan Edwards, who responds to this call, appeals for prayer for world missions among all North American churches.
1748 Roman Catholic Pedro Sanz and four other missionaries are executed, together with fourteen Chinese Christians; he reportedly converted some of his prison guards to Christianity before his death.
1749 Spanish Franciscan priest Junípero Serra (1713-84) arrives in Mexico as a missionary; in 1767, he would go north to what is now California, zealously building missions and converting Native Americans.
1750 Jonathan Edwards—preacher of the First Great Awakening—is banished from his church at Northampton, Massachusetts, and goes as a missionary to the nearby Housatonic Indians; Christian Frederic Schwartz goes to India with the Danish-Halle Mission.
1752 Thomas Thompson, the initial Anglican missionary to Africa, arrives in the Gold Coast (now Ghana).
1753 The disappearance of Erhardt and six companions leads to the temporary abandonment of Moravian-missionary initiatives in Labrador (in northern Canada).
1755 The Mahican Indian settlement at Gnadenhutten, Pennsylvania, is attacked and destroyed. Moravian missionary Johann Jacob Schmick remains with the Mahicans through exile and captivity, despite almost constant threats from white neighbors. Schmick will join his Indian congregation members as they seek refuge in Bethlehem, follow them as captives to Philadelphia, and remain with them after they settle in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania.
1756 Civil unrest forces Gideon Halley away from his missionary work among the Six Nations on the Susquehanna River, where he has been working for four years under the supervision of Jonathan Edwards, with an appointment from the Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians.
1757 Lutherans begin ministering to blacks in the Caribbean.
1759 The Presbyterians ordain Native American Samson Occom, a direct descendant of the great Mahican Chief Uncas; Occom became the first American Indian to publish works in English, including sermons, hymns, and a short autobiography. Jesuits are expelled from Brazil.
1760 Adam Voelker and Christian Butler arrive in Tranquebar as the first Moravian missionaries to India.
1760 Methodists first reach the West Indies.
1763 The Presbyterian Synod of New York orders a collection for missions to be taken; in 1767, the Synod will ask that this offering be collected annually.
1764 The Moravians decide to expand and begin publicizing their missionary activity, particularly in the British colonies; Moravian Jens Haven makes the first of three exploratory missionary journeys to Greenland.
1765 Suriname Governor General Crommelin persuades three Moravian missionaries to work near the headwaters of the Gran Rio; they settle among the Saramaka, near the Senthea Creek in Granman Abini’s village, where they are received with mixed feelings.
1766 Philip Quaque—a Fetu youth from the Cape Coast area of Ghana—who spent twelve years studying in England, returns to Africa; supported as a missionary by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, Quaque is the first non-European ordained priest in the Church of England.
1768 Five United Brethren missionaries from Germany, invited by the Danish Guinea Company, arrive in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) to teach in the Cape Coast Castle schools.
1770 John Marrant, a free black from New York City, starts ministering cross-culturally, preaching to the American Indians; he had carried the gospel to the Cherokee and Creek Indians by 1775, as well as to groups he called the Catawar and Housaw peoples.
1772 After visiting Scilly Cove in Newfoundland, Canada, missionary James Balfour describes it as a “most Barbarous Lawless Place.”
1775 The Industrial Revolution begins in Britain and the Netherlands.
1776 Cyril Vasilyevich Suchanov builds the first church among Evenks of Dauria in Siberia; the first baptism of an Eskimo by a Lutheran pastor takes place in Labrador.
1777 Portuguese missionaries construct a church in Hashnabad, Bangladesh.
1778 Theodore Sladich is martyred while accomplishing missionary work to counter Islamic influence in the western Balkans.
1780 August Gottlieb Spangenberg, part of the Moravian Church, writes An Account of the Manner in Which the Protestant Church of the United Brethren Preach the Gospel, and Carry On Their Missions among the Heathen; originally written in German, the book will be translated into English in 1788.
1782 George Liele, a freed slave, arrived in Jamaica from the USA, the earliest recorded American foreign missionary.
1783 Moses Baker and George Gibbions, both former slaves, leave the United States to become missionaries in the West Indies; Charles Simeon starts the Evangelical Movement. (Future)
1784 Thomas Coke (Methodist) submits his Plan for the Society for the Establishment of Missions among the Heathen; Methodist missions among the “heathen” will begin in 1786, when a storm drives Coke, destined for Nova Scotia, off course, and he lands at Antigua in the British West Indies.
1785 Joseph White’s sermon titled, “On the Duty of Attempting the Propagation of the Gospel among our Mahometan and Gentoo Subjects in India,” is published in the second edition of his book, Sermons Containing a View of Christianity and Mahometanism, in Their History, Their Evidence, and Their Effect. The sermon was initially preached at the University of Oxford.
1786 John Marrant, a free black from New York City, writes in his journal that he preached to “a great number of Indians and white people” at Green’s Harbor, Newfoundland.
1787 In England, the Particular Baptists ordain William Carey, who soon begins to urge that worldwide missions be undertaken.
1788 Dutch missionaries begin preaching the gospel among fishermen in Bangladesh.
1791 One hundred twenty Korean Christians are tortured and killed for their faith, which started when Paul Yun Ji-Chung, a noble who had become a Christian, decided not to bury his mother according to the traditional Confucian custom.
1792 William Carey preaches a missions message to pastors, in which he challenges them to “expect great things from God, attempt great things for God”; he additionally forms the Baptist Missionary Society, to support him in establishing missionary work in India, and leaves for there the following year.
1794 Eight Russian Orthodox missionaries arrive on Kodiak Island in Alaska; several thousand people are baptized within a few months.
1795 The London Missionary Society is formed to send missionaries to Tahiti.
1796 The Scottish and Glasgow Missionary Societies are established; a translation of the Bible into Tamil by Johann Philipp Fabricius is revised and published in India.
1797 The Netherlands Missionary Society is formed; the Duff, carrying thirty-six lay and pastoral missionaries, sails to three South Pacific islands. The first Christian missionary (from the London Missionary Society) visits Hiva on the Pacific island of Tahuata, but he is not well-received.
1798 The Congregationalists organize the Missionary Society of Connecticut for taking the gospel to the “heathen lands” of Vermont and Ohio; its missionaries evangelized both European settlers and Native Americans.
1799 The Church Missionary Society (Church of England) is founded; Dutch physician John van der Kemp goes to Cape Colony, Africa.
1801 John Theodorus van der Kemp moves from ministering among the Xhosa to ministering to the Khoikhoi, both in South Africa; earlier he had helped found the Netherlands Missionary Society.
1802 Henry Martyn hears Charles Simeon speak about William Carey’s work in India and resolves to become a missionary himself; he will sail for India in 1805.
1803 The Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society votes to publish a missionary magazine; now known as The American Baptist, this periodical is the oldest religious magazine in the United States.
1804 The British and Foreign Bible Society is formed; the Church Missionary Society enters Sierra Leone.
1805 Brothers Abraham and Christian Albrecht, from the London Missionary Society, are the first Christian missionaries to come to Namibia.
1806 Haystack prayer meeting is conducted at Williams College; five students gather in a field to discuss the spiritual welfare of Asian people. Out of this prayer meeting many Protestant missions were born, including the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, along with the missions of the United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and Student Volunteer Movement. Thousands of church planters, evangelists, and Bible translators have been sent out due to this prayer meeting. The first Protestant missionaries, with the English Wesleyan Mission, arrive in Haiti.
1807 The first Protestant missionary to China, Robert Morrison, begins work in Guangzhou (formerly called Canton) in China.
1808 The London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews is founded.
1809 The National Bible Society of Scotland is organized.
1811 English Wesleyans enter Sierra Leone.
1812 Adoniram Judson, arrives in India and soon goes to Burma; Henry Martin completes the first translation of the New Testament into Persian.
1813 The Methodists form the Wesleyan Missionary Society.
1814 The American Baptist Foreign Mission Society is established; the Netherlands Bible Society is founded. Four Native Americans from beyond the Rocky Mountains come east to St. Louis, Missouri, seeking information about the “palefaces’ religion” because they believe it will give them increased power for their battles with other native tribes. The first missionaries arrive in New Zealand, led by Samuel Marsden.
1815 The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions opens work on Ceylon; the African-American Baptist Churches found the Richmond African Missionary Society, which sent missionaries to West Africa.
1816 The American Bible Society is established.
1817 James Thompson starts distributing Bibles throughout Latin America.
1818 Missionary work begins in Madagascar, with the king’s reluctant approval. The Bible is published in Pashtu (a language of modern-day Afghanistan).
1819 Missionary physician John Scudder joins the Ceylon Mission; Wesleyan Methodists start work in Madras, India. Reginald Heber writes the words to the missionary classic, “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains.”
1820 Hiram Bingham goes to Hawaii (the Sandwich Islands).
1821 African-American Lott Carey, a Baptist missionary, sails with twenty-eight colleagues from Norfolk, Virginia, to Sierra Leone; the Protestant Episcopal Church Mission Board is established. The New Testament is published in Nepali. All of mainland South and Central America are freed from Spanish rule. Brazil would gain independence from Portugal in 1822. (Future)
1823 Scottish Missionary Society workers come to Mumbai (known then as Bombay), India; Robert Morrison ordains Liang Fa, the first Chinese Protestant evangelist. The American Board of Missions sends African-American Betsy Stockton to Hawaii; she thus becomes the first single- woman missionary in modern-missions history.
1825 George Boardman goes to Burma.
1826 The American Bible Society sends the first Bible shipment to Mexico.
1827 Missionary Lancelot Threlkeld reports in The Monitor that he is “advancing rapidly” in his efforts to disseminate Holy Scripture among indigenous Australians of the Hunter and Shoalhaven rivers.
1828 The Basel Mission begins work in the Christiansborg area of Accra, Ghana; Karl Gutzlaff, of the Netherlands Missionary Society, lands in Bangkok, Thailand.
1829 George Mueller, a native of Prussia, goes to England as a missionary to the Jews.
1830 Church of Scotland missionary Alexander Duff arrives in Kolkata; William Swan, missionary to Siberia, writes Letters on Missions, which is the first Protestant comprehensive treatment of missions theory and practice.
1831 American Congregational missionaries come to Thailand, withdrawing in 1849 without a single convert; the Trinitarian Bible Society is formed when they separate from the British and Foreign Bible Society because of controversies about the inclusion of the Apocrypha.
1832 John Williams commissions Teava, former cannibal and pioneer Pacific Islander missionary, to work on the Samoan island of Manono.
1833 The Baptist work in Thailand starts with John Taylor Jones; American Methodist missionary Melville Box arrives in Liberia. The Free Will Baptist Foreign Missionary Society begins work in India. William Carey translates the Bible into Bengali.
1834 The American Presbyterian Mission opens work in India in the Punjab; Dr. Peter Parker is sent to China from the United States as the first medical missionary.
1835 The Rhenish Missionary Society starts work among the Dayaks on Borneo (Indonesia); Bishop of Calcutta Daniel Wilson calls India’s caste system “a cancer.”
1836 Plymouth Brethren begin work in Madras, India; George Müller starts his work with orphans in Bristol, England. The Colonial Missionary Society is formed. Adnorim Judson translates the New Testament into Burmese.
1837 William Carey translates the New Testament into Hindi. Board of Foreign Missions, Presbyterian Church in the USA is established “to aid in the conversion of the world . . . every member of this church is a member for life of said society and bound to do all in his power for the accomplishment of this objective.”
1838 The Bible is published in Tahitian.
1839 The entire Bible is published in the language of Tahiti; three French missionaries are martyred in Korea. English Protestant missionaries are murdered on Erromango (Vanuatu, in the South Pacific).
1840 David Livingstone is in present-day Malawi (Africa) with the London Missionary Society; American Presbyterians enter Thailand and labor for eighteen years before making their first Thai convert. The Irish Presbyterian Missionary Society is established.
1841 The Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society is founded as the first medical mission society in Europe; Welsh Methodists begin working among the Khasi people of India.
1842 The Treaty of Nanking opens China.
1843 Baptist John Taylor Jones translates the New Testament into the Thai language.
1844 German Ludwig Krapf starts work in Mombasa on the Kenya coast; George Williams forms the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).
1845 The Southern Baptist Convention mission organization is founded.
1846 The London Missionary Society establishes work on Niue, a South Pacific island that Westerners had named the “savage island.”
1847 Presbyterian William Burns goes to China, and translates The Pilgrim’s Progress into Chinese.
1848 Charles Forman goes to Punjab; he started a school and helped shape the educational system of the region. German missionaries Johannes Rebmann and Johann Ludwig Krapf arrive at Kilimanjaro. Their story about a snow-covered peak near the equator was initially scoffed at. Karl Marx publishes his Communist Manifesto. (Future)
1849 Just weeks after arriving on the Melanesian island of Aneityum (or Anatom), missionary John Geddie writes in his journal: “In the darkness, degradation, pollution and misery that surrounds me, I will look forward in the vision of faith to the time when some of these poor islanders will unite in the triumphant song of ransomed souls, ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.’” David Livingstone starts his missionary explorations in Central Africa to open the way for “Christianity, commerce and civilization.” (Future)
1850 The Church Missionary Society begins work in Pakistan by establishing schools and hospitals and distributing Scripture.
1851 Allen Gardiner and his six missionary colleagues die of exposure and starvation at Patagonia, on the southern tip of South America, when a resupply ship from England arrives six months late.
1853 The Hermannsburg Missionary Society—which Louis Harms founded in 1849—finishes training its first group of young missionaries, who are sent to Africa on a ship (the Kandaze) that had been built entirely from donations.
1854 Henry Venn, secretary of the Church Missionary Society, sets out the ideal of self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating churches; Hudson Taylor arrives in China.
1855 Henry Steinhauer is ordained as a Canadian Methodist missionary to North American Indians and posted to Lac La Biche, Alberta; his missionary work had actually started fifteen years earlier, in 1840, when he was assigned to Lac La Pluie for assisting in translating, teaching, and interpreting the Ojibwa and Cree languages. John Coleridge Patteson sails for the South Seas.
1856 Presbyterians start work in Colombia, with the arrival of Henry Pratt.
1857 The Bible is translated into the Tswana language (spoken in southern Africa).
1858 John G. Paton begins work in New Hebrides (part of modern-day Vanuatu); Elizabeth Freeman is martyred in India. The Basel Evangelical Missionary Society starts work in western Sumatra (Indonesia). David Livingstone’s book, Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, is published.
1859 Protestant missionaries arrive in Japan after centuries of isolation.
1860 The United Lutheran Church begins its work in Liberia; Liverpool Missionary Conference. Cyrus Hamlin lays the groundwork for establishing Robert College in Constantinople.
1861 Protestant Shtundism arises in the village of Osnova of modern-day Ukraine; the Shtundists were peasant groups who focused on piety and evangelism. Sarah Doremus founds the Women’s Union Missionary Society as an interdenominational organization to send out single women as missionaries to Asia. The Rhenish Mission goes to Indonesia under Ludwig Nommensen.
1862 The Paris Evangelical Missionary Society opens work in Senegal.
1863 Robert Moffat, a missionary to Africa with the London Missionary Society, publishes his book, Rivers of Water in a Dry Place, An Account of the Introduction of Christianity into South Africa, and of Mr. Moffat’s Missionary Labours.
1864 Baptists enter Argentina.
1865 James Hudson Taylor founds the China Inland Mission; James Laidlaw Maxwell plants the first viable church in Taiwan. William Booth establishes the Salvation Army in England. The first Protestant missionaries arrive in Korea.
1866 Theodore Jonas Meyer (1819-1894), a converted Jew serving as a Presbyterian missionary in Italy, nurses those dying from a cholera epidemic until he himself falls prey to the disease; barely surviving, he becomes a peacemaker between Catholics and Protestants. Robert Thomas, the first Protestant martyr in Korea, is beheaded, giving a Bible to his executioner.
1867 Methodists start work in Argentina; the Scripture Union is established to reach children with the gospel. Lars Skrefsrud and Hans Barreson begin working among the Santals of India.
1868 Robert Bruce goes to Iran; Canadian Baptist missionary Americus Timpany begins work among the Telugu people in India.
1869 The first Methodist women’s missionary magazine, The Heathen Women’s Friend, begins publication.
1870 Clara Swain—the very first female-missionary medical doctor—arrives at Bareilly, India.
1871 George Leslie Mackay plants a church in northern Taiwan; George Patteson is martyred.
1872 The first All-India Missionary Conference is held, with 136 participants; Calvin Mateer decides that all instruction in his schools in China should be in Chinese, so that the education will be most helpful to the future of the church in China. (Shandong)
1873 The Regions beyond Missionary Union is founded in London in connection with the East London Training Institute for Home and Foreign Missions; the initial Scripture portion (Gospel of Luke) is translated into a language of the Philippines (Pangasinan). Lottie Moon is appointed as missionary to China. Father Damien—a Catholic priest—arrives in Molakai, a Pacific island where only people afflicted with leprosy live.
1874 Lord Radstock’s initial visit to St. Petersburg and the start of an evangelical awakening among the St. Petersburg nobility occur; Albert Sturges initiates the Interior Micronesia Mission, in the Mortlock Islands, under the leadership of Micronesian students from Ohwa.
1875 The Foreign Christian Missionary Society is organized, with Isaac Errett as president; it serves a network of churches within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Church of Christ movements.
1876 A rusty ocean steamer arrives at a Calabar River port in what is now Nigeria in September; that part of Africa is known as the White Man’s Grave. The only woman on board that ship is twenty-nine-year-old Mary Slessor, a missionary.
1877 James Chalmers goes to New Guinea. The first missionaries arrive in Uganda from the Church Missionary Society after King Mutesa requests that they come to his kingdom after hearing the gospel preached by Henry Stanley, a British explorer and journalist.
1878 A mass movement to Christ takes place in Ongole, India; the Evangelical Association Missionary Society is formed.
1879 H. F. Reynolds enters the ministry; he becomes the missionary secretary of the new Church of the Nazarene in 1907.
1880 Woman missionary doctor Fanny Butler goes to India; A. B. Simpson launches the missionary periodical, The Gospel in All Lands. The New Testament is published in Japanese.
1881 Methodist work in Lahore, Pakistan, starts in the wake of revivals under Bishop William Taylor; the North Africa Mission (now Arab World Ministries) is founded on Edward Glenny’s work in Algeria.
1882 James Gilmour—London Missionary Society missionary to Mongolia—returns home to England for a furlough, during which he published Among the Mongols. It is so well-written that one critic wrote, “Robinson Crusoe has turned missionary, lived years in Mongolia, and wrote a book about it.” Pertaining to the author, the critic explained, “If ever on earth there lived a man who kept the law of Christ, and could give proof of it, and be absolutely unconscious that he was giving it to them, it is this man whom the Mongols called ‘our Gilmour.’” Florence Young begins ministering to laborers on her brother’s South Seas plantation.
1883 The Salvation Army enters West Pakistan; A. B. Simpson organizes the Missionary Union for the Evangelization of the World. The first Missionary Training College classes are held in New York City. Zaire Christian and Missionary Alliance mission field opens.
1884 The Jewish Mission of the Free Church of Scotland sends David Torrance as a medical missionary to Palestine; Protestant missionaries arrive in Korea.
1885 Horace Underwood, Presbyterian missionary, and Henry Appenzellar, Methodist missionary, arrive in Korea; Scottish Ion Keith-Falconer goes to Aden on the Arabian peninsula. “Cambridge Seven”—C. T. Studd, M. Beauchamp, W. W. Cassels, D. E. Hoste, S. P. Smith, A. T. Podhill-Turner, and C. H. Polhill-Turner—come to China as missionaries. Ugandan troops kill Anglican Bishop James Hannigton and the Africans traveling with him.
1886 The Student Volunteer Movement is launched as one hundred university and seminary students at Moody’s conference grounds at Mount Hermon, Massachusetts, sign the Princeton Pledge, which says: “I purpose, God willing, to become a foreign missionary.”
1887 William Cassidy, a Toronto medical doctor, is ordained as the Christian and Missionary Alliance’s first missionary preacher; he unfortunately died from smallpox en route to China, but his death has been called the “spark that ignited the Alliance missionary blaze.”
1888 Jonathan Goforth sails to China; the Student Volunteer Movement for foreign missions is officially organized, with John R. Mott as chairman and Robert Wilder as traveling secretary. The movement motto, coined by Wilder, is, “The evangelization of the world in this generation.” Scripture Gift Mission (now Lifewords) is founded.
1889 Samuel Moffett sails from the United States for Korea, and establishes a Presbyterian Mission there; North Africa Mission enters Tripoli as the first Protestant mission in Libya.
1890 C. I. Scofield, editor of the Scofield Reference Bible, establishes the Central American Mission; the Scandinavian Alliance (now the Evangelical Alliance Mission) is formed. Methodist Charles Gabriel writes the missionary song, “Send the Light.” John L. Nevius visits Korea and calls for “self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating churches.”
1891 Samuel Zwemer goes to Arabia. Helen Chapman sails for the Congo (Zaire); she marries a Danish missionary, William Rasmussen, whom she met during the voyage.
1892 Redcliffe Missionary Training College is founded in Chiswick (London).
1893 Eleanor Chestnut goes to China as a Presbyterian medical missionary.
1894 The Soatanana Revival, which begins in Madagascar, lasts for more than ninety years.
1895 Peter Cameron Scott forms Africa Inland Mission; the Japan Bible Society is established. Roland Allen is sent as a missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts to its North China Mission.
1896 Ödön Scholtz founds the first Hungarian Lutheran foreign-mission periodical, Külmisszió.
1897 The Presbyterian Church (USA) begins work in Venezuela.
1898 Theresa Huntington leaves her New England home for the Middle East; she will work seven years as an American Board missionary in Elazig (Kharput), in the Ottoman Empire. Her letters home will be published in a book titled, Great Need over the Water. Missionary W. S. Fleming and the first Hmu convert, Pan Xiushan, are murdered in China. Thirty-two Christian inquirers are seized and beheaded along with them. Eight Protestant denominations divide up places of ministry in the Philippines, so they will not start churches in the same areas, while some went untouched.
1899 James Rodgers arrives in the Philippines with the Presbyterian Mission; the Central American Mission enters Guatemala. Gideons International is organized in Wisconsin.
1900 American Friends open work in Cuba; the Ecumenical Missionary Conference is held in Carnegie Hall, New York (162 mission boards represented). During the Boxer Rebellion in China, 189 missionaries and their children are killed. South African Andrew Murray writes The Key to the Missionary Problem, in which he challenges the church to hold weeks of prayer for the world. Ida Scudder begins medical work in India.
1901 Nazarene John Diaz goes to the Cape Verde Islands; Maude Cary sails for Morocco. Disciples of Christ open work in northern Luzon (the Philippines). Charles Cowman founds the Oriental Missionary Society. (His wife is the compiler of the popular devotional book, Streams in the Desert.) Papua New Guinea cannibals kill and eat missionary James Chalmers. Amy Carmichael founds Dohnavur Fellowship in India for rescuing temple children.
1902 Swiss members of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML) enter Laos; the California Yearly Meeting of Friends opens work in Guatemala.
1904 Premillennialist theologian W. E. Blackstone begins teaching that the world has already been evangelized, citing Acts 2:5; 8:4; Mark 16:20; and Colossians 1:23.
1905 Gunnerius Tollefsen is converted at a Salvation Army meeting under Samuel Logan Brengle’s preaching; he later becomes a Belgian Congo missionary and then first mission secretary of the Norwegian Pentecostal movement. The National Missionary Society of India is formed, holding to the principles that Indians should conduct evangelization work with Indian money where Western missions are not already working. Eleanor Chestnut is martyred.
1906 The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) opens work in Venezuela, with T. J. Bach and John Christiansen; Azusa Street meetings in California launch the Pentecostal movement.
1907 Presbyterians and Methodists open Union Theological Seminary in Manila, Philippines; George Allen founds the Bolivian Indian Mission.
1908 The Gospel Missionary Union opens work in Colombia, with Charles Chapman and John Funk; Assemblies of God enter Rome and southern Italy.
1909 The Pentecostal movement is organized in Chile.
1910 C. T. Studd establishes the Heart of Africa Mission (now called WEC International). The Edinburgh Missionary Conference is held in Scotland, presided over by John Mott, beginning modern ecumenical cooperation in missions, whereby the leaders of missionary efforts of different denominations endeavor to work together for better reflecting Christ’s body.
1911 The Christian and Missionary Alliance enters Vietnam as the first Protestant mission in that country.
1912 The Conference of British Missionary Societies is formed; Samuel Zwemer starts work in Cairo, Egypt.
1913 African-American Eliza George sails from New York for Liberia.
1914 A large-scale revival movement happens in Uganda; World War I breaks out in Europe.
1915 Founded in 1913 in Nanjing, China—as a women’s Christian college—Ginling College officially opens with eight students and six teachers, supported by four Northern Baptist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Methodist, and Presbyterian missions.
1916 Rhenish missionaries are forced to leave Ondjiva, in southern Angola, under pressure from Portuguese authorities and Chief Mandume of the Kwanyama; four congregations exist with a confessing membership of eight hundred by then.
1917 The Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association (IFMA) is founded for strengthening Christian mission agencies by upholding standards of operation, ensuring integrity, and cooperative resourcing to spread the gospel.
1918 James L. Barton, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions head, asks missionaries who served in the Ottoman Empire for detailed reports of the Armenian Genocide horrors they witnessed.
1919 The Union Version of the Chinese Bible translation is published; Oswald Smith receives a vision from God to start a church in Toronto, which would love all the different peoples of the earth.
1920 Baptist Mid-Missions is formed.
1921 The International Missionary Council (IMC) is founded for creating a permanent structure to facilitate dialogue and cooperation across denominations’ missionary efforts; the Norwegian Mission Council is formed.
1923 Scottish missionaries begin work in British Togoland.
1924 Bible Churchman’s Missionary Society opens work in Upper Burma; Baptist Mid-Missions starts work in Venezuela.
1925 E. Stanley Jones, a Methodist missionary to India, writes The Christ of the Indian Road.
1926 Dawson Trotman, the Navigators founder, is converted through Bible verses he had memorized.
1927 The Near East Christian Council is established to facilitate cooperation and unity among evangelical churches and denominations throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The Russian Communist government destroys thousands of churches and kills Christians; the anti-Christian movement in China forces five thousand Protestant missionaries to leave.
1928 The Cuba Bible Institute (West Indies Mission) opens; the Jerusalem Conference of International Missionary Council is the second gathering of Protestant mission councils after the Edinburgh conference. Carl Becker sails for the Congo as a missionary doctor.
1929 The Wall Street crash causes worldwide economic depression. (Future)
1931 Clarence Jones starts HCJB radio station in Quito, Ecuador, as the first Christian missionary radio station; Baptist Mid-Missions enters Liberia. Daniels Ekarte, a Nigerian whom Mary Slessor influenced, begins the African Churches Mission in London, a church that served and welcomed both blacks and whites.
1932 Assemblies of God open mission work in Colombia; the Laymen’s Missionary Inquiry report is published.
1933 Gladys Aylward arrives in China, where she ministers for twenty years; she led a hundred children on foot to safety during the war with Japan. Dawson Trotman founds Navigators.
1934 William Cameron Townsend begins the Summer Institute of Linguistics academic and professional organization to study and develop minority languages; it works hand in hand with Wycliffe Bible Translators, which Townsend founded, too.
1935 Frank C. Laubach, American missionary to the Philippines, perfects the “Each One Teach One” literacy program, which has been used worldwide to teach 60 million people to read.
1936 With the outbreak of civil war in Spain, missionaries are forced to leave that country; Ken Pike begins work in Mexico.
1937 Widespread revival erupts among Protestant (SIM) churches in the south following missionaries expulsion from Ethiopia by Italian invaders; Child Evangelism Fellowship is organized.
1938 The West Indies Mission enters the Dominican Republic; the Church Missionary Society is forced out of Egypt. The Madras World Missionary Conference is conducted as the third world Protestant mission conference. Dr. Orpha Speicher oversees the construction of Reynolds Memorial Hospital in central India.
1939 Joy Ridderhof—a sick missionary—records gospel songs and a message and sends them into the Honduras mountains; it is the start of Gospel Recordings, which send evangelizing recordings into illiterate areas worldwide. World War II breaks out in Europe and quickly spreads.
1940 Marianna Slocum begins translation work among the Chol tribe in Mexico; she would proceed to complete the New Testament in three languages. Japanese military police arrest Salvation Army executive officers for espionage charges. Gladys Aylward leads one hundred children to safety.
1941 The Germans sink the steamship Zamzam, which is sailing from New York with 140 missionaries bound for various African mission fields; all the missionary passengers are saved.
1942 William Cameron Townsend founds Wycliffe Bible Translators; New Tribes Mission is founded with a vision to reach Bolivian tribal peoples.
1943 World Gospel Mission (the National Holiness Missionary Society) enters Honduras; five missionaries with New Tribes Mission are martyred. Japanese soldiers behead eleven American Baptist missionaries in the Philippines. When the Japanese invade China, they intern Eric Liddell in a Japanese prison camp, where he passed away two years later.
1944 Missionaries return to Suki, Papua New Guinea, after Japanese-military withdrawal.
1945 The Mission Aviation Fellowship is formed; the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) is founded. Denominational mission boards establish the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association.
1946 The initial InterVarsity missionary convention (now called “Urbana”) is conducted; United Bible Societies is formed.
1947 The Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society begins work among the Senufo people in the Côte d’Ivoire.
1948 The Southern Baptist Convention adopts a program for tripling the number of missionaries (achieved by 1964); Nate Saint arrives in Ecuador.
1950 Paul Orjala arrives in Haiti; he “fostered” numerous church plants, but never pastored a single one of them. Radio station 4VEH, owned by the East and West Indies Bible Mission, starts broadcasting from near Cap Haitien, Haiti. World Vision is founded.
1951 The World Evangelical Alliance is organized; Bill and Vonette Bright create Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of California, Los Angeles.
1952 Trans World Radio is formed.
1953 Walter Trobisch, who would publish I Loved a Girl in 1962, begins pioneer missionary work in northern Cameroon; Nazarenes enter Panama, and Helen Roseveare goes to the Congo.
1954 Argentina revival breaks out during Tommy Hicks’ crusade; Myron Bromley enters the Balim Valley.
1955 Donald McGavran publishes Bridges of God, calling missionaries to evangelize individuals within their existing family and community networks; Dutch missionary “Brother Andrew” takes the first of many Bible-smuggling trips into Communist Eastern Europe.
1956 U.S. missionaries Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Edward McCully, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian die at the hands of the Huaorani on the Curaray River in Ecuador.
1958 Rochunga Pudaite completes translating the Bible into the Hmar language (India) and is appointed the leader of the Indo-Burma Pioneer Mission; Paul Cho begins tent ministry in Korea.
1959 West Indies Mission (now World Team) founds Radio Lumiere in Haiti; Josephine Makil becomes the first African-American to join Wycliffe Bible Translators.
1960 Kenneth Strachan starts Evangelism-in-Depth in Central America; eighteen thousand people in Morocco respond to a Gospel Missionary Union newspaper advertisement, offering a free correspondence course about Christianity. Loren Cunningham establishes Youth with a Mission.
1962 Don Richardson goes to the Sawi tribe in Papua New Guinea; George Verwer forms Operation Mobilization in Mexico. Viggo Olsen arrives in East Pakistan.
1963 Ralph Winter and James Emery launch the Theological Education by Extension movement in Guatemala to provide theological and evangelistic training for local church members around the world.
1964 Congo rebels kill missionaries Paul Carlson and Irene Ferrel, along with brutalizing missionary doctor Helen Roseveare in separate incidents; Carlson is featured on the December 4, Time magazine cover. Hans von Staden, of the Dorothea Mission, proposes to Patrick Johnstone that he write the book now titled Operation World.
1965 Evangelist Juliet Ndzimandze is ordained in Swaziland as the first woman in Africa to be ordained by the Church of the Nazarene.
1966 Red Guards destroy churches in China; the Berlin Congress on evangelism is held. Missionaries are expelled from Burma. God’s Smuggler is published about Brother Andrew smuggling Bibles into Communist Eastern Europe. The Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar is founded. The Pacific Conference of Churches is organized.
1967 A million Christians are killed in the Biafra civil war in Nigeria.
1968 Wu Yung and others form the Chinese Missions Overseas for sending out missionaries from Taiwan to perform cross-cultural ministry; the Asia-South Pacific Congress on Evangelism is conducted in Singapore.
1969 OMF International begins “industrial evangelism” for Taiwan’s factory workers.
1970 Frankfurt Declaration on Mission is made; Operation Mobilization launches the Logos ship. The All-Philippine Congress on Evangelization is held.
1971 Gustavo Gutierrez publishes A Theology of Liberation, which offers a biblical perspective on poverty and seeks to prioritize “love your neighbor” as the central command of the Christian life.
1973 The first All-Asia Mission Consultation convenes in Seoul, Korea, with twenty-five delegates hailing from fourteen countries; the founding of the American Society of Missiology, a professional society dedicated to missional studies, takes place.
1974 Missiologist Ralph Winter discusses “hidden” or unreached peoples during the Lausanne Congress of World Evangelism; the Lausanne Covenant is written and ratified. Guatemala Las Verapaces becomes the first “regular” Nazarene district on a mission field. The Japan Congress on Evangelism is conducted.
1975 Missionaries Armand Doll and Hugh Friberg are imprisoned in Mozambique after the Communist takeover of the government; the East-West Center for Mission Research and Development is established in Seoul.
1976 The United States Center for World Mission is founded in Pasadena, California; 1,600 Chinese assemble in Hong Kong for the Chinese Congress on World Evangelization. The Islamic World Congress calls for the withdrawal of Christian missionaries.
1977 The Evangelical Fellowship of India sponsors the All-India Congress on Mission and Evangelization; Anglican Bishop Festo Kivengere from Uganda escapes into Rwanda.
1978 The LCWE Consultation on Gospel and Culture is held in Willowbank, Bermuda; the North America Conference for Muslim Evangelization is conducted.
1979 Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade for Christ, commissions the production of the Jesus Film; Pioneers is founded as the first missionary agency with a sole focus on the “unreached people groups” paradigm.
1980 The Philippine Congress on Discipling a Whole Nation is conducted; the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism Conference is held in Pattaya.
1981 Colombian terrorists kidnap and kill Wycliffe Bible translator Chet Bitterman; Project Pearl smuggles one million Bibles in a single night to thousands of waiting believers in China.
1982 Third World Theologians Consultation is in Seoul; a story titled “The New Missionary” makes the December 27, Time magazine cover. The Andes Evangelical Mission (formerly the Bolivian Indian Mission) merges into Serving in Mission (formerly the Sudan Interior Mission).
1984 The founding of the STEM (Short-Term Evangelical Mission teams) ministry, by Roger Petersen, signals the rising importance of short-term missions groups; the first International Conference on Missionary Kids (MKs) is held in Manila, Philippines.
1986 The entire Bible is published in the Haitian Creole language.
1987 The second International Conference on Missionary Kids is conducted in Quito, Ecuador; the COMIBAN conference in São Paulo, Brazil, sparks numerous initiatives to access the unreached.
1988 Wycliffe Bible Translators complete their 300th New Testament translation (in the Cotabato Manobo language of the Philippines).
1989 Seth Barnes founds the Adventures in Missions (AIM) short-term mission agency; Lausanne II, a world missions conference, is held. The concept of the 10/40 Window emerges. New Tribes Mission releases the Ee-Taow video, which shows a tribe in Papua New Guinea responding to the gospel for the first time.
1991 The Marxist government of Ethiopia is overthrown, and missionaries are able to return to that country; Regions Beyond Missionary Union is dissolved.
1994 Islamic militants martyr Liibaan Ibraahim Hassan, a convert to Christianity in Somalia, in the capital city of Mogadishu.
1995 The Joshua Project publishes the initial list of the world’s least-reached peoples.
1999 Trans World Radio goes on the air from Grigoriopol (Moldova), using a 1-million-watt AM transmitter; Hindu extremists burn alive veteran Australian missionary Graham Stewart Stains and his two sons as they are sleeping in a car in eastern India.
2000 Thirty-six Chinese missionaries depart to a neighboring Buddhist nation, as part of the Back to Jerusalem movement—a mission of the Chinese house churches for taking the gospel to the unreached in the nations that lie between China and Jerusalem; Asia College of Ministry is formed to provide effective, on-site theological training in Nepal, Myanmar, and Malaysia.
2001 International terrorism comes to the fore with the 9/11 United States tragedy; the Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI) is born, as a network of African churches, to fulfill the Great Commission in Africa and around the world.
2002 The Philippine army rescues Gracia Burnham, a missionary with New Tribes Mission, after a militant Muslim group held her captive for more than a year; her husband, Martin, is tragically killed in the ensuing gunfight.
2003 Egyptian Coptic priest Father Zakaria Botros begins his internet and television ministry for Muslims around the world.
2005 Nigeria launches Vision 5015 for mobilizing fifty thousand Nigerian missionaries to send to thirty-four countries between Nigeria and Israel by the year 2020; African Bible Commentary, that African scholars in Africa wrote, is published.
2007 The Kriol Bible is completed, which is the first Bible translation into an Australian indigenous language.
2008 Violence breaks out against Christians in the Indian state of Orissa; over fifty thousand Christians are displaced or forced to move into relief camps, and more than four thousand homes are destroyed.
2009 For the first time in history, over 50 percent of the global population lives in urban cities, which holds huge implications for global-mission emphasis.
2010 Latin America is home to 91 million evangelicals (16.8 percent of the population) due to the steady, faithful proclamation and witness of laymen and pastors planting small churches; four thousand Christian leaders from 198 countries gather together for the Third Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa.
2013 A Chinese evangelist from a rural area in Shandong province composes a thank-you letter to Christians who provided Bibles for this area: one for each fellowship leader and one for each evangelist; these fellowships start tithing their produce and utilizing the proceeds to furnish Bibles for other Chinese believers without Scripture. (Shandong)
2015 The British Broadcasting Corporation focuses on Christian businessman Wang Ruoxiong in China for its report, “Firm faith: The company bosses who pray”; the Islamic State beheads twenty-one Christian Egyptians in Libya.
2016 SAT-7, a Christian satellite station broadcasting in the Middle East and North Africa, celebrates twenty years of broadcasting; its mission is offering an opportunity for Christians across the Middle East and North Africa to witness to Jesus Christ through television services.
2017 The Islamic State kills two Chinese missionaries in their twenties in Pakistan.
2018 Seventy-five movements of Muslims to Jesus have been counted since the year 2000; A Wind in the House of Islam is a book that documents a number of them. Billy Graham, one of the world’s most famous evangelists, dies at the age of ninety-nine.