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  • Rev. James Turner Barclay, MD, PhD (1807 - 1874)
    Rev. James Turner Barclay, MD, PhD First Missionary of the American Christian Missionary Society & Missionary to Jerusalem. Find A Grave Memorial ID # 39450960 James Turner Barclay, Restorati...
  • Mary Briscoe Baldwin (1811 - 1877)
    Mary Briscoe Baldwin Virtual Belle Grove, Mary Briscoe Baldwin Find A Grave Memorial ID # 53478196 Mary Briscoe Baldwin's Wikipedia Page The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, The Epis...
  • Robert Hay Taliaferro (1824 - 1875)
    Robert Hay Taliaferro, Baptist minister and chaplain, was born to Nicholas Hay Battaile Taliaferro and Elizabeth Johnson Tutt in Winchester, Kentucky, on October 19, 1824. After his parents died he was...
  • Rev. Pleasant Tackett (1803 - 1886)
    Pleasant Tackett (Tackitt), pioneer minister, was born on April 22, 1803, near Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Lewis and Elizabeth (Bashum) Tackett. He later went to Arkansas, where in 1826 he served ...
  • Francis Asbury "Frank" Wilson (1790 - 1867)
    Francis (Frank) A. Wilson, an early Methodist circuit rider in Texas, was born in Augusta County, Virginia (now West Virginia), on August 1, 1790, to Robert Wilson and Agnes (Nancy) Oliver. He had litt...

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The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem (nom. missio), meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; In the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach in his name. The Greek word used in the Greek New Testament for “missionary” is the noun ἁπόστολος – Apostle from the verb ἁποστέλλω - ‘apo-stello’ to send-out.

The Hebrew word is ‘shali’ach’, an emissary; the early Christian apostolate comes from the Jewish pattern of sending messengers in pairs, not singly. John 20:21 ("As my father has sent me, so I send you") and the rabbinic rule in Ber. 5:5, "A person's messenger is as himself" bears similarity.

The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed, movement or philosophy as in "Alexander the Great was an Apostle of Hellenism".

  • Nestorian communities evangelized much of North Africa.
  • Cistercians evangelized much of Northern Europe, as well as developing most of European agriculture's classic techniques.
  • Portuguese trade with Asia was profitable and as Jesuits came to India around 1540, the colonial government in Goa supported the mission with incentives for baptized Christians. * Later, Jesuits were sent to China and further countries in Asia.
  • In North America, missionaries to the native Americans included Jonathan Edwards, the well known preacher of the Great Awakening
  • In Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Catholic missionaries selected and learned among the languages of the Amerindians and devised writing systems for them. Then they preached to them in those languages (Quechua, Guarani, Nahuatl) instead of Spanish, to keep Indians away from "sinful" whites.
  • From 1732 onwards the Moravian Church began sending out missionaries.
  • Around 1780, an indigent Baptist cobbler named William Carey began reading about James Cook's Polynesian journeys. His interest grew to a furious sort of "backwards homesickness", inspiring him to obtain Baptist orders, and eventually write his famous 1792 pamphlet, "An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of Heathen." Far from a dry book of theology, Carey's work used the best available geographic and ethnographic data to map and count the number of people who had never heard the Gospel. It formed a movement that has grown with increasing speed from his day to the present.

Famous American Missionaries

  • Geronimo Boscana
  • Anton Docher
  • Antonio de Olivares
  • John Stewart (missionary)
  • John Wesley

Famous French Canadian Missionaries