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WHAT'S NEW?

COMING SOON!

TAKE COURAGE (a series of 4 books!)

- FINDING COURAGE IN GOD FOR LIFE

by Michelle J. Simpson

Full of stories and anecdotes, along with biblical truth, this book will be a great source of help and encouragement to many.

 

THE SECOND ACT

- THE REMARKABLE STORY OF MISSIONARY JAMES O. FRASER'S SUCCESSOR

by Stuart Simpson

This is the story about Stuart's close association with one of the most successful missionaries in the modern era, along with 20 key principles and lessons we can learn from Fraser's life and ministry, still applicable today.

FINDING GOD IN CHINESE CHARACTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 by Stuart M. Simpson

A unique pack of 25 Chinese characters with bi-lingual explanatory guide.

A great tool for anyone with Chinese friends and in ministry to Chinese!

 

JOHN PATON

Pioneer Missionary to the South Pacific Islands

The eldest of 11 children, John Paton gave his life to God at a young age and no doubt influenced by his father's prayers of intercession for the lost, he soon decided to go overseas as a missionary.

Moving from Dumfries to Glasgow (a 40 mile walk to Kilmarnock, followed by a train to Glasgow), Paton undertook theological and medical studies. For ten years he also worked as a city missionary in a very challenging and degraded area of Glasgow.

In 1858, two weeks after his wedding, John and Mary Paton left for the island of Tanna, in the southern part of the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu). The people they wanted to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ were allegedly cannibals. The missionary couple were surrounded by "painted savages who were enveloped in the superstitions and cruelties of heathenism at its worst. The men and children went about in a state of nudity while the women wore abbreviated grass or leaf aprons."

Pressing On despite early Setbacks
Tragedy struck almost immediately with the death of Mary, his wife, from tropical fever. This was soon followed by the death of their newborn son aged only 36 days. Alone among the savage people, Paton passed through some of the darkest days of his life, but his missionary zeal was unabated. In addition, Paton had to contend with a number of terrible cannibal practices, including the strangling of widows. It was believed that when a man died his wife should be killed immediately, so her spirit might goher husbandto the other world. A number of times the natives attempted to take Paton's life, but each time the Lord protected him.

After more than three years on Tanna island, the persecutions against him and another missionary couple became so cruel and intense, that it was impossible to continue their work. After seeing the church building burned down by the natives, a ship arrived just in time to rescue them and take them to another part of the island.

From there Paton visited Australia and later England and Scotland, to share about the work and recruit new missionaries. During this time he successfully raised a large amount of money to build a mission steamship to assist the work of evangelising the islands. While in Scotland, Paton married again and two years later, with his new wife Maggie, Paton returned to the New Hebrides, settling on Aniwa, the nearest island to Tanna.

While they built a house for themselves, they lived in a small native hut. Two houses for orphan children were also built, followed later by a church building and a printing house.

The natives in Aniwa were very similar to those on Tanna - "the same superstitions, the same cannibalistic cruelties and depravities, the same barbaric mentality, the same lack of altruistic or humanitarian impulses were in evidence."

Despite all the challenges, they continued reaching out to the natives and six of their ten children were born on the island (four later died in early childhood). One of their sons later followed his parent's example as a missionary in the New Hebrides.

Paton learned the language and devised a written script, while his wife taught the women to sew, sing and read. They both trained teachers and the scriptures were translated, printed and expounded. The sick and dying received medication and were ministered to. In time the natives received the gospel and churches were built with regular worship services including the celebration of the Lord's Supper. Native teachers were sent out to preach the gospel to all the other villages.

Receiving a Lasting Reward
After many years of patient ministry, having been deprived of so much they would have enjoyed at home, and having been kept safe from life-threatening dangers and diseases, John and Maggie Paton received the lasting reward of seeing the entire island of Aniwa receiving Christ as Lord and Saviour. In 1899, his Aniwa New Testament was printed and there wre missionaries on 25 of the 30 New Hebridean islands.

Encouraged by the success of his previous trips to Australia and Great Britain, Paton made other extensive tours to raise awareness of his mission work, including to the United States and Great Britain. During his last visit to these countries, aged 75, he spoke on average once every day. He died in Australia in 1907 aged 83, two years after the death of Maggie at the age of 64.

Further Reading
John G Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides, by John G Paton (Banner of Truth, 1994)