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Christian Missionaries

Christian Missionaries

The 19th Century saw the flowering of Protestant Christian Missions. Protestant missionary societies were formed in England (1799 & 1804); America (1810 & 1814); Switzerland (1815); Denmark (1821); France (1822); Germany (1824); Sweden (1835); and Norway (1842). The United States sent as many missionaries as the rest combined. Women missionaries were not only sent for the first time, but outnumbered men by the end of the century.

These missionaries believed in the Great Commission: to preach the Gospel to the entire world. They also founded thousands of schools and hospitals around the planet. Perhaps the greatest success of Protestant missionaries occurred in New Zealand where 99 percent of the native Maoris were converted to the Christian Faith by 1854.

All over the world Christian missionaries achieved spectacular success, despite the disease and violence they faced. Missionaries were held in high-esteem by the vast majority of people around the world. Biographies of them were big sellers in the 19th Century.

After all, they were giving up their very lives for no personal gain. Christian missionaries only wanted to serve the Lord, help people, and save souls. By the dawn of the 20th Century, it looked like the whole world would one day be of the Christian Faith.



William Carey: Father of Modern Missions

William Carey (1761-1834) is known as the 'Father of Modern Missions.' He was born into a poor Anglican family in rural England. His dream was to become a professional gardener, but God had other plans. A skin disease prevented Carey from working out in the sun. At age 14 he became an apprentice shoemaker where he worked alongside a devout Christian, John Warr, who gradually won him over.

William Carey only had an elementary education but proved to be quite intelligent. He taught himself five languages as a youth and eventually came to know dozens more. Carey studied the Bible in Greek and Latin, as well as history, science, and the classics. He became a Baptist preacher, and God put it on his heart to form a missionary society to spread the Gospel around the world. In 1792, he published the groundbreaking missionary manifesto An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens.

Carey helped found the Baptist Missionary Society and answered his Call to go to India in 1793, where he would remain without any furlough until his death 41 years later. Carey evangelized, planted churches, and translated the Bible into six languages; he also built schools and hospitals.

He also founded the first Christian college in Asia; wrote a Bengali-English dictionary; started the first printing press, paper mill, and steam engine in India; and founded the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India.

Samuel John Mills: Father of American Foreign Missions

The founding father of American foreign missions was Samuel John Mills (1783-1818), the son of a Connecticut Congregational pastor. Mills had a conversion experience at 18, submitted his will to God, and fulfilled his purpose with intense energy.

Samuel John Mills's vision was to "communicate the Gospel of salvation to the poor heathen." He and four friends at Williams College gathered to pray for revival when a sudden thunderstorm drove them to seek shelter under a haystack. The "Haystack Group" would become the Society of Brethren, dedicated to take the Gospel to India. Decades later this group morphed into the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, which recruited thousands of young missionaries.

Meanwhile Mills prompted the Assembly of Congregational Churches to form the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and prompted the formation of the American Bible Society. Mills himself preached the Gospel to people living on the American Frontier; organized missions to Native Americans; worked to help the poor in urban areas such as New York City; and campaigned against slavery.



Lott Carey; First Black Missionary to Africa

Lott Carey (1780-1828) was the first black missionary to Africa. He and his family sailed to Liberia in 1821, where Carey would found and pastor a church that is still there today, Providence Baptist Church of Liberia. Carey also established schools and eventually became the governor of Liberia.

He had been born a slave on a Virginia plantation to an intact family of which he was the only child. While his parents worked, his grandmother reared him and taught him the history of his people. She impressed on him that those in Africa sorely needed to hear about Jesus.

As a young man, Carey taught himself to read so he could read the Bible. He was educated by a local white Baptist, William Crane, and went to work at the Shockoe Tobacco Warehouse. By the age of 33 Carey, now a young widower, had saved enough of his wages to purchase freedom for himself and his two children for $850.

In 1815, Carey and William Crane organized the Richmond African Missionary Society. Lott Carey said: "I long to preach to the poor Africans the way of life and salvation. . . . among savage men and savage wild beasts on the coast of Africa."



Adoniram Judson: Missionary to Burma

Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) was a brilliant, handsome young man. At age nineteen, he graduated as valedictorian of the Baptist college, Brown University. It is at the insistence of Adoniram Judson that the Baptist Foreign Mission Society was formed, which would go on to send missionaries to 76 countries. The first to go were Judson and his wife Ann.

Judson went to Burma, where he was to work for nearly forty years. He studied the Burmese language, preached in Burmese, translated the entire Bible into that language, and compiled a Burmese-English dictionary. He eventually founded 63 churches and won 7,000 converts in Burma.

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Judson endured much hardship during his mission. He was put in prison because he had white skin. There he was manacled, beaten, and tortured for 17 months. Judson wrote about the overwhelming stench of the prison from dead and decaying rats, human excrement, blood, sweat, rotten food, vomit, and disease. His feet were raw from long forced-marches in the blistering sun. Judson was endlessly bitten by mosquitoes. He never forgot the sounds of the prison: the bamboo instruments of torture; the frenzied screams of the tortured; the sneering laughter of the torturers.

He suffered from malaria; his wife and two infant daughters died in Burma. Still, he carried on with his mission until his death in 1850. Today the two million Christians in Myanmar (formerly Burma) are the result of the ministry of Adoniram Judson.



Allen Gardiner: Missionary to the Zulus

Allen Gardiner (1794-1851) joined the British Royal Navy as a youngster. As he traveled the world, his Godly mother continually prayed that he would come to the Lord. After his mother died, Gardiner went to church while at port in Tahiti. His thoughts turned to the many people he had met during his naval adventures who had never heard about Jesus Christ. He decided to dedicate his life to taking the Christian message to those who had not yet heard it.

Gardiner established the first mission station to the Zulu tribe of Africa, and converted the Zulu king to the Christian faith. Gardiner next turned his attention to the Indians of South America. He and his family spent fifteen years in Chile and Argentina after founding the Patagonian Missionary Society.

In 1850, Gardiner and six of his friends landed on the island of Tierra Del Fuego—"The Land of Fire." The Gospel was not well received there, and natives drove them back to their small boat on the beach, where they survived for ten months before they starved to death. There are tens of thousands of Christians in Chile and Argentina as a direct result of the life of Allen Gardiner.



Christian Missionaries to Africa

Africa received more attention than any other place from Christian missionaries. As English Evangelical leader Thomas Buxton said: "It is the Bible and the plough that must regenerate Africa."

Christian missionaries were appalled at the rampant practice of infanticide and other heinous habits of the African people. Africans were commonly pitied as "a degraded, heathen people." A Reverend Gollmer wrote: "I look upon it as God's intervention for the good of Africa." Malaria killed off many early missionaries, as did the natives themselves.

For the most part, the missionaries were well received. Many Africans wanted a new and less primitive religion, especially one not connected to the murderous cults of tyrannical tribal chiefs.

Some African chiefs embraced the Christian Faith. King Mutesa of Baganda said this was because, unlike Muslims, "I have not heard a white man tell a lie." Mutesa may have had the largest number of wives in world history and executed people upon a whim every single day. Christians set out to reform him, but he died and his son, Mwanga, took over. Mwanga murdered the Anglican bishop, James Hannington, and demanded that all Christian boys, sons of missionaries, let him sodomize them. They refused and he killed 32 of them—including three that he roasted alive.

In Madagascar, native converts to the Christian Faith were violently persecuted by Queen Ranavalona from 1835 to 1860. Even though hundreds were thrown off cliffs, scalded to death or burned alive, the numbers of converts increased 400 percent during these years, reaching 40 percent of the native population.

There are two million evangelical Christians in the African country of Zambia today. This is largely the result of the work done over thirty year's time by the missionary couple Francois and Christina Coillard. Francois had asked the Paris Evangelical Society to send him somewhere no one had been sent before with the Gospel. The Zambezi River was his assignment.

Mally Moe was a Norwegian immigrant to the United States. She went to Swaziland, Africa, as a missionary in 1892. Mally Moe remained in Africa, serving the Lord and winning Africans to Christ, until her death in 1953—over sixty years.



Titus Coan: Missionary to Hawaii

Titus Coan (1801-1881) was a convert from a Charles Grandison Finney revival who became a missionary to Hawaii for 46 years. He learned the native languages and preached the Gospel in them to the natives.

Coan walked around the island, preaching in several villages a day. Crowds gathered and many Hawaiians wept as they came to understand that Christ had paid the penalty for their sins on the cross.

He even converted the high priest of the Puna volcano and his sister, the high priestess. The high priest was a drunken idolater, adulterer, and murderer before his conversion. He became a soldier for Christ the rest of his life who brought many islanders to the Lord.

Coan settled in Hilo and islanders moved there by the thousands just to be near him. By 1853, fifty-six thousand Hawaiians had become Christians—80 percent of the entire population.



Hudson Taylor: Missionary to China

Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was the pioneer missionary to inland China, where spent 51 years of his life. Taylor was from Yorkshire, England. He experienced a dramatic spiritual conversion at age 17, and felt his life's purpose was to evangelize in China. Taylor went there in 1854, and soon married another missionary. In 1865, he founded the interdenominational Overseas Missionary Fellowship (China Inland Mission).

Hudson Taylor's father James owned a pharmacy. While his wife was pregnant with Hudson, James prayed, "dear God, if you should give us a son, grant that he may work for you in China."

There were 350 Christians in China when Hudson Taylor arrived there to spread the Good News. By 1934, there were 500,000 Chinese Christians; by 1953 they numbered two million; today there are hundreds of millions of Christians in China.



John Clough: Missionary to India

John Clough (1838-1910) was born in western New York and reared in Iowa. Ordained as a Baptist minister in 1864, he and his wife sailed to southern India the following year as missionaries.

Clough concentrated on the outcastes of society. For this, he endured ridicule and even attempts on his life by those of the higher castes. Within five years, the church he built had 1500 members.

1876-1878 were years of horrible famine in India, compounded by an epidemic of cholera. John Clough worked nearly around the clock to obtain food, supplies, and health care for all of the people who lived in his vicinity. He got a government contract to build four miles of the Buckingham Canal so that he could employ the starving people at good wages.

After the famine and epidemic were over and things returned to normal, Clough held a three week revival during which 9,000 people were baptized. By the end of 1878, his church had 12,000 congregants.

John Clough would go on to work for three more decades among the outcastes of India. By the time he died, his congregation numbered 60,000 souls.



Lottie Moon: Baptist Missionary to China

Lottie Moon (1840-1912) was from an aristocratic Virginia plantation family of dedicated Baptists. As an adult, this giant of a woman stood only four feet three inches tall.

Moon was the most educated woman in the American South. She spoke six languages fluently and earned a master's degree in education. Her sister was the first female doctor in Virginia.

She grew up in the church but was a skeptic as a young woman; she didn't think she needed faith since she was an intellectual. In 1858, Moon went to the Charlottesville Baptist Church to hear the great evangelist, Dr. John Broadus. She later wrote that she attended only to scoff at the message but instead found herself moved to commit her life to Christ.

Lottie Moon became the first unmarried female missionary to China in 1873. She opened a school for girls in Shantung Province. The focus of her ministry eventually became to evangelize the poorest of the Chinese people. Lottie worked among the poor peasants of China for 39 years, tirelessly advocating for their needs. She planted over thirty Chinese churches.

In 1888, Moon persuaded the Southern Baptist Convention to take an annual missions offering for China on Christmas Eve. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goes on today, with more than $1.5B being collected for the poor thus far.

In 1912, despite her best efforts, famine caused thousands of people to starve to death in Shantung Province. Lottie Moon gave away all of her own food the last few months of her life. She only weighted fifty pounds when she died of starvation—she refused to eat while others went hungry.

Samuel Billings Capen

Samuel Billings Capen was born poor in Boston. He eventually made a fortune and turned his sights toward missionary work. Capen sought to Christianize and educate primitive men and plant Christian homes in areas of the world where civilization was a mere rumor.

He preached that the Christian Faith and good business practices were complementary. He believed that commerce without Christ is a curse. Capen spoke of "that kind of conscientiousness which performs the smallest details well; that faithfulness which sweeps under the mat and into the corners; that which lays a poor carpet ten miles out of Boston as thoroughly as a better carpet on Beacon Street."

Samuel Billings Capen noted that "When our missionaries arrived in Hawaii in 1820, the people were only one stage above brute."

He also wrote: "When a heathen man becomes a child of God and is changed within he wants the Christian dress and the Christian home and the Christian plow and all the other things which distinguish Christian civilization from the narrow and degrading life of the heathen."





American Foreign Missions

The American missionary movement of the 19th Century would provide the pattern by which developed foreign aid, the Peace Corps, and numerous Non Governmental Organizations in the 20th Century. The main difference is that the postmodern version—just like the welfare state—is missing the Gospel.

American missionaries took the Gospel to the farthest corners of the globe. Not only that, they also established schools with millions of donations from American citizens, as well as colleges, hospitals, and churches. In the 19th Century, Americans gave well over forty million dollars to foreign missions—back when money was money.

After the incredible advances in American medical technology and medicine, more and more Christian hospitals were built by medical missionaries in parts of the world in which hospitals were unheard of. More and more Christian doctors and nurses volunteered as missionaries as the 19th Century wore on.

Countless heroic deeds were done by these brave and compassionate Christian people. Methodist missionary Mary Reed contracted leprosy in India in 1884, but lived to a ripe old age running a leper asylum at the foothills of the Himalayas. Doctor Gordon Seagrave, a Baptist missionary, gave forty years of his life to the hospital he built in the jungle, earning the name "The Burma Surgeon."

Methodist minister John Franklin Goucher founded 120 vernacular primary schools in India; established the first Christian school in Korea; and founded missionary colleges in Japan and China—spending his entire fortune on these projects.

Cyrus Hamlin, son of a Maine farmer, opened a school near Constantinople in 1840, which he then led for twenty years. Hamlin brought the Gospel to the people there but also taught them how to use the spade and plow. His mission was to teach "the whole organization of civilized life" so that the people would benefit by "transition from heathenism to civilization; from utter and hopeless indolence to industry; from a beastly life to a Christian manhood."

Cyrus Hamlin found a financial backer in the wealthy New York merchant Christopher Robert. They opened Robert College in 1863, which would go on to train a multitude of Middle Eastern leaders, including one Prime Minister and a Nobel Prize winner. It is still there today, the oldest American school in the world outside the United States.

By the start of the 20th Century, the single largest supporter of American missionary work was the devout Baptist John D. Rockefeller. He never announced his gifts publicly, but it is now known that his donations to Baptist (and Congregational) missions were in the millions of dollars.

There was a sense that American missionaries had a responsibility to raise up the benighted and ignorant dark millions on the planet by bringing them into the bright circle of Christian truth. The American Christian republic was already recognized as the greatest success among all human endeavors in the history of the world. Should what we have learned not be shared? Yes! That was our mission. Why was America an astounding success? Undoubtedly because it was Protestant. Those who fail in the world do so because of moral unworthiness.



The Boxer Rebellion

In 1898, the young emperor of China, Huang-hsu, was overthrown by a secret society opposed to his Christian moral and social reforms. The society called itself "Righteous and Harmonious Fists." Westerners called it the "Boxers."

The Boxers were pagans who began to perform black magic and human sacrifice. They issued an edict that all foreigners in China should be killed, including women and children, to exterminate Christianity. Officials who refused to carry out these orders had their bodies cut in half. 188 missionaries and their children were killed during the Boxer Rebellion.



Catholic Missionaries

Catholic missionaries were virtually non-existent in the early 19th Century. In 1815, only 270 operated in the whole world. The French changed that, under the guidance of Charles Lavigerie. His instructions to Catholic missionaries were:

"Love the poor pagans. Be kind to them. Heal their wounds. They will give you their affection first; then their confidence; then their souls."

Catholicism proved to be more attractive to Africans in the 19th Century, since Protestants were against images and to an illiterate people images are very important. The Catholics set up scores of orphanages in Africa.


In 1885, The Evangelical minister Josiah Strong wrote: "It seems to me that God, with infinite wisdom and skill, is here training the Anglo-Saxon race for an hour sure to come in the world's future. In 1700 this race numbered less than 6,000,000 souls. In 1800, Anglo-Saxons (I use the term somewhat broadly to include all English-speaking peoples) had increased to about 20,500,000, and now, they number more than 120,000,000. This race of unequalled energy, the might of wealth behind it—the representative, let us hope, of the largest liberty, the purest Christianity, the highest civilization, will impress its institutions upon mankind."

The discovery of medicine to combat the horrible diseases common in the tropics had by this time made it possible for missionaries to be present in strength in the harshest climates. The New Testament had been translated into all the main languages of the world. 45,000 missionaries were at work. So it was believed that the Anglo-Saxons would succeed in bringing the vision of Christ—a universal faith—to all mankind. This did not mean the whole world would convert, but that the whole world would receive the Good News—the rest was up to the Holy Spirit.

In 1910, the first World Missionary Conference was held in Edinburgh. It was boycotted by Catholics and the Greek Orthodox Church—but everyone else was there. This marks the apex of Protestant missionary work and the beginning of the Protestant ecumenical movement.


My primary sources for this article include The One Year Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten; and A History of Christianity by Paul Johnson.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 21, 2012:

Marcy Goodfleisch— Welcome to the HubPages Community! I look forward to reading many of your articles.

I have another Hub that might interest you, about the Mormon Religion:

Thank you for your kind comments and the voted up.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on January 20, 2012:

Very interesting hub - I voted it up. Well researched and well written, with some great historic photos. With a current high-profile presidential candidate drawing interest to the Mormon faith, I'd be curious whether your research discovered details on their missionary traditions?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 13, 2011:

trecords0— Thank you for the compliment. I do not see Christianity as a stumbling block but rather as a message of love, hope, faith, beauty, and truth. I appreciate you taking the time to read my Hub, and for leaving your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 13, 2011:

Spirit Whisperer— You are welcome, friend. I am well pleased to see that we are in agreeance about that. I appreciate you coming back by with your warm words.

trecords0 from DeLand, Florida on October 09, 2011:

It is a shame that missionaries destroyed such beautiful natural wonders of the world found in the "primitive" cultures. There are so many other creative ways to "help" besides being a religious zealot. As a former missionary for the methodist church, I view christianity as a stumbling block in the creation of a truly advanced society. Lower case is intentional. Another great hub.

Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on October 09, 2011:

Thank you James for getting back to me and I see what you mean. I also agree that choosing to serve others is one of the greatest human attributes. Keep up the good work.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 08, 2011:

Spirit Whisperer— Thank you so much for commenting on this particular article.

You asked a profound question: "Why do you think it is so difficult for people to simply accept that we all hold differing beliefs and that it is ok to do so?"

This to me is all about the postmodern trend of thought known as "Moral Relativism."

I spent time in a hippie commune as a young man and the guru one night told us that "whatever you believe is true IS TRUE FOR YOU."

I accepted this drug-hazed proposition for a number of years. It meant that if I believed in Jesus then Jesus was real for me; and if I belived in Atheism that was also true for me. My mind was so powerful that if I truly believed I could fly, well I could. Of course, as I matured I began to see the absurdity of this idea. While I believe people have the right to believe any preposterous idea, that does not mean that any idea is right.

I do not believe that most missionaries chose such lives of hardship out of ego. I think they choose to serve others. Which is one of the greatest of human attributes.

Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on October 07, 2011:

You have written another master piece, meticulously researched and clearly presented. I learned quite alot from from this hub as it is not a subject I have read much about. I am however intrigued by the passion of these people to devote their lives to spreading what they believe in. Why do you think it is so difficult for people to simply accept that we all hold differing beliefs and that it is ok to do so?

I do not doubt that their motives were pure but deep down I feel that belief is the cornerstone of the ego and power is achieved by collecting enough support for a particular belief. There is a dynamic that we are subconsciously in tune with and the ego knows exactly how to survive by utilising it. I am interested in your views on this.

You are a very gracious man and once again I see evidence of that in the way you thoughtfully reply to each comment. You are an example to us all and exemplify what I have been writing about lately ...agreement and love to undo the ego.

Thank you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 06, 2011:

Sally's Trove— You are quite welcome. What a pleasure to "see" you here. Thank you for coming by to read my work.

The story of Lottie Moon is awesome! It must be my favorite among these. I sincerely appreciate your gracious accolades. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 05, 2011:

stessily— It's alright, my dear. My computer wasn't broken; I was traveling to a distant land for a wedding.

You are welcome. You guessed the source of my words perfectly. The Author of my Salvation. :D


Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on October 04, 2011:

A stunning Hub. I would never have known anything about the missionary movement of the 19th century if it weren't for your words. I am especially moved about the story of Lottie Moon. Thank you for this awesome history.

stessily on October 04, 2011:

James: I am bereft that you were without computer access this past weekend. :-( Welcome back! May computer inaccessibility never recur, unless such is your wish!

Thank you for the compliments, especially "wonderfully made," which reminds me of Psalm 139: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Thank you for that reminder!

Best wishes always, Stessily

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 03, 2011:

elucidator— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 03, 2011:

ambassadornchains— Thank you for your gracious laudations. I sincerely appreciate your wonderful remarks.

I look forward to reading some of your writings very soon. Welcome to the HubPages Community! :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 03, 2011:

stessily— I apologize for not responding sooner. I had no computer access this weekend.

Father Damien was well worthy of inclusion in this Hub. As I said earlier, he was on my "list" but somehow got left off by accident. I appreciate you bringing him up.

As you say, the benefits of these missionaries were not by any means restricted to their lifetimes. Quite the contrary, as you know, their actions still reverberate around the world today.

Thank you for coming back by to offer your affirmation and encouragement. I am always joyful to read your warm words to me. You are wonderfully made! God Bless.

James :-)

elucidator from SoCal on October 01, 2011:

Very interesting and extremely well done. Looking forward to following your hubs. Thanks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 30, 2011:

preacherdon— I am honored to receive you as my guest, pastor. Thank you for reading my article and for your gracious comments. You are absolutely right about my intent in writing this article. I find these people to be wonderful examples of Christian Love. I appreciate your compliments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 30, 2011:

rmichaelf— I owe you an apology for handling you roughly. I am sorry that I was not kinder and gentler with you.

But I made no assumptions about your grandparents. You said they were missionaries and then proceeded to ask a rhetorical question:

"Why is it that in published articles like this, it is never mentioned the devastating effect that missionaries tend to have on indiginous cultures."

From this, I thought asking if your grandparents devastated indigenous people was a fair question.

I never had it in mind to "destroy your reputation" through belittlement and slander.

You wrote to me that, among other things:

"to continue to paint this romantic idealized history . . . is doing a disservice to the education of our children."

I was a bit taken aback by this as I surely mean no disservice to children. I love children. I have four of them.

This made me want to go look at your profile to see who you are and what your worldview is. I admit I pulled a few lines from your profile page. But I do not see where I lied about you. Please clarify what lie I told about you. I do not believe I said anything that I know to be untrue. I can assure you that your assumptions about me—that my intentions are to "deceive" others—is far from the truth.

You wrote to me that "Your article is . . . heavily slanted . . . somewhat shallow and propagandistic."

Is this meant as a compliment?

I did not disrespect your grandparents. I asked you a question. If I had to guess, I would guess the answer is "No." But I do not know the answer—that's why I asked you.

I agree with Dave Price that a book about the effects of missionaries upon indigenous people would be worth writing by somebody. I didn't check, but it has probably already been written.

I never wanted to "vilify" or "misrepresent" you in any way. Are the things I cut and pasted NOT on your profile page?

I can tell you are hurt and offended by me. Please accept my humble apologies.

ambassadornchains on September 29, 2011:

This is a very interesting hub. I don't hear much about the history of missionaries such as these. I also love how well-researched this is. Great work! This is very inspiring! =)

stessily on September 29, 2011:

James: This hub stands on its own as a beautiful testament to the best intentions and greatest achievements of those who are guided by Jesus' kind, all-encompassing words in Matthew 22: 37-39:

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like unto it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'

I know that you know that my reference to Father Damien was not a suggestion or a criticism of this hub. He was a Catholic priest. You have highlighted other denominational missionaries, some of whom are familiar, many of whom are unfamiliar but no less significant and no less sincere.

I do not believe that any one person's accomplishments are ever completely understood within their lifetime nor are their benefits restricted to their lifetime either. So it is with these remarkable missionaries whom you have sensitively selected.

Once again thank you for this wonderful tribute to unassuming missionaries who never thought twice about fame and who proved the eternal truth of Jesus' message. (For those who don't believe in God, they could always substitute universe or life in the passage from Matthew and still make a difference in life.)

Kindest regards always,


preacherdon from Arkansas on September 29, 2011:

James, this was a lot of great information. Some of these missionaries I have heard of and some I have not. You writing was superb as always and well researched. I know some complained that you didn't highlight the dark side of missionary work but I don't think that the intent of this hub was to be a treatise on the pros and cons of missionary work.

Michael Fielder from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... on September 27, 2011:


Since you chose to attack my comments with a bunch of information which I never mentioned, align me with people and labels with absolutely no basis which are truthful or correct, make assumptions about my Grandparents whom you've never met nor read anything about, I have chosen not to detail all the points you used to be so defensive with. This refers to the first five paragraphs...

Then you went on to lift specific parts of sentences from my profile page, add your words to them, use them for inference to, by destroying my reputation with slander, belittle me and further your purposes...

Paragraph 6 is simply a lie, a contortion of what is actually written there. Paragraph 7 has been edited by you, taken out of context and no where near represents what that sentence and that paragraph of my little bio was saying.

And no, I am in no way calling you a liar. Using the definition of the word I am merely saying that by adding your words to a piece of something I wrote, and by editing another piece of information to which you added words of your own, meets the criteria for the definition of the word lie... from Merriem-Webster, "lie - noun - a statement known by its maker to be untrue and made in order to deceive..."

And also from Wikipedia, "is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others."

Except to further slander me for my comment, Paragraph 8 about people and their lack of beliefs I have no idea to what you refer. You certainly have no idea of what I believe for you don't no me, have never had a conversation with me, know anything about my life experiences and emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual growth and current state.

As far as the 830 million individuals you reference in your final paragraph, I would have no idea, nor imply that I might, of what they think or feel about anything much less of whether or not they feel "devasted" ( your word) by missionaries. Nor would I be presumptuous, arrogant, egotistic, smug, vain, audacious or self seeking enough to even imply that I might know the thoughts or feelings of those who were impacted by my Grandparents concerning their missionary years between the early 1900's and 1949. I know their impact on me... You certainly disrespect my Grandparents and belittle yourself by speaking about things and people you know absolutely nothing... including all of your misrepresentations of me.

It is distinctly interesting to note that I received slanderous rantings about my question (yes, a question, not an attack or diatribe or opinion or judgement...)about the effects of the devastating effect that missionaries tend to have on indiginous cultures (and I can state that my Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts and I have all had interesting conversations about the subject. I have personal experience with missionaries who lived and dealt with this subject, which I think allows me to pose and quander over such questions.) and yet when DavePrice just a few comments later, received your praise and gratitude when he posed my question to you. You even stated that, and I quote you directly, "would make for a great book! Maybe I will tackle that project."

Out of all these folks who commented, I am bewildered over why you chose me to villify, to slander. And had your comments been based in fact and on subject I would have enjoyed a discussion with you which would have increase my awareness and have brought a learning experience.

But you did misrepresent, villify and slander me with off subject declarations and connect me to those statements making it a personal attack. To anyone who might wonder what I really think or meant in my bio, or have an interest in any particular aspect of my life please I am an open book, ask and I will with truth and without misrepresentation answer your queries.

I'm sorry James, but it would seem that you and I have little more to converse about if you have indeed spoken with any integrity in this "conversation"...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 27, 2011:

Rod Marsden— I did, based on your recommendation, go read a lengthy article on the "Stolen Generations." This is a sad tale, no doubt. I see that many people claim this was done for the care of abandoned, abused, and neglected children. And, of course, this is done routinely in the U.S. today by Child Protection Services to people of all ethnicities.

In the article I read, it mentions "church missions" one time with no further explication but it mentions official government laws and actions over and over and over again.

In the stories of missionaries told today in our politically correct world bent on telling every story from the view of the "oppressed" (multiculturalism) I see this quite a bit: the actions of white Christian missionaries conflated with actions by governments run by white men. But the missionaries rarely worked for governments and in fact, their activities were often frowned upon by governments and sometimes officially prohibited altogether.

I do appreciate the illuminating remarks you made. You educated me about some things. And I thank you very much for that.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 27, 2011:

lilyfly— I have read quite a bit about the controversial Jesuits, yes. At one time—18th century, I think—there was such opposition to them that they were banished from every country in Europe and then disbanded altogether. They later were reformed at some point.

I totally agree with you that forced conversions are against the letter and—most importantly—the Spirit of the Gospel.

I have seen "Deliver us from Evil," and it is sickening.

Well, thanks for reading and for the compliment. And, as always, you are most welcome. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 27, 2011:

sheila b.— I just love your comments. The courage of these missionaries is beyond my comprehension too. I have no doubt that they acted out of faith, hope, and love. And, as you said so well, they certainly did not go out seeking fame and fortune.

Thank you ever much for these insightful and discerning remarks. They are wonderfully made. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 27, 2011:

cristina327— You are most welcome, my dear. Thank you so much for the gracious compliments, your blessings, and the voted up and useful.

Your comments are wonderful and discerning. As you say "brave missionaries . . . made a great difference in the lives of many people. . . . to make this world a better place"


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 27, 2011:

b. Malin— Thnak you very much for taking the time to read my article about Missionaries. I love the thoughtful, insightful way you summed up what this article is all about. Well done! :)

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on September 26, 2011:

I will vote up even though this is a somewhat biased account.

Missionaries may have faced disease such as malaria but they too often brought diseases with them that the natives could not cope with. In the 19th Century chicken pox killed off quite a few Tasmanian Aborigines. It was a disease that the West was used to but it was so new to them they had no immunity against it. European disease ravaged Hawaii.

I think you may have the wrong handle when it comes to the Boxers and the Boxer Rebellion.

It was the British who brought opium into China as a way of demoralizing Chinese society and opening up China to the West. What the Boxers chiefly objected to was the creation of all those poor Chinese opium victims.

Yes, I know that Chinese opium dens sprang up in London and in Sydney, Australia. Even so, it was the British who brought it originally to China, starting this whole mess. And so there was resentment between the Chinese peasants and the West over this. It is little wonder that these peasants saw Christianity as just another form of western poison.

Lilyfly makes some good points. Check out the Aboriginal 'Stolen Generation'. Half caste Aboriginal children were separated from their parents and put into missionary schools. There they were taught how to be domestic servants to white families.

Lillian K. Staats from Wasilla, Alaska on September 26, 2011:

The only missionaries I am against are the Jesuits. Have you read or heard their indoctrination? Absolutely satanic. Alaska had a generation of Natives who were beaten for speaking their own language. Why does this bother me so much? I guess I just always considered God to be power, not force, and forcing anyone to do anything smacks too much of 1984.

I wish you would tell the horror stories of missionaries. There's one Padre who molested 54 girls, (and boys). They did a movie on him. Admittedly, he was not a missionary, but a Catholic Priest. I think the name of the film is called" Deliver us From Evil." Please watch it. Thanks James, for getting me so riled. I need it. As always, exemplary writing. Lily

sheila b. on September 26, 2011:

Such missionaires are beyond my comprehension. I admire them and appreciate what they did; I simply don't know where their courage came from. I suppose most would say it came from their faith, but there were many men and women of faith who didn't take that route. Then there's love - their love for peoples living in those countries. What does seem sure to me is these men and women you've written about did not go out as missionaires to earn fame and fortune for themselves.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2011:

kashmir56— Hello! Thank you for pushing all the right buttons! :D

I appreciate this visitation. I am grateful to you for the laudations and the voted up. It is always good to see you left some comments for me.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2011:

John Sarkis— You are quite welcome, my friend. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I appreciate your comments, too.

God Bless


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2011:

Make Money— Thank you for saying so, my friend. I am glad that you came by to read it.

In regard to Icons, I once published a Hub that reveals the controversy over icons in the 8th century from both sides, mostly in the very words of the protagonists for and against the use of icons. You might find it interesting. Here is the link:

I completely agree with your comments. As you say "images and statues were such a great teaching tool throughout the decades, and still are particularly for children."


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2011:

Prasetio30— It is so good to "see" you here, my friend. I am well pleased that you found this Hub to be educative and interesting. Thank you for your warm words. I sincerely appreciate this visitation.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2011:

tlpoague— You are welcome, my dear. I think that to emulate Lottie Moon would be a high calling. Not many have the courage, dedication, and selflessness to answer that Call.

I surely appreciate your lovely laudations. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2011:

Sueswan— You described Lottie Moon perfectly. Of all the amazing stories on this page, hers is my favorite.

Thank you for the voted up and awesome!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2011:

drbj— You are quite welcome. I have hope of going to heaven. We all need grace to get there. Some need more grace than others. That would be me. :D

Thank you very much for the kind compliments. You wrote:

"All the missionaries you described were exceptional human beings who more than earned their place in Heaven."


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2011:

Hello, hello,— You are most welcome. Thank you for the accolades. It is always a pleasure to hear from you. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2011:

stessily— I just love your first sentence. Thank you for that and for all of your brilliant comments.

You know what? Now that you mention it, I recall that did have Father Damien in line to be in this Hub. I do not know how he got omitted. His story is an awesome one that should be among those on this page. I appreciate you bringing that to mind.

I am glad you appreciate the recognition I afforded these marvelous people in this article. I am grateful to you for your affirmation and encouragement.

Faithfully Yours,


Cristina Santander from Manila on September 24, 2011:

Excellent hub voted up and useful. This hub presents great and inspiring stories of some brave missionaries that truly impacted the world and made a great difference in the lives of many people. Truly the efforts of those missionaries are priceless, they have contributed indeed to make this world a better place to live in. Thank you for sharing this great wealth of information. May you be blessed today and always. Best regards.

b. Malin on September 24, 2011:

As usual James, a very Interesting and Informative Hub about Christian Missionaries. They all had such diverse backgrounds...some highly Educated, some self taught through family and books, but each with a Mission to spread their Christian beliefs throughout the world.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on September 24, 2011:

Hi James, great and very interesting history about the Christian Missionaries movement and the men and woman who preached to the world about God and His Son Jesus Christ, i learned some things about this that i did not know before .

Vote up and push the buttons !!!

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on September 23, 2011:

Thanks for the bio of these great men. I wasn't aware of some of this stuff....

Take care and God Bless


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 23, 2011:

SEM Pro— You are most welcome, my lady. It has been a long time since I have heard from you here on HubPages. Thank you for coming to see me.

The story you shared with us is incredible. We can see what just one such acquaintance can mean in the life of a young person. I can tell you were blessed by this old man. Heck, it made me feel good just reading about it.:-)

I appreciate the compliments. So good to hear from you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 23, 2011:

always exploring— You are quite welcome. I am glad you enjoyed this Hub. I agree with you that the Lottie Moon story is amazing alright.

Well, thank you very much for reading my work. I always appreciate your kind comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 23, 2011:

MaryCola— Why, thank you for your gracious accolades. I surely appreciate you coming by to visit. I am grateful to receive your warm words.

Make Money from Ontario on September 23, 2011:

Another good hub James. You wrote, "Catholicism proved to be more attractive to Africans in the 19th Century, since Protestants were against images and to an illiterate people images are very important. The Catholics set up scores of orphanages in Africa."

I find this interesting. I don't understand iconoclasm because images and statues have been great for teaching the Faith throughout the history of Christianity. You know before the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg (a Catholic) around 1440 people couldn't afford to pay someone to write their own personal copy of the Bible. Besides most of the population couldn't read or write anyway. This is why images and statues were such a great teaching tool throughout the decades, and still are particularly for children.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 23, 2011:

Gypsy Rose Lee— I am glad you liked my article. And I agree wholeheartedly with your belief in the blessings received by those who faithfully serve the Lord. Thank you for reading my Hub. :)

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 23, 2011:

You have done a great research and your work always be the best. In your hand, biography is interesting to be read. This is a big gift. Although I am a Muslim, but I learn much from this hub. Take care!


Tammy on September 22, 2011:

I haven't heard of too many of these missionaries, but grew up to know about Lottie Moon and the things she had done. I remember at one time in my young life wanting to be like her. Another terrific history lesson involving the lives of Christians alike. Thank you for taking the time to post this interesting and extensive bit of history.

Sueswan on September 22, 2011:

A very interesting read.

I was impressed with the work of Lottie Moon. She was a small lady with a big heart.

Voted up and awesome.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 22, 2011:

Thank you, James, for taking the time and effort to research, write and share this extensive history of missionaries. All the missionaries you described were exceptional human beings who more than earned their place in Heaven. You may have carved out a spot for yourself, too, my friend with this amazing hub.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on September 22, 2011:

That was an awesome hub about all these great women and men. We'll never see the likes again. Thank you for giving so much joy reading it.

stessily on September 22, 2011:

James: I have always been intrigued by people whose focus was shifted by life-changing events, especially those events which seemingly evince the workings and guidance of a higher power and a grander vision. William Carey is one such person whose life was transformed by several twists of "fate."

One of the most inspiring 19th century missionaries for me was Father Damien, who risked his health with his concern for lepers in Hawaii and ultimately lost his life to the dreaded disease. His lot, although not as horrific as missionaries who were subjected to torture and painful deaths, was nevertheless dreadful.

Your recognition of the sacrifices and achievements experienced through devotion to charitable works of faith is appreciated.

All the votes, as usual.

Kind regards, Stessily

SEM Pro from North America on September 22, 2011:

As thorough and interesting as always James - thank you :) As a teenager I was blessed to be acquainted with a gentleman who had served as a Bishop in China for 31 years. I helped him write the letters he still wrote in his 90s, to all the contacts he knew there. My heart would open a little more with each word spoken. He would thank me for my service which almost seemed strange to me because I was so grateful for him. He changed my life. When I left his home, I'd be floating on clouds, embraced with love. Talk about inspiration!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 22, 2011:

Very interesting Hub James. The history of the first missionaries is fascinating to say the least, doing what they deemed as God's will was commendable. I was especially intrigued with Lottie Moon's life story. Thank you for sharing....

MaryCola from Georgia on September 22, 2011:

Wonderful Hub & amazing respond to rmichaelf— Namaste.

Great work on the history.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on September 21, 2011:

Very informative and interesting hub. Anyone who does God's work is blessed.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

Cardisa— Thank you! Thank you very much.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

PenMePretty— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

Genna East— You are quite welcome, my dear. I loved hearing about your great grandmother and her skills as a raconteur. I had two grandmothers in my life who she reminds me of. :D

I am thankful to you for expressing your admiration of these "Extraordinary stories of incredible courage, compassion and dedication amidst unimaginable dangers."

You said that so well. Thank you for giving me such gracious compliments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:— You wrote:

"It may not be popular to say but on a whole, since Martin Luther, the nations embracing protestant Christianity have advanced further then any other nations worldwide."

To any honest thinking person there is no question as to the veracity of this remark. It is highly politically incorrect, of course. Today the feeling is that folks in other places should have been left in the Stone Age. I say go ask them if they want to ditch electricity, modern medicine, refrigeration, machines, modern transportation, television, telephones, books, and the internet. I very much doubt you will have any takers. :)

Your comments are excellent. Thank you for making them here. I sincerely appreciate this visit from you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

DavePrice— Thank you for coming by to see my new article, brother.

"the impact of Christian missionary work on the indigenous culture over the last 200 years" would make for a great book! Maybe I will tackle that project.

I very much appreciate your thoughtful comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

John Watkins— Hello Cousin!

I love your new handle: "John the Baptist." Pretty big shoes there fella. :D

My email address is:

I am glad you liked my Hub. It is wonderful to "see" you here. I will help you market your beautiful cross photographs anyway I can. Let's talk.

God Bless You!

James the Younger


The King James Version

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

rmichaelf— Namaste.

You asked me, "Why is it that in published articles like this, it is never mentioned the devastating effect that missionaries tend to have on indiginous cultures."

Such as what, pray tell?

Here we have people who could have lived in the West in the kind of creature comforts to which we are accustomed. What courage and dedication they had to face hostile peoples, wild animals, deprivations untold, and deadly disease for no personal gain in this world. They taught tens of millions of illiterate people to read in their own languages. Stopped many barbarous practices such as the suttee and infanticide. Taught people to grow food and dig wells. Brought modern medical answers to pressing diseases. Built schools and hospitals and colleges by the thousands. Why on earth would anybody want to be hypercritical of such people?

Well, the postmodern Western intellectual, in his urge to denigrate anything connected with Jesus Christ or Western Civilization, has found his own reasons.

It goes back to Rousseau and his ideas about primitivism—that man lived a pristine existence before damned civilization ruined everything. The Noble Savage.

On your profile page you note your love of "Astrology, Numerology, the Tarot, . . . various shamanic traditions and the practice of psychedelics."

You also state that "I decided that Science would come to be the Religion of the 21st century."

People who believe in nothing will believe in anything.

There are perhaps 130,000,000 Christians in China living under persecution. There are maybe 200,000,000 more Christians in other parts of Asia. There are at least 500,000,000 Christians in Africa. Do you think these people wish to revert to animism or pantheism or atheism? Do you think they feel "devastated" by missionaries? Did your grandparents "devastate" people?


Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on September 21, 2011:

I am not very good with history and all these missionaries are new to me. Today I learned something new, as always from you James.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

MonetteforJack— You are welcome, my dear. I do not mind at all if you print my Hubs. I would consider it an honor that you would think to do so.

So you are married to a Carey? Imagine that!

I am grateful to you for the accolades. Thank you ever much for the affirmation and encouragement.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

Gypsy Willow— Thank you for sharing that lovely story from your childhood. Until I went completely busticated, I gave quite a bit to missionary funds. Still today, missionaries do wonderful work among the downtrodden of the world. I appreciate the visit and the compliment.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

lambservant— Thank you for taking the time to read my work. I appreciate your kind comments. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

Lynn S. Murphy— Thank you! I love how you summarized this in just one sentence. Well done! :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2011:

liftandsoar— Thank you for being my first visitor!

Welcome once again to HubPages. It is great to hear from a child of missionaries. Thank you very much for the gracious compliments. And you are most welcome. :)

PenMePretty from Franklin on September 21, 2011:

You really had a lot of homework to do and you did it so well. Really interesting and useful. I voted!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on September 21, 2011:

Extraordinary stories, Jim, of incredible courage, compassion and dedication amidst unimaginable dangers. My great grandmother, a devout Protestant and extraordinary woman of faith, used to tell me accounts of the missionary work in Africa performed by a couple of missionaries she knew. I remember my sister and I used to listen to her, rapt in her stories (she was a terrific story teller), our young eyes wide with amazement. This is a superbly written hub, Jim. Thank you. from upstate, NY on September 21, 2011:

Hi James- Of all those missionaries, I've only heard of William Cary and Hudson Taylor. I understand Hudson Taylor labored many years with only one convert but his one convert had a substantial effect on the Chinese nation.

It may not be popular to say but on a whole, since Martin Luther, the nations embracing protestant Christianity have advanced further then any other nations worldwide. The protestant movement brought a new zeal and purity to Christianity that positively impacted whole nations world wide. This particularily true of the United States and Great Britain.

DavePrice from Sugar Grove, Ill on September 21, 2011:

I started to comment, then as I read the comment by rmichaelf I was intrigued by what your response would be. His comment brings to mind a new hub for you, the impact of Christian missionary work on the indigenous culture over the last 200 years - wold love to see your treatment of that.

John Watkins on September 21, 2011:

hello James, good blog, I like it, James send me your e-mail address as the one I had is on a computer in Florida, I am interested in getting those pictures of my cross with the fog pathway that formed over it out to the public in a big way "Internet" and the wise and educated man like you might be able to help me :) you can contact me at and I will send you a set of 6 photos of the cross as the fog formed. or if anyone else sees this and would like to see what happened just write.

God bless,

"John the Baptist"

Michael Fielder from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... on September 20, 2011:


I come from a long line of Southern Baptist Missionaries who spent their lives in mainland China (My granparents were on one of the last boats allowed my Mao), Japan, Hong Kong, and South America.

My sister was born in Hawaii before statehood, and I grew there from two until 5 or so. I have travelled to 18 countries in my life, and studied societies and cultures of where I traveled.

Why is it that in published articles like this, it is never mentioned the devastating effect that missionaries tend to have on indiginous cultures. This is the 21st century and surely the idea that western white Christianity is the only path to God and civilized society is wearing thin. If it is your path to God and it is working for you than that is a blessing not to be frivoulous about.

But to continue to paint this romantic idealized history without pointing a little towards cautionary historical facts to remind us of what damage our egos can do in the name of God or Country or any other belief system is doing a disservice to the education of our children.

Your article is researched "factually" and it is written well, I just see it heavily slanted and written for commercial interests. It seems somewhat shallow and propagandistic, a little dogmatic.



MonetteforJack from Tuckerton, NJ on September 20, 2011:

Goodness! Your hub is better than a book! Actually, I read it but, because of time constraints AND memory AND comprehension problems, I was not able to internalize it. I am not yet done with your other hub -- Multiculturalism In America. Do you mind if I print your hubs? You wrote very interesting hubs and I want to read even when I am offline and study it. You really are like a professor to me. Thank you! P.S. My husband is like William Carey because he is also self-taught and they share the same last name.

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on September 20, 2011:

As a young child I was made very aware of the work of missionaries as our sunday school gave out missionary boxes shaped like mud huts to save money for the missionaries. Great information as always James.

lambservant on September 20, 2011:

This was fascinating. I had read some of these bio's a few years ago, but most I had not heard of. Very interesting and infomative.

Lynn S. Murphy on September 20, 2011:

Wonderful hub. So few had blessed so many, could only have been successful because God's hand was in it.

Frank P. Crane from Richmond, VA on September 20, 2011:

Thanks James. Good history lesson on a subject that is certainly unknown and often despised. Having grown up on in Chile, the child of missionaries, I know the field first hand, but you review is very helpful for perspective.

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