Is College worth it? This story about how students changed the world will help you decide. This episode is part of a series of messages about the History of the University and of Student involvement in World Missions.
It was in 1806 in Western Massachusetts that just five students led by Samuel Mills effectively launched the North American Missionary Enterprise through prayer and a commitment to become the answer to their own prayers. This was at the time when Timothy Dwight, President at Yale College, is preaching messages that sparked the beginning of the Second Great Awakening.
This small band of students spread their vision and helped form the first missionary agency which sent the first missionary, Adoniram Judson, in 1810. In this episode, I share the stories of a few students and Christian leaders who changed the destiny of nations. I share about the Hawaiian boy, Henry Opukaiah, who landed on the steps of Yale College and was brought to faith through the welcome and witness of Timothy Dwight and Samuel Mills. Opukaiah began translating the Bible into his language, but he died before he could fulfill his dream of bringing the gospel to his homeland of Hawaii. However, a team of missionaries shortly thereafter landed at the Kona Coast of Hawaii. (Kona is where a significant part of Youth With A Mission’s story converges with this story. (See: http://uofnkona.edu)
I also share about George Williams, the birth of the YMCA; Robert Wilder, a student at Princeton and the son of a missionary scholar who returned from India; and D.L. Moody, each of whom played a significant role is the next major wave in world missions through college students. Wilder formed a student missions society at Princeton, with the declaration that became the match that would be lit at a Bible Camp at D.L. Moody’s property in the summer of 1806. William’s started the YMCA, which became the nondenominational and intercollegiate ministry in the USA that became the vehicle for the most potent missions movement in history, the Student Volunteer Movement. Moody influenced the Cambridge Seven, seven Cambridge college students who went as missionaries to work with Hudson Taylor in China, and then later hosted the Mount Hermon Bible Camp, in the summer of 1806. The Bible Camp and the Meeting of Ten Nations on July 16, 1886, became the answer to Wilder’s prayer that the Princeton Declaration would be signed by 100 of the 251 students at the camp. They were the Mount Hermon One-Hundred. The following year 2106 other students signed the declaration as Wilder and Robert Foreman traveled to 162 campuses sharing the vision.
In the next episode of the Converge Stories podcast, I will share the stories of several of the major figures who led movements throughout the 20th Century.