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Prior to the advent of modern transportation, missionaries faced journeys of enormous peril and adventure as they sought to spread the gospel. Using documentation from the Divinity Library’s renowned Day Missions collection, this exhibit provides glimpses into the stories of several individuals who traveled to the Middle East, Oceania, China, and elsewhere.
Examples of the documentation include Henry Harris Jessup’s journal and report letters of John R. Mott. Jessup served as a Presbyterian missionary in Syria and Lebanon for fifty-three years. His journal documenting his first voyage from Boston to the Middle East in 1855 is a good example of how missionaries, while enduring arduous journeys, often reveled in the new experiences they encountered. Jessup’s journal includes sketches of activities on board the ship, maps of harbors where the ship anchored, poems and observations, as well as an eloquent description of seasickness. John R. Mott received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for his work in establishing international Protestant Christian student organizations that worked to promote peace. Mott’s 1895-1897 world trip required 20 months and nearly 60,000 miles of travel to complete.
Also documented are missionary ships that were which were used to travel to remote areas to preach the gospel. James F. Laughton was called in 1920 by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society to direct the work of their mission ship “Fukuin Maru,” sailing among the islands of the Inland Sea and coast of Japan. A series of ships called the “Morning Star” were used by missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in their work in the Pacific Islands. The “Morning Star” ships were unique in that Sunday School children in the United States bought “shares” in the ships to finance their construction and maintenance.