Three Missionaries I
We have a tendency to regard whatever segment of the church to which we belong to be the whole of it, when in reality it isn’t even the half of it.
The Augsburg Fortress publication, “Sundays and Seasons” lists three missionaries to be commemorated this weekend. The material is drawn from this publication and biographical sketches on the internet.
John Christian Frederick Heyer was the first missionary sent out by American Lutherans. Born in Germany in 1793 his parents sent him to relatives in America after his confirmation. This was during the Napoleonic era. He studied theology in Philadelphia and at the University of Goettingen in Germany. Back in the United States, he served as a lay home missionary in Pennsylviania and as far west as Missouri. He married in 1819 and after his ordination the next year he spent twenty years preaching, establishing Sunday Schools and teaching at Gettysburg College and Seminary.
After his wife died in 1840 and he decided to become a foreign missionary. He learned some Sanskrit before sailing for India where he spent fifteen years founding missions. During furloughs he obtained an M.D. from Johns Hopkins. When his health failed he returned to America to organize churches in Minnesota. He returned to Andhra for two years to revive the spirit of the mission. He completed his ministry serving as a chaplain at a new seminary in Philadelphia. Heyer died, Nov. 7, 1873.
God of grace and might, we praise you for your servant John Heyer, whom you called to preach the Gospel in the United States and in India. Raise up, we pray, in this and every land, heralds and evangelists of your kingdom, that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.