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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Missionary to American Indians: David Brainerd

It's National American Indian Heritage Month and I blog about the church's interaction with the world. Here is one intersection, the life of David Brainerd. In 1743, the Connecticut native devoted himself to missionary work among the Indians. He first headed up to Stockbridge, Mass. and from there to an Indian village, Kaunaumeek, an Indian settlement about 20 miles west. He learned their language and preached to them. His efforts were spiritually fruitless for a year. He did manage to convince the tribe to move to Stockbridge. He moved on to preach among the Indians on Montauk Long Island. Then he preached among the Delaware Indians in New Jersey. It was in Crossweeksung that he saw converts. Brainerd wrote, "I preached from John 14:1-6; the divine presence seemed to be in the assembly; numbers were affected with divine truth; how great is the change lately made upon numbers of the Indians, who not many months ago were thoughtless and averse to Christianity, and how astonishing is that grace which has made this change...to see those who were very recently savage pagans and Idolaters, having no hope, and without God in the world, now filled with a sense of divine love and grace, and worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth as numbers here appear to do, and to see them so tender and humble, as well as lively, fervent, and devout in the divine service" (Abridged Diary, Baker, pp. 178-179). quoted in LovVOM blog. There is a great summary of this small revival at Heavenly Worldliness, which has a good biography series. There is also a great state of the union in Brainerd's time in relation to Brainerd's work at Brian's blog.

see other posts on native Americans, history, missionaries, and missions.

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