Birthdays on January 5
Birth of Robert Morrison, first Protestant missionary to China, at Morpeth, England. Converted at age 15, while apprenticed to a shoemaker, he improved his scanty education, and went south to study at Hoxton College, a Non-conformist institution. With a good grounding in theology, astronomy, and medicine, and having learned the rudiments of Chinese, Morrison was ordained and sent to China by the London Missionary Society in 1807. Facing tremendous obstacles, he ministered in China for 27 years, translated the Bible into Chinese, produced a Chinese dictionary, and established a college. He died at age 52, with only a handful of Chinese converts having been baptized -- but he opened the way for a great missionary work done by others.