Birthdays on June 29
Birth of John Williams (left) at Tottenham, England. Converted at age 17, he volunteered with the London Missionary Society and was sent at age 20 to the Society Islands. He not only evangelized, but also taught the natives to trade. In 1821 he acquired a schooner, and two years later discovered the island of Rarotonga, where he eventually translated the scriptures and other books into the native tongue. By the time he returned to England in 1824, he had visited every significant island within a 2,000 mile radius of the Pacific. When he went back to the South Pacific, it was with a new schooner, sixteen additional workers, and improved funding. He was martyred at age 43 when he began work on Erromanga, New Hebrides. The natives, having suffered much from white sailors who visited the islands, clubbed Williams to death as revenge.