Birthdays on December 19
Horatius Bonar was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. From a long line of Scottish clergy, Bonar was ordained in 1837 in Kelso at age 28, and became pastor of North Presbyterian Church of Kelso. He and his church at Kelso were vigorously active in the movement which led to the founding of the Free Church of Scotland in 1843. Bonar was one of the editors of The Border Watch, the official paper of the Free Church, and for many years, because of his keen interest in the second coming of Christ, he was editor of The Journal of Prophecy. In 1866 he became pastor of Chalmers Memorial Free Church, Edinburgh, named for Thomas Chalmers, the leader and first moderator of the Free Church of Scotland. Bonar was a prolific writer and poet. He authored several missionary biographies and penned over 600 hymns, one of which has maintained its popularity to this day, "I heard the Voice of Jesus Say." He also published Songs For the Wilderness (1843), The Bible Hymnbook (1845),Hymns, Original and Selected (1846), Hymns of Faith and Hope (1857; second series, 1861); The Song of the New Creation (1872), and Hymns of the Nativity (1879).
Birth of Rowland Bingham in England. He was converted in 1888, and the following year emigrated to Canada. Under the ministry of A. J. Gordon, he committed his life to foreign missions in 1892. Then came failure after failure-- for 21 years! In the first party of three to venture into Africa in 1893, two died within the first year, and Bingham alone survived. Upon returning alone, with nothing to show for his efforts but two graves, Bingham visited Mrs. Gowans, the mother of one of those who died, to return to her a few personal belongings of her son. In his words: As I was shown into her parlor, she met me with extended hand We stood there with hands clasped in silence for a while. Then she said these words that I will never forget.-- "Well, Mr. Bingham-- I would rather have had Walter go out to the Sudan, and die there, all alone, than have him here today disobeying the Lord." In 1900 a second attempt failed to enter the Sudan. The first successful mission station was established in 1901 in Patigi, Nigeria. It was not until 1914, after traveling 1500 miles on foot, on horseback, and cycle, that he came to Egbe, Nigeria, and Guy Playfair, the resident missionary, showed him the fruit of his labor-- a group of 1500 national Believers in that area! The Sudan Interior Mission was now firmly established. Today SIM (the name was changed to Society for International Ministries) works in two dozen countries in Africa, Asia and South America. The missionary vision of Rowland V. Bingham was not in vain!