Western Daughters in Eastern Lands: British Missionary Women in Asia

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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Despite the fact that by the early 20th century female missionaries began to outnumber their male counterparts, there are few publications that document the contributions of women to the missionary movement against a backdrop of civil unrest, famine, and.

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Kindle Edition , pages. Published January 3rd by Praeger first published July 31st More Details Until far into the 20th century, Cambridge University remained an exclusively male environment. Women were not admitted as full members of the university, eligible to obtain degrees, until the late s, and the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union CICCU was all male until Christian women students began a separate organisation in The amalgamation of the organisations was only realised in for more on Christian student life in Cambridge, see Armitage The first pioneer women medical doctors were sent to India Jayawardena One of them, dr Fanny J.

It was in America that women generated the greatest enthusiasm for missions for women, but their English sisters were the first to become independently involved in foreign missions. Also, the concept of 'faith' missions, which strongly advocated the involvement of single lady missionaries, came from British soil.

Mission-minded women in the 19th century in America were admiring Ann Hasseltine Judson , one of the first women who left her country for a life overseas as a missionary wife.

Western Daughters in Eastern Lands

More or less an example of a Protestant icon, since a White women living in a 'heathen land' at that time was unheard of. She married Adoniram Judson and two weeks after their wedding they sailed from America to Calcutta India , and from there were relocated to Burma. The couple met with a lot of problems. After having worked in Burma for nearly 14 years, Ann died in her thirties. During their time in Burma, she succeeded in learning Thai Siamese and translated Matthew's Gospel into that language. She was a remarkable woman who was valued for her sacrificial dedication to mission work.

In England, Mary Bethia Groves spoke to the imagination of many. Having waited to get consent from her father, she married 'to her happiness' her great love, the dentist Norris Groves.

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Whilst her husband attended to the teeth, Mary walked to the poorer parts of Exeter to visit homes where people lived in great need. She also visited the prisons. Whilst in the prison chapel, the pastor preached on 'God has chosen the weak of the world' 1 Cor This marked her conversion and she became 'active, decided, and with a strong independent judgment' Dann The young couple with their little children heard the call of the Lord and decided to 'be ready to go anywhere' Dann Having given away the dental practice and properties, they went on an adventurous journey via Russia to Persia, where they settled in Baghdad.

Mary, again pregnant, started to learn Armenian, and began to work amongst the women and teach children in a school she had started. After many difficult years, Mary fell ill and died in At that time, the plague ravished thousands of the Baghdad inhabitants. Mary died young, as did many of her missionary sisters in that century. It was only in that Louis Pasteur discovered that infectious diseases were caused by bacteria, viruses, protozoa, et cetera.

Ann Judson in Burma and Mary Groves in Baghdad were for many women in England and America, who read about their work in mission magazines, an example to open up possibilities that were not common for women at that time. They opened new paths for women; that they could even take on professional roles. At that time, it was considered that women should not transgress gender boundaries, but both Ann and Mary revealed their conviction that the woman's sphere of work could be broader than the private space at home.

Western Daughters in Eastern Lands: British Missionary Women in Asia

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Next to the duties at home, they had an independent ministry of their own. We see a gradual shift in thinking about women's involvement in missions. They now looked at many problems from a global point of view. Western women were involved in missionary endeavour since the 18th century. However, their independent agency in the mission field did not really begin until the s.

The first women's missionary society in the world was organised in by Mary Webb. The formation of the 'Boston Female Society for Missionary Purposes' was more or less a revolutionary step for a woman to assume leadership of a religious organisation. Mary Webb was 'blazing a path, perilous for a young woman, through an unbroken wilderness' Vail II. This organisation, and several others later on, were spin-offs from parent groups that provided day care and clothing for young children of working mothers, and supported the ministry of missionaries.

In those days, women had their place and work at home, but outside activities in society and church were severely restricted. Mary, through her activism, contributed significantly to a changing mind that would, slowly, open the doors for women to enter into missionary service Vail z'bz'd, Miss Sarah Kilham was working in St. Petersburg when the mission party of Norris Groves, on their way to Baghdad, passed there.

She was one of the first unmarried women to serve as an overseas missionary Dann The primary way for women in the 18th century to go overseas, was to marry and go with their husbands bound for missionary work and serve in the evangelistic effort -with their husbands. But they were seen merely as the wives of missionaries Dann ibid : 'Merely a wife - going to the mission field because she was constrained to follow her husband.

The early Methodist missionary endeavour of the Wesleyan brothers had a great impact on the British society. Women especially reacted positively to the message they heard, according to the Wesleyan ideal of the godly and harmonious household and the provision it offered to the individual believer. The new movement relied on the initiative, zeal and generosity of its adherents, both male and female.

Within this movement, women took the lead in many new congregations and were allowed greater influence than by any of the mainstream Christian denominations. Methodism has been described as a 'woman's faith' and it equipped 'women with a realistic recipe for survival in an imperfect world' Hufton Many married women, having experienced the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, sought to persuade their children, their husbands and other family members to follow their example, and in doing so acted as the spearhead of further Methodist advance.

Many single missionary ladies in later decades mentioned the piety and prayers of their mothers as one of the reasons for them going to the mission field.

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It was Wesley himself who sanctioned the departure from an established pattern and gave women the freedom to preach the gospel. In this way, the Revival periods enlarged the horizons of ministry for women. Wesley once said to one of these ladies McGregor : 'Conscience will not permit you to be silent when God commands you to speak'. Within Methodism, the gender segregation of band meetings facilitated close links between the 'sisterhood' of believers, and many women emphasised the importance of such groups, both in the recruitment of new members and in mutual support and fellowship.

Although implicitly denied by the great majority of Methodists, we see that many young women of those times chose another way to the conventional female destiny of marriage, motherhood and domesticity.

Their religious commitments did not always coincide with the expectations of being tied in marriage and family affairs, or they had difficulty finding an awakened partner 'whose mind did not bend heavenward' Abelove Women who used their independence of belief and action, did so in the spirit of service rather than of rebellion against their position in society.

Women, married or single, going out in the mission field, worked side by side with their husbands or were loyal to the leadership of their sending organisation.

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There, where they were working alone on the mission field, we often see remarkable, strong women, keeping the vision. Their married sisters often met great difficulties on the mission field. Next to the work at home, assisting a husband and children, many shared the experiences common to many women of that generation. Childbirth, in particular, was a perilous undertaking for women before the use of sterile instruments and antibiotics. Many men - in the relatively safe Europe, but also in the mission - lost their young wives shortly after marriage.

In the 19th century, prolonged sickness and sudden death were a normal part of human existence. Life was never to be taken for granted. For many women in the early 19th century, a missionary call was a call to early death. Sanitation and a lack of understanding regarding how women were uniquely impacted by associated issues meant it was not unusual for a male missionary to have a line of three or four wives buried in the field; some had as many as six!

They loved Christ enough to look these facts in the face and give everything for his honour and the salvation of the lost. Single ladies in the mission field did not meet the dangers connected with pregnancy and childbirth, but history shows that many single ladies married sooner or later whilst working in the mission. The new Charter in India removed the opposition to missionary work in , and by there were nine societies active in that country. The Baptists of Calcutta started the first work amongst women in under the title 'Calcutta Female Juvenile Society'.

By that time the appalling fact was that out of 40 million Hindu women, less than could read or write. The call was for a lady to teach and train local women to be teachers. In Miss Mary Ann Cooke was selected for this work and, arriving in Calcutta, she was the first single female missionary sent to India Denny The Indian women admired her: 'What a pearl of a women is this' Denny ibid To extend the benefits of Christian education to other parts of India, a society was formed - subsequently called the 'Indian Female Normal School and Instruction Society'.

More or less operating inter-denominationally, but initiated by the Church Missionary Society CMS , this worked until when some members preferred the Society should work entirely with the CMS.