Sunday, January 3, 2010

John G Paton Missionary To The New Hebrides

John Gibson Paton

John Paton was born to James and Janet Paton on May 24 of the year 1824, in a farm cottage in Braehead Scotland near Dumfries. His father, who was a stocking manufacturer, was a good and godly man who prayed three times daily. John was born to a large family, being the first of 11 children.
John one day during family prayer heard the door open and close softly. When prayer was through, he ran over and picked up a box which contained a new suit for the growing child. John found out later that the school teacher had given it to him. At the age of twelve young John left school because his teacher had an ugly temper. He came home one day complaining that the teacher had wrongly accused and disciplined him. The boy’s parents finally persuaded the lad to go back the next day, but John was back home almost right away saying the teacher had seen the lad and started kicking him. So this caused John to start as an apprentice to his father learning the trade of stocking for 14 hours a day, yet still got in 2 hours of study on lunch break.
As a youth he felt God calling him to be a missionary overseas. He started working with a surveying company to earn more money so he could get an education. After a few years of working with the company, the manager called him into his office and told John he had heard about John’s desire to work hard and earn enough money to go and complete college. He told John that if he would sign a contract for seven years he would get a raise and a promotion. John told him that he could not do that as it was a long time and he was under contract to someone else. The manager asked him who this person was? John replied, “I have given my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and have committed to work overseas as a missionary”. The manager got mad and told him to sign the contract or he was fired. John thought and replied that he would have to be fired. The manager told him to get his pay and leave. John did this right away.
John finally ended up walking to Glasgow, forty miles away, to start working in a school to earn a college education. He worked hard and soon earned a degree.
John was ordained by a reformed Presbyterian Pastor on March 23rd 1858. John was married to Mary Ann Robson April 2nd 1858. 14 days later, April 16th, with a Mr. Joseph Copeland, Mary, and John set sail for the South Pacific leaving Scotland as missionaries.
They landed at Tanna, an island in the southern part of the New Hebrides on November 5th 1858, and built a small house at Port Resolution. The natives they were to be missionaries to were reported to be cannibals. Those savages which were near them ran about constantly, and they were enveloped in superstition, occultism, and heathenism at its worst. The men ran about in complete nakedness, while the women wore little leaf aprons. Three months later February 12th 1859 a son Peter Robert Robson was born to the family, 19 days later his wife Mary died from tropical fever; soon after Peter died at 36 days of age. It was a sad time for John. Yet through all this he still witnessed faithfully and survived many attacks on his life, including once when a passing ship arrived and took John and another missionary couple, Mr. and Mrs. Mathieson from another part of the island to safety on Aneitym, a friendly island nearby.
From there John went back to Australia and then to Scotland. While in these places he was going to try and arouse interest in the missionary work in the New Hebrides and raise money to buy a ship for the work. Later he raised a much larger sum with which to build a mission steamship. While in Edinburgh Scotland on June 17th 1864 John married Margaret (Maggie) Whitecross, a descendant of the so called Whitecross Knights.
Arriving back in the New Hebrides August 1866, John and his wife Maggie set up a mission house on Aniwa Island, the closest island to Tanna, the island of John’s earlier work. Here they lived in a small native hut, while building a house for themselves and two houses for orphan children. They later also erected a church, and printing house etc.
Here in Aniwa they found the natives just as bad, with the same superstition, occultism, cannibalism, indecency etc.
Yet they still continued on their missionary work. They ended up having six of their ten children in Aniwa, four of them dying in infancy. Their fourth son Frank, born in Aniwa, later ended up becoming a missionary to the New Hebride islands.
John learned the language and put it into writing, while Maggie lead a class of about fifty women and children. These women and children would soon become experts at sewing, plaiting hats, reading, singing, etc.
They trained teachers, translated, taught, printed the Scriptures, ministered to the sick and dying, gave out medicine, taught the use of tools, and held worship services every Sunday,
After many years of hard work, tragedies, and trials, the whole island of Aniwa professed Christianity. In 1899 he saw the Aniwa Bible printed, and missionaries established on 25 of the 30 islands in the New Hebrides.
Margaret died at the age of 64 on May 16th 1905, while at “Kennet”, believed to be the family home at 74 Princess St. New Victoria.
John G. survived his wife by two years, dying at the age of 82 on January 28th 1907. He was at Cross Street, Canterbury, Victoria, Australia.
They are both buried at Boroondara, at the intersection of High and Park Hill Rd, Kew Victoria, Australia.
Just look at how much this man suffered and yet he still followed and worked for God. What an example he is to us.


Peter Davidson said...

You have a very nice blog here! You may also appreciate the many testimonies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at God bless.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Soldier Of Christ. said...

I appreciate your comment, but the page you sent me to was LDS. Mormonism is false religion, and you worship a different Jesus Christ.
Gordon B. Hinkley. LDS church news, June 2o, 1998. Stated "The traditional Christ of whom they (those outside of the church) speak is not the Christ of whom I speak."
Brigham Young. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 51. Said "Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost."
Joseph Smith. Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 18. Said "Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of man, and that Man was God."
Orson Pratt, Nov. 1883. Stated "We have also proved that both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity."
It is clear that you don't believe in the Jesus of the Bible.
Friends I ask that you do not follow this blog as he is into a false religion.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. I am researching the life of J G Paton's second wife, Maragret Whitecross Paton. I have her book "Letters and sketches..." but if anyone has any unpublished letters, diaries etc I would love to see them. Contact me at john

evision said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
evision said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
evision said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Philip Torboe said...

John G Paton, without your sacrifice and dedication the poeple of Vanuatu would not be where they are today. May God continue to bless you descendants.

Apostle Philip Torboe