A Vision for the Islands
1 Jan 2005
The Story of the South Seas Evangelical Mission
Late in the 1800s, thousand of indentured labourers from the Pacific Islands were brought to Australia to work in virtual slavery on the Queensland sugar cane plantations. Most Australians regarded these ‘Kanakas’ as little more than savages. Fewer still knew anything at all of the beautiful islands of the South Pacific, from where they had come.
God, however, raised up a courageous and determined young woman by the name of Florence Young, and inspired her with a passion to reach these people, and their homelands, with the gospel. She began sharing her own faith with these men and women, and commenced a tiny bible study, where she taught the story of salvation in Christ. She prayed and dreamed of the day when a mission movement would impact all the unreached peoples of the South Pacific Islands. For years, she laboured on. It was difficult, thankless and certainly culturally inappropriate work for a woman. But her vision remained clear and her passion, vibrant.
In 1886, a letter she had written found its way into the hands of an Englishman who had come to Sydney to preach. From her sister he heard of her pioneering work and her vision for the South Seas. A man of great faith and courage, he responded:
“I think the Lord wants me to help this work. Tell your sister to expect great things from God, and she will get them!” With this note, he enclosed two guineas.
With his small gift, the first financial contribution to the work of the South Seas Evangelical Mission was made. The donor? None other than George Muller. In the years that followed, vast numbers of indigenous men and women came to know Christ, and eventually, the South Seas Evangelical Church was born. More churches were planted, new workers mobilised, and waves of revival swept the Islands. Hundreds of thousands of people came to Christ.
In 1997, the South Seas Evangelical Mission partnered with the Asia Pacific Christian Mission, to form Pioneers of Australia.