Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Christian Hope

What a name for a church leader: Christian Hope.

On January 1, 1876, at the age of 31, Christian Hope became the first Brethren sent by the church in the United States as a missionary to another country, sent by the district of Northern Illinois to Denmark.

Christian Hope was born in Denmark where he was educated for ministry in the Lutheran Church. However when he became outspoken in his opposition to the state church and joined the Baptists, he suffered persecution and imprisonment in Denmark. At the age of 25 he immigrated to the United States, seeking a church that practiced what the Bible taught. A few years later he found the Brethren in Illinois where he was baptized in 1874 and elected to the ministry in 1875.

While still a young man, married with a growing family that would eventually number twelve children, he returned to Denmark to establish a Brethren mission point. He spent ten years in mission work in Denmark, including a brief effort in southern Sweden, before returning to the United States in 1886.

He spent time working with Scandinavian immigrants in Kansas and traveled extensively, including three return trips to Brethren mission churches in Scandinavia, promoting Brethren mission before his death at the age of 54 while on a mission tour of Texas.

Christian Hope was the first Brethren missionary and became a tireless worker for the kingdom of God, remembered for his humility, optimism, and abiding confidence in God.

Christian Hope remembered on January 1, the anniversary of the 1st Brethren Missionary Journey. May the optimism and hope of Christian Hope become our hope through out this year.

Reference: The Brethren Encyclopedia