Imagine loving a people group so much that you would walk about 1,200 miles to help them relocate to a new place. During the walk, many died and became extremely ill. You would watch 71 people die during this horrible pilgrimage from the land you knew they rightfully deserved.
But because you love these people, your going to stay with them where they go.
I found some discouragement reading about different missionaries to the Natives because I didn’t see much true passion for the people it seemed. Then one day I fell upon some writings about a missionary named Evan Jones. His story seemed so interesting to me because he had the balance of seeing Social Needs and having theological conviction.
Jones was born in Wales and eventually moved to North Carolina by the age of 33. He became a missionary with the Baptist Foreign Mission Board and focused on the Cherokee in Georgia. His wife died February 5th 1831, 10 years after their family had settled in North Carolina.
Here are some brief facts about Evan Jones that make him a remarkable person to me…
– Evan Jones helped make The Cherokee Messenger. A newspaper that was printed in the Cherokee language with translations of different books of the bible in Cherokee(He eventually translated the whole bible) with several great christian books like The Pilgrims Progress.
– Evan Jones was so against the Indian Removal Act that he rode horseback from North Carolina to Boston in record time to convince his denomination(American Baptist) to condemn the removal, which they did.
– Evan Jones lived and died among the Cherokee and many consider the ministries of his and long-time friend Jesse Bushyhead to have had the most conversions among Native Americans.
– Evan Jones actually helped lead a detachment of Cherokees and walked the Trail of Tears alongside the people he loved. His group began with 1,250 people and by the end were 1,033 along with 71 deaths and 5 births. He was followed by Jesse Bushyhead’s group who started at 950, arrived with 898, 38 deaths and 6 births.
– Evan Jones was so loved among the Cherokee that he and his family were admitted into full tribal membership in 1868.
When looking at the life of this mildly known Missionary, be encouraged by a life that was spent for others. Be encouraged that in spite of a horrible history where sinful systems like slavery were used in the name of Christianity, there were still Missionaries who loved the people so much that they would even walk the trail of tears with these people.