Black Missionaries Making History – Lloyd and Jan Chinn

IMG_0035Thank you for reading my blog during African American History Month as I highlighted some of my heroes. There are a few more after this one.  I hope that you have learned a lot and that your heart has been turned toward missions.  If the desire to serve has been ignited please email me at j.chinn@worldventure.com and it will be my great pleasure to walk with you along the road to serve Our King across the world.


Lloyd and Jan Chinn are native to Texas. Lloyd from Edna, TX and Jan from Houston, TX.

In 1999, Lloyd was invited to Ghana, West Africa on a short term mission. Lloyd and Jan had never even met a missionary and had no desire to enter into missionary service; they scarcely knew where Africa was – and had never heard of Ghana. God provided the funds for the journey and they took that as confirmation that Lloyd was to go. God spoke to Lloyd clearly on that trip that Africa would be his context of ministry.  In 2000 they took all of their children and 22 other people to the same little town in Ghana – and on that trip, Jan’s experience opened her eyes to the need for discipleship in Ghana. Lloyd’s firm message to the African American church became: “Pray! Pay! or Pack!”

In 2002, Lloyd and Jan were appointed as long term missionaries with CBInternational ( now WorldVenture) and opened a new field of ministry in Ghana. Their mission agency was concerned that as African Americans, they wouldn’t be able to raise the financial support – but God had another plan! The Chinn’s had unprecedented support from the African American church in Texas. In 2004, the Chinns sold everything they owned and boarded a plane with one way tickets to Ghana, West Africa!  It wasn’t easy – they did not have a team; they did not know the language or culture; they had to send their sons to boarding school in Senegal; they endured loneliness; the pain of being misunderstood; the hurt of being taken advantage of; a complete change of systems and culture and yet – they persevered. The Chinn’s ability to move to Ghana as a family and have effective ministry was God’s anointing. God called them to it and He equipped them for it. Lloyd and Jan as well as their sons learned the Asante Twi language and developed friendships in both national and local government and across denominations in Ghana and learned to submit to the leaders in the church and in the community which gained them respect and love in the country. The Chinns served in Ghana for 10 years mainly in Pastoral Leadership Development. The needs of the community in Nkwanta led them to also engage in Orphan Care, Educational Development, Women’s Empowerment and Community Economic Development.

In 2013, they returned to the USA on a home assignment which was supposed to last 10 months. During their first few months in the US, the leadership of WorldVenture called and asked them to take on the role of International Ministries Director for Africa. In March 2014, they stepped in to this new role where they are now missionaries to the missionary; providing pastoral care, leadership development and strategic planning assistance for 108 missionary units (some families; some singles) in 13 countries across Africa. They are the first African Americans to serve in this capacity with their mission. Lloyd also serves with MANI (the Movement for African National Initiatives).

If you want to serve in Africa — get in contact with them, they’ll show you the way! Email them at Africa@WorldVenture.com or at missions@crossoverbf.com

Black Missionary History – Amanda Berry Smith

smith_amanda_berryEvangelist and missionary Amanda Berry Smith (1837-1915) became well known for her beautiful voice and inspired teaching and hence, opportunities to evangelize in the South and West opened up for her.

In 1876, she was invited to speak and sing in England travelling on a first class cabin provided by her friends. The captain invited her to conduct a religious service on board and she was so modest that the other passengers spread word of her and resulted in her staying in England and Scotland for a year and a half.

She next traveled to and ministered in India, then spent eight years in Africa (Egypt, Sierra Leone, Liberia) working with churches and evangelizing. While in Africa she suffered from repeated attacks of “African Fever” but persisted in her work. In her journal entry for February 5, 1884 she writes:

“Second Gospel Temperance meeting. Surely the Spirit of the Lord is with us, and He is blessing us greatly. Not so much liberty in speaking, but God is with us, and we are expecting great things. Oh, Lord, for Jesus’ sake, answer prayer, and send us the Holy Ghost to quicken and revive us.”

She founded the Amanda Smith Orphans’ Home for African-American children in a suburb of Chicago. She was called “God’s image carved in ebony.” Amanda Smith retired to Sebring, Florida in 1912 due to failing health. She died in 1915 at the age of 78.

Amanda has one of very few written autobiographies by black americans of that time period.  You can read her an electronic copy of her autobiography “An Autobiography. The Story of the Lord’s Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith the Colored Evangelist; Containing an Account of Her Life Work of Faith, and Her Travels in America, England, Ireland, Scotland, India, and Africa, as an Independent Missionary”at this link –  Autobiography of Amanda Smith

Black Missionary History – Henry Curtis and Bessie McDowell

McDowellsHenry Curtis and Bessie McDowell went to serve in Angola in 1917. They were co-founders of the Galangue Mission.  The Galangue Mission was the first mission founded and staffed by African Americans in Angola and was administered by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM).

In 1930, at a service commemorating fifty years of Congregational missions in Angola, the Galangue mission choir, under the leadership of Bessie McDowell, introduces a new song. It is Bessie’s own Ovimbundu translation of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” by the brothers James Weldon and J. Rosamond Johnson; commonly known as the “Negro National Anthem.” On that date, as Henry writes, “Galangue has made the first step, so far as I know, in making ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’ the international anthem.”

 

Black Missionary History – John Stewart

john-stewartJohn Stewart was a missionary to the Wyandotte Indians of Ohio and founder of what is often considered the first Methodist mission in America. Stewart was born in Virginia in 1786 to free Negro parents.  Stewart joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1815 Stewart felt that he was being called to spread the word of God among the Indians and set out on a journey to complete this calling. His first stop was in Goshen, Ohio, where he stayed for almost six months. After this he moved to Sandusky, Ohio where he worked among the Wyandotte Indians.

Stewart was able to successfully convert both chiefs and tribal members to Christianity, a feat which leaves him with the credit of starting the first highly successful Methodist mission among the Indians of the United States. On August 7, 1819, the Ohio Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church established the first official mission to the Indians based largely on the work that Stewart had completed among the Wyandotte. Stewart died on December 17, 1823 at the age of 37.

Black Missionary History – John Marrant

john-marrant2John Marrant, was born June 15, 1755 in New York City. He converted to Christianity at 13 and his family did not agree with his new religion, so he left home – wandering to find a place and was rescued by a Native American hunter. The tribe sentenced him to die, but his prayers and sermons reached their hearts and they spared his life. He lived among the Native Americans many converted. He was only 14 years old when he began this ministry.

In 1782 Marrant started training as a Methodist minister, and was ordained in 1785. He was sent to Nova Scotia to minister to African-Americans who fled to the north. Marrant started a church in the free black town of Birch Town (which Native Americans also attended) with the purpose of igniting a fire among Blacks to walk in their divine destiny and authority. Marrant preached this message consistently during his three years in Nova Scotia.  When Marrant left Nova Scotia he moved to Boston and became chaplain of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons, one of the first institutions in Massachusetts to call for the abolition of slavery. Due to this group’s work, Boston abolished the slave trade in 1788.

In 1789 while in Boston, Marrant preached one of his few sermons that has been preserved on the equality of all men before God. His stay in Boston and his preaching on the dignity of all men infuriated some people and Marrant lived amidst death threats and mobs.  He became Chaplain of He left for England in 1790 and died in 1791 at the age of only thirty-six.

Marrant authored three books. They were often transcribed by white writers and resold with no financial benefit to Marrant.

  1. A Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealings with John Marrant, A Black, 1785. (a popular biographical memoir that printed 17 editions)
  2. A Sermon Preached on the 24th Day of June 1789…at the Request of the Right Worshipful the Grand Master Prince Hall, and the Rest of the Brethren of the African Lodge of the Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons in Boston, 1789. (noting the equality of men before God)
  3. A Journal of the Rev. John Marrant, from August the 18th, 1785, to the 16th of March, 1790.

He died April 15, 1791 in London.

“So we see here the greatest enemies of Christ’s church frequently make a great profession, and have a name or an office in the church, when at the same time are destitute of the vital power of true godliness; they live by a name themselves, and they want a great many names to be set down in their society books to make a fair shew; but they care nothing about real religion; from such religion as this, good Lord deliver us.” John Marrant