Henry Nott, the consecrated bricklayer, who, by his heroic sufferings and unwearied labors, opened the door of Tahiti and Polynesia to the sublime tidings of a matchless text: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
I love missions and enjoy reading lots of missionary stories, this past week at a used clothing store I found a little paperback for $ .25 – Gaints of the Missionary Trail.
Reading the story of Henry Nott, missionary to
Here is part of the story –
The most powerful man in
Pomare was very friendly with the missionaries and often came to see them. He always brought a voracious appetite and regularly stayed to eat. His favorite missionary friend, Henry Nott, watched him devour a quantity of vegetables and fruit, two chickens and two pounds of pork at one meal. One of his attendants always fed him; his dignity would not permit him to feed himself. The missionary was amused "to see so stout a man, perhaps the largest in the whole island, fed like a cuckoo."
One day Pomare and his wife, Iddeah, came for a visit, perched as usual on men's shoulders. Several of his attendants carried a large chest. When asked why he brought it, he smilingly replied, "To hold the presents you will be pleased to give me." He specifically asked for twenty axes, ten shirts, sixteen mirrors, twelve scissors, one hundred nails, ten combs, one cast iron pot, one razor and one blanket. When these had been given, he looked around and pointed out a number of other things he especially craved.
The natives were persistent in demanding presents. When the supplies of the missionaries ran low and they ceased to give out gifts with a lavish hand, they were robbed of things they desperately needed and which could not be replaced. Thievery was extremely common; in fact, it was a recognized part of the religion of the Tahitians. One of their gods, Hiro, was the protector of thieves. When they went out to steal, they promised Hiro part of the booty in exchange for his assistance.
The missionaries found a class of people called areois. They blackened their bodies with charcoal and dyed their faces red. They had no occupation but dancing, boxing, wrestling and indulging in acts of buffoonery. They made it a practice to kill their children as soon as they were born. Pomare's chief wife, Iddeah, was a member of this society and had killed three of her children subsequent to the arrival of the missionaries.
Soon after reaching
"We are an ignorant people and this message is good for us," said the king.
“John 3:16 in the only sure and efficacious remedy for the ignorance and superstitions of mankind,” said Henry Nott.
“My ty! Very good!” agreed the people.
This week, let us be about sharing the ‘good news’ of John 3:16.