John G. Paton was no stranger to fear and hardship. Born in Scotland in 1824 and raised by a Godly, praying father and mother, John felt the call to the mission field at a young age. He and his young wife set sail for the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific, full of hope and enthusiasm for cannibalistic tribes that lived there. Soon after settling in, Mary gave birth to a son whom they named Peter. Sadly, Mary died 19 days later, followed by her son after two weeks more. John returned to Scotland and eventually married a young woman named Maggie, and returned to Aniwa Island and to the people that he had grown to love. John and Maggie patiently shared their belief in Jesus Christ as they won the respect and confidence of a few of the Aniwa people. Even so, they lived in constant danger and threat of death. One day, something happened that would change their lives forever.
Dusk approached, and along with it the sound of war drums and the impending glow of torches, prompting John G. Paton and his wife Maggie to get down on their knees and pray. John and his wife were warned earlier that day that the tribal chief was plotting to murder them. Angry that his warriors were converting to Christianity, the chief planned to kill the two lone missionaries and discourage foreigners from ever coming to his island again. Throughout the terror-filled night, the committed couple prayed that God would deliver them. As morning came, the couple realized that the drums and torches were gone, and the threat was over, without any explanation.
About a year later, the hostile chief gave his life to Jesus Christ and renounced his cannibalistic ways. Thinking back on this incident, John asked the chief why he did not kill him and his wife that night. The chief replied without hesitation, “We were afraid of your army.” After John assured the chief that he and his wife were alone that night, the chief disagreed and went on to describe what he saw. “We saw hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that my men were afraid to attack.” Solemnly, both men recognized that the beings the chief saw had to be angels.
John and Maggie lived with the Aniwa people for many years, had 10 children, built two houses for orphaned children, a church, a printing house, and a small medical clinic. Before their work was finished, the entire island of Aniwa professed Christianity.
“Faith is not faith until it is all you’re holding on to!”
True Stories of Faith are based on actual events that have happened to people all over the world. Each story recalls a time or episode where faith in God was restored or encouraged through difficult time. Sometimes the names are changed because the significance is not always about to whom the events happened. The significance is about God’s faithfulness and love. Readers are encouraged to submit their true stories of faith to be edited and published in The Kaleidoscope Weekly. Send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. or write to us at Faith Stories; P.O. Box 562; St. James, MO 65559