Missionaries of 1800s - a hardy few
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While most of the Church's 500,000 missionaries of this dispensation served during the past 20 years, the foundation for their work was laid by missionaries of the prior century.
Missionaries during the 1800s were few in number, but they willingly faced the world with its myriad of challenges. Only about 13,000 served in the 70 years between 1830 and 1900 - an average of 186 per year - but their dedication and hardiness led to great contributions to the work.Representative of those early missionaries was Elder Philip S. Maycock of Salt Lake City, who was called to Germany in 1896, but later traveled through Syria in his assignment to serve as president of the Turkish Conference. Following are excerpts from his journal:
Left Salt Lake City on my mission to Germany July 15, [1896T, . . . Many friends and relatives were at the station to bid us goodbye, and their good wishes gave us much cheer for our journey.
Aug. 15: Arrived in Stuttgart. . . . At the station the boys greeted us in German and would speak nothing else with us. At first we thought they were German Saints whom the elders had sent to meet us. In vain did I repeat to them that they would have to excuse us as we could talk little or no Deutsch.
Dec. 10: Visited three villages on the west of Stuttgart, Rohr being one of them. In Rohr we called on the school master, the mayor and the minister in the endeavor to obtain a place to hold a meeting. As the minister was strongly opposed to us, we were unsuccessful in our attempt. . . .
Aug. 18, [1897T: Arose at half past four, and with Bros. Olsen, Cannon, and Larson, assembled at hill lying about an hour south of Bern office. On the way up the sun rose, presenting the most beautiful view of sunrise I have ever beheld. Returned about 8 o'clock . . . In the evening, Bro. . . . McMurrin set me apart as president of the Turkish mission.
Oct. 4: [en route to SyriaT We were aroused about twelve o'clock midnight and told to get up. . . . About two a.m. we were told to get on the carriage for a continuation of our journey. It was rather cold traveling at night, otherwise pleasant. We were not lonely wanderers on the highway, for hundreds of camels, horses, mules and donkeys in caravans passed us. . . . The stillness of the night is continuously broken by the jingle of camel bells, and the gruff voice of the Arab caravan guiders. It is an interesting sight to see from twenty to a hundred camels, heavily laden with various wares, strung out one behind the other and bound by rope to it, and led by a dusky son of Ishmael, who is seated on an insignificant donkey.
Jan. 1, : Made a happy "debut" in the morning. . . . We went to the bath house where arrangements had been made with the owner of the place for the use of a large tank for baptizing of the applicant for entrance into the Church. The water was cold. According to the wishes of the man, I baptized him. . . . It was my first baptism. As it was on the first day of the new year, I hope it presages a prosperous course throughout.
Oct. 5 [In Aleppo] Here we were introduced to the inside of a Syrian home. After wandering through a number of narrow passages, we stood blank against a well-ironed door in a wall of solid stone. We were admitted in response to a call by the knocker to a court or yard, paved with stone from which one might enter various rooms of the house. When a house is of two stories, the roof is part of the house and serves as court for the family above. Soon a huge platter was placed in the yard on a stool and a pan of very palatable food was put thereon. We were invited to partake, and of course, willingly did so.
Mar 15 : We arose early and began a journey about six a.m. across a rather barren country. Around four p.m. we sighted Aintak [Antakya?T. Some of the local brethren met us on the edge of the city. When we got into town, many people were on the streets in crowds to view us. We went to the house prepared for the visiting brethren and there rejoiced to met Apostle Anthon H. Lund. . . .
March 6: [Sunday] Fast morning, early in the morning Bro. Hintze baptized another person, later we met in meeting. The room was filled. All there baptized were confirmed, besides five others who had previously been baptized. There were also twenty two children blessed. . . .
As we were coming to the meeting we found small crowds gathered to see us. One crowd of boys greeted us with yells, soon after the meeting began. The crowd outside the yard, broke down the gate and entered the yard and began to crowd into the meeting room. The roofs of all the surrounding houses were crowded. In all there were perhaps five hundred persons. The noise and demonstration became so great that it was deemed wise not to hold another meeting, and also to prolong the meeting in progress no longer than necessary to do the confirming.
Bro. Hintze addressed the crowd, and also got them out of the yard once, but they were soon back. Once stones were thrown on the roof, and on leaving, Bro. Larson was struck with some small stones. Indeed, did the excitement run high. In the afternoon we separated and visited a number of families where small congregations were found. In the evening we again came together with a number of the saints, and in singing and conversation, had an enjoyable time. Brother Hintze left for a short time, in order to baptize three more persons, who returned with him and were confirmed in the assembly.
- Elder Maycock later completed his mission by visiting sites in the Holy Land. He returned to Salt Lake City, attended university and was called to the general board of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association. A promising future was cut short by his untimely death in 1907.