Then and Now

Missions History

INDIA: Early Roots

Tradition places the Apostle Thomas in India in AD 52. Other Christians came in the fourth century, but mostly Catholic priests worked until William Carey came in 1793.

Christians Today: 2.4 million Baptists are present in India, along with about 5 million Protestants.


Columbus spotted the Virgin Islands in 1493, and desired to bring Catholicism to the inhabitants. Forced conversions immediately followed, and little missionary work of any kind was done among the native population until the Moravians came in 1732.

Christian Majority: The Gospel has spread rapidly in the islands. Now the primary denomination in the Virgin Islands is Baptist. (It is unknown if potlucks have also risen in proportion.)

JAPAN: Rough Start

Catholic Jesuit priests were expelled in 1614, and the emperor of Japan ordered a general massacre of the Catholic population when he became convinced that European priests were plotting to overthrow him. All missionaries remained under suspicion for centuries.

Post War: Japan experienced a radical shift in policy after World War II. Douglas McArthur called for 1,000 missionaries to come, but the response fell short. Today, Christianity (all groups considered Christian) make up 1.5% of the 125+ million population in Japan.

PHILIPPINES: Beaten to the Punch

Makhdum Karim brought Islam to the Philippines in 1380, and Catholics followed two centuries later. Catholicism dominated, but not without a fight.

Modern Miracle: The country opened to missionaries in 1898 when the US acquired the country, and the Baptists came. Through pioneering work from men such as Dr. Bob Hughes and Dr. Rick Martin, biblical Christianity has taken root in the predominantly Catholic population.

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