Samuel Fairbank

Samuel Fairbank biography, Samuel Bacon Fairbank was an American missionary, writer, and translator associated with American Marathi Mission in India. During his studies at Andover Theological Seminary, he was convinced of his call for missionary service. He was ordained by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in 1845 for the ministry in India.

Birth: 14-12-1822
Home Calling: 31-05-1898
Native Place: Stamford
Country: United States of America
Place of Vision: Vadala, India

He arrived in Bombay in 1846 along with his wife and immediately took charge of the printing press. There he supervised the translation, revision, and printing of the Marathi scriptures. He also started writing Marathi Christian tracts and distributed them.

As the ministry was progressing, his wife Abbie Allen fell ill and died in 1852. At the same time, the printing press too was dismantled because of a lack of a sufficient number of people to manage it. Fairbank was only left with questions and doubts.

He went back to America on a brief furlough but returned to the mission in 1857 with renewed hope and promise. He established a mission station at Wadala village near Bombay and began ministering among the Mahar community.

Samuel Fairbank ministry in India

This community was then considered to be untouchables and suffered the atrocities of the upper caste people. Fairbank loved them, gave them medical care, taught them to be civilized and most of all led them into the path of righteousness. He traveled in 82 villages around Wadala in ox-cart which served as his bedroom, kitchen, and storeroom during the journeys.

Fairbank used innovative ideas to attract people to listen to the Gospel. He used to carry a magic lantern (image projector) and showed the people, visual illustrations of the scriptural stories. He also adopted the local folk tunes (kirtans) and used them as an effective mode of evangelism. Apart from Christian literature, Fairbank wrote several schoolbooks including a book on Marathi grammar. He also taught the locals new agricultural practices and helped them increase their productivity.

Fairbank, a man with good humour, honesty, equanimity, and great empathy, went to be with Lord after an exemplary ministry of 52 years.

Beloved, are you turning your setbacks into comebacks with God’s promises?

Take away from the article

“Lord, help me to lean on Your promises and raise above every setback. Amen!”

Word of prayer

Samuel Fairbank

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