James Kershaw Best

James Kershaw Best biography, was a British missionary who is known for his work in Christianagaram in Tamil Nadu, India. Christianagaram was actually a village called Adhiyakurichi in Tamil Nadu where Rev. Christian Kohlhoff ministered. The villagers renamed their village Christianagaram in his honor. To this place, James Kershaw Best was sent to minister by The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) in 1844.

Birth: 22-08-1811
Home Calling: 05-04-1889
Homeland: England
Place of Vision: India

In his youth, Kershaw was inspired by the ministry of Bishop Spencer and committed his life to the ministry. He came to India in 1844 and began working in Christianagaram. Kershaw built the ministry on the foundations laid by Kohlhoff and concentrated on evangelism in villages.

Amidst the threats and opposition from the Hindus, the love from the believers and promises of God kept him going in the ministry.

Kershaw also had a vision for the holistic development of Christianagaram. He raised funds and constructed the boys’ and girls’ schools, which are still standing today. He initiated infrastructure development and employment generation programs which entirely changed the societal structure in the Tinnelavelli (Tirunelveli) district. He also constructed St. Mark’s church, which was one of the most beautiful structures of its time.

James Kershaw Best ministry in India

But Kershaw’s successful ministry was not without difficulties and sorrows. In 1847, his wife Mary Ann gave birth to a girl who died immediately. The following year another girl was born who too died due to lack of medical facilities. After a few years, they had a third child, a boy, who also died after nine months in 1853. The couple cried every time, and several times thoughts crossed their mind that their children would be alive if they were in England where medical facilities were good. Yet, after the loss of three children, Mary never gave up and encouraged her husband with a smiling face.

In 1856, Kershaw returned to his native place due to bad health. After recovery, he continued missionary work in Europe till he was promoted to Glory in 1899.

Beloved, are you relying on God’s promises and believers’ fellowship to fight the discouragements?

Take away from the article

“Lord, give me strength to rise above discouragements to be steadfast in the ministry. Amen!”

Word of Prayer

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