Calvin Wilson Mateer, was a pioneer Presbyterian missionary in the Shantung province of China. Born into a Christian family, Mateer was deeply influenced by the devotional life of his mother, Mary. She always encouraged her children to carry the gospel to the heathen lands so much that six of her seven children committed themselves to God’s service. After he graduated from Jefferson College in 1855, Mateer joined the Western Theological Seminary.
Then, along with his wife Julia, he sailed to China in 1863 to proclaim the Good News.
In the Shantung province, Mateer arrived in Tengchow, which was an extremely conservative place with strong opposition to the missionaries. He traveled thousands of miles either by foot or on a donkey, itinerating all over Shantung Province.
Calvin Wilson Mateer ministry in China
Despite putting up the best efforts, there were only a handful of converts. He was discouraged by the rampant idolatry, opium usage, and adultery among the local people. Then he realized the need for education to the people before teaching Christianity to them.
Hence, he shifted his focus on the boy’s school run by his wife and made great efforts to change the local education system. They had to face several challenges, including teaching Confucian classics which contradicted the Christian teachings, recruiting Chinese teachers, and handling rebellious children.
Mateer then gradually introduced new measures, including supplementing traditional Chinese education by the disciplines of Western Science, emphasizing Christian character, and keeping the medium of instruction as Chinese. Soon after, the school grew into a Christian college and then became the present Shantung Christian University. He would employ the best student of each class from the college and send them elsewhere in China to build such Christian institutions and increase the borders of the Kingdom of God.
Mateer also made literary contributions in the translation of the New Testament into the Mandarin language. In all difficulties, contradictions and sufferings, Mateer pushed himself to the limits to accomplish great things for Christ in China till his last breath.
Beloved, have you recognized the shortcomings in your ministry and have addressed them?Take away from the article
“Lord, help me remain steadfast in the ministry despite the momentary troubles. Amen!”Word of Prayer
Calvin Wilson Mateer
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