John Gibson Paton

John Gibson Paton, was a Scottish missionary who served in the New Hebrides Islands in South Pacific. He studied at a Parish school and learned the cloth manufacturing trade when he was just 12. He was much influenced by the prayerful life of his father and felt, called by God to serve as a missionary. Eventually, he went to Glasgow University to study theology and medicine.


Birth: 25-04-1824
Death: 28-01-1907
Birth Place: Kirkmahoe
Country: Scotland
Place of Vision: New Hebrides islands

After graduating, he started distributing tracts and did missionary work among the poor in Glasgow. In 1858, he was ordained by the Reformed Presbyterian Church and got deployed to islands in South Pacific for missionary work. Along with his wife Mary Ann Robson, Paton set sail to the South Pacific in 1858 and began to work in Tanna island.

The natives of Tanna were cannibals and were full of superstitious beliefs. His stay on the island was brief yet tragic. There he lost his wife and his infant son to Malaria, within few months.

John Gibson Paton ministry in New Hebrides Islands

He buried them close to his house and stayed awake several nights to protect them from the cannibals. Despite the grief, he continued to minister among the hostile natives who attacked him several times. During one such attack, he was rescued by a missionary ship just in time.

Paton then was sent to Australia to raise funds for the Pacific missions. He traveled to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania to stir-up missionary enthusiasm in the churches. After returning to New Hebrides in 1866, he established a mission station in Aniwa Island. The natives were cannibalistic, cruel, and barbaric quite like those of the Tanna islands.

Nevertheless, Paton learned their language and labored to bring them to Christ. He translated the New Testament into their language and gave them their first hymnbook. Worship services were held regularly despite the dangers from the natives and the diseases. After many years of patient ministry, the entire Aniwa island professed Christ as their Savior.

Beloved, what is your role in stirring up missionary enthusiasm in your community?

Take away from the article

“Lord, help me to install missionary purpose and enthusiasm in others. Amen!”

Word of Prayer