Charles Stewart Thompson

Charles Stewart Thompson, was the first medical missionary in Kherwara Chhaoni in Rajputana, the Bhils region of Central India. His schools, famine relief centers, and medical service transformed care in the region. He was the first medical missionary to the Bhils, one of India’s largest and oldest tribes. Born in a Christian family, Thompson regularly attended the local village church, which helped him grow in his faith.

Birth : 17-08-1851
Home Calling : 19-05-1900
Native Place : Easington
Country : United Kingdom
Place of Vision : India

Followed by his medical training at the College of Islington, he was accepted by the Church Mission Society, which appointed him as a missionary to the Bhils of India.

In 1881, he arrived at Kherwara mission station in Rajasthan, where he started his ministry as a medical missionary. However, Thompson’s plan to use his medical work to connect with the Bhils and gain them for Christ was unsuccessful.

Charles Stewart Thompson ministry in India

The Bhils of this region did not believe in western medicine and considered English doctors violating their bodies. Therefore, to gain the people’s trust, he ditched the hospital infrastructure and sat under a tree to administer medical treatment. Gradually, this makeshift arrangement proved successful, and hundreds of people visited him from the surrounding villages daily to get their ailments treated.

For the next 16 years, he traveled to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, provided medical care, and established clinics and dispensaries. While treating the people, he also shared the Gospel with them. He also established several schools and published a prayer book in the Bhil dialect. His way of evangelism was personal and never asked people to accept Christ for physical benefits.

Due to his efforts, the people slowly renounced their Bhil beliefs and traditions and started to believe in Christ. When the Chappania famine (1899-1900) hit the Bhils very hard, Thompson single-handedly established several relief centers and saved thousands of children from possible death. During that time, he fell ill from Cholera, cease from all his earthly labors, and went to be with the Lord.

Thompson’s work laid the foundation for later mission works in the Bhil region. Though it took several years for him to achieve his first conversion, his pioneering work among the Bhils yielded fruits much later enjoyed by his successors.

Beloved, are you worried about the spiritual and physical needs of the people around you?

Take away from the article

“Lord, help me to serve You by serving those in need. Amen!”

Word of Prayer

Charles Stewart Thompson

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