John Hands

John Hands biography, is one of the lesser-known missionaries who served Lord in Karnataka for more than three decades. John finished his studies at Gosport, England. He was ordained for the Kannada Mission in India by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1809. Immediately he set out for India and reached Madras on 5th May 1810. He then proceeded to Bellari and established a mission station which became his center of ministerial work for the next 30 years.

Birth: 05-12-1780
Home Calling: 30-06-1864
Native Place: Dublin
Country: Ireland
Place of Vision: Karnataka, India

He commenced the Kannada language study and simultaneously started compiling a dictionary. He also published a Kannada grammar book, which is still referred to, for Kannada literary works. His ultimate aim was to provide the Kannada people with the Bible in their own language.

John particularly believed in education in one’s mother tongue. Hence, in 1811, he established and popularized the Kannada Medium schools in and around Bellari. He also established a church where services were conducted in Kannada.

John Hands ministry in India

As the ministry was flourishing, John lost his wife Sarah Silversmith within a couple of years of his arrival in India. John too became very weak due to the intense ministry burden and unsuitable weather conditions. Yet, at that time he took up the responsibility of translating the Bible into Kannada. Assisted by a few other missionaries, John completed the Kannada Bible translation and successfully published it in 1831.

But due to severe illness, he left for London in 1835 to recuperate. From there he went to St. Petersburg, Russia to minister among the Anglo-American church for a couple of years. Although he couldn’t completely recover, his heart longed to come back to Bellari to continue the mission. Hence he returned to Bellari in 1838. There he established a printing press that revolutionized the Christian literature ministry in the next decades.

However, ill-health compelled him to leave India in 1841. In London, he continued to work as an advisor for a missionary society till his last breath.

Beloved, are you willing to be hidden and God be glorified through your ministry?

Take away from the article

“Lord, may I be less known and You be greatly glorified among the people. Amen!”

Word of Prayer

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