We think of martyrs who lived a very long time ago, who may have been skinned alive or marched off to be beheaded.
Not too long ago, there were two young girls who went to the same high school. It was a very typical April day.
Later, they were each confronted by the teen gunman. He pointed the gun to one of the girl's heads and shot her point blank and had asked if she believed in God. But he probably knew she did. Many of the students there did believe in God. He went to the other girl and asked her if she believed in God, when she said, "Yes". He shot her, but she lived, and he later died.
- Columbine High school 1999
We can never forget those who have lost their lives so courageously.
Nor can we ever forget the twenty one Coptic Christian farmers who were marched out the day of their execution. There were twenty and one Ghanian, but he later converted to Christianity and said, "Their God, is my God".
All twenty one were lined up side by side kneeling in their orange jumpsuits. Each Christian had his own executioner standing directly behind him. The ISIS executioners were clad in black with their heads completely covered. They stood ready to execute holding their dull butcher knives ready to execute with the deadliest pain possible. Each humble Christian man whispered just before his death, "Lord, Jesus Christ". And it is said, Christ looked compassionately into each humble man's eyes just before their death. - Libya Massacre 2015
We will witness the brave and very heroic souls who died for Christ; Christ, our first martyr, who died for us.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
American Clergyman and Civil Rights Activist
(1929 [assassinated] 1968)
Thomas Baker (missionary)
The incident occurred in the Navosa Highlands of western Viti Levu in July 1867, and the rock used to kill Baker is still displayed in the village of Nabutatau. The soles of his leather sandals, which were also cooked by the cannibal tribe, are in Fiji Museum in Suva. Records show that Baker was killed and eaten as a result of him touching a chief's head, which in Fijian culture, is considered to be very disrespectful.
In July 1867, Baker led a party into the interior of Viti Levu, passing through the Taukei ni Waluvu's Christian enclave on the East bank of the Wainimala River. When Baker met a local chief of Navatusila, Baker presented a British comb as a gift and attempted to persuade him to convert to Christianity. When the chief refused, Baker decided to take his comb back, touching the chief's head as he did so, which was taken as a threat and offense in Fijian customs. In pursuing revenge, a dominant coastal chief, the Chief of Bau, gave a tabua (whale tooth) to the clan to seal the plot to kill the party, and for the body of Thomas Baker to be cannibalised and distributed in the old traditional village of Nabialevu (Nadrau).
Baker was killed along with seven Fijian Christian workers. The Fijians who were cannibalized with Baker were: Setareki Seileka, Sisa Tuilekutu, Navitalai Torau, Nemani Raqio, Taniela Batirerega, Josefata Tabuakarawa, and Setareki Nadu. Two other men, Aisea and Josefa Nagata, escaped the massacre. After Baker's death, the Davuilevu mission was temporarily closed in 1868.
The Uganda Martyrs are a group of 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts to Christianity in the historical kingdom of Buganda, now part of Uganda, who were executed between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887.
They were killed on orders of Mwanga II, the Kabaka (King) of Buganda. The deaths took place at a time when there was a three-way religious struggle for political influence at the Buganda royal court. The episode also occurred against the backdrop of the "Scramble for Africa" – the invasion, occupation, division, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers.
A few years after, the English Church Missionary Society used the deaths to enlist wider public support for the British acquisition of Uganda for the Empire. The Catholic Church beatified the 22 Catholic martyrs of its faith in 1920 and canonized them in 1964.
Publication in Britain of an 1875 letter purporting to be an invitation from the king of Buganda, Muteesa I, to send missionaries, resulted in the arrival of Alexander Mackay of the Anglican Church Missionary Society to Buganda in 1877. A group of French Catholic White Fathers, led by Père Simon Lourdel (Fr. Mapera) appeared two years later. Arab traders from Zanzibar had introduced Islam into the kingdom. This effectively led to a three-way religious struggle for political influence at the Buganda royal court. By the mid-1880s, many had been converted by each of the three groups, and some of the converts held important posts at the king's court. Muteesa himself sympathized with Islam, but many prominent chiefs had become Christians.
Marcus Whitman & Narcissa Whitman 1847
Marcus Whitman (September 4, 1802 – November 29, 1847) was an American physician. In 1836, Marcus Whitman led an overland party by wagon to the West. Whitman and his wife Narcissa, Narcissa Whitman (March 14, 1808 – November 29, 1847) along with Reverend Henry Spalding and his wife Eliza and William Gray, founded a mission at present day Walla Walla, Washington in an effort to convert local Indians to Christianity.
Shortly after their wedding, the Whitmans along with the also recently married Henry and Eliza Spalding headed west for the Oregon Country in March 1836 to begin their missionary activities amongst the natives.The journey was by sleigh, canal barge, wagon, river sternwheeler, horseback, and foot.
In the winter of 1842 Whitman returned east, returning the following summer with the first large wagon train across the Oregon Trail. The new settlers encroached on the Cayuse Indians living near the Whitman Mission and were unsuccessful in their efforts to Christianize the Tribe.
Following the deaths of a large number of nearby Cayuse from an outbreak of measles, some remaining Cayuse accused Marcus Whitman of murder, suggesting that he had administered poison and was a failed shaman. In retaliation, a group of Cayuse killed the Whitmans and twelve other settlers on November 29, 1847, an event that came to be known as the Whitman Massacre. Continuing warfare between settlers and Indians reduced the Cayuse numbers further.