This is the day that … Allen Francis Gardiner was born in 1794, in Berkshire, England.
After a reckless decade, from age 15 to 25, during which he forsook the Christian heritage his parents had given him, and during which time he had become an English naval officer, Gardiner was confronted by the claims of Christ, as an elderly lady – a friend of his mother’s – wrote to him and quoted John 3:7 – “Ye must be born again.”
This led to his conversion, and in the days that followed Captain Allen Gardiner sailed forth to South America to plant the gospel among the natives of Tierra del Fuego. From 1841 he tried to reach the natives, forming the Patagonian Missionary Society. His attempts to settle there were frustrated by the hostility of the natives. His final attempt, with six men persisted for about a year until he and his men died of exposure and starvation, Gardiner being 57 years of age.
As a result of his heroic example, the South American Missionary Society was born, and still carries on its evangelical work.
Charles Darwin visited Tierra del Fuego in December 1832 and determined that the natives of that land were more distant from humans than domesticated animals. He held little hope for their improvement. But in 1867 Darwin learned of the effective evangelistic work among the natives. Darwin was so impressed that he promptly commenced to support the South American Missionary Society for the remaining 15 years of his life.
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.