Misi by Rev. Oscar Michelsen

Oscar Michelsen [1844-1936]

Oscar Michelsen [1844-1936] was a Norwegian pioneer missionary in the islands of the New Hebrides (now Vanuata) in the Pacific Ocean. In this book he tells the story of his work there, which led to the transformation of the islands.

My thanks to Redcliffe College for making a copy of this public domain title available for digitisation.

Oscar Michelsen [1844-1936], Misi. London & Edinburgh: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, Ltd., [1934]. Hbk. pp.238. [Click to visit the download page for this title]

Contents

  • Forword
  • Author’s Note
  • The Snowflakes
  1. Early Life in Norway
  2. Firt Efforts in Christian Service
  3. Colportage Work in Otago
  4. An Opened Door
  5. Arrival at the New Hebrides
  6. My Year at Nguna
  7. Beginning Work at Tongoa
  8. Early Converts abd Experiences
  9. Extending Influence
  10. Return to Tongoa after Furlough
  11. The Flight to Selembanga
  12. Return to Panita
  13. Some Outstanding Tongoans
  14. Road Making
  15. South East of Epi
  16. Some Incidents
  17. Visitors to Tongoa
  18. Hurricanes
  19. Farewell and Return
  20. Some Tongoan Chiefs
  21. Languages and Translations
  22. The “Dayspring”
  23. Part of a Changing World
  24. My Last Farewell to Tongoa

Foreword

The venerable author of this book has asked me to write a few words of preface for it; and if I do so, it is with the most profound feeling of inadequacy for the task.

I was the junior lieutenant of H.M.S. Dart when, in 1890, we were sent to make a hydrographic survey of the Shepherd Group, New Hebrides, and of the adjacent waters-then almost unknown to mariners.

Tongoa was our headquarters for a few months while the Survey proceeded, and during that time all of us, from Captain Frederick in command down to the last rating in the ship, came to know and to love Mr. Michelsen.

He had then been for a few years working among the natives of the Group, who, before he began, were described in the Admiralty Sailing Directions as being “dangerous cannibals.” At the time of our arrival, his influence among them during even so short a period had been such that all had “taken the Book,” and had begun to be civilized people. We man-of-war’s men found that we could go fearlessly among them entirely unarmed, even far into the bush, and up the mountains of such large islands as Epi and Emae, to set up our theodolites on their summits; and that we were able to camp ( as I myself did) for weeks at a time on Tongariki, without the least fear of treacherous attack.

This state of affairs had been brought about, as I say, entirely by Oscar Michelsen; and it was through his pluck, his tact, and his personality that the way was made easy for us in the Dart to carry out our work.

It was thanks to him that the charts were easily produced which have permitted vessels of all sizes and classes to navigate those dangerous waters without fear, and thus bring about, through connection with the outside world, the condition of civilization, trade, and prosperity, to which the islanders have now reached.

I say nothing of Christianity itself, which he, first of white men, brought to this region, as I am not competent to do so, and in any case it is out of my province. But anyone, even the greatest sneerer at missionary work (and there are, unfortunately, many ignorant people who do sneer still) who visited the New Hebrides in 1890 must have been struck by the marvellous difference between the natives of the Christian and of the heathen islands-all of them men of the same race.

In the first-named, one landed among smiles, and to the outstretched hand of peace and friendship; and one found the same even in the hill villages, far inland.

In the heathen islands only a few miles distant one was met with scowls, blackened faces, and muskets; while the treacherous club was ever ready to fall from behind on the skull of any white man who should be sufficiently venturesome to move even a few hundred yards along the dark bush-track in from the beach.

All honour, then, to the pioneers of “peace, goodwill towards men” – and now let me stand aside and allow one of the most successful among them to tell the story of fifty years of this thrilling work for the good of mankind.

BOYLE T. SOMERVILLE, C.M.G.
Vice Admiral.
September, 1934.

Pages ix-xi

Cannibals Won For Christ – Oscar Michelsen

Oscar Michelson [1844-1936], Cannibals Won For Christ. A Story of Missionary Perils and Triumphs in Tongoa, New HebridesOscar Michelsen’s account of his work among the islanders of the  New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) in the Pacific Ocean. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing me with a copy to scan. This book is now in the Public Domain.

Oscar Michelsen [1844-1936], Cannibals Won For Christ. A Story of Missionary Perils and Triumphs in Tongoa, New Hebrides. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, [1893]. Hbk. pp.188. [Click to visit the download page for this title]

Contents

Introduction

  1. Tongoa, Past and Present
  2. The Missionary to Tongoa
  3. The Field Surveyed
  4. Making Friends
  5. Progress Under Difficulties
  6. Joys and Sorrows
  7. A Flight for Life
  8. New Mission Quarters
  9. Cannibals Rescued From Cannibals
  10. Another Change of Locale
  11. Day by Day on Tongoa
  12. An Unexpected Cloud
  13. Cannibalism and Its Horrors
  14. Three Tongoan Martyrs
  15. Native Superstitions: A Religion of Dread
  16. Two Wrecks: A Contrast
  17. How Tongoan Christians Die
  18. Some Tongoan “Institutions”
  19. A Question of Custom
  20. Present Condition of the Mission
  21. The Queensland Kanaka Traffic
  22. Notes and Incidents

Appendix –
The New Hebrides Mission
The Islands and the People

Introduction

An account of what is being done in a far-away corner of the earth, and the story of one who has nobly elected to go forth and preach the Gospel to islanders steeped in savage heathenism, must necessarily be of deep interest to faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time, it must commend itself to those who wonder why any one should take the trouble to leave home to teach savages. Consequently, such a narrative as that of my dear friend, Mr. MICHELSEN, needs but little introduction; it speaks for itself. in all its simplicity. It relates the wonderful dealings of a loving Father, who can keep a single servant of His unharmed, though surrounded by savages thirsting for his blood; who would stop at nothing in the accomplishment of their object, were it not that there is One who can restrain the fierceness of man, and make it turn to His praise. [Continue reading]