On This Day in UB History: March 1

Joseph and Mary Gomer

Joseph and Mary Gomer

On March 1, 1871, Joseph Gomer became the first missionary to set foot in the village of Harrowtown in Sierra Leone. As he would write, “Satan has it all his own way there.”

Joseph Gomer and his wife, Mary, arrived in Sierra Leone in January 1871. They settled into our mission station in Shenge, where no missionaries had served for nearly two years. Up to that point, our work in Sierra Leone had been difficult and disappointing. But under their leadership, things really took off.

After less than two months in the country, Gomer journeyed up-river about 30 miles to Harrowtown. He was accompanied by Tom Tucker, who had been converted in 1858 through a previous missionary–one of our first two converts in Sierra Leone.

Gomer and Tucker spent two days in Harrowtown. People said they had never been told about the God of heaven or of Jesus Christ. In one case, Gomer talked for 30 minutes, with Tucker translating. When Gomer stopped, Tucker told him, “They want you to tell them some more.” So he did.

The next day, one woman said Gomer’s words had kept her up all night. She had always thought there must be some other God than the ones she worshipped. She promised to not worship her tribal gods anymore.

Gomer wrote, “She is the head-man’s wife, and I think she is sincere.”

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