David Jones: Pioneer Missionary to Madagascar

David Jones was one of the first missionaries to Madagascar during the early 1800s.  He faced many hardships, but pressed on for the Gospel’s sake.  Through his faithful labors, he developed a written language system for Malagasy (still in use today). Shortly thereafter he, with the help of coworkers and Malagasy nationals, translated the entire Bible into the Malgasasy language.  The Word of the Lord spread rapidly and had free course among the people.  But within 20 years of Jones’ arrival, severe persecution took place at the hand of Queen Ranavalona, including the enslaving and killing of many believers.  God used the affliction to purify His people; and, as so often is the case amongst the persecuted, to strengthen and spread His kingdom in Madagascar.  The years of trial were followed by a period of religious freedom, after which came the bondage of European colonization.  To this day, millions of Malagasy have never heard the true Gospel.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

Daniel put together the video posted above for a class project several years ago.  At that time, the population of Madagascar was 18 million.  The census now reports over 20 million.  (It seems that ever since we’ve been researching this country, the population has grown at a rate of 1 million per year!)


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Daniel Threlfall

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09 2009

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  1. Jill Kirby #

    David Jones married in to my family in Mauritius…I have many of his letters from the London Missionary Society and on July 20th 1821 he married Marie Anne Mabille she was 19 years old, she was the childless widow of John Armstrong part of the Royal Navy in Mauritius during the 1810 war. Marie Anne Mabille is the sister of my 3rd Great Grandmother Josephine Elizabeth Mabille….associated also is the Reverend Jean Le Brun from Jersey who also married Coralie Mabille another sister, Jean Le Brun also part of the London Missionary Society helped free the slaves in Mauritius and began a school system for these freed slaves, he is honoured today in Mauritius for his work

  2. Didiey #

    I am reading the history of the start of the Mission in Madagascar and I was deeply touched by the dedication of David Jones and his printer- colleague. We should read those stories and it should be taught in every church to “create” a new zeal to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus- Christ and love for the lost.Who will answer to God’s calling to go on the Mission field? Watch and pray.

  3. 3

    Thanks Jill Kirby. Marie Anne Mabille is my great-great-great grandmother. I knew nothing about her except she was French-Madagascan. Your few sentences have told me more than anything else I have ever read!

  4. Michael Allan #

    I am interested in your video as I am studying early missionaries to Madagascar and Mauritius, in particularly Jean Lebrun.

    Can anybody help please?

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