The first Baptist missionary to a foreign land was not William Carey or Adoniram Judson, but a little-known former slave who took the gospel to Jamaica nearly a decade before Carey departed England for India.
Speaking to the largest new student class ever at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as returning students, faculty and staff, president Daniel Akin held up the example of George Leile by preaching from Gal. 6:11-18 in fall convocation August 24.
Leile was a freed slave from Georgia who, in 1782, left his native land for Jamaica to preach the Gospel and plant a church. Though he is underappreciated today, Akin said his work predates Carey, the Father of the Modern Missions Movement, by a decade.
Akin has made a habit in recent years of wedding the life of a pioneer missionary to textual exegesis in some sermons, the first five of which were published in a book called Five Who Changed The World. During this sermon, Akin taught that by looking at the passage and the life of Leile, one could gain insight into a cross-centered ministry.
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