Protestant Christianity in Indochina until 1915

Protestantism was a latecomer to Indochina. The need for Protestants to evangelise Indochina was not noted until 1887 by A. B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA). His fellow Canadian, Robert A. Jaffray (1873-1945), was commissioned by the CMA for south China in 1896. From his headquarters in Wuchow, Jaffray carried out his ministry for China, Indochina and the neighbouring islands. In 1889, Jaffray travelled by boat down the Red River and arrived in Hanoi to explore possibilities for mission, but owing to French hostility he was not able to establish a Protestant mission.

In 1911, Jaffray led two missionaries to Tourane (Da Nang) and was received by Charles Bonnet, of the British and Foreign Bible Society. When Bonnet left for France because of ill health, Jaffray bought his house and turned it into the first Protestant centre. In 1916, Jaffray became the representative of the CMA Indochina Mission. He negotiated with the French governor-general for freedom for Protestant missionaries to work in Vietnam.

Protestants did not begin mission in Cambodia until 1922, when two Americans, D. Ellison and A. Hammon, of the CMA, started to evangelise the Khmers. Ellison founded a Bible school at Battambang in 1925, and Hammon started Bible translation.

The first Protestant missionary to Laos was the American Presbyterian Daniel McGilvray (1828-1911). Ordained in 1857, McGilvray arrived in Thailand in 1858 as a member of the Bangkok Station, Siam Mission. In 1868, he moved to Chiang Mai, the chief city in northern Thailand, and founded a new Presbyterian mission, the Laos Mission. By early 1869, there were six

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