I regularly take missionaries from the Preston Missionary Training Centre on a Church History Tour of Preston and Downham. They are always a delightful mixture of nationalities and often full of surprises. Last week’s tour provided the coming together of descendants from four missionary legends.
The photo above depicts the great, great, great grandchildren of (from left to right): Joseph Fielding, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt and Samuel Smith. All serving at the same time in the MTC and all oblivious until this day of each other’s lineage. The four of them are standing in the churchyard of St. Leonard’s Church of England church in the charming village of Downham.
What was particularly delightful was the coming together of these two Elders – Elder Barlow and Elder Kimball.
Elder Kimball’s surname is a dead giveaway, but Elder Barlow is bit more subtle until you discover that his full name is Joseph Fielding Barlow.
180 years ago their forefathers, Joseph Fielding and Heber C. Kimball, arrived in the village of Downham as missionary companions. Here and in the surrounding villages they had some of their most spiritual experiences of their first mission – events that inspired them for the rest of their lives and ministries.
It is most satisfying to see their descendants carrying on that divine mission.