The sailing of the mission ship Duff was an event to remember. Thirty missionaries and their families set out from England to the South Pacific in August 1796. The morning was foggy, but the crowds were celebrative, singing hymns and offering prayers. The ship crossed the horizon and seven months later, on Saturday, March 4, 1797, the missionaries landed safely on Tahiti. The next day they held a worship service, then set to work.

The Duff’s captain, a Christian, was entrusted with the responsibility of seeing the missionaries established on various islands in the region. After several weeks on Tahiti, he felt secure enough to leave some of the workers there and take others to neighboring islands. He planted ten missionaries on Tonga, then proceeded to the islands of the Marquises to deposit two men, William Crook and John Harris.

But an unexpected problem arose, one that their theological and missions training had not equipped the preachers to handle. No sooner had the ship anchored than beautiful naked native women swam out to welcome the missionaries. Crook and Harris nervously bundled their things and went ashore.

Such curious crowds met the two that Crook became separated from Harris and found himself alone with the chief’s wife. To his horror, she immediately began seeking his attentions. When he refused, she seemed bewildered. As it turned out, she wondered if he was, in fact, a man. Resolving to find out, she and a mob of other women attacked Harris during the night and conducted a “practical examination” to clear up the matter.

The Duff’s crew found Harris sitting on the beach the next morning, suffering from shock, humiliated, and very anxious to leave. The work in the Marquises was abandoned. The work on Tonga proceeded with difficulty. The Tahiti mission showed more promise and eventually led to many conversions.

Joseph was well-built and handsome, and Potiphar’s wife soon noticed him. One day, Joseph went to Potiphar’s house to do his work, and none of the other servants were there. Potiphar’s wife grabbed hold of his coat and said, “Make love to me!” Joseph ran out of the house leaving her hanging onto his coat. (Genesis 39:6b-7a,11–12)

Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). Mar.3.

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