The letter replicated below is the first letter of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Mission to its out-going missionaries to Siam in 1846. One other missionary from the American Presbyertian Mission had gone to Siam (now Thailland) previously, but he returned to the United States after only a few years because of his wife's health.
It is interesting to note the priorities of the sending church (and its denominational agency) more than 150 years ago, and to compare those priorities to those of missionaries today. Language study was prioritized, as was evangelism, although medical and publishing work were seen as useful primarily as a means to the evangelistic work. While the world has changed greatly in 150 years, this letter reminds me of how much has basically stayed the same in the work of missions and evangelism over the years.
A print copy of this letter may be found in "Historical Sketch of Protestant Missions in Siam 1828-1928"Historical Sketch of Protestant Missions in Siam 1828-1928", edited by G.B. McFarland.
Mission House, New York, 10th July 1846
Rev. S. Mattoon
Dr. S. R. House, M. D
In going out to resume the Mission in Siam, it is proper that you take with you the instructions of the Executive Committee in reference to that field of Missionary labor.
- When you are permitted to enter upon your work, we shall be glad to hear from you once a month or as near these periods as you have an opportunity of sending. Letters by way of Canton will come with those of the brethren to China. Thin paper must be used for one letter a month via Canton overland. Other letters with your Journals, annual reports etc., sent by way of Canton will your reach us by ships from China.