BY MARY RAY
Sacred Lessons of
Two Hundred years
ago the first American
I watch the rise and fall of the gentle waves as they lap against the shoreline of Salem
Harbor. It is early morning, and the sun shines warmly as a cool breeze caresses my cheeks.
The quietness is broken by the squawking sound of a hungry seagull flying overhead.
I try to imagine what it must have
been like on the morning of
February 19, 1812, when the
two young brides and their husbands
stood on the deck of the Caravan as
they sailed away from the Salem, Mas-
sachusetts, harbor. There was no
warm sunshine or gentle breeze
on that day, in fact, a heavy snow
had fallen, and it was so bitterly
cold that few people ventured
out to bid the young missionar-
As the ship slowly moved
away from the shore, the cou-
ples gave long and lasting gazes
at those on the pier. Ann and
Adoniram Judson had been
married on the fifth of Febru-
ary of that year, and Harriet and
Samuel Newell on the ninth of
February. Although they were
newlyweds, this was far from
a honeymoon cruise. The ship,
Caravan, had just two masts and
10 • NATIONS
was only ninety feet from stem to stern.
The live animals on deck made it seem
like Noah's Ark. There were chicken
coops and pig pens, which made the
ship smell and sound like a barnyard.
Fresh meat was readily available.
Lingering in the minds of the mis-
sionaries were the memories of their
commissioning service at the Taberna-
cle in Salem on the sixth of February.
The huge church could hardly contain
the more than two thousand people
who had gathered to witness the
ordination of Adoniram Judson,
Gordon Hall, Samuel Nott,
Samuel Newell and Luther Rice.
Those in attendance at this com-
missioning service for the first
missionaries sent from America
to a foreign land would never
forget the electrifying service.
hen it came time
for the laying on
of the hands, the
entire audience broke into audi-
ble sighing and uncontrollable
weeping. This was no ordinary
service; these young people
were literally saying goodbye
forever to family, friends and
homeland. They knew that in