These short, pithy quotes were gleaned from early missionaries, most of whom have been on the cutting edge of the three eras or waves of the modern missionary movement which began just prior to the 19th century (Ralph Winter's classification): the Coastland Era (1800-1910), the Inland Era (1865-1980), and the Unreached Peoples Era (1935-present). Three of these quotes are from prior to the modern movement:
"That land is henceforth my country which most needs the gospel."
--Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760, missions pioneer who travelled extensively throughout Europe, North America, and the West Indies and helped spur the Moravian missiomary movement which extended from the West Indies and the Guianas in the 1730's, to North America and Greenland, and subsequently into Africa and Asia)
"I love to live on the brink of eternity."
--David Brainerd (1718-1747, Presbyterian missionary to the Seneca and Delaware Indians of New York and New Jersey, he died at age 29 of tuberculosis but his posthumous diary was used mightily of God to spur others on to greater missionary devotion)
"I will lay my bones by the Ganges that India may know there is one who cares."
"...remember the perishing nations."
--Alexander Duff (1806-1878, pioneer Scottish missionary to India was a student of Thomas Chalmers' strong education emphasis and founded the largest mission school in India)
"Tell the students to give up the small ambitions, to come eastward to preach the gospel of Christ.
--Francis Xavier (1506-1552, famous pioneer Roman Catholic missionary to Japan, Goa, and Malay)
"All my friends are but one, but He is all sufficient."
--William Carey (1761-1834, pioneer Baptist missionary to India and 'father of modern missions' as the publisher of Enquiry into the Christian's missionary obligation)
"The longing of my heart is to make known my glorious Redeemer to those who have never heard."
--William Chalmers Burns (1815-1868, Scottish pioneer missionary to China who had been involved in the Scottish revival of 1839, he preached widely over China, vigorously opposed the odious opium and coolie trades, and wore Chinese apparel)
"God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply."
"Brother if you would enter that province, you must go forward on your knees."
"I have found that there are three stages in every work of God; first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done."
--James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905, medical missionary to China, founded China Inland Mission, a pioneer of the "Inland Era", wore Chinese clothes)
"All the resources of the Godhead are at our disposal."
--Jonathan Goforth (1859-1936, Canadian Presbyterian missionary to China who caught the vision of missions while reading Robert Murray McCheyne, great soul-winner, Jonathan and his wife Rosalind saw 5 of their 11 children die in China)
"I will open Africa to the gospel or die trying."
--Rowland Victory Bingham (1872-1942, Canadian missionary pioneer born in Britain, founder of Sudan Interior Mission, now SIM, his two missionary partners, Gowans and Kent died within a year of arriving in the interior of the Sudan -now northern Nigeria- in 1893)
"They are making a living when they should be making a life."
"The history of missions is the history of answered prayer...It is the key to the whole mission problem. All human means are secondary."
"I feel now that Arabia could easily be evangelized within the next thirty years if it were not for the wickedness of selfish Christians."
--Samuel Marinus Zwemer (1867-1952, American pioneer missionary to the Middle East as well as other Muslim lands, Princeton Seminary professor, scholar, missiologist, prolific writer about missions and Islam, founder and editor for 37 years of the journal The Moslem World)
"The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner."
--William Cameron ("Uncle Cam") Townsend (1896-1982, American missionary in Guatamala, fonder of Wycliffe Bible Translators)
"Why do you need a voice when you have a verse."
--Jim Elliot (20th century martyr among the Aucas or Waodanis in Ecuador)
"It's amazing what can be accomplished if we don't worry about who gets the credit."
--Clarence W. Jones (founder of HCJB Radio in Quito, Ecuador, and of the World Radio Missionary Fellowship)
"Let us press on. All Africa must be won for Christ. Though a thousand missionaries die, send me."
--Andreas Rias (missionary to Africa)
"From my many years' experience I can unhesitatingly say the cross bears those who bear the cross."
--Sadhu Sundar Singh (India Christian, advocate of indiginous missions)
"Had I cared for the comments of people, I should never have been a missionary."
--Charles Thomas (C. T.) Studd (1863-1931, British pioneer missionary to China, India, and Africa, and one of the famous 'Cambridge Seven')
"And thus I asprie to reach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man's foundation."
--the Apostle Paul