Courage, self-possession, fortitude, faith, and tenacity are among the words that may be used to describe the character qualities of many a modern missionary. But few have matched the Scotsman John Paton in manifesting these qualities.
Sent as a missionary to the island of Tanna, in the New Hebrides, Paton found himself caught up in a web of constant intrigue and treachery, the pressures of which would have broken the spirit of most men in short order.
Literally driven from the island, Paton settled on another, Aniwa. It was here that the oft-related incidents of the talking chip and the rain from the earth took place. Here, also, the seeds of the gospel dramatically took root, and Paton saw results that amply made up for the disappointments of Tanna.
The story of John Paton is well told by the veteran writer Virgil E. Robinson, whose narratives have been avidly read by generations of Adventist youth.