While travelling in Massachusetts a few weeks ago, on holiday, we came across this monument on the back streets of Williamstown, Mass -- home of Williams College. The inscription says that a group of students, sheltering from rain under a haystack in 1806 , gave birth to the American foreign mission movement. Those students went on to form the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission (ABCFM) an interdenominational body largely made up of Congregational churches.
The notion of college students (young adults) spurring on the recovery of commitment to taking the 'good news' to people who have not yet had access to the story of Jesus, has been a recurring theme in Christian history. A century later the Student Volunteer Movement also made similar commitments.
One of the leaders of ABCFM in the mid 1800s was Rufus Anderson one of the early proponents of an indigenous methodology:
The end of the mission was to be "a scriptural, self propagating Christianity" not dependent upon foreign personnel.
An interesting little discovery just wandering through the Berkshire Mountains...