Griffith Francis Jones was born in Hamefly, North Wales, in 1864. When he was 15 years old, he chose the sea as his profession and began study to become a sea captain, achieving his certificate of competency in 1890.
On one of his journeys, he discovered a torn piece of paper from the English journal Present Truth. He was about to toss it overboard, but paused to read the content.
The information on the piece of paper would change his life. Accepting as truth the Bible teachings found on the piece of paper, he was baptised in 1893.
About 1900, Captain Jones and his new wife Marian, left England to study an intensive Bible course at Keene Academy, Texas, that would start their missionary career sailing through the South Pacific islands.
In 1914, Captain Jones and Marian were asked to take the story of Jesus to the Solomon Islands. In a small boat, called the Advent Herald, they arrived at a town called Gizo. With a heart for the people, the gospel began to take hold among the many tribes they visited and despite many challenges, the people willingly believed the story of Jesus.
The villages of the Solomon Islands were troubled by many things. In the early days, and the practice of cannibalism and worshipping devil gods was widespread.
To address the spiritual battles between good and evil, God and Satan, Jones began by teaching the people about Jesus who was not yet known to them. He said,
“When we first arrived in the village, we would at once teach the people about Jesus and His power. The old people who led and controlled the evil practices, began to see and feel that they had lost their power.
People would often come from surrounding communities requesting us to visit their village. We would reply, ‘yes, but what for?’. They would answer, ‘We want you to do what you have done here—sing and pray and talk of Jesus, because we are troubled by the spirits and wherever you go, these spirits do not come again’.
“I recall instances,” Jones said, “where we would kneel down to pray and the demon would leave without any violence, however on other occasions, people would become violent and throw spears or tomahawks at us.
On these occasions we couldn’t be on our knees but commanded the evil spirit in the name of Jesus to leave.”
These people would begin living a new life in Jesus free from the power of evil. They discovered the teachings of the Bible about God’s love, His law and the joy of living a new life not in the fear of evil, but in the joy of the Spirit.
Today, if you visit the Solomon Islands, you would find hundreds of thousands of people serving God because one man, who had himself been renewed by Jesus, stepped into the unknown and began to practice his new faith in a profound way.
G.F. Jones leaves a legacy and example for us, to move out of our familiar and comfortable circumstances and live a life of a faithful follower of Jesus.
(Credit: G.F. Jones and Piuki Tasa)