Missionaries: Remembering The Always Sick Missionary David Brainerd

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

David Brainerd (1718-1747) was a missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. Born in Connecticut in 1718, he died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine. During his short life he was beset by many difficulties. As a result, his biography has become a source of inspiration and encouragement to many Christians, including missionaries such as William Carey and Jim Elliot, and Brainerd’s cousin,  evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801–1829).

He enrolled at Yale. In his second year at Yale, he was sent home because he was suffering from a serious illness that caused him to spit blood. It is now believed that he was suffering from tuberculosis, the disease which would lead to his death seven years later. Brainerd began working as a missionary to Native Americans, which he would continue until late 1746 when worsening illness prevented him from working. This illness, generally…

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