The First Missionary To The Shan Of Burma

Rev. Dr. Moses Homan Bixby. D.D. (1827-1901)

Born in Warren, New Hampshire, U.S.A. August 20, 1827. Master of Arts was conferred to him by Dartmouth College in 1849. Ordained in Vermont in 1849 at the age of 22. Appointed Missionary to Burma in 1853 by the American Baptist Missionary Union. Returned to USA in 1856.
Second trip to Burma in 1860. Arrived in Rangoon in 1861. Started mission among the Shan in 1862.[1] Awarded Doctor of Divinity in 1875 by Cent.U., Ia.
Died in Providence, March 20, 1901. (Age 73 years and 7 months) Wife; Mrs. Laura A. Bixby.

Rev. Moses Homan Bixby planted the first Shan Church in Toungoo among Shan refugee in 1862.
In 2003, there are 72 Shan Churches in Eastern Shan State, 17 Shan Churches in Northern Shan State and 3 Shan Churches in Southern Shan State.
All Shan Churches are Baptist.



Dr. Seagrave, nurses & elders; NamKham Hospital in1950s

NamKham Hospital seen in 2003

Mu Se Shan Baptist Church in 1950s

Mu Se Shan Church in 1960s

Nurses at NamKham Hospital in 1950s


Rev. Dr. Cushing, Josiah Nelson. D. D, Ph. D.


Dr. Cushing was born in North Attleboro, Mass., May 4, 1840.  
 He was the son of Alpheus Nelson and Charlotte E. Foster Cushing. He was prepared for college at the Pierce Academy, Middleboro, Mass. and entered Brown University in the class of 1862 in the same class with Dr. Henry F. Colby of Dayton, Ohio, Rev. Addison Parker of Piqua, Ohio, and Dr. Josiah R. Goddard of Ningpo, China. After his graduation he went directly to Newton Theological Institution completing the full course. Among his classmates were Dr. Luther G. Barrett, the president of Jackson College, Jackson, Miss; and Dr. Alonzo Bunker who also gave his life to missionary service and was a successful missionary to the Karen at TounGoo and LoiKaw, Burma, for forty years, laboring in the same country with Dr. Cushing and for the same period of time. As to many another students the obtaining of an education was to young Cushing a financial struggle. But he was dominated by a great purpose and no obstacle was permitted to change or hinder it. In the theological seminary he is remembered as a student of delightful spirit of gentlemanly deportment of far more than average intellectual ability and of complete consecration to the work to which he believed God had called him. Here was exhibited, as also in college his remarkable linguistic ability and here was ripened the definite purpose which rule his life to make known the glad tidings of Christ’s salvation to the heathen world. The year before he completed his college course he united by letter with the First Baptist Church in Providence. After completing his seminary course he was ordained to the Christian ministry by the same Church in 1865, and in its fellowship he died, though for a brief period, he transferred his membership to the English speaking Church in Rangoon, of which for a time he filled the pastoral office in addition to his other duties.

In 1865 he offered himself to the American Baptist Missionary Union as a candidate for the foreign field and was presented at the annual meeting held that year in St. Louis, as a missionary under appointment in the same city where by a remarkable coincidence, after nearly forty years of successful labor he was translated to his reward on high. He was retained at the seminary as instructor in the Hebrew department for one year and in 1866 he sailed for Burma being designated to the Shan tribes to take up a work which had been recently begun by Dr. Moses H. Bixby but which he had been compelled to lay down by reason of failing health. These tribes were as yet little known and in large part un-reached by missionary operations. Dr. Cushing entered courageously into the difficult and dangerous task of visiting the people in their homes and carrying to them the knowledge of the Christian religion, with TounGoo as his headquarters, extending his tours farther and farther into the wild and untraversed country inhabited by these people.
He gave himself to the task of compiling a Shan dictionary, which he accomplished with immense labor where he could have the needed assistance of the printing press.
In1880 he published an ‘Elementary Handbook of the Shan Language,’ and also a ‘Grammatical Sketch of the Kachin Language,’ an allied language. The ‘Elementary Handbook’ went to a second edition in 1888.




Dr. Seagrave in 1950s at NongSanKong Shan

Baptist Church


Dr. Albert Ai Lun in 1950s



0.4% of total 5 millions Shan believe in Christ.

Less than 100 Churches in Shan.

Anglican 5.00 % Independent 5.00 % Protestant 75.00 % Orthodox 0.00 % Other Christian 0.00 % Roman Catholic 15.00 %

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This site was last updated 05/02/08