ADRIFT: When the mutineers of the Bounty cast Captain William Bligh and his followers adrift, they had no idea what the future held for them.When the breadfruit gathering task was completed, there were 1,014 breadfruit plants aboard, and on Saturday, April 4, 1789, the Bounty weighed anchor and set sail for the West Indies. But once they were again under the harsh discipline of Captain Bligh, a number of crew members began to plot against him. Early in the morning of April 28, some of the crew, under the leadership of Masters Mate Fletcher Christian, revolted, forcing Bligh and crew members loyal to him into the small ship’s cutter, which was then set adrift.
SPLENDID ISOLATION: Pitcairn Island lies about halfway between New Zealand and Chile deep in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean.The first few years on Pitcairn were relatively calm, and the mutineers and their families thrived. Then the calm was shattered by a series of violent events. The wife of one of the mutineers fell to her death while out gathering food, and her widowed husband demanded the wife of one of the Polynesian men. This triggered a series of plots to kill the English sailors. The women, however, were loyal to their European husbands and warned them of the danger. The hostility and treachery on both sides led to the deaths of five of the mutineers. Soon the Polynesian men were also murdered.
AWAITING THE RESURRECTION:The grave of John Adams, the mutineer who led the colony to Christ, is well tended on the island.In 1876 two Seventh-day Adventist preachers in California’s Napa Valley in the United States—J. N. Loughborough and James White—having learned of the little colony on Pitcairn, acted to tell the islanders the “good news” of the Christian gospel. They filled a box with literature, took it to the docks in San Francisco, and there found Captain David Scribner of the sailing ship St. John. Scribner, acting on their request, took the box ashore at Pitcairn where it was read by several of the islanders, but they continued their practice of the doctrines of the Church of England, which they had been following.
REGULAR SERVICE: The Seventh-day Adventist church—the only church on the tiny island—still holds services every Sabbath, rain or shine. Attendance may include more visitors and non- Adventists than members some Sabbaths.For decades many Pitcairners have been part of a unique form of Christian witness. Because of their isolation from the rest of the world, Pitcairn has often been branded the most remote island in the world: no air service, no scheduled ship service, closest hospital 1,200 miles away. Their only face-to-face contact with the outside world is with the captains, crews, or passengers of ships that call. Early on, the Pitcairners began bidding farewell to each departing ship by singing hymns from their longboats. Scores of entries in ship’s logs, journals, and books testify to the power of this Christian witness.
Wilona Karimabadi is the marketing and editorial director for KidsView, Adventist Review's magazine for children.