Why the Haystack Group?
On an August afternoon in 1806, Samuel Mills and four of his college classmates trudged through Sloan's Meadow in western Massachusetts to find a place to pray and discuss Christ's command to go and preach the Gospel to all nations. The five students' intense discussions about the needs of unreached lands - especially China - overshadowed the rolling thunder of an approaching storm. Suddenly the cloud broke over them with a torrent, and all of them raced the lightning, finding shelter at the side of a nearby haystack. There amid a summer storm they prayed, committing themselves to taking the Gospel to the nations. None of those young men were ever the same after that day - and neither was the Church in America! American missions as a movement traces its birth to the Haystack Prayer Meeting.