|The Missionary Leaves Association was founded in 1869 by Rev. R. C. Billing and Mrs. H. G. Malaher of Reading, Miss Lanfear of Hungerford and other friends. Mr. Malaher was its first secretary and its headquarters were at 20 Compton Terrace, London.
The purpose of the Association was to assist CMS missionaries and indigenous clergy in the CMS mission areas, by providing an agency through which they could obtain things necessary for their work but not provided by CMS e.g. harmoniums, equipment for lantern shows, church furniture and bells etc. It also collected contributions for the support of orphans and children in boarding-schools. It supplied goods for sale to people in the British Isles who organised fundraising events for CMS. Exhibitions were arranged by local friends of CMS and CEZMS following the successful first missionary exhibition in 1882 at Cambridge. Mr. Malaher, MLA Secretary, helped from the first in collecting and arranging the exhibits, many of which were provided by the CMS Loan Department.
The number of exhibitions increased until by 1919 CMS decided that it wanted more control over them and decided to create its own Exhibition Department. It appointed T. H. Baxter, the MLA Secretary, as the head of a new department at CMS (to be called General Wants) which would be responsible for the exhibitions, the servicing of working parties and the CMS Loan Department. It was to absorb and develop the MLA work.
In 1920 MLA went into voluntary liquidation. Its work continued as part of the General Wants Department (which in 1921 was also to incorporate the Medical Wants Department).