Tobias Messenger traveled the world looking for other mutants like himself who would be able to influence world events through their concerted efforts. Messenger succeeded in finding a few mutant allies, but none of whom were very powerful compared to the original group of X-Men and their contemporaries (a difference that Messenger attributed to the dawn of atomic power during the 20th century).
Messenger credits his original group of mutant with bringing a quicker end to the first World War. However, his allies either died or moved on to other endeavors leaving Messenger alone again. At this point he decided to place himself in suspended animation, emerging once every ten years, he would seek out new mutants to join his cause.
Messenger formed the Promise during the 1930s to 40s in an attempt to protect mutants from prejudice. He believed that a war between mutants and baseline humans was inevitable, and although mutants were certain to emerge victorious in the conflict, the result would be chaos as various mutant factions would form and begin to fight with each other.
Messenger had hoped to take a leadership position in this post-war, mutant controlled world.
Suspended animation tubes.