MISSIONARY BIOGRAPHIES

On this page and the pages branching off of it we’ll share some great missionary biographies.  These are the kinds of stories that have motivated many of us with Message Ministries to keep our “hand to the plow” and work towards completing the Great Commission given to us by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Some of the stories will come directly from the Bible and others are stories of great missionaries who gave their lives to the cause of Jesus Christ since the time of the early church. Each month we will highlight a new missionary on this page and then keep the stories available to you in the drop down menu under Missionary Biographies.  We pray these stories will inspire you as they have us, to follow the course that Jesus gave us to reach the whole world with the gospel.
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I love reading inspirational things that not only inspire and encourage but also challenge and exhort. Living in the USA, it is so easy to get distracted and to prioritize our personal comfort over our contribution to the purposes and plans of God. Many get sucked into the vacuum of self and spend far too much time chasing after their own dreams and desires. All the while, the plans of God are put on the shelf for a more “opportune” time. Have you ever lived that way? Are you living that way now? Wherever you are today, I pray that this newsletter will be a blessing to you. May God use this to either get us back on track with Him, or to help us stay on track with Him and His Kingdom plan.
 

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Since we are now working in Burma (Myanmar) I recently re-read the biography of the first American missionary, Adoniram Judson, who spent his life serving the Burmese people. I was inspired as I read about all the trials that he, his wife Ann, and their family faced in order to fulfill the Great Commission. When they left for the mission field on February 19, 1812, they only had a slight idea of the difficult things that awaited them. Like the faithful missionaries before them, they counted the cost, and went on their way. They died up front — choosing to suffer in order to live out God’s call on their lives rather than to live in comfort at home.
 

The Judsons would go through trials that make ours seem like a vacation. Adoniram was beaten and hung upside down every night by his feet in a prison for being a Christian. He was rejected, whipped, slandered and oftentimes starved. His children and his wife died from disease. But through all this, he never gave up on Jesus, and he never gave up on the call to bring the gospel to unreached Burma. God had not only placed a call in Adoniram’s heart. God had given him a loving burden for the lost souls he was sent to reach. Because he saw the people through the eyes of God’s heart of love, he kept his hands to the plow of Kingdom service in the face of unbearable trials.

Over Adoniram’s many years in Burma, he translated the Bible into Burmese. From what I am told, that translation is still the only one available in the country.
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God may not be calling us to take the same dives of faith that the Judson’s had to take, but He us calling us to do our part to get the gospel of Jesus to those that have not heard.
Thank you to those who are helping us to do our very small part in fulfilling God’s command. Together we can make a big difference — and if we refocus on what is most important, we can make an even bigger difference. Please think about the stats I am including in this newsletter and respond with God’s love.
 
Let’s “up the ante” from taking steps of faith to taking dives of faith. It’s time to dive into the very center of God’s plan to reach every soul with the life saving message of Jesus Christ.
 
In His Service,  Brian Weller

 

 

Lord! Help Us to Give Our All to Answer Your Call!

CTStudd“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

–  C.T. Studd, Missionary to China, India, and Africa

C.T. Studd was an All-England cricket star who lived from 1862-1931. In his college days, he gave up a professional career as a cricket player to become a missionary. At the age of 25, he gave away a great family fortune to support the mission work of men of God such as George Mueller and Hudson Taylor. Studd then answered the missionary call God had placed on his own heart by following Hudson Taylor to China. Studd subsequently served as a missionary to India. With his family, he returned to England after 21 years of mission work in both China and India. He was in severely poor health at that time, and he expected to stay in England.

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But C.T. Studd soon and unexpectedly received a new and quite distinct call from God, drawing him directly into the heart of Africa. At the age of 53, Studd departed for Africa with a complete and profound reliance on God’s promises. To all who questioned the wisdom of this choice, Studd’s reply could be found printed on the postcard that graced his desk: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

Even though I read the biography of C.T. Studd many years ago, I’ve never failed to recall his famous, heroic declaration of faith in Christ. Studd’s example stands as both a challenge and an inspiration, compelling me to keep my eyes on the things that are most important to God. I’ll admit it to you; I have so many times failed to keep my eyes on those most important things. I feel like I have not sacrificed all that much to serve the Lord. But like you, I have a strong desire to serve God with my whole heart. I’m still in the process of discovering, in bits and pieces, what serving the Lord with my whole heart really means. But faith-rousing quotations from great men and women of God, along with countless inspirational verses from Scripture, continue to stir me from the inside-out. I feel compelled to give it all I have to answer the call and fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

Every one of us needs a continual reminder about our foremost purpose as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Our foremost purpose is to know God and to make Him known! When we’re sidetracked from this biblical clarion call, we inevitably slip into a time of particularly low spiritual productivity, sliding away from being God-centered, quickly becoming self-centered instead. We’ll begin to look to material things and to worldly entertainments to give us the contentment we seek, rather than looking to God and then living out His purposes and plans.  God’s word reads (1 Timothy 6:6-8), “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” So let’s put God first, and keep God first in all things!

As we seek to fulfill God’s call to reach the world, would you please continue to pray for all of us with Message Ministries and for those we work with in Peru, India, and throughout Asia? Our continuing desire is to help indigenous pastors, evangelists, and missionaries bring the message of the Gospel to those who are lost, to feed the poor, to care for the orphans, and to provide shelter for those without a home.

Thank you for your faithful support of this ministry. Together, we are making a difference!

Brian Weller

More Thoughts from CT Studd:

  • “How could I spend the best years of my life in living for the honours of this world, when thousands of souls are perishing every day?”
  • ”Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”
  • “Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”

 

        Adoniram Judson:

Father of Baptist Missionaries

by Fred Barlow

Adoniram Judson

1788-1850

American Baptist missionary, lexicographer, and Bible translator to Burma. Born in Massachusetts in 1788. Helped form the American Baptist Missionary Union. In 1834 completed a translation of the whole Bible into the Burmese language. During the Anglo-Burmese War, he spent twenty-one months in prison. From 1845-1847, after thirty-four years in Burma, he took his only furlough to his native land. Returning to Burma, he spent his remaining years working on his English-Burmese dictionary. He died in 1850 and was buried at sea.

 

By whatever measurement you measure the man Judson — the measurement always is the same — he was a mighty man!

Mentally — he was mammoth. He read at the age of three years, took navigation lessons at ten, studied theology as a child, entered Providence College (now Brown University) at seventeen — despite the fact he spent one year of his youth out of school in sickness — and he was a “veritable bookworm.” Also, he mastered the Burmese language (possibly the most difficult language to acquire, excepting Chinese), writing and speaking it with the familiarity of a native and the elegance of a cultured scholar, and he also translated the Bible into Burmese. His biographers believe that his translation was “undoubtedly his greatest contribution to the people among whom he chose…to spend and be spent for Christ’s sake.”

Spiritually — he was superlative. Despite the fact his father was a Congregational preacher, and in spite of his mother’s “tears and pleadings,” Judson was not saved until he was 20 years of age. He had become a confirmed deist — due largely to the influence of a brilliant unbeliever in college who set out to win Judson to his deistic faith, and succeeded.

But, incredibly, Judson’s conversion to Christ was due in large measure to that same deist. After graduation Judson left home to become a wanderlust. One night in a country inn his room was adjacent to the room of a dying man. The moaning and groaning of that man through the long night permitted Judson no sleep. His thoughts troubled him. All night questions assailed his soul: “Was the dying man prepared to die?” “Where would he spend eternity?” “Was he a Christian, calm and strong in the hope of life in Heaven?” “Or, was he a sinner shuddering in the dark brink of the lower region?” Judson constantly chided himself for even entertaining such thoughts contrary to his philosophy of life beyond the grave, and thought how his brilliant college friend would rebuke him if he learned of these childish worries.

But the next morning, when Judson inquired of the proprietor as to the identity of the dead man, he was shocked by the most staggering statement he had ever heard: “He was a brilliant young person from Providence College. E______ was his name.”

E______ was the unbeliever who had destroyed Judson’s faith. “Now he was dead — and was lost! Was lost! Was lost! Lost! Lost!” Those words raced through his brain, rang in his ears, roared in his soul — “Was lost! Lost! Lost! There and then Judson realized he was lost, too! He ended his traveling, returned home, entered Andover Theological Seminary and soon “sought God for the pardon of his soul,” was saved and dedicated his life to the Master’s service!

His conversion not only saved his soul, it smashed his dreams of fame and honor for himself. His one pressing purpose became to “plan his life to please his Lord.” In 1809, the same year he joined the Congregational church, he became burdened to become a missionary. He found some friends from Williams College with the same burden and often met with them at a haystack on the college grounds to earnestly pray for the salvation of the heathen and petition God to open doors of ministry as missionaries to them. That spot has been marked as the birthplace of missions in America.

Three years later, February 19, 1812, young Adoniram Judson, and his bride of seven days, Ann Haseltine Judson, set sail for India, supported by the first American Board for Foreign Missions. But on that voyage, Judson, while doing translation work, saw the teaching of immersion as the mode of baptism in the Bible. Conscientiously and courageously, he cut off his support under the Congregational board until a Baptist board could be founded to support him!

The Judsons were rejected entrance into India to preach the Gospel to the Hindus by the East India Company and after many trying times, frustrations, fears, and failures, they finally found an open door in Rangoon, Burma.

There was not one known Christian in that land of millions. And there were no friends in that robber-infested, idolatry-infected, iniquity-filled land. A baby was born to alleviate the loneliness of the young couple, but it was to be only for a temporary time. Eight months later, Roger William Judson was buried under a great mango tree. The melancholy “tum-tum” of the death drum for the thousands claimed by cholera, and the firing cannons and beating on houses with clubs to ward off demons, tormented the sensitive, spiritual souls of that missionary couple, too.

And there were no converts. It was to be six, long, soul-crushing, heart-breaking years before the date of the first decision for Christ. Then, on June 27, 1819, Judson baptized the first Burman believer, Moung Nau. Judson jotted in his journal: “Oh, may it prove to be the beginning of a series of baptisms in the Burman empire which shall continue in uninterrupted success to the end of the age.” Converts were added slowly — a second, then three, then six, and on to eighteen.

But opposition came, also. Finally Judson was imprisoned as a British spy — an imprisonment of twenty-one months. Judson was condemned to die, but in answer to prayers to God and the incessant pleadings of his wife to officials (one of the most emotional-packed, soul-stirring stories in evangelism), Judson’s life was spared and finally British intervention freed him from imprisonment.

The work progressed and gospel power began to open blind eyes, break idolatry-shackled hearts and transform the newly-begotten converts into triumphant Christians. On April 12, 1850, at the age of 62, Judson died. Except for a few months (when he returned to America after thirty-four years from his first sailing), Judson had spent thirty-eight years in Burma. Although he had waited six years for his first convert, sometime after his death a government survey recorded 210,000 Christians, one out of every fifty-eight Burmans! It was a partial fulfillment and a monument to the spirit and ministry of the man, who at Ava, the capital city, gazed at the temple of Buddha and challenged, “A voice mightier than mine, a still small voice, will ere long sweep away every vestige of thy dominion. The churches of Jesus Christ will soon supplant these idolatrous monuments and the chanting devotees of Buddha will die away before the Christian’s hymns of praise.”

Aye, a mighty man of faith, prayer, purpose, patience and perseverance for the Son of God and for souls, was Adoniram Judson!

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