Christian Blog and Articles – For Women

Beautiful Feet

Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Beautiful Feet, Missions | 1 comment

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Romans 10:15b

I love reading biographies of missionaries.  I have such a love and respect for these heroes of the faith.  We read in the Bible about Paul’s missionary journey and the spread of the Gospel by the disciples after Jesus’ ascension.  Many times we have very little zeal to learn what happened after that.  How did the Gospel get to us today thousands of years later?  Because of the faithfulness of heroes that gave their lives for the spread of the Gospel and the Bible translations into our language and many other languages.  We rarely thank God for using these people and calling these people to service for the benefit of our souls.  More than that, are we as faithful today for sending the Gospel out and preserving the Bible for future generations in two hundred years from now?  Are we faithful to give and to go to our neighborhoods and nations or are we expecting someone else to give up the American Dream to make it happen.

This is why I have started a personal exploration of these missionary heroes.  These are men and women that laid down their lives, or perhaps gave it all to be obedient to God.  These are the heroes I want to teach my children about.  These are the men and women I want to hang posters in my children’s bedrooms to honor and respect and set standards.  The next several months I am going to post a biography on different missionaries that I have read and studied about.  The first biography is Adoniram and Ann Judson.  Many of you may have never heard of this name, or at least never heard of Ann Judson, who gave just as much as her husband to reach the Burmese people with the Gospel.  It is so inspirational to us women, to stand behind our husbands, and to keep the torch burning.  My prayer is that you enjoy reading about these saints as much as I have enjoyed writing this, and that God will continue to get the glory from these extraordinary radical followers of Christ.

This Biography is going to be in 2 parts, due to its length!

Biography #1  Adoniram and Ann Judson- Part 1

Adoniram was born to a father that was a Congregational Minister in Massachusetts.   He was a strict disciplinarian and desired to have his sons hold great positions as ministers in the church.  He provided them the best educations and had high hopes for their futures.  Young Adoniram aspired to one-day stand behind one of the largest pulpits in Boston.   After arriving at college he began debating with his roommate that claimed to be an atheist.  He would handle his arguments from his father’s sermons.  Soon the debating turned into conversation and before long Adoniram was a boasting atheist himself.  He returned back home to tell his father and mother.  They were shocked, disgusted and heart broken.  He decided to travel west on horseback.  While he was traveling he came to a hotel.  While he was checking in, the attendant informed him that he would not desire a room that night.  He explained that the only room available was next to a room with a dying man.  Adoniram insisted that he needed sleep and it would not disturb him.  He checked into the room and lay down for the night.  The sound of people entering and exiting the room next door all night caused Adoniram to lay awake.  He started to be bothered about the man next door.  He kept going over in his mind about the debates he had with his roommate.  He wondered if the man next-door dying had been persuaded by someone like his roommate, or perhaps he was someone that believed in the Bible like his father.  He prayed for the later.  The next morning he was checking out and the keeper asked him about his sleep.  He admitted to the man that he did not sleep much at all.  He asked if the man next door did indeed die and the keeper informed him that the man did die.  Adoniram asked him if it was a young man and the keeper told him that the man was very young, about his same age and had attended Brown University back east.  Adoniram asked the for the young mans name, and it was his very roommate.  Adoniram’s word, “The chap who had all the answers knew now that those answers were wrong.”  This did something in Adoniram’s heart and the Lord had his attention.  He rode his horse back east and went back home to his parents.  He started theology school and the Lord drew him to himself.  He was saved a few months later and he was dramatically changed.  He put up signs all over his room in places he could see them that said, “Is it pleasing to God.”

Adoniram soon felt the call to missions.  He began a small missions group of men in his class that also felt God’s call on their lives.  In Bradford, Massechussets, Adoniram had dinner at the Hasseltine’s home.  John Hasseltine was a congregational deacon, and Ann was his youngest daughter.  He met Ann over the dinner and quickly fell in love.  He wrote a letter to her father, “I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter, whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India, to every kind of want and distress, to degredation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death!”   John Hasseltime was a real Christian.  His daughter, Nancy, had won he and his wife to Christ.  Adoniram and Ann were engaged, then married.  25

They arrived in India and were welcomed by the great missionary William Carey.  After three weeks of study under Carey they were converted to Baptist doctrine.  He wrote two letters, one to the American Board of Congregationalist and explained to them about his conversion to Baptist doctrine, and another to the Baptists about having their first Baptist missionary.  The government of India was not happy about the missionaries work and asked them to leave on the next caravan out to sea.  At 25 years old Adoniram and Ann Judson, and Luther Rice sailed to Creole.  The Isle of France was their destination, but once they arrived, they received the sad news from their fellow missionary that his wife and baby had died at sea after the birth. They decided they would sail wherever God wanted them to go but they refused to give up and return to America or England.  They sailed aboard the “Georgiana” which was less than ideal conditions.  It was hot, smelly, filthy, and cramped.  Ann became very ill aboard and when the Georgiana landed in Burma, she was too sick to walk off.

In July 1813, they had been traveling for more than a year when they disembarked the Georgiana.  They were the first white man to arrive in Burma and were greeted with stares.  They had been uninvited and did not even know one word of their language.  Their task, “to convert people who never before had even heard the name of Jesus Christ.  They had no political pull, no influential friends, no plan to win over the high places first, they were simply ready to fight with old-fashioned truths. They planned to meet Buddhism that declared there was no god to save, and no sin to be saved from, with the Christian truth that God was real, man was sinful, and that Christ had died on the cross to save anyone who would believe.”    44-45

They worked fifteen hours a day for six full years before seeing a convert come to Christ.  Their first baby died aboard the Georgiana, their second child died eight months after birth.  He was born a healthy baby boy, but after the harsh conditions of Burma, his smile faded and his body weakened and they buried him under a grove of mango trees in the garden.  47

They had to learn the language, but it was impossible to find a teacher that new both English and Burmese, so he had to learn the hard way, buy pointing and grunting.  The language of the Burmese was difficult to learn, it did not make sense, and it was always changing.  They did not have paper and ink so he had to use leaves.  In July of 1816, after three years of hard study, he knew enough grammar and was able to write his first track, which spelled out salvation.

Ann had to leave the mission house for three months due to illness.  The Burmese weather conditions caused her to be ill.  Adoniram was experiencing eye pain and headaches due to all the study.  Fellow missionaries, the Hough’s, joined him in Burma and began printing his tracks.  He started having a few converts and so he started translating the book of Matthew.  50

Adoniram left Ann and sailed to find a helper that was a speaker of both Burmese and English.  It was supposed to be a three-month trip.  Ann received word that the ship he sailed on was missing and never arrived where it was supposed to land.  During that time there was a Cholera outbreak and many people were dying.  The Hough’s were trying to convince Ann to leave on the next ship in order to save her life.  She hesitated because she did not want to leave and Adoniram return not knowing where to find her.  They told her that since it had been over seven months he probably was not returning.  She decided to get on the ship.  Once the ship started on the journey, the captain had to anchor due to such a large load afraid the ship would capsize.  Ann took the opportunity to get off the ship with her stuff.  She had no more than unlocked the door to their home when Adoniram returned.

Adoniram asked permission to the “Holy Golden One” to preach the doctrines of Christianity.  He was denied permission.  He told his small group of converts that he would be leaving.  He was threatened by the religious natives and feared that the small church would be beaten before even taking its first breath.  These new converts begged him to stay until they had ten total to remain.  They felt that a group of ten would be strong enough to reach others and effectively work.  The Judson’s agreed to stay.  “God grant that we may live and die among the Burmans, though we never should do anything else than smooth the way for others.” 62

Ann got very sick again.  The hot conditions in Burma caused uncontrolled germs and dysentery.  He put Ann on a boat for England and America and he knew it would be two full years before he would see her again.  He battled loneliness without her.  He wrote, “Life is short.  Millions of Burmans are perishing.  I am almost the only person on earth who has attained their language to communicate salvation.”  63

After Ann left for the States, Dr Jonathon Pierce and his wife joined Adoniram.  He could perform eye surgeries.  After just five months of living in Burma, his young wife died.  Adoniram spent ten months completing the New Testament before Ann returned.

After Ann returned they were delighted to be with each other.  They were excited about the future.  Things suddenly turned bad with the government and they had to move to Ava, a larger city in Burma.  They were sitting in their home one evening when all of a sudden an officer burst in destroying things and arresting Adoniram.  Ann pleaded with the officer, even offering him money to stop the arrest.  They had been falsely accused of trading information to the British for money.  Since they were the only white people around, they had been seen in a British bank.  Based on this lie, he was put into a filthy prison where he was tortured, beaten, bruised, threatened and diseased.  He watched person after person being executed and he knew his turn was coming.  This prison had never been cleaned and smelled of blood, flesh, and feces.

He worried about his manuscripts of the New Testament that he had spent ten hard years and labored to write.  Ann had buried them in the garden quickly when the officer had come to comb through the house.  He worried about them being eaten of worms, or destroyed.  Ann brought him a pillow to the jail, and smuggled inside were the precious papers he had translated.

Ann begged and pleaded with the guards and the governor to please release him.  She had such a convincing smile and way about her that she was able to live in a small rundown bamboo shack outside the prison, so that she could nurse Adoniram and be with him for several hours a day.  She would cook for him and take care of him.  During this time she birthed a baby girl, Maria.

One day after Ann finished visiting, the guards came and tied he and his fellow missionary together.  They were forced to walk miles down the road to another compound.  When he saw how terrible the new compound was, he knew they were about to be placed in this old shack and a match lit to burn them inside this place.  He was wrong.  He was bloody from his feet and they resembled rotten flesh.  He was ill and in a lot of pain.  He knew Ann would never find him and assume he was dead.

He saw Ann walk in.  She had managed to find him.  She was so convincing to the guard that he allowed her to live in a back grain storage room of his own home.  She continued to beg and plead for his release and claim his innocence.  He feared the worst had happened to his manuscripts and that they had been destroyed once they ransacked the prison cell where that pillow was.  It was the only copy in the world.

Ann continued to write to influential people and pay money for his release.  She knew this new place was a death shack.  After two miserable years of torture,  he was finally free.  He arrived home to find Ann very sick in bed with her head shaven.  She pointed across the room to a table where his papers were sitting neatly on a table. A faithful convert Burman had went back to take Adoniram’s belongings and found that the jailer had ripped open the pillow, but the papers were still in the pillow bag.  The Burmese Bible was saved!

After his release, he was offered a high paying job by the British government for his language translation ability.  This meant he could receive security for his family and protection from persecution.  He refused the offer, “This one thing I do: preach Christ.  I have no time to make money.” 84

Adoniram was used as a translator for the government to help write a British-Burmese Treaty, then he, Ann, and four faithful converts went to Amherst.  They called Adoniram again to come back and help the British and the Burman King work out another treaty.  He agreed seeing this as an opportunity to have more freedom to proclaim the Gospel, and they promised him it would be speedy.  He said good-bye to Ann and she assured him she had plenty to do. “There’s my school to start, Sunday services to hold, and two school houses to build.  And oh, yes, I forgot, our house to build too!” 86

To be continued……………………………………….

Bailey, Faith Coxe.  Editor.  “Adoniram Judson: America’s First Missionary”  1955.

One Comment

Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Connie Kaiser

    I sure enjoyed reading this, cant wait to read the second part.

Leave a Comment