Christian Blog and Articles – For Women

Beautiful Feet- Part 2

Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Beautiful Feet, Blog | 1 comment

Beautiful Feet- Part 2

For two months Ann supervised the Burmese workmen with zest.  Two schoolhouses were built and a house for them.  Adoniram was away working on the Treaty when he received a black envelope.  He thought the bad news would be that two-year old Maria had died, but instead, it was news that his beloved Ann had gotten very sick with the fever and dysentery and died a painful death at just thirty-seven years old.  Adoniram was very sad and he took this loss very hard.  After the two years of torture in prison and then losing Ann, it was about all he could bear.  He moved into a small bamboo hut in the jungle near the tigers to be away from everyone.  He wrote a letter to Brown University rejecting the honorary doctorate they had bestowed on him.  He destroyed letters from British officials congratulating him for his war-time translating.  He got rid of every penny he had saved, giving it to the mission.  The British government wrote him a check for two-thousand dollars and he laid it all on the desk of the mission treasurer.

Six months after Ann died, little Maria died and he buried her beside Ann.   A new missionary couple, George and Sarah Boardman came from America.  George opened a school for boys and Sarah taught little girls.  Adomiram was preaching the Gospel and many were getting saved.  He started translating again, now the Old Testament.  He returned to the first village in Burma that he and Ann had lived, and found a group of Christians there eager and more receptive than before.  He rejected all offers for furlough’s, vacations and trips back to America and it had been eighteen years since his last time in America.

George Boardman, the missionary, had died leaving behind wife Sarah and three-year old son, George.  Sarah had turned down all instances from the States that she return.  Even friends who argued about little George’s health were refused.  Taking the little boy with her, she climbed mountains, forded streams, plodded through marshes, cut paths through the jungle in all kinds of weather.  Adoniram admired this courage, it was the kind of high courage Ann had possessed.  He married Sarah three years after George’s death, eight years after Ann’s death.

He was a perfectionist in all things, especially his translating.  He began experiencing severe throat pain and cough.  Due to doctor’s orders and Sarah’s advice, he packed up his unfinished Bible translations and headed out to sea toward Calcutta, it was tuberculosis.  He wasted no time in Calcutta and he battled being well enough to finish his translating of the Bible.  In October of 1840, he laid down his quill with a flourish and called to the mission printer.  At last he had finished his translation into Burmese of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  This work had taken him twenty-three years of very hard work.  “The manuscript had been buried in a garden, kicked around a prison courtyard, salvaged through Ann’s bravery and a convert’s faithfulness was ready for the Burmese people.” 106  It still stands today as the best Burmese Bible in existence.

Sarah became ill with fever and dysentery.  They had been married five years and had four children.  In desperation, Adoniram bundled them all up into a ship to Calcutta.  One son, Henry, was not yet two and he died three weeks later.  They returned to Burma.  Adoniram’s throat pain and inflammtion came back and his voice left.  The mission asked him to write a Burmese-English dictionary in two volumes.  He agreed since he knew the language and could no longer preach.

He and Sarah had three more children.  She got sick again and the doctor told her she must return to the States.  Adomiram packed up to go with her.  Her condition worsened on the ship.  She made Adoniram promise that he would not use his painful voice to speak at meetings when he arrived in the States.  He asked her, “Do you still love the Savior?” she replied, “oh, yes.”  He asked, “Do you still love me?”  She smiled and they kissed one last time before she died.

He arrived in America to find things very different all these years later.  He was well received and shocked at how many knew his name and his great work in Burma.  He was asked to speak but for several reasons he declined.  One was his promise to Sarah due to his throat pain, and another was his inability to speak English well.  Since he had spoken in Burmese so many years, he had lost the ability to properly speak English.  He had even began “thinking” in Burmese years earlier.

He spoke before some one evening and people were disappointed.   They expected great stories from his missionary experiences, but instead he told them of the greatest story of all- the story of salvation.  He felt out of place in America.  He visited an old friend, Dr. Gillette in Philadelphia.  He gave Adoniram a thin book to read from an intelligent young lady.  The following day he was st Dr. Gillette’s home and had dinner with this young author.  They discussed her book and a biography she had read years earlier that changed her life: a biography of the great missionary, Ann Judson.  Six months later Adoniram and Emily were married.   She had been saved at the age of eight and had a calling to the mission field after that biography changed her life.

He and Emily returned to Burma.  He was banned from preaching and threatened by Buddhist bigots.  He patched together an underground church and preached to them.  He also continued the work on the dictionary.  Burmans heard that they could learn about eternal life after dark, and the little church grew.  During Buddhist Lent they could not buy meat or fish at the markets.  They lived on rice and fruit.  This was very difficult, and as a result, Emily and the kids stayed very weak and sick and Adoniram suffered from dysentery.

The Buddhist “Golden One” suspected things were going on inside the Judson home, and ordered everyone to prove they were a family servant before entering or leaving the home.  He placed a police guard outside.  A letter came from the mission board that disgusted Adoniram.  They had cut his support so much he could not even make rent.  He felt forgotten, betrayed and discouraged.  His throat became inflamed worse, but the church was growing.  Good news came seven months later, the mission had reconsidered and granted him funds.  He had already picked up the work on the dictionary.   After ten years, the English-Burmese dictionary was complete.  No one else on earth knew both languages that well.

In 1949 Adoniram caught a cold.  The cold was in his lungs, fever shot up, and he had dysentery.  He immediately followed doctor’s orders to get to the Burman coast with better air.  He balanced between life and death, but he had more work to do finishing and perfecting the next volume of the dictionary.  He had to get on the next ship and get out to sea.  The sea air was comforting and offered a source of treatment.  “Weeping Burmans carried him aboard.” 127

In 1850, he died aboard that ship.  Dressing him in his favorite black suit, they buried him at sea.  There was no great choir anthems singing, there was no great preacher to recall all the work for the Lord Adoniram had accomplished.  He was simply lowered silently into the waves.

“In Malden , Massachussets an unimpressive marble tablet tells the story:

BORN AUG. 9, 1788
DIED APRIL 12, 1850


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


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  1. C.J. eLLIS

    Beautiful. inspiring & encouraging! can’t wait for the next one!
    Love You!

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