Author: Jess Jennings
This book is about the lives of mission heroes, some of which I’ll mention here.
William Carey (1761- 1834) — I’m so blessed by the life of this man of God for his undaunted dedication as he obeyed his call from God to go to India leaving all the comfort of life. Life in India was not easy for him, in fact his son died while they’re battling for financial problem and struggles with the work laid on him since many are opposing his work. During that time, since there were no Indian converts, he alone buried his son. No one, help him dig, make a coffin for his son…he buried him himself. This made him indignant because they’re traditions and false religion made them blind. He became a pastor at age 24 in a small Baptist Church. One of his greatest works was not just building the first and biggest university in India, but his success in ending “Sati”, the tradition in India of burning the wives alive together with their dead husbands. Many Indians oppose him, including the killing of some Indians who accept Jesus, since as they believe they had betrayed their fellow Indians, their traditions and customs as they accept foreign teaching from a white man. Besides persecution from Indians and the government itself, he also was finally opposed by her wife. I learned something from their story, that when the other one is called, the one must also be called because they are one. His wife at the very beginning of his call, had reluctantly joined him saying, “God might be calling you, but not me.” So, when they begun to experience crisis, her wife begun to complain and discouraged him. To make the story short, his wife became insane and died. Moreover, in spite difficulties, he’s the first missionary to India who translated and published the Bible in Bengali (language in India) starting in the book of Matthew, then John until the whole bible with the help of other missionaries, until he and Shirley, who later became her wife, build a big school that opened gender equality in India, since women used to be unschooled; only boys/men were allowed to study. His humble beginnings could be, only after 7 years, he had led the first Indian to Christ. Others may have given up and gone home, but he’s convinced that “only God can open blind eyes. Only God can convert lost sinners.”
Hudson Taylor (1832 – 1905) — “The mission was formed by prayer, nourished by prayer and is still sustained by prayer month by month only in answer to believing prayer.” — This man of God give birthed his mission work by prayer. Prayer was the foundation of all he did. Like other missionaries, he had compassion to reach the lost souls and he “wrestled with God to send with him workers to the field since China is very big and populated. Personally, I appreciated his preparations. His first six years and half were spent in learning language, culture and becoming immediately involved in the ministry. Wherever God sent us, we must relate to the people, including adapting to dress, food and lifestyle. Though he’s small in stature, his giant faith, stands as one of the influential Christian leaders since the apostle Paul. In contrast to today’s youth who see missions as some type of adventure, for him missionary was shown to be a life of sacrifice. His first strategies were meeting the people’s physical needs through medicine and following up on those who showed interest in the Gospel. Noteworthy statistics on his 6th journey to inland China was that they visited 58 cities, towns and larger villages in 25 days. Foundational years provided many spiritual markers for Taylor’s life like practical experience, divine revelation and providential leading. He said, “As I looked upon the thousands of unreached and saw the darkness and sin of the interior, the comforts of Shanghai faded away.” When he went back to Europe, he was unable to bear the sight of hundreds of Christian unoccupied. This became his driving force to pray to God for more workers for each of the 11 provinces in China. He believed that God would call them out and He would provide for and sustain them.
After 20 years on the field, he went through a deep spiritual experience which others called, “filled with the Spirit”, others called, “experiencing the deeper life.” Taylor called it “the exchange life.” But before he experienced this great blessing, there were many days and weeks of inner struggle and dryness. He goes on to describe how much he struggled with temptation and how wicked his heart was. Thus, he prayed to the Lord to make him more holy. There was hungering and thirsting for more of God. The Holy Spirit was preparing Hudson for a deeper work and more fruitful work and did not depend upon his own strength and effort, but on abiding to Christ. Also, in the practical things of life, he had a new peace. Troubles did not worry him as before. He ha d learned in a new way to place all of his cares upon the Lord. He began to give more time to prayer. Instead of working longer, he began to go to bed earlier and rising earlier so as to give more time to Bible study and prayer. Thirty years after his death the numbers of Chinese converts multiplied to over seven hundred thousand; it was because he started the work and totally surrendered to Him!
Amy Carmichael (1867- 1951) – Missionary work offers little that could be called glamour. What it offers is a chance to die. Then why would I want to become one? One of the inspirations I have had to pursue into missions is by learning about the lives of missions in the past and present, inspiring me a lot, rekindling the fire within for the lost souls, and one of them that ignite me, a woman like me, is Amy Carmichael. We knew that when we respond to this calling, we need to be ready to the chance of picking up the cross and follow Christ, dying to self, ambitions, career, money, family, or like, even to the prospect of marriage. Amy said, “Missionary work is a grain of sand, the work untouched is a pyramid…Face it. Look and listen, alone with God. Then go, let go, help go, but never, never, never think that anything short of this is being interested in missions.”
Yeah, it’s not about the interest, but it’s the compassion for the lost souls, and the burden God put in your heart, that if not fulfilled, you’ll not be complete; your life is not worth living.
I could go on writing the rest of the missionaries who sacrifice their lives to the point of death, but all of those biographies were all the same: the heartbeat for the dying world, the lost souls to be won for Christ! What greater sacrifice could we give compare to what Jesus did for us on the cross? Do we have the right to complain of the great works when these works are but only a speck compare to how He did for us, saving us from eternal death?
To God be the glory!