Adoniram Judson

Adoniram Judson: Missionary to Burma 1813 to 1850

Edited by Faith Coxe Bailey

Moody Press, Chicago 1955

He was fully aware that never before had a white woman gone from North America as a missionary to India.  He must have heard that the Bradford neighbors gossiped, "I'd tie my daughter to a bedpost before I'd allow her to be a missionary's wife!"  In spite of everything  he wrote the letter that concluded his business in Bradford.  "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 degradation, insult, persecution  and perhaps a violent death!" - pg. 25

They were two lonely youngsters, not yet twenty-five years old, who after traveling for more than a year and a half without finding a stopping place, came to this country completely uninvited, without evenk onwing a word of the language.  And they came to do a stupendous task--to convert people who never before had heard of the name of Jesus Christ!  They had no political pull, no influenctial friends, no plan to win over the high places first; they were simply ready to fight with old-fashione truths.  They planned to meet Buddhism that declared there was no god to save, no soul to be saved, 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. - pg. 45

But as young Adoniram stood in the burning heat of that Burmese July day, staring back at the great golden Shwe Dagon Pagoda that overshadowed the entire city, he did not guess the terribleness of the discouragement that waited for him in the muddy streets of Rangoon -- that he would work fifteen hours a day for six full years before he would win a single convert; four years would pass before anyone would even stop to ask about this strange Christianity; that the dismal stench, the rotten air of the tropic would break Ann's health.  He would know physical pain as he never had known it.  His second child would die (the first had been born dead on the "Georgiana").  And in all the six years most Andover graduates of his class were building up tidy little New England congregations and rearing their families in cool, healthy New England air. - pg. 45

In Rangoon Adoniram hailed his three faithful converts and broke an incredible piece of news to them.  He was abandoning his mission.  He would lock the zayat.  They could do with it as they wanted. He was going to sail for Chittagong.  There he could preach in Burmese but he would be safe, blessed by the protection of the British flag.

Nothing in all his discouraging years prepared him for the astounding reaction of the three Burmese converts!

"I will go with you," said Moung Nau.

I cannot," said another, "because of my wife and children. But I will be faithful to the death here-even if you desert us."

"But don't abandon us," they all pleaded. "Now is the time for teaching.  Interested ones come to our door every day.  We alone do not know enough to teach the great truths."

"If I stay, you know what persecution means in this crazy government."

"Stay until a little church of ten is collected, and you have placed a native teacher over it.  Then go, if you must.  If there are ten of us, the religion will spread of itself.  The superiors cannot stop it. No, not even with persecution."

Adoniram could not argue down such faith.  He and Ann stopped inquiring about passage to Chittagong. They decided to stay in Rangoon. They remember their old prayer, "God grant that we may live and die among the Burmans, though we never should do anything else than smooth the way for others!" - pg. 63

[After he found that two full years must pass before he would see Ann again, for she was sick and needed to go to the West] Yet he did not forget to steady himself with this remarkable postscript, "Life is short.  MIllions of Burmans are perishing. I am almost the only person on earth who has attained their language to communicate salvation." Here it was - the reason that Adoniram fought against fever, persecution, loneliness.  The reason he stuck with the church in Rangoon. The reason that sent him up the dirty Irrawaddy a second time to ask the king's permission to evangelize Burma! - pg. 63

They asked him to accept a permanent positions as a British interpreter.  They named a flattering salary and pointed out all the advantages in government work - protection, security for his family, no persecution.

Adoniram turned down the offer. "This one thing I do: preach Christ.  I have no time to make money," he added.  Back in Braintree, Massachusetts, he had dreamed about the fastest way to fame and wealth; now he turned the British government down flatly.  He had work to do in Rangoon; this was his dream now. - pg. 84

Thus began Adoniram's round-the-country junket.  Many were startled to discover that the bold young man of Andover, of whom they'd heard so may legends, was a mere wisp of a man, with a weary face and voice.  But disappointing them even more was what he said.

One minister put it bluntly.  "Brother Judson, I trust you'll understand me.  After your meeting tonight — well, sir to tell you the truth, the folks were expecting — They wanted a story."

"That's exactly what I gave them," Adoniram replied.  "Most thrilling story I can imagine, the story of salvation."

"But they've heard that before.  What they wanted from a man who has just come from the netherlands of Christianity —"

Adoniram broke in impatiently. "My business is to preach the Gospel of Christ.  Not to tickle their fancies with amusing stories, however decently strung together on a thread of religion.  Tell me — how could I — in the hereafter, I mean — face God's charge: "I gave you one opportunity to tell them of me.  You spent it painting your own adventures." pg. 114-115