Monday, October 31, 2011

A Propitious Event

Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the sailing of the first missionaries from the U.S. to foriegn soil. They left from Salem, MA as Congregationalists and arrived in India as Baptists. Two of them, Adoniram Judson and Ann Hasseltine Judson went on to Burma.

What they accomplished there has made them folk heros to American Baptists. They were the first to bring the gospel to the Karen people. They translated the Bible. They overcame adversity with faith, persistence and ingenuity. That adversity included imprisonment in horrendous conditions, illness, the deaths of all their children and lengthy separations.

The verse that they chose to use as the text for their work was the Great Commission:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

The ministry that I am a part of, Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park, holds up Ann and Adoniram Judson as role models. Each year their stories are told -- Adoniram's in the men's camp (called Judson) and Ann's in the women's camp (called Hasseltine).

Next year the Baptists of the Adoniram Judson Association of the The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts will host a number of activities is and around Salem, MA to commemorate the sailing and the start of U.S. based mission work. Hopefully, they will give glory to God and be an appropriate memorial to these early missionaries.

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