Sunday, February 19, 2012

Two Hundred Years Ago Today

Adoniram and Ann Hasseltine Judson, along with Samuel and Harriet Atwood Newell, sailed on the Caravan for  Calcutta, leaving from Salem, MA. Newly married, newly commissioned and ranging in age from 19 to 24, they were true pioneers.

And so we remember them.

Harriet --still only 19-- became the first US missionary martyr when she died from complications of childbirth and a tropical fever just a few months later.

Samuel carried on, working in Madras, but I know little of his story.

Ann and Adoniram becamc Baptists and ended up working in Burma. Their main work was Bible translation. This was accomplished mostly by Adoniram, but Ann translated the book of Jonah and some other portions into Burmese. She also learned Siamese (Thai) and translated the first portion of Scripure -the Book of Matthew -- into that language. She was also instrumental in preserving the manuscript when Adoniram went to prison in 1824. They labored six long years before they had a single convert to Christianity. They are amzong examples of faith, courage and perserverance.

And so we celebrate them, with worship services here and in Burma (Myanmar), giving thanks to God for their life and work.

It was noted that it would have benn middle aged white men who initially voted the missionary organization that sent the Judsons into being.  But yesterday at worship, the congregation had no majority in terms of age gender or ethnicity. The largest group present were Burmese refugees.

Ann and Adoniram knew that God was for everyone. That's why they went to India and eventually to Burma. Let us remember their thinking and introduce God to everyone and everyone to God.

Have a blessed day.

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