In Home Missionaries

November 10, 2016

In Home Missionaries

We often think that missionaries go of to some distant place to take the gospel to pagan people. Usually that is true, but would you believe that it is now possible for people to be missionaries without leaving their home?

That thought was brought to my mind recently while reading the July 2016 issue of the Whistle Blower Magazine. On pages 22-23 there is an article written by Chelsea Shilling telling how Isis is using the social media to recruit teen age girls to become muslin terrorists. After reading that article I ask myself, “Why aren’t we Christians using the social media as an evangelistic tool? If Muslims can use it to recruit followers, why can’t we? The more I thought about the possibility, the more feasible it became.

More and more I’m seeing the wisdom of seeking out hurting people and sharing the gospel with them. They are often more open and receptive. Some, at first, may be angry, resentful, and prone to distrust everyone.

It is a ministry to hurting people. It is a ministry of consolation. It is a ministry that is mentioned in II Corinthians 1:3-4. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” God is much more capable of consoling people than we are, but he wants to use us to introduce people to him as “the God of all comfort.” If we fail in introducing people to God we have failed in our ministry of consolation.

There are numerous ways of finding and ministering to hurting people. In this article I want to call to your attention the possibility of finding people on social media. Social media has done untold damage to multitudes of young people. By means of it they have been introduced to unwise thinking patterns, anti social behavior and bad relationships. Even though that is true, it is a place where we can find hurting young people and introduce them to Christ. Multitudes of Young people in our country are in social media. We too need to be in social media and use it as a means of helping young people.

Twitter would be a good place to find troubled teenagers, but it wouldn’t be advisable to put your web site on Twitter because it is reported that they are discriminating against conservatives. You will need to have your own web site where you can let it be known that someone cares. After making contact with a troubled teenager you could even have a face to face conversation by means of Skype. There are already a few sites there that offer help, like “Spring of Hope”, but there should be a lot more.

This is something that possibly even handicapped people could do. It is something that could be done part time. You might not need to raise support like most missionaries do, although it might come to a point where it is a full time ministry. In that case, you might need financial help to cover your living expenses.

Another thing that would need to be incorporated into this ministry is a web of helpers. If you make contact with, and win the confidence of someone in a distant city, you could go to the web side churchfinder.com and look for a good evangelical church in that area. You could ask if there is anyone in the church who would be willing to invite that young person to go out with them for a sundae and a talk. They should also invite them to come to the church and become a part of the youth group.

This ministry doesn’t have all the requirements of a normal missionary. It doesn’t demand that you have a college degree. It doesn’t demand ordination or special recognition from your church, although you should be in good standing with your church so you can call on them for prayer support. It does demand that you have a burden for the lost and empathy for those who are hurting. You will need to have a good knowledge of the Bible to be able to give good counsel. It will also demand that you be computer savvy so you can find your way around to the many web sites.

This ministry would allow you to be personally involved in the caring and sharing articulated by the words of the well known hymn “Rescue the Perishing.”

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,

Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;

Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,

Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it-

Strength for they labor the Lord will provide;

Back to the narrow way patiently win them,

Tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died.

If you know people who might be interested in a ministry like this, and are qualified, please print copies of this article for them them, or direct them to this article on the web site. You could say, “Here is something you might like to consider.”

If you, or someone you know, has such a ministry I would like to know what the results have been. Also, if you have suggestions to add to this article please send them to me. Our e-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Advice on Missions

July 21, 2016

Advice on Missions

A message from Dr. Wilbur Sanford

A Bible View of Mission Activities.

Now our aim, your aim, is that of planting indigenous churches. Many, many groups state that their aim is – the indigenous church. But many of them go about establishing their church with unscriptural methods. It’s like the saying, “The missionary should live on the level of the people.” Right! – but which level is he going to live on? Those that live in the slums, Those that live in the middle class area or should he live like many North American businessmen as if they were Rockefeller with all the servants and luxury? You have to define more clearly what you mean by indigenous, and what you mean by living on the level of the people. But I think that if we would start with Acts 13 we would be following Scripture in the matter of missions. There we find a church to which the Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabus and Saul for the work where unto I have called them.”

I believe, and have mentioned for many many years that a missionary call should be confirmed in the thinking and the hearts of the members of the church where that individual lives. I don’t say “young person” because I believe that the age should be upgraded. I believe that for Argentina it is better if they send older people; people who have some years of experience behind them, preferably as the pastor of a church. It is a mature job for a mature person. I believe the Holy Spirit will speak to the church and make it known that he wants that individual on the mission field.

After I graduated from Northwestern, before I went off to the university, my wife and I did rural missionary work at Park Rapids, out of First Baptist Church of park Rapids. The deacons began to talk to me saying they wanted to ordain me. I was in no hurry, but the deacons insisted and finally I met with the deacons and they said, “We feel you aught to be ordained to the ministry.” I said, “Well, some day I want to be a missionary.” I remember Lester Sheldon said, “Well, you have the flu so much, I don’t believe we better ordain you as a missionary. I don’t believe you would survive on the mission field.” But they ordained me. The Lord, the Holy spirit began to work upon the church.

The first church we established in Argentina was in Rosario de Lerma. Rosario de Lerma is in the valley of Lerma. For several years we had a very small group. It is a good sized church now. It is the only church we have of this size, but it has 125 or more in fellowship. We had a man by the name of Andronico Coriso who was one of the teachers in the church. The church had a program of missions, of reaching the inner valley over the high front ranges of the Andes. The men took off work. In those days you could do so. You would lose pay, but you could take off work. They made trips into the valley on horseback, sometimes with me, sometimes without me. We always had meetings in three places on Sunday. One Sunday afternoon we were coming back from a place 40 Km. South of town. We were not attending the Rosario church any more. My wife said, “I have a burden. I believe that God would have Andronico quite his job as a brick layer and spend full time in the valleys.” She mentioned it to Andronico one Saturday. We did go to the Rosario church for prayer meetings for our own good. The people at the church said, “We have had the same conviction.” So they began talking among the congregation. They called a meeting of the church and called the young man before them. They took the first step. Tears came down his cheeks and he said, “Some day, but not now. I’ll tell you when I’m ready.” Some months went by and he stood on the platform and said, “I’m ready.” They had a simple ordination service and ordained him as a missionary.

Those are two experiences that make me believe that this can be the normal thing. It shows me too that maybe the churches should take a little more initiative in the matter of the missionary call for their own members – people of their own church. The church participating in the calling program – that’s missions first responsibility. Out of those workers in the church I believe God would like to reach out and take some who will go with the blessing of their local church to the foreign field.

And more and more I’m feeling too that the local church should take more responsibility in the training of that young person for the foreign field – not just turn them lose, but to give them a base before they leave the church for study, so they have a background. I believe it can and should be done, so they are not just adrift. That way the church is taking part in the plan. They should use the Bible as the text book, especially the book of Acts and other Scriptures. They should have the young people participating in studies on missions and other things.

Now I can’t over emphasis the importance of the Bible. W. G. Lewis was a good friend of mine. He owned a chicken hatchery in Lincoln, Nebraska. He used to travel around the world visiting missions and missionaries. He also repaired their teeth because many missionaries neglected their teeth. I used to sit in on field conferences on missions on a mission council, in foreign lands and at home offices. The idea of mission offices and all their hierarchy in these foreign countries bothered me considerably. But they do have them. Once Mr. Lewis listened for 2 hours to a very lively debate. (I could name the interdenominational mission board). Finally he rose to his feet and said, “Gentlemen, maybe the Bible can throw some light on the subject.” He got this answer “Mr Lewis, it’s not a matter of Bible. It’s a matter of mission policy.”

Too often that is the story. No one knows how much some young missionaries have suffered at the hands of mission board officials. I was at a church in Wisconsin some years ago and stayed over night in a home. The woman of the house started to open her heart about her daughter. She had written to her daughter and given her a good scolding. She was out under an interdenominational mission board. They were trying to make all the plans at the board level and direct the mission stateside. The mother said she wrote to her and scolded her saying that God raised up those men and she had better obey them. That mother was putting more importance on the words of men than she was on the Word of God.

It is a great danger, a great temptation, and a great tendency of mission boars to become Presbyterian when they get into the business of missions. I spent 14 years under the Conservative Baptist Mission society. While I was on furlough the office sprang one on the field. They were ordered to establish 7 districts in Argentina and they were told to get the churches together and organize 7 associations of churches. Now, that’s alright if that’s what the people want. That’s alright if the people know what they are doing. Then the idea was to appoint one North American for each of those 7 associations. They were then to have a council made up of 7 Argentinians and 7 North American missionaries, if it would work.

Part of it may have been because I had been pushing for years for the North American mission board to please consider the people to whom the work belonged – the Argentinians and their churches. Then while I was up here I got another letter saying that they had decided to do something Baptists had perhaps not done before. They would have the two sevens each elect one so they would have a two – two committee to head up all the plans on the field. Well, it’s more Presbyterian than Baptist.

I believe that a local church planted on the foreign field is on a par with any church in the States and that the Holy Spirit is perfectly capable, not only of raising up that church, but of guiding it. The Holy spirit is just as capable of guiding it as he is of guiding the church here at home.

The church sends a missionary out. Once he gets a church established, then what is the situation? What happens then? My membership is in the church in Argentina. I believe that a Baptist, when he moves, should move his membership. It has gone back and forth several times. All the Southern Baptist missionaries have been doing it for a long long time. We tell the people in a foreign country that when they move they should unite with a church of like faith and practice in the area where they live. Did the missionary do it? The same is true regarding tithing. But does the missionary tithe? I have had Argentinians come to me and ask about whether some other missionary tithes. He preaches tithing, but we don’t know if he practices what he preaches. Several people here in the States have said to me, well a missionary earns so much more than the nationals. Is that good? I don’t think it’s a matter of whether it’s good or not. It is biblical to tithe. I often say to them. “If the man pays his taxes anyone can walk into the tax office and ask what the missionaries salary is. He isn’t going to hide that. It’s there.”

We have worked in poor areas. We have worked in middle class areas. Even in the poor areas time moves along and there will be somebody in the church who earns more than we do. And in the poor areas in Argentina, nearly every woman has more dresses than my wife. They wear out twice as many shoes as we do because they don’t take care of them.

If we believe in the autonomy of the local church, we should not adopt a policy or practice that will require the missionary to become, on the foreign field, that which the home church would not tolerate.

Now we have difficulties in doing this on the mission field. We have difficulties many times with the thinking of new missionaries. If we say “We want you to go out into a new area and settle down, become acquainted with the people, make friends with them, sow the seed, and plant a church. Let the people participate in the plans from the very beginning.” It is surprising how many will draw back. They want to see success before they start. Too many fear failure. Now we have had some success, but we’ve had many failures. We started 10 churches, but we’ve tried in at least 10 other places to get churches going and haven’t succeeded. We got souls saved, but we didn’t get a church established. Well the tendency to me seems that so many missionary volunteers want security with a big machine. It’s like wanting to be lost in the crowd so they will not have to produce or have success guaranteed before they start. They want to be part of a big organization so that at no time will they be in danger of defeat. I can remember when we were with the Conservative Baptist Mission Society we had some new missionaries come. The home office was telling us that we should organize like General Motors. When a new missionary comes say “You go there, or there.” No, we don’t believe that way. We won’t do it. We had made our survey. We have our information at hand. We have recommendations to make. We can tell new missionaries where there needs to be a church, but that’s all. The Holy spirit said to the church “Separate unto me Barnabus and Saul for the work where-unto I have called them.”

That makes it hard to get new recruits for the mission field. I had one man ask me, “If I come to Argentina could I dedicate myself to the ministry of music?” I said no. If one comes to Argentina he’ll have to plant churches. Music is a good talent that can certainly be used, but the main thrust is to get out there, get into the culture, and start churches.

We learn too much from the interdenominational mission boards that has carried over into some big fundamental Baptist mission boards. Too much of it is Presbyterian hierarchy. It is mostly rules and regulations.

What do the people on foreign fields think if all of a sudden you plant three missionary couples in an area? If the priest doesn’t preach it from the pulpit, it will be told on the streets. They will be saying “We have an invasion of Yankees.” Sometimes they think a missionary is a foreign spy. They might believe that because during World War II some spies did go to South America and other countries disguised as missionaries. If too many missionaries are in one place the people are suspicious.

I believe it is far better, in keeping with the example of the Apostle Paul, to just move into an area, become acquainted, make friends with the people, start a Bible class, win people to the Lord and organize a church. The missionary needs to let the people learn from the start that he wants the people to get involved in the church and that he isn’t running the show.

You say, “Well this missionary has had a lot of training. What was he trained for?” On the foreign field they don’t put much stock in your training. It makes no difference to them if you have a college degree. It doesn’t give the missionary any prestige. The missionary just needs to know how to be an example to his flock so they will look to him for guidance.

Sometimes it is hard to convince the people that you are sincere and that you mean it when you say, “This is your church.” You need to look into God’s Word and to the Holy Spirit for guidance in decisions that need to be made. For several reasons it is hard for them to believe you are sincere. They are not accustomed to a democracy where the people have a voice in the government. Also some of them think North Americans come to their country just for some advantage. Before troublesome times came to Argentina there were some 8000 North Americans living in Buenos Aires. I think there are very few now. Of those who remain, many live in luxury. They have servants, maybe even a chauffeur. In many countries there is a lot of anti-American feeling. It may be unjustified, but that is beside the point.

For that reason, it’s better that missionaries be scattered around the country. They don’t need to get together often. Their friends should be the people with whom they live. As much as possible, their social life should be with the people, especially those of the church. If the missionary wins the confidence of the people they will no longer be suspicious of him.

The new missionary shouldn’t be offended if the people look down on him. In his new setting he is ignorant of many things. In all his studies, he doesn’t know their country and their culture like all of them do. He struggles with the language and finds it difficult to communicate with those around him. He doesn’t even know the names of the foot ball teams, so why should the young people look up to him? For years the people may go on laughing about the queer and stupid things he said and did as a new missionary. A good friend of mine went to the store to buy three dozen eggs (huevos). He got the word for eggs mixed up with the word Jueves (Thursday). He asked for three dozen Thursdays. The store keeper ask him if he wanted them all in the same week. Missionaries should expect to make blunders and not be offended when they are laughed at. Missionaries should study all they can about the country they are going to and have a good start on the language before they arrive.

It is a mistake for several missionary families to live together in a compound where they are isolated from the people. It isn’t wise to have anything like a mission station or a compound. Missionaries need to make a serious effort to become one with the people they work with.

Things are moving rapidly in this world. The day will soon come when there will be no more institutional missions. I don’t believe we should be involved in institutional missions, not even schools. Let me give you an example. When I was with the Conservative Baptist Mission Society there was a large group of churches in the Cameroons. The son of a dear friend of mine went there as a missionary. When I was in the States on furlough I visited him in his home. He said he was going there to upgrade the churches. His way of doing that was to start a school for the pastors. He wanted to give them a better education. He was going to raise his own money to do it. The last time I was in Minneapolis I called him and had a friendly chat with him. I waited for him to bring up the subject of the school. He said, “Wilbur, it didn’t work. We brought the pastors out of their towns, out of the bush and gave them an education. Now they don’t want to go back to their churches. There is no prestige in pastoring a little church in the bush. They are now capable of getting good government jobs.”

You may ask, “Don’t you believe in training the pastors?” Yes I do. In the winter months we spend much of our time training pastors. We do it in the churches. In the summer months we get them involved in tent meetings. Once we have the pastors trained we let them do the training of others in their churches.

I was recently thinking about II Timothy 2:2. That word “commit” means to turn it over without any strings on it. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” We have some good teachers. I haven’t taken time to teach them all I learned when I studied educational administration. I have just given them a simple course on teaching in homiletics. They have had the Bible subjects. They have also been taught the fundamentals of music and church history. The Lord has raised them up and they can teach. It has become a part of them. Some of them are profound Bible students and my heart is blessed when I hear these Argentine men preach. I have learned from many of them. They have dug out things that I had never thought through. Sometimes they ask me questions that I can’t answer.

No one should tolerate the accusation that we are imperialists. We work together with the people. That makes a strong band. It is a tie that holds us together in a bond of love. We are united in the struggle, and it is a struggle. The Lord says, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

Addendum:

The above article came by way of a woman whose name is Kathryn Gray. She once heard Wilbur Sanford speak. She must have copied his message in short hand. It was written in cursive on 14 sheets of paper 8½ x 17½.

I had the privilege of knowing personally Wilbur Sanford and his wife Dorothy. They did the paper work to get us into Argentina. We worked together the first year we were in Argentina. I learned a lot from them. They did a good work in Argentina. A great number of people came to know Christ as their Savior under their ministry. I was privileged to know him and learn from him. I was at both of their funerals. They were both buried in Argentina. Russell George

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Why Missions

April 10, 2016

                                    Why Missions?

Why do some men and women go out to battle against the elements, ignorance, superstition, language barriers, and tropical diseases?  Why do they exchange the comforts of home for the stench and filth of a pagan society?  Are they psychological misfits seeking to escape from the demands of modern society?  All evidence points to the contrary.

The impact of their lives proves that they are sent out by God to represent Him in lands where the darkness is most intense.  They have felt a divine calling and have found a divine enablement.

They have gone forth with a Bible in their hand to make its age-old message ring in the ears of some who have never heard it.  They have gone through the streets of the villages telling them how God sent His Son to redeem sinners.

They don’t go with intentions of transforming society.  That transformation comes, however, as an ever increasing number accept the invitation of the gospel and abandon their evil habits.

What are you doing for missions?  Someone has noted that Americans spend more money for dog food than for missions.  Very few get excited about missions unless they have experienced the joy of salvation themselves.  Then they have a desire that others know about it too.

It is highly possible that many bush people in Africa are experiencing more of the joy of the Lord than multitudes of Americans who have no time for God.  How about you?

Added note by author

The above article was written back in 1968 when I was pastoring a church in North English, Iowa.  It was one of a series of articles published in the North English Record.  After my wife and I spent nearly 40 years on the mission field of Argentina, we can honestly say that we have no regrets.  Yes, there were some sacrifices we had to make, but it was a rewarding life.  We enjoyed it.  Our six children grew up in Argentina.  They were home schooled.  All of them are living an honorable productive life.  All of them have an active part in a church.  Three of them are full time missionaries.  Those who surrender their life to the Lord, to do his will, aren’t fools.

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Inspiration From The Life Of Adoniram Judson

            It’s inspiring to read of men who did a great work for God.  We can learn from them and be motivated to follow their example.  There is much that we can learn from Adoniram Judson.  This is a brief sketch of his life.

He was born the 8th of August 1788.  His father was a pastor of a congregational church.  His parents and others noted that he had a sharp mind and that he was a good student.  He graduated from Brown University in Massachusetts when he was 19 years old.  After that he took a job as a teacher for one year.  In spite of his good upbringing, he was an agnostic when he graduated from the university.  An agnostic is one who says “You can’t know anything for certain.  Once he was brought under conviction by a sermon his uncle preached, but later he forgot about it.  His godly parents were devastated when he told them that he had become an agnostic.

When he was 21 years old he stopped to spend the night at an inn.  He was told that there was only one room available and that he might hear a disturbance, because a young man was dying in the room next door.  He took the room anyhow, but he couldn’t sleep because of the screams of the dying man.  He thought some about going over to offer consolation to the poor man, but then he thought, “What consolation can I, an agnostic, give to a dying man?”  Along towards morning the screaming stopped and he was able to sleep two or three hours.  The next morning he was told that the man had died.  On inquiring about who he was, he learned that he had been his roommate at the university.  He knew that he also was also an agnostic.  Adoniram thought, “If that’s the way an agnostic dies, then I need Christ.”  After that he applied for enrollment in a seminary to study for the ministry.  He was accepted under observation, because he wasn’t sure of his salvation.  Six months later he was converted.

While he was in seminary he read a little book entitled “The Star in the West.” The book left him thinking seriously about being a missionary.  He yielded himself to God to be a foreign missionary if that was his will.  He couldn’t find any other students with similar interests at the seminary.  Three months later, however, three students enrolled who were interested in being missionaries.  They covenanted together to pray about the possibility of going to India as missionaries.  One of those men was a man by the name of Luther Rice.  He later served with Adoniram in India.

Adoniram learned of a mission board in England.  When he went there he was well received because of his eloquence.  Adoniram, however, wasn’t in agreement with the mission board, so he returned to the States.

Shortly after that he married his first wife, Ann Hassaltine.  Shortly after their marriage they left on a ship to go to India accompanied by Luther Rice.  They went out under a mission board supported by congregational churches.

In route to India Adoniram began thinking about a problem they would face when they arrived in India.  They planned to make the acquaintance of William Carey when they arrived.  He knew that Carey was a Baptist.  He knew they would not be in agreement about baptism and he thought he better study the Bible on the subject  so he could defend his beliefs.  The more he studied, however, the more he realized that Carey was right in his belief that baptism was only for believers and by immersion in water.  It wasn’t easy to convince his wife and Luther Rice about what he found in his studies but, before they arrived, all three were Baptists.  Shortly after they arrived Luther went back to the States to raise support among the Baptists.

They faced a serious problem when they arrived.  They were not welcome in India.  The East India Company had much money invested in business there and they feared that the preaching of the gospel might put in jeopardy their investments.  They were told to take a ship to England.  After going through several days of upheaval, they were finally allowed to take a ship to Burma.  It was there that they carried out their ministry.

In Burma the most prominent religion was Buddhism.  It is a religion that believes in the transmigration of souls.  That means that at death the soul appears again, possibly in an animal or possibly in a higher life.  Where the soul goes depends on the amount of merit one has attained. It is a fatalistic religion.

The Judsons spent the first three years learning the language.  They found the work extremely difficult.  In 1817 Adoniram took a ship to Pakistan to see if he could find someone there to help them.  The ship was carried off course by a storm and finally landed in a port far removed from Pakistan.  It was nearly a year later that he return to his home.  All this time his wife didn’t know where he was.  She finally concluded that he must be dead.

In an effort to reach the people with the gospel, he built a little shelter along a busy road where he preached to those who passed by.  He also started printing literature with a printing press that was sent from the States.  They labored for seven years before they won their first soul to Christ.

They faced serious opposition from the emperor.  He threatened to punish anyone who stopped to hear him preach in the little shelter beside the road.  Adroniram paid a man to represent him before the emperor.  He sent him to the emperor with a petition to tolerate the new religion, along with the gift of a Bible in six volumes.  The man approached the emperor crawling on his hands and knees.  The emperor read two lines of the Bible and threw it on the floor.  A guard ordered the man to get out of there as fast as possible.  Judson learned that it was in vain to seek the favor of the emperor.

The Judsons went through some serious trials.  His wife’s failing health obligated her to go to the States.  She spent two years there.  Adroniram went, at one time, for 10 months without hearing from her.  She returned and gave birth to their daughter, Maria.  Judson spent 17 months in prison.  Ann brought him food every day.  He was released for a time.  After being home for 11 months his wife died.  Six months later his little daughter, Maria, died.  He went through a period of depression from which he later recovered.

Eight years after Ann died he married Sarah Boardman, a missionary widow.  They had eight children, of which five survived.  Sarah was a great help to him because she knew the language better than he did.  After 11 years of marriage she took sick and he took her to the States.  It had been 33 years since he left the States.  Sarah recovered enough for them to take a ship to return to Burma.  As they rounded the tip of Africa Sarah died.  The ship dropped anchor at St. Helena where they dug a grave and buried her.  This time he didn’t go into depression.

He still had a passion to reach Burma for Christ.  This time when he returned he found that God was working in the hearts of the people.  People started coming to him asking for literature he was printing.  He gave out 10,000 tracts.

To everyone’s amazement, he fell in love again and married Emily Chubbuck.  She was only 29 years old and he was 57.  They spent, what both called, the four happiest years of their lives.  They had one child.

Judson fell sick again.  The doctors thought the best remedy would be a sea voyage.  They carried him on board a ship bound for the Isle of France.  For several days he suffered severe pain and vomiting.  On April 12, 1850 he died and was buried at sea.  His wife, Emily, gave birth to their second child who died at birth.  She learned four months later of the death of her husband.  She returned to the States, where she died of tuberculosis three years later.

Judson’s work was not in vain.  He finished his translation of the Bible to the Burmese language.  He also wrote a dictionary.  Hundreds of converts were left leading the churches.  Today there are 3,700 Baptist churches in Myanmar, who trace their origin to Judson’s labor of love.  In Burma, which is now called Myanmar, “the largest Christian force is the  Burma Baptist Convention which owes its origin to the pioneering of Adroniram Judson.” The above quote was taken from:  World Christian Encyclopedia,” David Barrett (New York: Oxford Press 1982), 202

There is still much work to be done.  There are still many large people groups who are waiting to hear the glorious message of salvation through the shed blood of Christ.  The Lord still says, “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.   And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.    But there shall not an hair of your head perish.”  No doubt Adoniram Judson is still enjoying a great reward he received when he arrived in heaven.  Our labors of love are never forgotten by God.

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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The Hidden Gospel

August 11, 2012

The Hidden Gospel

     “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:   In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3-4).  The word “gospel” means good news.  It’s unfortunate when good news is hidden.  It should be something we want everyone to know about.

In II Kings 7:1-15 we read the thrilling story of those four lepers that made two wise decisions.  They were living just outside the city of Samaria. (Lepers had to be separated from the rest of the people.)  The city, at that time, was surrounded by the Syrian army.  People in the city were dying of starvation.  The lepers knew that it was just a question of time before they too would die.  These lepers said to themselves, “Why sit we here until we die?    If we say, we will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.”  That was their first wise decision.  When night fell they went down to the Syrian camp.  What a surprise it was to them to find that the camp had been abandoned.  The Bible says that God made the Syrian army hear what sounded to them like an approaching army.  They left everything and fled.  The lepers found that an abundance of food had been left behind.  They filled their empty stomachs.  Then they made the second wise decision.  One of them said “We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come that we may go and tell the king’s household.”  We too should think “We do not well if we leave the gospel hidden.”

Satan has many ways of blinding people’s minds.  He is a great deceiver.  John 8:44 says “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”  He has many convinced that their entrance into heaven after death depends on the good deeds they have done.  They compare themselves with those around them and say to themselves, “I shouldn’t have anything to worry about.  I’m better than most of the people around me.”

Satan has access to our minds and many times we aren’t aware of it.  He puts thoughts in our minds.  Many people give him almost direct access to their minds by means of the television programs they watch, the radio programs they listen to and by what they read.  Indirectly he blinds people’s minds by making them think that it can’t be that the majority are deceived.  Therefore, they follow the course of this world.  “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).

Just two small coins held in front of your eyes can blind you from the light of the sun.  Satan knows that.  Therefore he tempts people to put their eyes on the things of this world.  That way the light of the glorious gospel of Christ is diminished.   This way they  can’t see what the gospel can do for them.  Even the well being of those around them is less important.  Their own well being is all that matters

When the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian Christians, the gospel was still hidden to a great part of the world.  It was something new.  The message hadn’t gotten out very far.  Only the Jews and a few of the nations around Israel had heard the gospel.  Satan wanted to keep it that way.  However, thanks to God, the gospel message has reached to the ends of the earth.  Satan still hasn’t given up.

God uses his people to spread the gospel.  If it is to reach the jungles of Africa and South America, someone has to take it there.  Someone has to take it to the university campuses.  Someone has to take it to the population centers as well as the rural areas

Satan does all he can to hinder young men and women from hearing the call to go out as missionaries.  Because of the lack of missionaries the gospel remains hidden to many in this world.  If young people feel called, Satan puts people around them to discourage them.  Many times they are their own relatives and friends.  Even their Christian friends are often unwilling to help by praying and giving.

When there is a good church, with a vibrant Christian testimony, in an area Satan tempts some in that church to be a bad testimony.  People are quick to grab that as an excuse for not accepting Christ as their Savior.  Christian, by your bad testimony, you can hide the gospel from some.  Have you ever thought of that?

We need to be occupied in exposing what Satan is trying to hide.  The gospel is still hidden to people all around us.  By our prayers, our witness, and our giving we can make the gospel known.  What are you doing to take the gospel out of hiding?  Many are content to sit back and do nothing.  One of the reasons why God saved you is so he could use you to help others see their need of the glorious gospel of Christ.  Some day we will have to give an account to God for what we have done in this life.  Will God be able to say to you “Well done, thou good and faithful servant….enter thou into the joy of thy Lord?”(Matthew 25:21).

 

 

 

 

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AN INVITATION FROM ARGENTINA

   Your invited  to go with me today and we’ll go out and pass out some gospel papers door to door here In this suburb of Buenos Aires? In each of these little papers I have stuffed an invitation to study a Bible correspondence course. We’ll take twenty five of them this time and discipline ourselves to keep going until they are all gone.

We leave the house and walk up the street to where the pavement ends. There we turn left and make our way down one of the mud streets. Some houses have door bells “but the usual way of calling the occupants to the door is to clap your hands. we clap our hands and wait for the first response. A teen-age girl comes to the door. We hand her a paper and explain to her what it is. We have hardly finished speaking before she says, “Well, thanks,” and goes back in the house. At the next two houses we find no one home,  then we pass several more houses where the papers are kindly received but the people hurry back inside.  Here is a house with a number of children playing in the yard. They all come running to the gate to see what we have. We give the paper to the girl who appears to be the oldest and most responsible and she promises to give it to her parents. We stop at two more houses leaving them a paper and a brief explanation of the plan of salvation. As we turn to leave the second house we are interrupted by the little girl to whom we had given the gospel paper.  She says, “My daddy doesn’t want it.” We suggest that she give it to her mother but she says, “My mommy doesn’t want it either.” Let’s see…She has… three little brothers with her. I think I have a few children’s tracts here that I could give them.  But first, I look around to see if there are any other neighbor children near. If they find out we are passing out something free the news will spread like fire and children will start pooping out from behind every bush and corner to beg for one for themselves and one for their little sister, and one for their grandmother, and one for Aunt Mary. There don’t appear to be other children near so I give them some tracts and they hurry home.

Here is a. man sitting in the front yard reading a newspaper. When we offer him one of our papers he looks up over his newspaper and asks, “What is it?” When we tell him he says, “I don’t want it.” We try again by saying, “But it’s free and contains some important Information about how you can go to Heaven.” Without looking up from his paper he grunts something and manifests every evidence that he is going to ignore us so we go on to the next house.  A man comes to the gate and politely refuses to accept our paper saying, “We’re Catholics.” We tell him that we are giving these to everyone and that they explain the way of salvation.  After explaining a little more of the way of salvation he softens up some and takes the paper. He asks about where our church is so we invite him to come. He says, “Maybe I will” As we start to leave he says, “Say, there is a lady who is of your religion’ who lives in the last house on the other side of the block.” We thank him for the information and tell him we’ll stop there. As we go on we make a note of his address so we can call there again.

We pass by several other houses and have the opportunity of presenting the plan of salvation to some. Here is a lady in this yard watering her plants. Let’s talk to her.  She accepts our paper, but with hesitation, saying, “Do I have to pay anything?” She has been tricked by the cults who put a booklet in people’s hands and then refuse to take it back but rather insist that they buy it. Then she asks, “Are you coming back to get it?” That’s another trick of the cults. If people accept something they take it as an invitation to come back and get it and leave then something else to read. She seems relieved to know it is hers and says, “I’11 read it.” We pass more houses until we encounter a lady who refuses to take the paper saying “I’m not Baptist.” We tell her that these are for everyone, Not just the Baptists.  Then she says, “But I have all these children to take care of and I won’t have time to read it.” She disappears around the corner of her house. Here is the house of the lady whom the man said was “of our religion.” We find however that she is an inactive member of one of the many little Pentecostal churches. There are also many former members of Pentecostal churches. They have been turned off by the shouting and excessive emotionalism.  Now they seem to have no interest in religion at all.

Let’s see, we only have three papers left. That may be enough to cover another block allowing for the fact that there may be some houses where no one will be home. We come to a yard where two ladies and three girls are seated around a crude wooden table. On the table is a plate of soda crackers, a tea kettle and a cup of sugar.  One lady has in her hand a hollowed out gourd with a metal stem sticking out of it. She puts the stem to her mouth and sucks something out of the gourd and hands it to the girl beside her. Between 5:00 and 6:00 in the evening is tea time. One often finds people eating soda crackers and sipping mate, which is what the tea is called that they put in the gourd. We give each of the ladies a paper. They thank us for them but seem anxious to continue, with the conversation we have interrupted so we go on. We are met at the next gate by a little boy. He promises to take our paper to hís parents and runs into the house with it. Since that was our last papaper we start toward home. Shortly we hear a boy running up behind us and shouting “Senor, senor”. On turning around we see that it is the little boy who had taken the paper for his parents. He is waving it in the air. He is all out of breath and with difficulty says, “They say this isn’t for us.” We explain to him that we aren’t delivering the mail but that we are giving these to everyone. He thinks for a moment, smiles and says, “Everyone in the whole world?” as he draws a big circle in the air with the paper.  We laugh and say, “Well, maybe not everyone in the whole world, but to your neighbors at least.  “Good” he says ,and runs back toward home.

As we return home our feet ache inside our dust covered shoes. Our hearts ache also for those blinded by religions that do not save or satisfy. We rejoice, however to have had the opportunity to leave a gospel paper in 25 more homes and a gospel testimony In the ears of many who had never heard the wonderful plan of salvation. In our family devotions tonight we will pray that the Lord will bless the gospel papers we have given out and thank him also for the many faithful Christians in the States who are praying for us missionaries. By the way, are you one of them?

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Missionary Bucket Brigade

            Let’s start a missionary bucket brigade.  Here is how it’s done.  Perhaps you are one of the thousands of working men and women who, once and most often twice a day, sacrifice their loose change to a vending machine in exchange for some small confection.  Let’s say, for example, that you are in the habit of getting a cup of coffee out of the vending machine twice a day.  You can start a missionary bucket brigade if you forgo that pleasure just once a day and make your change clink instead into the bottom of your lunch bucket.  Then, when you get home, you take it out and deposit the money in a missionary bank.  At the end of each month you empty the bank and send it to a missionary.

The key to success of this bucket brigade is in your daily discipline of dropping the change in your lunch bucket.  You may think that you can simplify the matter by simply giving more to missions.  Your intentions may be good, but probably, after a few days have passed, you will forget about it.  The rewards of this daily discipline are more far reaching than you may realize.

It will result in a substantial increase in your missionary giving.  Only a few cents a day may not seem like much.  It is, however, like a snowball.  The farther you roll it the larger it gets.  If you work five days a week, and give, let’s say 25 cents a day, that makes $1.25 a week.  There are 52 weeks in a year.  This will give you $65.00 a year to give to missions.  Again you may say, “Why can’t I just write a check for $65.00 at the end of the year and give it to missions?”  You could, but there are still other rewards you would miss.

This daily sacrifice would keep you alert to missions.  If the ongoing of God’s missionary program costs you something every day, you are going to find it difficult to push it far back in your mind.  You will have a keener interest in the missionary project your daily sacrifice is helping support.  It may prompt you to write an occasional letter to some lonely missionary on a far away field.  When that missionary comes home, you will be the first to offer him hospitality when he is in your area.  It should stimulate you to consistently pray for him.  It might also stimulate to give him more than just $65.00 a year.

This daily sacrifice will also help you improve your self-discipline.  Your accomplishments in life are in large measure dependent upon your ability to restrain selfish passions and press your faculties into meaningful and profitable activities.  It is the natural tendency of man to pamper himself.  A pampered self, however, is one that lives only for pleasure and not to benefit mankind.  The Christian has set before him the world’s supreme example of selflessness in the person of Jesus Christ who gave himself to an ignominious death on the cross that we might be redeemed.  If selflessness is in the nature of God, it should be our desire to make it a genuine part of our nature.

One more practical benefit for the bucket brigade is that it’s almost certain to provide you an opportunity to witness to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  If your fellow workers notice that you have abandoned your practice of drinking a cup of coffee at a certain hour of the day they will probably ask you why.  You can tell them that you have decided to forgo that cup of coffee and give the money instead to a certain missionary so he will be able to go out and present the plan of salvation to men and women.  You can go on to explain that the Bible says that all are lost and bound for Hell and that they must accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior if they want to go to Heaven.  You can then say, “How about you? Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”

Why don’t you  start a missionary bucket brigade?  You might encourage other believers to join you in it.  After a time you will find that those few cents a day aren’t a sacrifice at all.  You may rather find that it is an investment that brings you a richer, fulle

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

r and more fruitful life.

 

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