Strenghthening What Remains: God’s Smuggler

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill

“Awake and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death” (Rev. 3:2)…Could it be that God was speaking [these words] to me right now, telling me that my life work was here behind the Iron Curtain, where His remnant Church was struggling for its life? Was I to have some part in strengthening this precious thing that remained?

Here in the U. S. we are so blessed and privileged to have free access to God’s Word, and liberty to speak about our beliefs and worship the Lord as we desire. Over the centuries and even today, this has not been the case in many places throughout the world. Brother Andrew’s story, as told in the book God’s Smuggler, gives us an idea of the oppression suffered by Christians living behind the Iron Curtain, specifically during the 1950’s and 60’s.

It was 1987, the year after my husband and I were married, that we took a trip to Macau to spend a couple weeks working with a missionary family that we knew there. One day the plan was to go on foot through the border into China, accompanied by Mrs. A. While we were tourists there to see the local sites, we also had an ulterior purpose for going there –to deliver Bibles and other Christian literature to waiting recipients. Yes, for one day my husband and I were Bible smugglers, and not only that, but we were caught! Continue reading “Strenghthening What Remains: God’s Smuggler”

Five Who Risked It All for the Gospel: Through Gates of Splendor

through-gates-of-splendorThrough Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

“For the Auca to have no love for the white man was understandable. Could Christian love wipe out the memories of past treachery and brutality? This was a challenge to Jim and Pete as they hoped to bring the message of God’s love and salvation to these primitive people.”

A few years ago I read Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot (who passed away recently in June 2015), in which she shares the life and writings of her husband Jim Elliott, one of five missionaries who were murdered in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. I was familiar with the incident, but after reading about the life and heart of Elliot, I really wanted to learn more about how God had moved in the lives of these men, bringing them together in that place. I was interested to learn what kind of men these were who were willing to risk their very lives for a people they didn’t know and had a very good reason to fear. I was curious how their plans came about and what actually transpired on that fateful day. Elisabeth Elliot relates this story in first person in her first book Through Gates of Splendor, which was published the year following the five missionaries’ deaths. Continue reading “Five Who Risked It All for the Gospel: Through Gates of Splendor”

Adoniram Judson, Devoted for Life: To the Golden Shore

To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson by Courtney Anderson

To the Golden Shore

There were two worlds, two lives, for each person: this one– brief, narrow, finite; and the hereafter– eternal, limitless, infinite. Fame, to mean anything, should go with one into the next world, where one could enjoy it perpetually.

The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be “Devoted for life.”

I always find biographies on the lives of missionaries to be fascinating, moving, and inspiring, and Courtney Anderson’s biography on Adoniram Judson, To the Golden Shore, is no exception. Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) was sent to Burma (now Myanmar) as the first American foreign missionary in 1812 (at least, the first to be formally sent by an organization; see article below). He traveled there from Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife Ann (or Nancy, as she was commonly called) accompanied by fellow seminary student Luther Rice, and another couple, the Newells. Judson remained in Burma for 33 years before returning to the United States due to health issues facing his family, but after a year he went back to Burma, where he finished his last four years on this earth. Anderson’s account of Judson’s life and work is not only compelling, but also well-researched and well-written. Continue reading “Adoniram Judson, Devoted for Life: To the Golden Shore”

Two Who Brought Jesus to China: Hudson Taylor and Gladys Alyward

Two Missionaries Every Christian Should Know: Hudson Taylor and Gladys Aylward

Many Christian missionaries have dedicated their lives to serving God in various capacities and in different parts of the world. I think it’s profitable to read and become familiar with these individuals because their stories show how our wise and mighty God uses men and women of humility and faith to carry out His purposes and to advance His kingdom. As you read their stories, you see that they were not particularly extraordinary people, but they had a clear calling from God and were willing to answer it, regardless of the challenges they would face. Two such individuals whom God sent to China were Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) and Gladys Aylward (1902-1970). Continue reading “Two Who Brought Jesus to China: Hudson Taylor and Gladys Alyward”

God’s Love and Truth: Breaking Barriers and Penetrating Hearts: Peace Child

Peace Child: An Unforgettable Story of Primitive Jungle Treachery in the 20th Century by Don Richardson

peacechild“Among the Sawi every demonstration of friendship was suspect except one. If a man would actually give his own son to his enemies, that man could be trusted! That, and that alone, was a proof of goodwill no shadow of cynicism could discredit.”

To be called by God to a foreign country as a missionary of the Gospel is a privilege and an awesome undertaking. But to be called as a missionary to a culture that is virtually untouched by the modern world, has no written language, and is based on violence and treachery as a lifestyle is almost unimaginable. This is exactly the kind of people that Don and Carol Richardson, with their eight-month old son, went to live among for the purpose of bringing them Christ. Richardson’s book, Peace Child, describes their introduction to and ministry among the Sawi people of New Guinea. After reading Richardson’s account of his experience among the tribal people in Irian Jaya, I can only say that surely God takes great care and consideration when He hand-picks His servants to carry out such an overwhelming task. Continue reading “God’s Love and Truth: Breaking Barriers and Penetrating Hearts: Peace Child”

The Heart of a Martyr, Part Two

This is a continuation from the article, “The Legacy of a Martyr” on the book Shadow of the Almighty: the Life and Testament of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot.

In her book Shadow of the Almighty, Elisabeth Elliot reveals much about the life and heart of her husband, Jim, through his journals and personal letters to family members and to herself. Jim Elliot (1927-1956) was one of five missionaries killed by the Auca Indians in Ecuador.

The following passages express Elliot’s observations and concerns related to issues that affect the life of the individual believer, the church of Christ, and the spread of the Gospel:

Regarding dating/courting:

No one warns young people to follow Adam’s example.  He waited till God saw his need. Then God made Adam sleep, prepared for his mate, and brought her to him. We need more of this ‘being asleep’ in the will of God. Then we can receive what He brings us in His own time, if at all. Instead we are set as bloodhounds after a partner, considering everyone we see until our minds are so concerned with the sex problem that we can talk of nothing else…It is true that a fellow cannot ignore women — but he can think of them as he ought — as sisters,  not as sparring partners!

Continue reading “The Heart of a Martyr, Part Two”