Hudson Taylorwas a missionary to China from the mid 1800’s until his death in 1905. His personal commitment to the mission was great, (some say too much so) as many of his family dies as a result. One thing Hudson new was nothing he did or accomplished was of his own doing, it was God working through him.
Many folks today want to skip over this verse and make the claim that; Philippians 4:13“I (They) can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. In many circles this has become a rallying cry for health and prosperity, but does it really mean that?
As always neglecting to take in the Whole Counsel of God is poor bible exegesisand whyeisegesisis such a danger to true interpretation and right explanation of scripture. Consider the examples here from Philippians; one would think anyone really interested in getting to the truth of God’s Word, would at least read the context of the Chapter. If you read Chapter 4 It starts with “Therefore” meaning we need to go back to Chapter 3, which starts with “Finally” begging the question finally what? So we are headed to Chapter 2, and on it goes, the Whole Counsel at a minimum of what Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit intended.
For it is God – It is God, all about God always about God and NEVER ABOUT US,
which worketh – He alone does the work, we are powerless to do good apart from Christ
in you – He just uses us as the instrument to accomplish He works; Our strength (Phil 4:13) is insufficient to do anything
both to will – Any and all good we do is because of God’s will, that is He works in us to desire to serve Him righteously
and to do of his good pleasure. – and for His good pleasure, that is obediently serving His will for our lives and submitting as a bondservant to His working through us
The Forerunner Commentary has the following on this verse: But we should understand that He gives us the desire and power to accomplish His will, not our pleasures.
Hudson Taylor understood the servants relationship with God. He gave up asking for help or asking if he could help finally getting the Right Attitude by submitting and asking God to work through him.
Today we all face the same questions. We may not be Hudson Taylor’s serving on foreign mission fields but we all have our own personal mission field, whether its at home, work, school it does not matter. The questions are simple:
Are you asking God to work through you today?
Are you asking God for the desire and power to accomplish His will, not our pleasures.
David and Gloria met while attending a training school for missionaries in Colombia. After learning about indigenous people groups who hadn’t yet heard of Jesus, the couple felt compelled to take the gospel to the jungle, even though they knew their area was one of the most dangerous in Colombia. The dense rainforest, broad rivers and lack of Colombian security forces make it an appealing area for drug traffickers transporting cocaine.
David received a surprising offer one day when about 60 guerrilla soldiers appeared at the couple’s house. The rebel commander told David he would triple his salary and allow him to continue his pastoral work if he would join their group.
“I won’t work with you,” David replied. “You kill people. The only person who should have power over life is God.”
The rebel leader didn’t appreciate David’s boldness. “You are lucky it’s me and not some other guerrillas, as they would have shot you in the head already,” he said. “We will talk tomorrow.”
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Pakistan – Discovery of 1,000-year-old cross points to ancient Christian presence in Himalayas
Turkey – Church leaders call government to lift “entry ban” on serving pastors from overseas
China – Persecution concerns mount as surveillance state genetically maps entire male population and pastor compares second raid on church to “violence of Mao’s Cultural Revolution”
DRC – Militant extremists kill 57 villagers in attacks on mainly- Christian north-east
Mali – Heavily-armed jihadists murder 27 people in attacks on Christian villages
My feelings on stepping ashore I cannot attempt to describe. My heart felt as though it had not room and must burst its bonds, while tears of gratitude and thankfulness fell from my eyes.” So wrote Hudson Taylor of the moment of his landing at Shanghai, China on this day, March 1, 1854 at 5 p.m.
For years his heart had burned with desire to carry the gospel to China. He had exerted every ounce of his energy for this moment. Through weary struggles, through bouts of depression, through storm and danger of shipwreck, through heart-wrenching separation from his family, in isolation from other Englishmen, in hours of intense prayer, he had persevered to step upon this shore.
He did not know a soul, nor where to turn, although he had on him a letter to a missionary already established on Chinese soil. But Hudson Taylor had learned much about trusting the Lord, and this night his trust was not misplaced. As if guided, he found his way through the unfamiliar oriental streets to a mission compound where he was kindly received.
Nothing worked out according to his expectations. His first six months in China were dreary and lonely. His income was tiny and he could do little. Civil war began the week he arrived and rival gangs slaughtered people before his horrified eyes. Unable to rent a house as he had hoped, he had to impose on his kindly hosts. He flung himself into language learning, to the neglect even of his devotions. His mission board embarrassed him with its ignorance of China.
Hudson Taylor overcame these difficulties and many more. He learned the language and made up his mind to adopt native dress. It was his hope to establish a thoroughly native church. The Chinese, he felt, had little to do with Christianity because they hated foreign ways.
His methods proved successful. In time he broke gracefully away from his English board and founded the China Inland Mission, based wholly on faith. He did not tell others of his financial needs, trusting that the Lord would provide whatever was needed. He prayed specifically for his needs and for more missionaries. One year he prayed for 70 missionaries. The Lord sent 76. Another year he asked for 100 and got 102. The Lord also provided their passage money. At his death the China Inland Mission had 205 missionaries.
Hudson Taylor married Maria Dyer, who died tragically young. Nearing death, she kissed Hudson again and again, for each of their eight children. She had been a true support to him.
Hudson was left to carry on without her. Chinese Christianity grew slowly. For many years the number of Protestants hung at barely a million. Under savage persecutions, Christianity flourished. Today the Chinese church is thought by some analysts to be the fastest growing in the world. Chinese Christians owe their first contact with the Gospel to the evangelism of men such as Hudson Taylor. When he stepped in faith onto Shanghai’s soil, he became one of the greatest missionaries the world has known.
Within the next 3 months I am trying to arrange funding to install electricity into the Samuel dorm so the kids can study at night. You can see them trying to study by flashlight, but that is not so great (and gnats gather around your face with the headlamps).
—60-plus students in Fuau who would not otherwise be educated, plus teachers Andika, Nia, Albertina.
—Scholarships/school fees for 15 students.
–Medic Maikel servicing dozens up north.
–About one medivac/hospitalization every month. We’ve helped out 3 in the past 6 weeks.
Plus other efforts.
Meiron’s wife survived!
And she is now recovering and Meiron is ready to return to Papua to open a school among the Fayu.
We supported Meiron through school. He married and his wife stayed put on their island after marriage because he could not pay the bride-price. She was expecting and grew critical during her pregnancy (probably eclampsia) and the docs said she was going to die.
We evacuated Meiron from a remote jungle survey he was on three weeks ago and flew him out of Papua to be with her before she died.
We expected the worst.
The docs delivered the baby by c-section and she survived. She began to improve as soon as the baby was delivered.
He was able to see his healthy baby the next day.
She is now recovering and he is ready to return to Papua to open a school at his post among the remote Fayu tribe in the western Mamberamo River region.
Below is a pic of a typical house and the broken-down church building and the children of Foida where he desires to open a school.
His education and transport has all been paid by your generous donations. He needs tickets back to Papua and perhaps a little money for the wife and new child.
Of the two other evangelists first trained by us, Harun died last month and Rudy almost died before we evacuated him to a hospital in town.
The passing of a giant:
Pastor Yohanes Erelak passed away this week.
He was about 74 and spent his life opening up difficult areas in some of the most remote corners of Papua. After almost dying from an illness in middle age, he recommitted himself to opening the Northern Korowai area and lived for long periods of time in a treehouse (months) with inadequate food and without radio communication.
He helped open Danowage village in 2005 and then he and the Korowai landowners invited me in to live there with them in 2007.
We now have baptized believers, a church, a school, a clinic, a dorm, a runway, and young local men heading to higher education.
His life was threatened many times and he’s suffered much hardship to open this northern region.
And he did this all in his 60s! After opening a similar area to the south in his younger days.
I remember sitting for long hours with him in a canoe, my own back and legs being so sore at age 35 or so. And hiking hours with him through swamp. And climbing up into treehouses with him, he slowly ascending the treacherous ladder. He’d be so tired he’d fall asleep mid-sentence when sitting to rest, and yet he’d keep hiking and visiting new treehouses the next day.
He did things such as take chickens and tree saplings and fruit seeds to all the different villages and gave me the idea to do the same to help aid the villages. He sought transformation of the region, and this transformation is now happening.
He has lived in my home. We’ve hiked and camped together. He is a pioneer and a spiritual father to both me and the Northern Korowai.
May his name be remembered fondly forever.
It is a great privilege to have known this man and to have worked with him.
“…they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
UPDATE WHILE WRITING THIS PRAYER LETTER:
Pastor Yohanes Erelak, pioneer father to the Northern Korowai, was buried today in Merauke. My co-worker Ribka Arung Langi put in a call expressing our condolences to the widow and we are trying to help arrange transport and funds so that the Korowai landowners can go grieve at his grave in Merauke and we will give a love-gift to the widow. Acting pastor of Danowage, Jimmy Weyato, who was recruited by Pastor Erelak, will lead this group to go grieve.
A new project:
I have been given land to build a dorm in town, too:
Last year we built the dorm interior. This helps the younger Korowai kids. This year we need another in town to help the older kids.
Strange as it sounds, children who grew up wearing leaves in the jungle when we entered are now entering high school and college and bible school and updating me via Facebook.
These Korowai young men were mentored by Pastor Nahum and his wife. They are Esau, Musa and Manu. They work In different areas now, evangelist, mechanic, teacher. This year Me and Pastor Nahum and his wife Magdalena will build a house that can be used by 20-plus Korowai and other kids from interior Papua who want to take college and high school in town but who are homeless.
Pastor Nahum is donating the land and a place for the bathroom and garden. I will build the building.
They will be educated with godly character by Magdalena and Pastor Nahum who is a long-time friend who used to chase lizards with me and Noah and who often advise the evangelists Jimmy and Perin. They’ve been long-time friends and supporters of the Northern Korowai efforts.
On the right, Manu is now an evangelist and passed bible school and Musa was baptized by me, but is unfit for ministry but remains useful with his hands and Esau is also very smart.
Please help me gather funds to build this housing unit.
“Dan dahulu hanya 20% anak saja yang bisa membaca, sekarang hanya 20% saja anak yang tidak bisa membaca.”
At first, only 20% of children could read, now only 20% of children cannot read.
—-Teacher Andika (above) reflecting on his 2 years among the Fuau tribe.
That kind of a honeymoon was that? Adoniram Judson and Anne Hasseltine were married one day. The next, they attended Adoniram’s ordination to mission work. This day, February 6, 1812was one of the coldest days of the year. Heavy snow had fallen the night before as a cold front moved in. Despite the cold, fifteen hundred people converged from many miles around Salem to the barn-like Tabernacle Church where the ceremony would be held.
Some brought their children, thinking that someday they would want to say, “I saw America’s first foreign missionaries ordained.” Adoniram Judson is often called America’s first foreign missionary. This is only one-fifth true. He became the most famous of the men ordained that day, but four other Congregationalists (Samuel Nott, Samuel Newell, Gordon Hall, and Luther Rice) were set aside for missions with him and sailed for India that same year. And Judson’s wife Anne (Haseltine), “Nancy,” was beside him, too. Without her he would not have succeeded.
The service began at eleven. On a hard wooden settee, surrounded by dignitaries, sat the five young men who would soon say farewell to their homes and sail to the orient to tell others of Christ. In those days of slow travel, scant medical knowledge, and the dangers of sailing, the audience realized this might not only be an ordination but also a final farewell.
That the five were on the platform was largely a tribute to their own determination. While still students of Andover, they had agitated for the creation of the missionary society that was now sending them out. Now their mentors and supporters rose to speak.
After songs, Dr. Griffin gave a prayer during which the auditorium fell deathly still. Dr. Wood followed with the sermon, hoping to see the young men again at “the glorious appearing of the Son of God” when the fruits of their labors would be apparent.
Five ministers placed their hands on the heads of the five missionaries as Dr. Jedidiah Morse consecrated them. People wept during his prayer which was charged with a sense of farewell. When Dr. Spring charged the five to do their duty, he noted that it was a new and important enterprise that they undertook, before which every former effort of the American church retired “like stars before the rising sun.” Samuel Worcester inducted them into the brotherhood of the ministry and offered the right hand of fellowship. “Go carry to the poor heathen the good news of pardon, peace and eternal life. Tell them of the God whom we adore; of the Savior in whom we trust; of the glorious immortality for which we hope…” he said. The sun was well past its peak before Dr. Spring gave the closing prayer.
The sun had done little to warm the day, which was still bitterly cold. Students had to walk the sixteen miles back to Andover. One of them, Ephraim Newton, collapsed in the snow, and was found half-frozen by other students who hurried to carry him to a nearby house where he was revived in blankets near a fire.
Like the Judsons, Nott and Newell married shortly before sailing to Asia, and had little chance for a honeymoon. Days and evenings were lost in fundraising and meetings. Unfavorable winds delayed the sailing of the ship Caravan with the Judsons and Newells aboard. When they finally did sail, they almost foundered in a storm, the captain remarking that only Providence could save them. While at sea, Adoniram studied Bible teaching on baptism and became a Baptist.
The Judsons did not remain in India, but became missionaries in Burma where Anne’s support of her husband during a period of captivity saved his life and cost hers. Newell lost his wife and newborn daughter shortly after reaching India. Ill health compelled Rice to return to the United States. Nott worked for many years in India.
“We had no idea we were living in a dangerous area,” said Tania Rich. “[W]e were just a normal couple doing what we thought we should with our lives.” That happened to be work with New Tribes Mission in the Kuna tribe on the Panama-Colombia border.
On this day, January 31, 1993, armed guerillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, entered the village of Púcuro, Panama. There they seized Tania’s husband and two other missionaries, and vanished with them into the night. Shortly afterward, Nancy Mankins, Tania Rich, and Patti Tenenoff learned that FARC had radioed the mission. The guerillas were demanding millions of dollars for the release of the three husbands, Dave Mankins, Mark Rich, and Rick Tenenoff.
Like many missions, New Tribes has a policy not to pay ransom for hostages. With over three thousand missionaries serving world wide, many in politically troubled areas, New Tribes fears that paying ransom will encourage kidnappings, putting all missionaries at increased risk. New Tribes radioed the guerillas that there was no money to meet their demands. The two sides continued to talk by radio for about a year. In January 1994, FARC broke off contact.
The long wait continued. For the families, the silence could mean anything. Were the men ill or well, alive or dead? Probably they were being moved from hideout to hideout–that had been the experience of other hostages. It was likely they were in danger from Colombia military gunships battling FARC, from jungle creatures, and from torrential rains. For the wives and children of the captured men, concern for their loved ones was only one throb in the persistent ache of loss.
Nancy’s children, Chad and Sarah, married. “Even up to the day of each wedding, we were hoping that he would get back to give his blessing,” she said.
According to Patti, her two youngest children can scarcely remember their father at all. “Each of the kids have a picture of them with Daddy. At bedtime the kids ask me to tell them something about Daddy. My son has said that he would go and stay with the guerillas just to be with Daddy.”
Jessica Rich had a favorite teddy bear named Cubby. “You know Mommy,” she told Tania, “I would give away all my toys, even Cubby, if it would bring Daddy back.”
New Tribes continued to negotiate quietly, hoping to bring about a happy ending. In 1997 there was a brief surge of hope when the Costa Rican government reported that a FARC official had confirmed that the hostages were alive and well. Other contacts corroborated this report, but then the silence returned.
Five years after the men were captured, their whereabouts and well-being was as uncertain as ever and there was no prospect of their release. James Rubin for the State Department of the United States said officials had “engaged the Colombian government at all levels to insist that they do all they can to determine the welfare and whereabouts of our American citizens.” New Tribes issued news releases and a bulletin calling for the captives’ release, for action by humanitarian organizations, and for prayer by Christians. Yet the ordeal dragged on. Not until 2001 did New Tribes receive eyewitness confirmation of the death of the men.
“Lord, forgive our persecutors” say Rohingya Christians brutally attacked in Muslim Rohingya backlash
One Rohingya Christian is missing and twelve were seriously injured, including several children, in multiple attacks by Rohingya Muslim mobs on the isolated Rohingya Christian community in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, Bangladesh.
Indian church leaders raise alarm over Christian girls targeted in Islamist “love jihad”
An announcement from leaders of the largest Christian denomination in Kerala, India, raised serious concerns that young Christian women are being targeted in a “love jihad” campaign and lured into an Islamic State (IS) trap.
Christians living near Wuhan in China contact Barnabas calling for worldwide prayer
A Barnabas contact, who has relatives living near Wuhan city, has affirmed the seriousness of the Coronavirus outbreak in China and called on Christians throughout China and worldwide to pray for the situation:
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Travel today can be fatiguing. When Clara Swain left the United States in 1869, to become the world’s first qualified woman medical missionary, it was far more arduous than now. She wrote:
“The latter part of our voyage was very rough and I was too sick to write, and I had five sick ones to look after besides myself…I cannot bear to think of the sea, it treated me so badly.”
Circumstances did not brighten when she landed at Bombay, India. Her luggage was a week late. When she attempted to leave Bombay in a horse-drawn conveyance known as a dak garis, the horses lay down and refused to go, despite all coaxing. She slept in the dak garis, well aware that the fires winking in the distance were to keep tigers away from villages. Thanks to delays, she arrived at her next stop, Jubalpore, too late to catch the train to Cawnpore. She had to wait another day. At Cawnpore, she was still one hundred and eighty miles from her destination, Bareilly.
With no knowledge of the local language, she was hard pressed to obtain food. In the end, she found it necessary to fast most of that day and night as she traveled in another dak garis. She arrived in Bareilly at five in the morning, on this date January 20, 1870.
After so exhausting a journey, she might have been forgiven if she sought a day of rest before beginning medical work, especially since her luggage, with its precious cargo of medicines, would not arrive for another month. However, rest was not to be her lot.
“My medical work really began the day of my arrival. When I came out of my room in the morning I found a company of native Christian women and girls eagerly awaiting the appearance of the “Doctor Miss Sahiba,” and with the aid of a good missionary sister I was able to understand their words of welcome and find out what I could do to help them. As I had no medicines with me, I procured a few simple remedies for their ailments from Mrs. Thomas…”
By the end of the year she had treated 1,300 patients and trained seventeen medical students. Single-handed, she lectured on anatomy, physiology, materia medica, and diseases of women and children. By 1874, she had built the Women’s Hospital and Medical School, the first in all of Asia.
Its forty two acres was acquired miraculously from the Nawab of Rampore. This zealous Muslim had sworn he would never allow a Christian missionary in his city. After deep prayer, Clara and another missionary approached him about the land. He greeted her royally, feasted her, and exclaimed, “Take it, take it; I give it to you with much pleasure for that purpose.”
Clara’s work was essential, because male doctors were not allowed to attend women. Religious customs secluded high-caste females to Zenanas. Medical care was usually provided by ignorant barber girls. Clara used her skills as a doctor to gain an entrance for the good news that Christhad come to free India’s women of sin and raise their status.
When Clara’s health began to falter in the hot climate, she accepted an offer to become palace doctor to the Rajah of Rajputana and his Rani. She attempted to teach the love of Christ to women so spiritually ignorant that they even worshiped her sewing machine! Clara recounted these experiences in colorful letters home, published in 1909 under the title, A Glimpse of India. Her missionary adventures included a brush with death in a flood and a close call while riding an elephant in another of her arduous journeys.
When Stanley Tam became a Christian, he meant it. A young man, struggling to make a go of business in the depression, he allowed God to guide his actions. Slowly, he reaped success. Although it was difficult for him, he began to witness about Jesus to his contacts. He even followed God’s leading and had his lawyer draw up legal papers making the Lord his business partner.
That is how the matter stood until January, 1955. In January the Tams visited Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Colombia, observing the work of missionaries sharing their testimony with missionaries and Latin Americans.
While in Medellin, Colombia he spoke to a small crowd. The Holy Spirit’s presence was strong. Although the appeal had not been emotional, many people came forward to pray. But Tam found he could not sit down. “For I came once again into a milestone encounter with God.”
God asked him, “What is the most important thing in all the world to you?” Tam looked down at the altar.
“To see people seek Your face, Lord, as a result of the Holy Spirit’s blessing upon my testimony,” he replied.
“Stanley,” God said, “if a soul is the greatest value in all the world, then what investment can you make that will pay you the greatest dividends a hundred years from now?” Tam was already giving 60% of his income and much of his time. What was God asking him to do? He realized God was asking him to become his employee. “An employee, Lord? Isn’t that what I am now?” he asked.
We’re partners now, Stanley. I want you to turn your entire business am to me.” Stanley was stunned. “I can’t go back to Ohio and turn my business over to you,” he told the Lord. “Isn’t sixty percent enough? Many Christians don’t so much as give you ten percent.”
The Lord reminded him of a verse from the book of Matthew in the Bible. “The Kingdom Today of Heaven is like unto a merchant seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” That decided Tam. On this day, January 15, 1955, he told God that he would turn the entire business over to him. Stanley Tam would no longer even be a stockholder in the company.
As Tam noted, when a man seeks to involve God in the center of his life, he can expect divine encounters. Often they will run counter to our personal interests.
The five men on “Palm Beach,” a strip of sand on the Curaray River, Ecuador, knew that there was danger. But they took the risk for a chance to make friendly contact with the Huaorani (Auca) Indians. Missionaries Ed McCulley, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian, had landed on the makeshift airstrip in their “modern missionary mule” (a Piper Cruiser).
Back at Shell Mera,on this day January 8, 1956, Marj Saint waited for word. The short wave radio crackled. Marj listened as her husband, Nate, told her that “a commission of ten” was on its way from Terminal City. “Looks like they’ll be here for the early afternoon service. Pray for us. This is the day! We’ll contact you next at four-thirty.”
Excitement was intense. Months of efforts were about to bear fruit! The “commission” was a group of Huaorani men. Terminal City was the code name the missionaries had given to a Huaorani village they had spotted from the air. If Nate spoke in code words, it was because he did not want Ecuadorians with guns pre-empting the mission’s friendly overtures to the natives. The Huaorani were sturdy forest dwellers who had fiercely resisted all efforts to subdue them, killing many people who ventured into their territory.
Nate had first spotted one of their villages from the air on September 19, 1955. On October 1st, missionaries developed a plan for making contact, when bad weather kept Johnny Keenan from flying Ed back to his home station at Arunjo. Ed, Nate and others gathered at Shell Mera and talked into the wee hours of the morning, huddled over maps. How could they demonstrate that they came in peace and not in hostility?
What they decided to do was fly over the villages and lower gifts to the people. Using a public address system, they repeated friendly phrases that Jim had collected from an Huaorani woman on a nearby hacienda. “Biti miti punimupa: I like you; I want to be your friend.” Soon large numbers of Aucas were converging for the gift drops. Finally the day came when the villagers tied a gift to the line in return–a feathered headdress.
Next, a landing spot had to be found. They chose a playa (sand bar) on the Curaray River. Nate ran simulated landings, touching his wheels to the sand to test its firmness. It seemed okay. Finally on January 3rd, Nate and Ed landed. The sand proved softer than hoped, but by letting air out of the tires, a safe landing and takeoff was possible. Nate ferried the other men and supplies to the camp. They erected a prefab tree house and shouted friendly words into the bush. Four days later a Huaorani man and two women appeared. Now, on this day, January 8th, 1956, several Auca were headed to “Palm Beach.”
Four thirty rolled around, time for the planned radio contact. Eagerly Marj switched on her radio back at base. Nothing! Had the men been invited to the Huaorani houses? She waited. There was no sound. The minutes passed, and lengthened into hours. Silence.
Johnny Keenan flew over Palm Beach on Monday morning. He reported to Marj that he had spotted Nate’s plane, stripped of its fabric. On Wednesday he saw the first of the bodies from the air. Then another. Soon it was evident all five men were dead. A ground force moved in to bury the men. Ed’s body had washed away.
A shipwrecked sailor recalled Jim Elliot’s words: “When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.” The five men on the beach had been ready to die and their deaths were not in vain. Through the efforts of the widows, the Huaorani discovered Christian forgiveness. The day came when they explained that they had killed the five out of fear, thinking they were cannibals. The same Huaorani who killed the men became believers in Christ.