Today in Church History

The End for Evelyn “Granny” Brand

The End for Evelyn "Granny" Brand

Tears streaking her cheeks, Evie Brand pleaded with her mission board. Rules were rules, they answered. She was too old to go back to India. She must retire.

Evie had sacrificed her comforts, her tiny income, her family for the work. With her husband, Jesse, she had pioneered on the Mountains of Death until he died of fever. Year after year, she lived entirely on a small inheritance and set aside her official salary to buy parcels of land for the mission. But the board said it made no sense to appoint a sixty-eight year old woman to another five year term.

Evie did not see it that way. Years ago, she and her husband Jesse had vowed to reach five mountain ranges with the gospel. Four still had to be reached. Evie felt that God intended for her to fulfill that vow. She saw one last chance. “Please just send me back for one year,” she pleaded. “I promise not to make any more trouble. At the end of one year I will retire.”

Reluctantly the board agreed. Had they known Evie’s secret plan, they would surely have refused. When her year with the mission ended, fellow missionaries gathered to wish her goodbye. Then came the shocker. Evie gleefully informed them that she was retiring from the mission– retiring to take up independent work in the mountains. She would fulfill the promise that she and Jesse had undertaken years before. Protests and warnings fell on deaf ears.

Rejoicing, seventy-year-old Evie began to fulfill Jesse’s dream. Everyone called her “Granny,” now, but she felt young. She traveled from village to village, riding a hill pony, camping, teaching, and dispensing medicine. She rescued abandoned children. The work was hard because her body was thin now. Life became even more difficult when she was dropped by her carriers and whacked her head on a rock. She never completely recovered her balance after that. She took to walking with bamboo canes in her hands. Yet the face that she turned upon the world was full of joy and laughter. “Praise God!” she exclaimed continually.

Despite broken bones and fevers, she labored on. In fifteen years, she almost eradicated Guinea worm from the Kalryan range. (Guinea worms grow several feet long under a person’s skin.) Through her efforts, the five ranges were evangelized, and a mission work planted on each. She added two more ranges. “Extraordinary,” said people. Granny insisted it was all God’s doing.

Whether on her mountains or off, she proclaimed Christ. In a hospital with a broken hip, she scooted on a carpet from room to room and talked to the other patients. She painted landscapes for them. Her bones knit in record time and back she went to the mountains to fight marijuana growers. Her son Paul visited her and found her looking not older but younger. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”

Granny tore some ligaments and had to go to the plains for treatment. Before she could return to her beloved mountains, her speech became jumbled and her memory failed. Seven days later, on this day, December 18th, 1974, she died. The next day her body was taken back to the hills and laid beside Jesse’s while a multitude wept. The woman who was considered too old for missions had carried on for twenty-four more years.

Missions Work is not New

Image result for 1 Chronicles 16:24 Missions

1 Chronicles 16:24

Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples. (NKJV) 

Cantad entre las gentes su gloria,
    Y en todos los pueblos sus maravillas. (RVR 1960)

I just returned from the annual Reformed Baptist Network Conference in Coconut Creek Florida. It was a great time of business, edification, fellowship, Glorification and renewal. As a adviser to the missions committee I was very pleased to have the theme of this years conference “Motives for Missionary Labors”. You can find the three main evening speaker’s sermons here and I also highly recommend the final speakers (David Barcelo of Spain) presentation on “Do Not  Love The World“.  

One of the things that I was reminded of at the conference was that missions as we seem to define it today, ‘sharing the Gospel to those without it’, is not something that suddenly appears in the New Testament. 

Here in our text we have an example of just that scripture telling us that the nation of Israel was to do “Mission Work” in Declaring His glory among the nations and His wonders among all peoples.

סַפְּר֤וּ (sap·pə·rū)
Verb – Piel – Imperative – masculine plural
Strong’s Hebrew 5608To count, recount, relate

His glory
כְּבוֹד֔וֹ (kə·ḇō·w·ḏōw)
Noun – masculine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 3519: Weight, splendor, copiousness

among the nations,
בַגּוֹיִם֙ (ḇag·gō·w·yim)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun – masculine plural
Strong’s Hebrew 1471A foreign nation, a Gentile, a troop of animals, a flight of locusts

His wonders
נִפְלְאֹתָֽיו׃ (nip̄·lə·’ō·ṯāw)
Verb – Nifal – Participle – feminine plural construct | third person masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 6381To separate, distinguish, to be, great, difficult, wonderful

among all
בְּכָל־ (bə·ḵāl)
Preposition-b | Noun – masculine singular construct
Strong’s Hebrew 3605: The whole, all, any, every

הָעַמִּ֖ים (hā·‘am·mîm)
Article | Noun – masculine plural
Strong’s Hebrew 5971: A people, a tribe, troops, attendants, a flock

When we break down the Hebrew like this is is hard not to recognize the missions oriented mandate here in David’s words. This becomes even more apparent when we add in v.23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. David says to sing and proclaim the good news (Gospel) of Salvation. 

If we look at  Acts 13:46-47 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”  this text in has Paul telling the Jewish leaders of the day, you were given the Mission of sharing proclaiming the good news and failed. Now God in his infinite sovereignty has called upon us to truly go to the ends of the earth. 

They, the nation of Israel were to proclaim the good news of His salvation, that is the Lord God of Heaven and Earth. We now know that true salvation, eternal reconciliation and life with God comes only through His Son Christ Jesus. Yet the Missions Work has not changed we are still to Declaring His glory among the nations and His wonders among all peoples because v.25a the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;

Are you doing your part in Missions work today? 

Biblical Contentment, Part X


Image result for John 17:19

Last night I had the great pleasure of hearing Dr. Hensworth Jonas  preach. His topic in keeping with this years theme was “Faithful Missions in Hostile Times” using John 17:13-19 as his text.  

But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify[a] them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (NKJV)

Pero ahora voy a ti; y hablo esto en el mundo, para que tengan mi gozo cumplido en sí mismos. 14 Yo les he dado tu palabra; y el mundo los aborreció, porque no son del mundo, como tampoco yo soy del mundo. 15 No ruego que los quites del mundo, sino que los guardes del mal. 16 No son del mundo, como tampoco yo soy del mundo. 17 Santifícalos en tu verdad; tu palabra es verdad. 18 Como tú me enviaste al mundo, así yo los he enviado al mundo. 19 Y por ellos yo me santifico a mí mismo, para que también ellos sean santificados en la verdad. (RVR 1960)


He focused on v. 18, As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world to make the case that missions is for all believers. He also said we are to make our case with love and compassion but never ever compromising God’s truth. Then he made a very interesting comparison, those who argue against “Christian Beliefs” are in themselves missionaries of their point of view.

He then broke down into three points the force for personal missions found in our text:

The Catalyst for the mission: v. 13-15 we find that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves is the catalyst for missions 

The Commission for the Mission: v. 16-18, self appointed missionaries have no authority. We must be appointed by God and His governing bodies.  He also noted that when we are sanctified by God’s Truth v.17 we are unable to keep the Good News of Christ a private matter.

The Control of the Mission: v. 18-19, “As”… might seem like a simple word but holds much power for it controls how we proceed. You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them. The only way we go is AS Jesus went. Finally Dr. Jonas spoke of the personal “sanctifying” holiness that makes us effective as missionaries. 

It is this last point I would like to explore just a little further as we close out this series today. Personal Holiness (Sanctification) is an ongoing process, that should not discourage but encourage us daily. God is Holy and we are called to be Holy like Him 1 Peter 1:15-16.

This does not mean it will be an easy cheesy task. Hebrews 12:14 tells us we must strive for peace and holiness. Ephesians 4:24 says we must “put on” the new self created in … holiness. Colossians 3:5 tells us we must put to death the old ways the earthly or natural human desires. It is a work that should be recognized by those around us 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

If holiness (sanctification) is important to missions (and I agree it is) I would argue it is more important to our Biblical Contentment. Maybe the greatest missionary for Christ, the Apostle Paul understood Biblical Contentment and Holiness were tied together. Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Is not penned from the hand of a man devoid of holiness nor of a man of malcontent in his surroundings. He new that godliness and contentment were meant to go hand in hand 1 Timothy 6:6-7 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, [a]and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

It was this complete surrender in Christ that made made Paul the man of God he was and Biblically Content Philippians 4:1-20.



Today in Church History


Florence Matheny, Missionary to Japan

Florence Matheny, Missionary to Japan

“She was a very attractive young lady, the most attractive young lady I had ever met.” That is how Jacob “Jake” DeShazer remembered his early acquaintance with Florence Matheny.

Jake was one of the Doolittle Raiders in World War II who bombed Japan. When he parachuted from his plane over occupied China, the Japanese captured him. For forty months he was held in captivity, often tortured and usually isolated in solitary confinement. He hated his captors. After his release, he was a hero. His picture made the news. But now he had a goal.

While in prison, Jake became a Christian. Although raised in the Free Methodist Church, he had never put his life under the command of Jesus. Near the end of the war, the Japanese relaxed prison conditions a little and brought the prisoners a Bible. Jake read it through three times in three weeks and memorized whole chapters. Because he believed its promises, his life was changed. He was determined to get his theological education and come back to tell the Japanese about Christ.

Florence, who was born in Marion, Iowa, on this day, August 9, 1921, also wanted to go into full time work for the Lord. She chose Seattle Pacific College for her training. About that time, she read that Jake planned to attend school and return to Japan with the gospel. “What a coincidence it would be if he should choose the same college I have chosen,” she thought. “I might even get to shake his hand!”

Florence did more than shake Jake’s hand; she became his wife. Between Jake’s speaking engagements, they had family devotions together twice a day. This helped lay the foundation for their long and productive ministry.

Jake, Florence and their children sailed for Japan in 1948. “My brave little wife was ready for the fight,” he wrote. Jake’s testimony had been printed in Japanese and over a million leaflets distributed throughout the islands. Thousands of Japanese turned out to see him when he landed at Yokohama. Over the years, many turned to Christ through seeing how the love of Jesus could make a man love even those who had tortured him.

Florence held Bible lessons in their home and also led Japanese to Christ. And she gave lessons on a flannel graph, illustrating Bible themes.

One of the most rewarding results of their ministry was when Mitsuo Fuchida, lead pilot of the planes that bombed Pearl Harbor, gave his life to Christ as a result of reading Jake’s tract and studying the Bible. The two worked together to win souls.

Gospel Privilege and Global Missions

| March 28, 2019

“The true privilege for American Christians, and all Christians, is not found in the pigmentation of our skin, but the eternal state of our souls.”

We are called to share the Good News to those who have not heard it, that is the mandate set forth by Christ Jesus Himself to all Christians. Whether that be in your own home, neighborhood, city, or a unreached people group in a foreign land. The “News” and our focus must remain Christ and Him Crucified. – Mike

I remember well a particularly telling luncheon at T4G. A young pastor, wielding his MDiv and an internship at a solid Baptist church, sat across the table from my friend, Brooks Buser. Brooks had just returned from spending over 13 years suffering loss for the unsurpassable honor of planting a church among the Yembi Yembi.¹ Brooks is an American-born male of European descent, though he grew up in the Iteri tribe in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. His father, Brad Buser, had spent 20 years planting a church among that formerly cannibalistic unreached people group.

Upon hearing that Brooks had gone to an unreached people group, planted a church, and translated the New Testament, the young pastor clamored for a chance to ask Brooks the most important questions a gospel minister could ask in that moment: “What is your view of white privilege and the social justice movement and how they inform the Great Commission?” Brooks kindly told him that this is not an issue he dealt with on the mission field. He encouraged the young pastor to consider our gospel privilege. We have the good news and the word of God in our language. There are 3100+ people groups who do not know this news. Brooks pointed out that this should be our great concern. With complete sincerity, the young pastor responded, “You are not woke.”

Continued at Source: Gospel Privilege and Global Missions

¹ I have added this link for you to netter understand Brooks and Nina Buser’s story.





This article was brought to my attention by my friend Trevor Johnson who has been serving as a missionary to an URP group in Papua Indonesia** for many years. I am using a post he put on Facebook as my into here. – Mike

Prioritizing the least-reached:

There are many works we could be doing, and many of them are good and needed, but I assert that we can and should prioritize the least-reached. There is a frontier missions priority.

We should study towards this end. We should try to figure out who is “neediest” as a people-group and how to target them.

Some missionaries (like me right now) lack the health or visa or know-how to get to some of these neediest regions. We can all help out where we are. Nonetheless, I’d like to assert that we engage in a “missiological triage” and try to prioritize resources for those regions who know the least about the Gospel and need the most help.

This means that we will not pool resources in the US nor retain personnel/graduates from seminaries, but will try to send them to India, China, Indonesia, the Middle East, and other regions that do not enjoy the Gospel Resources that America receives.

This is not to disparage the call of US church-planters if that is your call. But American church-planting is not frontier missions. This also does not diminish the work of those in the West laboring among forgotten peoples who remain a foreign culture within America and remain largely neglected such as American Indians, Somali immigrants, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese communities, and refugees.

This is simply a plea for a missiological triage, a priority to try to reach the least-reached. Due to missionary sickness or health or poverty, many missionaries return home from these areas, or cannot ever even go. So if we do have potential personnel who can go to these areas, let’s not divert them back to the USA but send them to these needier regions with the gospel.

—–Pastoral ministries of local churches (mostly in Christian nations): $677 billion (96.8%) [2]
——-“Home Missions” in same Christian nations: $20.3 billion (2.9%) [2]
—–Going to Unevangelized Non-Christian world: $2.1 billion (.3%) [2] *This is different than “Unreached”
Money that goes toward Unreached Peoples: *Estimated $450 million [3]
—–[3] *In 2001 only 1% of giving to “Missions” went to unreached – if that trend holds true today it would be $450 million. The estimated $450 million going toward UPG’s is only .001% of the $42 trillion Income of Christians. For every $100,000 that Christians make, they give $1 to the unreached.


—-Evangelical Christians could provide all of the funds needed to plant a church in each of the 6,900 unreached people groups with only 0.03% of their income.
—–The Church has roughly 3,000 times the financial resources and 9,000 times the manpower needed to finish the Great Commission.
—–If every evangelical gave 10% of their income to missions we could easily support 2 million new missionaries. – Trevor Johnson,  Malaysia 

** Please pray for Trevor and his family, they have been forced to leave the mission field in Papua due to Trevor’s deteriorating health. He has had Malaria 23 times and now has mercury poisoning the combination has caused liver, kidney and other functions to not work as they should. They are in Malaysia trying to recover. – Mike



  • 7.56 billion (August 2018 est.)
  • Median age – total: 29.7 years
  • Life expectancy – total population: 68 years
  • China: 1,355
  • India: 1,236
  • United States: 318
  • Indonesia: 253
  • Brazil: 202
  • Pakistan: 196
  • Nigeria: 177
  • Bangladesh: 166
  • Russia: 142
  • Japan: 127
  • Total People Groups: 16,591
  • Less than 2% Evangelical Christian.
  • Total Unreached People Groups: 6,741
  • Total Population of UPGs: 3.14 billion people
  • Total Percentage of world: UPG’s make up 42.2% of world population
  • Greater than 2% Evangelical Christian but still great numbers of unsaved.
  • Total Unevangelized People Groups: 2,792
  • Total Population: 764 million
  • Total Percentage of world: the unevangelized make up 11% of world population
  • Greater than 2% Evangelical Christian or majority Christian Population
  • Total Reached People Groups: 7,058
  • Total Population: 3.5 billion
  • Total Percentage of world: the reached population makes up 42% of world population

People Groups Info

Continued at Source: 


Five Secular Myths about Missions

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This is a guest post by my friend Trevor Johnson, a missionary to the remote Korowai people of central Papua, Indonesia. Please enjoy his unique perspective on modern mission work!

April 1874 – the British Empire’s treasury pays £500 for the missionary David Livingstone’s funeral (around £38,000 today). A steamer carries his body to Southampton where he receives an artillery salute. His body lays in state at the Royal Geographical Society’s offices for two days and crowds throng to pay their respects.

David Livingstone died after contacting many remote tribes for the first time and opened up Africa to commerce. But his primary objective was always to tell them about Jesus. He was hailed as a hero…



 Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.  – – James 1:12 (CSB)

A friend shared this picture today on FB and I thought it such a good quote I had to share and decided to add a link to Dr. Livingston’s Bio. – Mike

BIO: Who was David Livingstone?

When someone asked David Livingstone why he became a missionary to Africa, he replied, “I was compelled by the love of Christ.” A medical doctor, missionary, preacher, African explorer, humanitarian, and fighter against the slave trade, David Livingstone went fearlessly to places other outsiders had never gone and, from the obscurity of the remote African interior, became one of the most celebrated heroes of his era….

Continued at Source: David Livingston Bio




Would You Have Sent the Martyred Missionary?

Chau, 26, wanted to ‘declare Jesus’ to the Sentinelese, according to diaries.

It seems everyone has an option about this event from praise to outrage. I found Joe Carter’s article well written and thought I would share. – Mike

On an island off the coast of India live the Sentinelese, a tribe of indigenous people who have managed—with the aid of the Indian government—to seal themselves off from the modern world for hundreds of years. Earlier this month, John Allen Chau, a 26-year-old American missionary, attempted to make contact with them so he could “declare Jesus to these people.”

According to The New York Times, Chau arranged for a local fisherman to take him close to the island, where he hoped to give out gifts of scissors, safety pins, fishing line, and a soccer ball. After landing on the island and being confronted by guards he yelled out, “My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you.”

When he tried to hand over the gifts, though, a boy shot an arrow into the Bible he was holding. Chau escaped without injury, and debated whether to return. On November 16 he told the fishermen he would be fine staying on the island overnight. When they passed by the island the next morning, they saw the islanders dragging Chau’s body on the beach with a rope. Police believe the young American was likely murdered.

Reports of the tragedy have sparked a range of debates. Some critics of Christianity—both external and internal—are using Chau’s death to condemn all missionary activities as “imperialism” and “colonization.” In response, some Christians are uncritically praising the young man’s courage in attempting to tell one of the world’s most remote tribes about Jesus.

There is no reason to take either approach, nor is it necessary to directly condemn or champion Chau’s actions. But we can and should use this tragic death to examine how we think about our own role in sending missionaries. Would you have commissioned Chau to be a missionary to the Sentinelese? In considering that question, you can gain a better understanding of both the role of missionaries and also the role you have in sending them.

If you are a church member, you will (or at least should) have the opportunity to determine who will be sent to the mission field.

Missionaries, as Kevin DeYoung explains, are those unique persons called by God and sent by the church to go out and further the mission where it has not yet been established. By this definition, if you are a church member, you will (or at least should) have the opportunity to determine who will be sent to the mission field.

Here are examples of the types of questions you should consider asking when evaluating the qualifications of a missionary candidate.

Are they willing to be sent by a local church?

Let’s start with what some might consider a controversial claim: No one should be on the mission field unless they are sent by a healthy, gospel-centered church. This means the candidate should already be a member of a local church and submitting to the authority of the church leaders.

I agree with Mack Stiles. “Baptizing yourself is silly,” Stiles says. “And going to the nations without the support of a local church is a little like baptizing yourself. Being a self-proclaimed lone-ranger missionary is as ridiculous and arrogant as baptizing yourself.”

Currently, it is unknown whether Chau was a sent by any church. Although he joined All Nations in 2017, it’s also unclear whether the missionary organization sanctioned his trip to the Sentinelese people.

Can they communicate the gospel to the target group?

This question has three elements, each of which should be nonnegotiable.

The first is whether the candidate has an adequate understanding of the gospel. We should never assume that simply because someone has a heart for missions that they understand, much less can communicate, the message of the gospel. Have them explain it to you before they explain it to a lost people group.

The second consideration is whether they can explain the gospel in the context of the target people group. Cross-cultural contextualization is a complicated topic, and fraught with many pitfalls. But at a minimum a missionary should be able to communicate the gospel within a cultural context in way that ensures what the people are hearing actually is the gospel.

Third, and most importantly, is whether they can communicate in the language of the target people group. If they cannot speak the language they cannot carry out the purpose of the missionary. They may embed themselves within a people to study the language and gain the skills necessary for communication. But until they are able to communicate the gospel to the target group, they are not functioning as missionaries.

This would be a particularly acute problem with the Sentinelese, since no one even knows what language they speak. Chau’s plan, according to friends, was to “use body language” to communicate with the Sentinelese. Since the gospel can’t be communicated through hand gestures, it would have been years—maybe even decades—before Chau was able to tell the people about Christ.

Who will be part of their team?

Christianity isn’t for loners. As believers we are called to be a part of and submit to a local church. The same model is true for missionaries. Except in rare and extraordinary circumstances, we should follow the example and model we see in the New Testament of missionaries being part of teams.

As Paul Akin notes, “Jesus and his disciples lived and did ministry together. Paul and Barnabas—set apart by the Holy Spirit and the church in Antioch—went out together on the first missionary journey . . . at least 55 men and 17 women were associated with Paul on his missionary journeys. All this to say, there are biblical, practical, and pastoral reasons why we encourage the formation and sending of missionary teams.”

Would we have them on staff at our church?

Would you consider the missionary candidate “good enough” for a primitive people but not someone you would trust to be a Bible teacher or elder in your own congregation? If so, you should consider why you believe God has a lower standard for the leadership of lost people groups than you do for your own church. As Stiles says, “Churches should send out those they’d be willing to hire as staff, the ones who’d sting a bit to lose to overseas work.”

Have they counted the costs?

In the letter he wrote before his death, Chau said, “I think I could be more useful alive . . . but to you, God, I give all the glory of whatever happens.” He also asked God to forgive “any of the people on this island who try to kill me, and especially if they succeed.”

Whatever his flaws in methodology, Chau had the requisite courage, commitment, and willingness to give his all for the mission. We should hold our candidates to the same standard, for no missionary is truly prepared until they are ready to lose their life for the sake of the gospel.