On this day in 1820, Adoniram Judson stood before the king of Burma to plead for religious freedom for the Burmese Christians.

When Judson had arrived in Burma seven years earlier, he found himself facing a country that was completely Buddhist.  This strong Buddhism made it very difficult for Judson to reach the people.  And it made it very hard for the new Burmese believers.  When a Burmese converted, he faced fierce opposition form all sides.  His family would disown him, he usually lost his job, and the local government would make inquiries into him.  The pressure cause several Burmese to leave the Judsons.  But others endured.  Judson himself began to receive heavy taxes and fines from corrupt locals, who could require any tax or bribe they wanted.  Realizing that Judson had no protection from a foreign power or a higher government official, he became easy prey to fill their pockets.  Judson realized that he needed, for his own sake and the sake of the few Christians he had, seek protection from the King.

Judson and a fellow missionary, Coleman, set out from the city of Rangoon to Ava, the Capital of Burma.  They had with them some Burmese tracts, a brief outline of what they believed, and a gold-leafed Bible to present as a gift to the king, hoping to impress him.  But when it came time to meet him, they were the ones awed.  They were lead into a massive hall with enormous pillars and high, domed ceilings.  And everything was covered in gold, a testimony to the king’s wealth and power.

As the king approached them, Judson boldly introduced themselves in the Burmese language. The king was impressed and questioned the missionaries for quite some time.  Finally, their petition was given to the king.  Part of it read:

The American teachers present themselves to receive the favor of the excellent king, the sovereign of land and sea….. that royal permission be given, that we, taking refuge in the royal power, may preach our religion in these dominions, and that those who are pleased with our preaching, and wish to listen to and be guided by it, whether foreigners or Burmans, may be exempt from Government molestation, they present themselves to receive the favor of the excellent king, the sovereign of land and sea.

Next, a tract was handed to the king that outlined the basic beliefs of the Christians.  Judson wrote the result in his diary:

After the emperor had perused the petition, he handed it back without saying a word, and took the tract. Our hearts now rose to God for a display of His grace. ‘Oh, have mercy on Burmah! Have mercy on her king.’ But, alas! the time was not yet come. He held the tract long enough to read the first two sentences, which assert that there is one eternal God, who is independent of the incidents of mortality, and that beside Him, there is no God; and then, with an air of indifference, perhaps disdain, he dashed it down to the ground.

The king left the room without another word.  Judson’s dreams of a free Burma were shattered!


The Life of Adoniram Judson By: Edward Judson

On this day in 1673, Experience Mayhew was born in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the oldest son of Rev. John Mayhew, missionary to the Indians.

At the age of 26, Experience would follow in his Father’s footsteps and begin to work among the Wampanoag tribe.  The only thing is, he didn’t just follow his father’s footstep.  He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and great-grandfather also.  And his son would follow in his steps.  When it was all  done, five consecutive generations of the Mayhews would give their lives to work among numerous Indians tribes, bringing them the Gospel.  The time these men served would span a space of 160 years, the longest time that any family gave towards the work of World Evangelism.

All of the men in his family, Experience worked the longest among the Native Americans.  For sixty-five years, Experience labored with these people he loved.  He became a master of their language, translating several books into the Wôpanâak language.  He also published a history of the Wampanoag people.

When Thomas, the first Mayhew to work with the Indians, died, what did he view as his greatest legacy?  The fact that hundreds of Indians had come to Christ or the fact that for the next four generations, his descendants would love God and serve him in the greatest way they knew how?  What is your emphasis on?  What legacy are you leaving behind?


The Missionary Review of the World

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