Eight years earlier, Ann Judson, Adoniram’s first wife, had died. Just a few weeks after the death of his wife, his young daughter, Maria, also died. The death of these two precious loves crushed Adoniram. A deep depression overtook him and he spent days in seclusion, building a hut in the middle of the tiger infested jungle and living out there on his own. At one point, he dug a grave and spent hours every day sitting in the grave contemplating about death. The joy that these loved ones were in Heaven was being countered by the feelings of guilt and self-blame over the deaths. Had he come to Burma for just selfish motives? Had he stayed in America, would they still be alive? These questions flooded the mind of this grieving man.
By this time, the ministry in Burma had been growing and several other missionary families had joined the work in Burma. Among them were the Boardmans. George and his wife Sarah had arrived in Burma in 1827, where they began to work among the Karen people. Their ministry saw much fruit and the Lord really used them. But in 1831, George Boardman died. Judson, who was the head missionary, wrote to Sarah after the death of her husband. He encouraged her to do what was best for her and her young son. If she felt like she needed to return to the States, he would help her find the best schooling for her son and would use the mission money to provided the transportation. But if she wanted to continue the work her husband started, she would have 100% support of the mission. Sarah decided to stay.
Slowly, Judson began to heal from his heartbreak. The Lord proved his faithfulness and Judson began to get more involved in the ministry again. He buried himself in the Burmese translation of the Bible, which allowed him to be alone but still work in the ministry. In January of 1834, He finished the Burmese translation of the Bible. The completion of this task brought him great joy and fulfillment. And it also brought him a letter the widow Sarah Boardman:
The translation of the Bible into Burmese is an event to which thousands have looked forward to with joyful anticipation, and for which thousands, now perishing in their sins, will fall upon their knees in thanksgiving before God, and through which thousands yet unborn will praise him for ever and ever…
The simple warmth of the letter and the words of praise pleased Judson greatly. He already had a great respect for Sarah, who chose to stay when so many others had fled. Unlike him, she accepted the death of her husband with great faith and hadn’t cut herself off from the world for years. Plus she was beautiful. He was alone and she was alone, he reasoned. Why shouldn’t they serve together?
Not a man to waste time, Judson wrote immediately to Sarah, proposing marriage. She readily agreed. The two were married on April 10th, 1834.
To the Golden Shore
All his life, John foll0wed the steps of his famed older brother. When David went off to Yale, John followed. When David joined the ministry, John followed. The two brothers, though two years apart in age, shared a special bond.
By 1747, David was becoming extremely sick and it became obvious to everyone that he wouldn’t live long. But David’s heart yearned for those Indians among whom he labored so long and so faithfully. Like a shepherd looking over his precious flock, David dreaded what would happen to those he had seen saved once he was gone. So David turned to the best replacement he could find: his brother. A man David described as “the best of any creature living.” David wrote to both his brother and his mission board, asking that his brother be allowed to take over his work. John readily agreed to follow his brother one last time and the board readily agreed to allow John to do it. For the next 35 years, John worked among the Indians until his death. Though unknown by man today, one writer observed, “He lives in tradition by the wigwam fires of the far West Indians; he is worthy also to live in the literature of the church.”
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