200 Years of North American Missions
Today marks the bicentennial of missions from North America. On February 6, 1812, the first ordained North American missionaries were commissioned from the Tabernacle Church in Salem, Massachusetts. We have been celebrating this historic milestone at events held in Boston. It's an honor for me to be here for this look back.
And while we gratefully remember those who have gone before us in kingdom work, we also admire those who are bravely blazing trails into the future. . .
A New Day in South Asia
Take, for example, Asian Access country leaders from South Asia with whom I met recently. They have been in the news a fair amount lately due to the re-drafting of the constitution for their country and some important burial rights issues they have been facing for Christians.
They are actively invested in trying to place biblical values in the new constitution as their Hindu country has been persecuting believers for many years. Pray for them as this has tremendous potential to change the spiritual landscape of the country.
Seven Questions of Commitment
Persecution has been so intense over the years, they need to ask new believers upfront if they can make seven commitments before following Christ and being baptized:
- Are you willing to leave home and lose the blessing of your father?
- Are you willing to lose your job?
- Are you willing to go to the village and those who persecute you, forgive them and share the love of Christ with them?
- Are you willing to give an offering to the Lord?
- Are you willing to be beaten rather than deny your faith?
- Are you willing to go to prison?
- Are you willing to die for Jesus?
These challenging questions reminded me of the questions Adoniram Judson, one of America's first missionaries, asked his father-in-law to be for marrying his daughter:
I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world. Whether you can consent to see her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of perishing immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?
This quote on the bicentennial of missions from North America expressed the seriousness of the world we live in and the importance of praying for situations like this one.
Please join us in praying for the people of South Asia and for the persecuted peoples of the world.