I borrowed this book while I was in Singapore. I’d actually read about half of it or maybe two thirds of it before, when I was still at YWAM, but had to stop as it made me stressed out in my sleep and as a result I’d have nightmares about Asia. I had been reading it just before going to bed… Anyway, it’s an excellent biography on Adoniram Judson, and I highly recommend it… maybe not just before you go to sleep though…
There were two excerpts that I wanted to record for myself, as they’d both struck me/encouraged me, and I thought I’d share them.
p. 83-84 – the first excerpt is Adoniram writing to his future father-in-law – I LOVE it!:
“Adoniram promptly sat down at his table and wrote to Nancy’s father urging…
“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 her departure, 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 him who left his heavenly home, and died 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 the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”
“…John Hasseltine took no such action. With many misgivings, he left it to Nancy to make up her own mind. Whatever her choice, she had his blessing – but let her consider carefully before an irrevocable action. Nancy’s mother had little to add to the advice. She hoped Nancy would not go. but she would not withhold her consent. Thrown back on herself, Nancy did not know what to do. She was beginning to love Adoniram – what woman could withstand such a combination of impetuosity and tenderness? – and there must have been something irresistibly appealing about sharing his adventures in far places. But the hazards were appalling. Surely she would have children, she must have reflected. What of them? But on the other hand, how better could she serve God?”
p. 89-90 – this excerpt takes place when Adoniram is making the voyage over to Britain to try to find financial support from the missionary society over there; their ship was taken captive by the French (1811 – war between England and France was taking place and the United States was “on the verge of war with both”)
“…Along with the crew of the Packet he was unceremoniously thrust down into the hold of the Frenchman. The hold was dark, dirty and overcrowded. Presently a typical January storm blew up and the men below became seasick, Adoniram among them. In a short time the hold became a revolting mess.
“This was one experience for which Adoniram had not been prepared. His cleanliness and dislike for dirt were almost obsessive. He had never known anything but kindness, or at least a decent respect for his person. Now he wallowed in filth and received the same harsh treatment as the rest of the Packet’s crew. In all his worst dreams of missionary life he had never conceived of anything as repulsive and degrading as this. The ship’s doctor visited the hold every day. Adoniram tried to make his plight known to him, but without French he got nowhere.
Dismally, he began to think of home – of nancy, of Bradford, of his family in Plymouth, even of Dr. Griffin’s rejected offer of a post in the Park Street Church in boston. he had turned his back on all of them. Now, between homesickness and seasickness, he began to wonder whether he had chosen the right vocation after all.
At the very depth of his despair, however, a new thought came to him. perhaps God was giving him a foretaste of missionary life to test his faith and determination. Supporting himself on his knees as well as he could in the pitching hold, he prayed for strength to withstand his weakness. After a while he felt a little better, and fumbled around in the dark until he could lay hands upon the Hebrew Bible. When he had it, he found a place where a faint light fell, enough to read by, and began to amuse himself by translating Hebrew into Latin.”
How encouraging! He struggled with issues of cleanliness and he doubted whether he had chosen the right vocation. Yet the Lord brought him back to a place where he could rest in Him. Missionaries are real people with real issues.