Read our other stories about the 200th anniversary of Adoniram Judson’s historic mission trip:
BURMA, Asia (BP) — The groundbreaking work of Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson is still blessing Burma (now Myanmar) 200 years after Judson accepted Jesus and embraced His call to spread Christianity in the Asian country known then as Burma.
[[email protected]@180=“When the Holy Spirit touched my heart … I wanted to evangelize [the Burmese] to know Jesus. When they know Jesus, there is a joy in their life, and they know that they will not go to hell now.”
— Saw Aung, Karen Christian]Judson’s imprint is being seen in men like Saw Aung*, a believer among the ethnic Karen people who was shocked when God called him to evangelize not his fellow Karen but their enemies, the country’s majority Burmese.
When the Lord first called, “I had no interest in the Burmese people,” Aung said. “We don’t make friends with them. We stay separate from them and we neglect them wherever they are.”
Since 1949, the Karen guerilla army has fought for their province’s independence from Myanmar, which is predominantly Burmese. The ethnic lines had been drawn and Aung had no desire to cross them.
Yet, in a move that illustrates a trend throughout the church in Burma, God delivered Aung from the ethnic prejudice and stirred within him a passion for his calling.
“When the Holy Spirit touched my heart … I wanted to evangelize [the Burmese] to know Jesus,” Aung recounted. “When they know Jesus, there is a joy in their life, and they know that they will not go to hell now.”
Judson’s imprint also can be seen in Burmese Christian Tun Kyaw*, who continues the translation work that was a passion for Judson.
After 21 years as a high school and university teacher, Kyaw left his job in 2002 and dedicated the rest of his life to serving the Lord. He began traveling with other Christians, witnessing in villages.
Yet, Kyaw knew that he, like Judson, had a gift for languages and could pick up regional tongues such as Wa, Akha and Shan merely by associating with members from each people group — and that he could use this ability to help spread the Gospel.
Kyaw has produced translations for evangelical cassette tapes and books in addition to preparing training materials. Most significantly, he worked with a committee to update the Bible in a minority language.
Kyaw also continued to evangelize in villages and, like Judson, even spent time in prison. Like Judson’s Burmese translation of the Bible, Kyaw’s language work has affected people across the country and likely will leave a legacy.
Although 200 years have passed since Adoniram and Ann Judson sailed for Asia, their lives continue to set forth a challenging example just us they did to Christians then.
Of the world’s 11,424 people groups, 3,257 are less than 2 percent evangelical Christian and have no one to bring them the Gospel light. Who, then, might be a modern-day Judson to go to them?
*Names changed. Shiloh Lane is a former International Mission Board writer based in Asia. Mary Jane Welch is a writer based in Richmond, Va. For more stories specific to Asia, visit the IMB site
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