Tonight I met Sandeep. It’s Monday evening and I was waiting for the weekly Youth Fellowship of the Hyderabad Baptist Church to begin. Sandeep came up to me, excited to meet an American Baptist missionary. He writes------
“I thank God.
With sincerity of Heart I’m saying this. Since a long time I have the heart felt feeling that to thank those Missionaries and the organizations which sent them. And now I got the opportunity.
Thank You for Your committed work and sending those missionaries a century ago.
Your Work has its fruits even after a Century.
Sandeep Prasad Tenali”
The church is the ABM Baptist Mission, Ithanagar, Tenali, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India. (near Hyderabad and Nellore, in case you are in to Googling)
One hundred years. Wow! The really amazing thing is that this is just the latest experience like this. Nearly everywhere I travel, the story is the same: Gratitude for the saints who were brave enough and committed enough to come to a hostile world. The dangers they faced were innumerable. It wasn’t JUST headhunters and ridicule, but diseases like typhoid, diphtheria, and malaria, and unsafe living conditions. They came with the commitment that they would live the rest of their lives “in the field,” never to return to their homeland. I am continually humbled by their selflessness.
I was in the Garo Hills of Northeast India a few weeks ago. On the tour around the town, we stopped at a small graveyard, the final resting place for the bodies of three missionaries from the early 1900’s. The Christians of India appreciate the sacrifices made by those missionaries, and the support given to them by the American Baptist people.
The book, To The Golden Shore, by Courtney Anderson, tells the story of Adoniram Judson, the first American Baptist missionary, in a “can’t put it down” formula. It continues to inspire generations to give themselves to the work of the Lord. If you haven’t read it, check your church library. If you have read it, try it again. The story needs to be told and retold.
Consider working with some of the people who learned about Christ through a missionary. There are many short term programs that are looking for volunteers. If you have, or had, a job, or a craft or trade, there is a place for you. I have been speaking with our Baptist partners in India and Nepal and the needs are many and various.
What’s two weeks in a lifetime?