I’m reading my way through Courtney Anderson’s To The Golden Shore for the second time now. And it’s one of those I can definitely see myself reading again. If you’re not familiar with the book, it’s a biographical account of the Baptist missionary, Adoniram Judson, who is most notably remembered for his mission to Burma and the translation of the Scriptures into Burmese.
I’m a good ways into the book already but I wanted to try to post a few thoughts about it along the way this time. This first excerpt occurs when the missionaries (the first American missionaries) were sent out and were attempting to decide on their final destination. Burma was where Judson had always intended to go, but it was proving difficult. And now, they finally get their chance. They’ve found a boat headed towards Rangoon! But…
Everyone had the same opinion: stay away from Burma. Let yourselves be taken to England. Lose a few years. For the sake of yourselves, for the child you are to have, for the sake of your mission, a few years lost are better than losing all to no purpose in the living hell of Burma.
This argument did not convince Adoniram. He felt that they should at least try Burma, to find out whether a mission could exist there…
Nancy [his wife] agreed. They should at least attempt a mission among “a people who have never heard the sound of the Gospel, or read, in their own language, of the love of Christ.”
…The poor Burmans are entirely destitute of those consolations and joys which constitute our happiness; and why should we be unwilling to part with a few fleeting, inconsiderable comforts, for the sake of making them sharers with us in joys exalted as heaven, durable as eternity! We cannot expect to do much, in such a rough, uncultivated field; yet, if we may be instrumental in removing some of the rubbish, and preparing the way for others, it will be a sufficient reward. I have been accustomed to view this field of labor, with dread and terror; but I now feel perfectly willing to make it my home the rest of my life.
Thus they decided. And, as Adoniram remarked, “dissuaded by all our friends at Madras, we commended ourselves to God, and emarked the 22nd of June.”
-from To The Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson, pg. 165-166
What an amazing testimony. That we would be such a people, to not count our fleeting, inconsiderable comforts to be comparable to sharing in the joys of heaven with those who haven’t heard. Lord, this is our prayer.