Do you think much of your spiritual forebearers? The men and women of faith whose work made your faith or your ministry possible?
Dave and Fran Jordan think a lot of credit for their ministry goes back to Adoniram Judson.
Judson (1788-1850) was the first missionary to last in Burma, and the first to have any success in planting churches there. His greatest success came among the Karen people. Those Karen people influenced the Karens who live in Thailand. And the influence of the Karen believers helped Don Schlatter and his wife, NTM missionaries, establish a church among the Lawa people decades ago.
Years after that, the work of Judson and those he discipled, and of Don and those he discipled, led to a breakthrough among the Prai people.
Dave and Fran had been having little success in sharing God’s Word with the Prai people until they met a man, Kham, who seemed uncharacteristically interested. He went out of his way to make sure they had opportunities to share, and even when it all boiled to a Bible study in his home, he continued to listen and learn, and became one of the first Prais to put his faith in Christ.
Later still, Dave and Fran learned why Kham was interested. He had seen the poverty his family and his people lived in, and heard his father tell him, “As long as we serve the idols, we will be poor.” But he knew no other way.
Then during military service he encountered Thailand’s national religion – and an alternative. While most of the troops bowed to an idol, a small group of Karens and Lawas and others stood off to one side. So he asked them why they did not bow down.
“You see that?” one said, pointing to the idol. “That is clay, painted gold. We worship the God who created that clay, created that paint – created everything.”
While that interested him, his service ended before he learned more. And then he encountered Dave and Fran, who wanted to tell him and his people about the God who created everything.
Today there is a church in Kham’s village, and Julie and I had the opportunity to worship with them on Sunday morning.
You never know what influence you will have on others when you pass what others have passed on to you.
What a privilege it is to be among these Prai believers, these faithful missionaries, and to know that others – and you – have played a role in making all this possible. Thanks!