I remember the first time I heard about Adoniram Judson. I was part of a team preparing to go to the very country where Adoniram labored. All I had heard about him was that he was the first American missionary. However, while in country, the workers there told us about many of the things he had done. For example, he translated the bible into the native tongue. He translated a dictionary for future workers, and they say that when he died there were approximately 7,000 believers in country. At the same time, he lost his first and second wife to death, and six of his thirteen children to death. He was also imprisoned and tortured before finally dying himself at sea. As I heard about his life, I remember thinking that I wanted to know more about his life, as well as, follow his example in my own life.
I don't know what exactly has drawn me to Adoniram in my life, but I am definitely a big fan of his. It may be that I am so amazed at the many trials, extreme trials, which he endured for the sake of Christ. Perhaps it's that he was the first American missionary. Perhaps, too, it was just his simple obedience to the Lord. I complicate things so much in my walk with the Lord. As the Lord has shaped within me a heart that would beat for the nations, He has used moments from AJ's life to push me. Adoniram believed that within a hundred years or so that all peoples would hear about Christ and come into the submission of His authority. This was back in the mid-1800s. This is what he was after because it is what Christ is after. God has encouraged me with Adoniram's ambition and passion for all peoples to know Him.
Adoniram was a man of the Word. He treasured the word of God dearly. In a day and age where the Bible's truth is questioned by the majority, Judson's confidence in the word has encouraged me to stand boldly with the Word of Truth. It is not just a bunch of stories, nor is it all make-believe. Laying down his life for the Word was no small thing. Either he was just plain crazy, or he passionately believed the truth of the Word. His one prayer while in prison was that the Lord would spare his life long enough to finish the translation of the Bible in the people's language. He did not want to leave the dying, hell-bound people without God's Word. I am challenged by his life to love and savor the Word of God in all life, and see it be loved and savored by all peoples.
Adoniram Judson is just one of many whom God has used to shape my heart for the world. His example has been a great reminder to pursue that one thing in life, that one thing that is worth living and suffering and dying for. That one thing being knowing Jesus and making Him known to all peoples on earth.
Check out Adoniram Judson's short biography on our website at: http://www.thetravelingteam.org/?q=node/112
By: Bryan Padgett