This past Tuesday, April 12th marked the death of the first missionary sent out from the United States overseas. Adoniram Judson was born in Malden, Massachusetts in 1788, and served the Lord in Burma (modern day Myanmar) for 37 years until he died in 1850. I was going to write about his life with a link to a message given by John Piper that is basically his biography, and really, a great, stirring, missionary message ! As I was reading through my normal blogs that I check out each week, I found a post about Adonarim Judson and his death, as well as a link to the same message that I was going to link to – so to save on time, please just click on this LINK and read what this post has to say about one of my favorite missionaries, and truly a hero – Adoniram Judson.
On this day, 110 years ago – April 8th, 1901, one of the greatest missionaries to minister in the South Pacific was tragically murdered, beheaded, and eaten by cannibals. You may have never heard of James Chalmers, but he was directly responsible for the gospel going forth for the first time ever to the people that lived in Papua New Guinea, the largest island in the world. Chalmer’s himself stated, “We have come here to preach the gospel. We will stay, whether we live or die.” After serving there for over 30 years, Chalmers in fact did die for the cause of Christ. The following is a short story of what characterized Chalmer’s daily activities while preaching the gospel to those who had never heard in New Guinea.
The newly arrived missionary was quickly initiated into the Society of the Heroes of Faith, whose heritage is thus described by its founder: “In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, … in perils by the heathen, … in perils in the wilderness, in perils of the sea, … in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” Such was, for twenty-five years, the constant experience of the ambassador of Christ who had so recently landed on the shores of New Guinea. While standing on the beach close to the water’s edge, he heard a frightful noise. Turning round, he saw his house surrounded by a mob of painted, fierce-looking savages, armed with spears, clubs, and bows and arrows. The leader of the group, with a human jawbone as an armlet and carrying a heavy stone club, rushed at the white man as if to strike him. “What do you want?” asked the missionary as he looked the man in the eye. “We want tomahawks, knives, hoop-iron and beads; and if we don’t get them, we will kill you, your wife, the teachers and their wives,” was the reply. “You may kill us,” said the white man, “for we never carry arms. But we never give presents to persons who are threatening us. Remember that we are living among you as friends and have come only to do you good.” After making many dire threats, the savages retired to the bush in a surly mood.
At dusk a friendly native crept through the bush to the house and said, “White man, you must get away tonight if you can. You have a chance to escape at midnight. Tomorrow morning, when the big star rises, they will murder all of you.” “Are you sure?” he was asked. “Yes,” he replied. “I have just come from their meeting at the chief’s house and that is their decision.” A serious conference ensued. “What shall we do?” said the missionary. Shall we men stay and you women escape, as there is not enough room in the boat for us all?” His brave wife calmly replied, “We have come here to preach the gospel. We will stay, whether we live or die.” And the wives of the teachers said, “Let us live together or die together.” It was agreed that all would stay. They read the forty-sixth Psalm and knelt in prayer. As the missionary wrote later, “We resolved simply to trust Him who alone could care for us.” Looking to the One under whose command he served, the missionary prayed: “Lord, when we were thirsty nigh unto death, we heard Thy sweet invitation, ‘Come!’ Having quenched our thirst upon ‘the Water of Life,’ we came at Thy bidding to this land to point these wretched people to the same cleansing, refreshing, healing Fountain. Protect us, that we may fulfill the mission on which Thou didst send us.”
It’s truly humbling to read missionary biographies, especially to read of some of these saints who were proclaiming the gospel for the first time to savage cannibals with no fear concerning the safety of their own lives. I often think how great was their desire, and how bright did their hearts burn for the glory of Christ to be known by those who were in such darkness. Nothing else mattered to them, and no cost was to much for them to stop what they felt the Lord had called them to do. Sadly, I think as a whole in our country today, the zeal for the Lord has been lacking, and I pray that first in my own life, and secondly, in the life of the church, we would seek to have the Lord’s heart concerning the lost, and that we would treasure Christ as our all sufficient Savior, seeking any, and every opportunity to make Him known.
If you would like to read more about James Chalmers (and I highly recommend it), go to this LINK, take an hour or two and read about an incredible man, who was used in extraordinary ways by the Lord.
Born in Blantyre, Scotland on March 19th, 1813, David Livingstone would become one of the most notable explorer’s in our modern day. Livingstone travelled some 29,000 miles in Africa, crossing the Continent on multiple occasions. He discovered Victoria Falls, as well as four very important lakes, vital for survival. In his time exploring, and evangelizing Africa, he added to the known portion of the world about one million square miles. There was much more to Livingstone then just his exploits crossing the Continent of Africa, and mapping the previously unexplored regions of South Central Africa. Livingstone’s main goal was to reach the lost peoples of Africa with the Light of Jesus Christ. The reason he was trekking through the interiors of Africa was to find more peoples that had not heard of Christ, as well as to find year round water sources in which to establish full time Mission Stations for the furthering of the gospel. The words of Robert Moffat were used by the Lord to call Livingstone to Africa to be a light to those who were in darkness. Moffat in an address said,
“I have sometimes seen in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been.”
Livingstone would go to Africa to search out those thousand villages and then another thousand villages after that to share the love of Christ. He would go on to have great success in abolishing the slave trafficking that was taking place in Luanda, and other parts of Central Africa. It wasn’t an easy task though. The death of his sons, his wife, and his friends would add to the “sufferings of Christ” that Livingstone would endure. He was daily plagued by fevers, attacked by frightened tribes, and had run out of food and water on countless occasion. But still throughout all of these things, he continued for the Lord. His favorite verse, and the verse that the Lord comforted him on so many occasions was
Matt 28:20 “And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Livingstone served the Lord tirelessly, and on the morning of May 4th, 1873, he was found praying on his knee’s, dead in this world, but alive in the presence of his Master.
What a challenge to my faith is the life of David Livingstone. I pray that his story would be used by the Lord to touch your life, and to give you strength to live for Him, and for His glory among the unreached, no mater what the cost.
For a great read on Livingstone, check out this link. #mce_temp_url#
I was just looking through my new copy of “Operation World”, and was thinking about ways that I could point my family toward praying for those who haven’t heard of, and don’t know about, the most precious gift in Christ Jesus. We have all heard the phrase “He is the reason for the season”, and that is absolutely correct. How sad it is that still 1/3 of the world has little to no access to that “Reason” and have no access to the gospel in their own language – some 6,000 people groups still unreached or least-reached. It’s also sad that in our own country we have commercialized this holiday to the point that even many believers have fallen into the business of buying, and have gotten so wrapped up with things that will lead to no spiritual fruit. I think as believers we should pray about opportunities to use this season to point our families and Christian brothers and sisters to be praying for those around the world that still need to hear the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some things we could do would be :
1. Buy a copy of “Operation World”, and every night at dinner read/pray through each country using the running calendar at the bottom of the book.
2. Use the tradition of giving gifts for the glory of God. Buy things for others that will help them in praying for the nations. If it’s for a spouse, buy a missionary biography. Adoniram Judson, John G. Patton, Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliot, Amy Carmichael – great books have been written about their sacrifice for the gospel, and the reward that followed. If they don’t like to read – buy it anyway, and read it out loud together before bed!
For your kids – there are wonderful picture books about these missionary heroes of the faith (in our bookstore especially), as well as young reader books that would be a great introduction to these missionary heroes. In addition to those books, you can also buy for them cartoons that they can watch about the life of these missionaries, and the people groups that they were seeking o reach. Check out the Torchlighters Set which includes 8 movies – you can get them at our bookstore, or from www.visionvideo.com.
3. Talk to your kids about the area that Jesus was born, and show them where it was on a map. Begin to pray for Muslims in the Middle East, and for our persecuted brothers and sisters in those closed countries. Log on to www.persecution.com and read some of the stories on the Voice of the Martyrs website about the persecution that is currently taking place in the Middle East.
4. Buy a world map for your family for Christmas so that when you pray for these various countries/people groups you can put a visual on where they are. As American’s we need to bone up on our geography – it’s shocking how much we don’t know/care about where places like “Suriname” are. Here’s your test. Where is Suriname ?
5. Keep “Operation World” next to your couch or night stand so every time you hear about another catastrophe/humanitarian crisis/civil war, you can look up that country and be praying for their spiritual awakening and the needs of the believers in that place.
6. Keep Christ at the center of everything that will be taking place over these next couple of weeks. When we talk to our kids, or our spouse, lets lift up the name of Jesus, pointing each other to His marvelous grace and mercy in our lives and to His many, many, many blessings that He showers on us every day! In remembering His blessings, let’s pray for those who are still living in the darkness of their sin, and ask the Lord to shine the light of His grace and mercy in believing faith on their lives. Let’s not succumb to the enemies plans to get us so side tracked with meaningless things that we don’t redeem this Christmas season for the glory of Christ.
I’ve ben reading “Memoirs of McCheyne”, by Andrew Bonar over the past couple of weeks, and I must say in my opinion it is a must read – particularly those who have a heart for missions. The book is out of print, but if you can find it, I promise you it will be a jewell, and shining star in your library of books. The book contains many letters that he had written to close friends while away on a missions trip focusing on reaching out to the Jewish people throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East in 1839-1840. The book also contains many of his messages given while pastoring in Dundee, Scotland. In a letter written to his church in Dundee while he was away on sick leave on March 6th, 1839, he writes of a beautiful story that was told to him. It really blessed me (I have a love for the stories of the Moravians, and truly look to them as missionary heroes!) So, I decided to type out the story to, Lord willing, be a blessing to those who would be reading this post. I pray that it encourages you to keep praying for a heart for the lost, like that of our Savior! Lord, please grant to me that heart!
“The most striking example of self-devotedness in the cause of Christ of which I ever heard in these days of deadness, was told to me last week by an English minister. It has never been printed (obviously before McCheyne wrote this letter about it in 1839), therefore I will relate it to you, just as I heard it, to stir up our cold hearts, that we may give ourselves to the Lord.
The awful disease of leprosy still exists in Africa. Whether it be the same leprosy as that mentioned in the Bible, I do not know but it is regarded as incurable, and so infectious that no one dares to come near the leper. In the South of Africa there is a large lazarhouse for lepers. It is an immense space, enclosed by a very high wall, and containing fields, which the lepers cultivate. There is only one entrance which is strictly guarded. Whenever anyone is found with the marks of leprosy upon him, he is brought to this gate and obliged to enter in, never to return. No one who enters in by the awful gate is ever allowed to come out again. Within this abode of misery there are multitudes of lepers in all stages of the disease. Dr. Halbeck, a missionary of the Church of England, from the top of a neighboring hill, saw them at work. He noticed two particularly sowing peas in the field. The one had no hands, and the other had no feet – these members being wasted away by the disease. The one who wanted the hands was carrying the other who wanted the feet upon his back, and he again carried in his hands the bag of seed, and dropped a pea every now and then, which the other pressed into the ground with his foot; and so they managed the work of one man between the two. Ah! How little we know of misery that is in the world! Such is this prison house of disease.
But you will ask, who cares for the souls of the hapless inmates? Who will venture to enter in at this dreadful gate, never to return again? Who will forsake father and mother, houses and land, to carry the message of a Savior to these poor lepers? Two Moravian missionaries, impelled by a divine love for souls, have chosen the lazarhouse as their field of labor. They entered it never to come out again; and I am told that as soon as they die, other Moravians are quite ready to fill their place.
Ah! My dear friends, may we not blush, and be ashamed before God, that we, redeemed with the same blood, and taught by the same Spirit, should yet be so unlike these men in vehement, heart-consuming love to Jesus and the souls of men?
As mentioned in my last post, I waned to write a little about John G. Paton and the impact that he had in the New Hebrides in the mid to late 1800’s. Instead of quoting bits and pieces from one of my favorite chapters, I figured I would just post the entire chapter – yes, it’s that good! Without ruining the story (because you guys have to get this book and read it), I will briefly write that John G. Paton left Tanna after 4 years, and after a series of events landed on the island if Aniwa not to far from Tanna. There he would spend over 40 years ministering to the cannibals, and over time, basically the entire isalnd gets saved, radically saved. The following talks about the first communion that was held at the church with local Aniwa believers participating. My prayer is that the Lord would impress on your heart those that still today have not heard about Jesus, but yet so need Him to deliver them from their bondage to sin. That we would be praying for the Lord to thrust out laborers into this harvest field of unreached peoples – all 1.8 billion of them!
And this leads me to relate the story of our First Communion on Aniwa. It was Sabbath, 24th October, 1869; and surely the Angels of God and the Church of the Redeemed in Glory were amongst the gieat cloud of witnesses who eagerly ” peered” down upon the scene,—when we sat around the Lord’s Table and partook of His body and blood with those few souls rescued out of the Heathen World. My Communicants’ Class had occupied me now a considerable time. The conditions of attendance at this early stage were explicit, and had to be made very severe, and only twenty were admitted to the roll. At the final examination only twelve gave evidence of understanding what they were doing, and of having given their hearts to the service of the Lord Jesus. At their own urgent desire, and after every care in examining and instructing, they were solemnly dedicated in prayer to be baptized and admitted to the Holy Table• On that Lord’s Day, after the usual opening Service, I gave a short and careful exposition of the Ten Commandments and of the Way of Salvation according to the Gospel. The twelve Candidates then stood up before all the inhabitants there assembled ; and, after a brief exhortation to them as Converts, I put to them the two questions that follow, and each gave an affirmative reply,” Do you, in accordance with your profession of the Christian Faith, and your promises before God and the people, wish me now to baptize you ? And,—”Will you live henceforth for Jesus only, hating all sin and trying to love and serve your Saviour ? “
Then, beginning with the old Chief, the twelve came forward, and I baptized them one by one according to the Presbyterian usage. Two of them had also little children, and they were at the same time baptized, and received as the lambs of the flock. Solemn prayer was then offered, and in the name of the Holy Trinity the Church of Christ on Aniwa was formally constituted. I addressed them on the words of the Holy Institution—I Corinthians xi. 23—and then, after the prayer of Thanksgiving and Consecration, administered the Lord’s Supper,—the first time since the Island of Aniwa was heaved out of its coral depths ! Mrs. McNair, my wife, and myself along with six Aneityumese Teachers, communicated with the newly baptized twelve. And I think, if ever in all my earthly experience, on that day I might truly add the blessed words—Jesus ” in the midst”
The whole Service occupied nearly three hours. The Islanders looked on with a wonder whose unwonted silence was almost painful to bear. Many were led to inquire carefully about everything they saw, so new and strange. For the first time the Dorcas Street Sabbath School Teachers’ gift from South Melbourne Presbyterian Church was put to use—a new Communion Service of silver. They gave it in faith that we would require it, and in such we received it And now the day had come and gone! For three years we had toiled and prayed and taught for this. At the moment when I put the bread and wine into those dark hands, once stained with the blood of Cannibalism, now stretched out to receive and partake the emblems and seals of the Redeemer’s love, I had a foretaste of the joy of Glory that well nigh broke my heart to pieces. I shall never taste a deeper bliss, till I gaze on the glorified face of Jesus Himself.
On the afternoon of that Communion Day, an open-air Prayer Meeting was held under the shade of the great banyan tree in front of our Church. Seven of the new Church members there led the people in prayer to Jesus, a hymn being sung betwixt each. My heart was so full of joy that I could do little else but weep. Oh, I wonder, I wonder, when I see so many good Ministers at home, crowding each other and treading on each other’s heels, whether they would not part with all their home privileges, and go out to the Heathen World and reap a joy like this— ” the joy of the Lord.”
Hello everyone. I’m not going to make any excuses on my blog tardiness. I will say however that I stared a Twitter account to hopefully offset my delay of long blog posts with shorter missions minded tweets. If you want to follow along, go over to the right of this blog, and click the link.
I recently finished reading the autobiography of John G. Paton. I must tell you that if you have never read it, I would consider it a must read, as well as one of my top 3 favorite missionary biography’s. John Paton was a missionary to the New Hebrides (the modern day islands of Vanuatu) in the South Pacific. Around 1862 John Paton had been on the island of Tana for 4 years trying to teach the cannibals about the love of Jesus. At that point he had lost his wife and newborn son, some of his missionary friends had been killed and eaten, and he himself was daily trying to save his life from the hands of the Tannese who waned to kill him. One night while trying to run away from an angry mob that was chasing him, he climbed up a tall tree and hid in the darkness of the jungle. He writes,
I climbed into the tree and was left there alone in the bush. The hours I spent there live all before me as if it were but yesterday. I heard the frequent discharging of muskets, and the yells of the savages. Yet I sat there among the branches, as safe in the arms of Jesus. Never in all my sorrows, did my Lord draw nearer to me, and speak more soothingly in my soul, then when the moonlight flickered among those chestnut leaves, and the night air played on my throbbing brow, as I told all my heart to Jesus. Alone, yet not alone! If it be to glorify my God, I will not grudge to spend many nights alone in such a tree, to feel again my Saviour’s spiritual presence, to enjoy His counseling fellowship. If thus thrown back upon your own soul, alone, all, all alone, in the midnight, in the bush, in the very embrace of death itself, have you a Friend that will not fail you then?
Wow, what a quote! Some of you may have seen a recent show on the travel channel called “Meet the Natives” where a group of tribal Indians from the island of Tanna (sound familiar) come to the US to experience it’s customs and culture (and also give a message of stopping violence and war – how ironic right) ? It’s very interesting, but to me what’s more interesting is the history behind these people, and the gospel that had reached them 147 years before hand through John G. Paton! I think I’m going to share about the life on John G. Paton at our Missions Conference here at C.C. Philly on Saturday, May 22nd – that’s right, mark your calendars. I’m sure I’ll write some more about his life. The book was an absolute blessing in my life, I’m sure it will be the same for you.
Missions wise, 2010 has a lot of awesome stuff already lined up. Construction trip/ pastors conferences in Kasempa, Zambia. Two trips to help out the small church plants in the mountains of El Salvador, a trip to Israel and Jordan, as well as some other surprises. Keep checking back for some more updates. Lastly, pray for me as I attend the annual Calvary Chapel Missions Conference in Murrieta, California in a couple of weeks. Pray that the Lord would impart in me more of His heart for all peoples to know Him and declare His glory. Pray that I could be an encouragement to any missionary that needs it, and also for divine appointments set up by our Saviour. Thanks guys!
Hello everyone, like I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to share with you guys a little more from the book “A Gentleman in Prison”, the story of Tokichi Ishii. If you haven’t been on here in awhile scroll down to the last post and read that first. You guys know his story by now, but I just wanted to post some excerpts from his journal. The first talking about how exactly he came to believe in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and the second talking about some “divine favors” that he has realized are his IN CHRIST JESUS.
I went on, and my attention was next taken by these words: “And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. I stopped: I was stabbed to the heart, as if pierced by a five-inch nail. What did the verse reveal to me ? Shall I call it the love of the heart of Christ? Shall I call it His compassion? I do not know what to call it. I only know that with an unspeakably grateful heart, I believed. Through this simple sentence I was led into the whole of Christianity. This is how I thought it out: I suppose a man’s greatest enemy is the one who seeks to take his life from him. There is surely no greater enemy than this.
Now at the very moment when Jesus’ life was being taken from him, he prayed for his enemies to the God of Heaven. Father, forgive them for they know not ‘what they do. What else could I believe but that he was indeed the son of God ? I argued that an ordinary man is filled with anger and hatred and every other spiteful passion on the slightest provocation. Jesus, on the other hand, prayed for his enemies at the very moment his life was being taken, that life which was so precious that nothing could take its place. Was an act like this possible for an ordinary man? I do not think so. Then we cannot but say that he was God. Again, chaplains and pastors, and those who see men die, agree that the last words a man utters come from the depths of his soul, and that he does not die with lies upon his lips. Jesus’ last words were, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do, and so I cannot but believe that they reveal his true heart.
I can’t help but think about how powerful the Word of the Lord is. In the chapters before this, Tokichi Ishii tells of how this missionary Caroline MacDonald had come to his cell and given him a New Testament. He said she would come by and share about the words of Christ, but that he really didn’t give any thought to it. He didn’t read the New Testament for a long time, but eventually started reading it out of curiosity. After the third time picking it up, he came across those words “Father forgive them”, and he was saved. Let us remember the power that is in the Word of God, and how even a simple act of sharing His Word can have eternal value to it! Here is the next quote where he shares about what the Lord has given him in Christ Jesus.
I want to tell you what divine favors were given me after I became a believer in Christ. First I received the imperishable and everlasting salvation of that most important part of man, his soul. As it is written: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life’. And again: “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out”. If we believe these words then we know that God has not forsaken us but has saved our souls forever.
I shall now speak of a second favor in which I have received from God. When I was free I travelled about west and east out in the world, and saw and heard many things, and had varied experiences. Today I am sitting in my prison cell with no liberty to come and go, and yet I am far more contented than in the days of my freedom. In prison, with only poor, coarse food to eat, I am more thankful than I ever was out in the world when I could get whatever food I wanted. In this prison cell, only nine by six feet in size, I am happier than if I were living in the largest house I ever saw in the outer world. Whatever agony is in my heart I can now overcome. No matter what discomforts I endure there is only gladness in my heart. The joy of each day is very great. These things are all due to the grace and divine favor of Jesus Christ.
I wish to speak now of the greatest favor of all, the power of Christ, which cannot be measured by any of our standards. I have been more than twenty years in prison since I was nineteen years of age, and during that time I have known what it meant to endure suffering, although I have had some pleasant times as well. I have passed through all sorts of experiences, and have been urged often to repent of my sins. In spite of this, however, I did not repent, but on the contrary became more and more hardened. And then by the power of that one word of Christ’s, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do, my unspeakably hardened heart was changed, and I repented of all my crimes. Such power is not in man.
I love what he says about being content. I wish the world (and also us as believers) could understand and apply that truth to our own lives. Here is a man who had no freedom at all, and without the Lord was always longing to be a free man. When that so called freedom arrived, without the Lord it was just an allusion, and it quickly became more bondage. Now in Christ Jesus, this man who (in the world’s eyes) was locked up with no freedom at all, and awaiting certain death in this world is experiencing true freedom because he has been set free from sin and death! What a lesson. Are we experiencing that life in Christ Jesus today ? Are we filled with the joy of His salvation, or are we longing for something else in this world ?
Keep checking back for some more on Tikichi Ishii!
Hey everyone, as I mentioned in my last post, I finished a book last week called “A Gentleman in Prison”, and I must say that it was fascinating. It’s a book that was translated from Japanese to English, and then printed in 1920. The book is basically just the English translation of the journal of Tokichi Ishii, a famous Japanese thief, and murderer, who before being sent to his death wanted to write about how he received Christ while in prison the last year, and how he was a new creation in Christ Jesus. He explains how much of a sinner he was, and how much he loves Jesus for dying in is place, and for giving him a new life in Christ. He also then writes his testimony and how he came into this life of crime. Lastly he writes about the Lord, and also comments on scripture that has meant allot to him while waiting for his death. The book would have been great if it was just that, but the way in which Tokichi Ishii was given the death penalty, and the way he came to know Christ is perhaps one of the most famous stories in all of Japan. Here it is, summed up by Ms. Caroline MacDonald, the missionary that the Lord used to reveal Himself to Tokichi Ishii.
“The case itself was an amazing one in all its ramifications, the most extraordinary one, it is said, that ever passed through the Japanese courts. A geisha was murdered near Tokyo, and her lover was charged with the murder, and arrested. He confessed to the crime in the police station, but at the public trial, denied the charge, alleging that torture had been used by the police to extort the confession. There was strong circumstantial evidence against him, however, for he was the last one seen with the girl before her murder, and it was known that they had quarrelled. He was convicted and sentenced to be hanged. Before the sentence was carried out, however, a notorious criminal, Ishii by name, was arrested for a petty offence committed in Tokyo and thrown into the police cells. Seven or eight other men in the same cell were discussing the underworld of Tokyo and they
mentioned that a certain man had been convicted of the murder of a geisha called Oharu and condemned to death. Upon hearing this, Ishii confessed that it was he and not the man already condemned who had committed the crime. The confession created a great sensation. The other man was let out on parole and a new trial instituted. The court failed to find the slightest circumstantial evidence, however, to connect Ishii with the crime, and acquitted him in spite of his confession. The man himself protested against the acquittal, the public procurator appealed against the verdict, and the case was reopened in the appeal court. The trial dragged on in the courts and gained great notoriety. Newspapers were filled with the details of its xtraordinary ramifications. A man confesses to a crime, later denies it, but is sentenced to death on circumstantial evidence. Another man appears, confesses to the same crime, but is acquitted despite his confession. During the appeal trial, however, evidence was adduced which confirmed Ishii’s confession to its minutest detail, and he was sentenced to death. As he says himself in his writing, he was thus able to make some amends for his sins and at the same time to save an innocent man from death.
He was a man forty-seven years of age, with practically no education, but with a remarkably clear mind. He had lived a life of crime, as his own story will tell, but marked as he was by the ravages of sin, his eye was clear and his purpose steady during his trial. I saw him often during those days, and on the morning after the death sentence had been given, he said to me very quietly, “It was God’s own judgment and I am satisfied.” During the days of waiting he took up his pen to write down the circumstances which led him into crime, and the story of his repentance. He worked night and day until his task was finished, for he did not know when the end might come. I saw him for the last time just a few days before his execution and his face was radiant; but of that day and of the end I shall write when the man has told his own story. The sequel is merely the translation of the manuscript I received from him through the prison authorities, and is reproduced, as far as possible, with the same straight forward simplicity as the original. I have not hesitated to depart on occasions from the literal translation, but I think I have not departed from the spirit. “
SO it was Tokichi Ishii’s own confession that brought him the death penalty, but he was so lost in his own sin, and guilt of that crime, he writes that this was the only way he thought he could find peace. Little did he know at that time, that the Prince of Peace was knocking on the door of his heart, and soon he would know what perfect peace felt like! The lessons learned from this man are many, and in the next couple of posts I will be writing about some of the things that spoke to me about this mans story. I will also be adding some excerpts of his journals – many which are very inspiring. His childlike faith, and deep gratitude unto the Lord has sparked a flame in my own heart, and I pray that as you read some of his insights, the same will happen to you.
At 9:05 PM, May 20, 2009 Ralph Winter, the founder of the U. S. Center for World Missions went home to be with the Lord. I never met this man of God, but I have been deeply touched by his ministry. In many ways it directly impacts what i do on a daily basis. You see it was Dr. Winter that first talked about the term “unreached peoples” at the Lausanne Conference on World Evangelization in 1974. The shattering truth that was revealed at this conference was that in spite of the fact that every country in the world had been penetrated by the gospel, four out of five non-Christians were still cut off from the gospel because the barriers are CULTURAL and LINGUISTIC, not geographic. He called not recognizing this fact as “people blindness”, blindness to the existence of separate peoples within countries. In 1982 the term “people group” was then translated as
” a significantly large grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another because of their shared language, religion, ethnicity, residence, occupation, class, or caste, situation etc. or combining of these. It is the largest group within which the gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance”.
Thank the Lord that since then, many, many churches and ministries have been focused on reaching the unreached that was defined back in 1982. Dr. Winter and his team at the U.S. Center for World Missions have written out the stages of reaching these people groups in the following summary.
Stages in Reaching an Unreached People Group
Stage 1-“Reported” The people group is brought to the attention of a Christian research group which strives to verify them as unreached and lists them as such.
Stage 2-“Selected” A denomination or mission agency, capable of reaching the group, accepts responsibility to reach them and mobilize churches and Christians to adopt this people group so that a church may be started in their midst. They are actively recruiting churches and fellowship groups to adopt this group and partner together to reach them.
Stage 3-“Adopted” One, or several, churches or fellowship groups (could be a mission fellowship, student group, Sunday School class, etc.) has made the establishment of a strong church among the unreached people group their personal goal. They agree to support the work with prayers and finances. This is done with their denomination or in partnership with one or more mission agencies.
Stage 4″Engaged” The work has begun and cross-cultural workers are “on site” with the goal of establishing a “viable, indigenous church-planting movement.”
A people group may already have been engaged when a church or fellowship group chooses to adopt. The church then commits itself to partner with the “on site” workers.
Stage 5-“Reached” A strong, indigenous church-planting movement has been established that is of sufficient size and strength to evangelize the rest of the group with no (or very little) outside help.
“Reached” does not mean the work is done, but the missionary thrust is closing and the evangelistic phase has begun which is now the responsibility of the indigenous church. They have moved from unreached to unevangelized.
This is something that C.C. Philadelphia believes in, and is currently supporting with our work among the Tarahumara in Northern Mexico, as well as the Tabwa people in the Katanga province of the DRC. Please join with me in praising the Lord for all the ways that He has used Dr. Winter, and to also pray that more and more churches, believers, and ministries would join hand in hand with these efforts to see Christ treasured among those who have never heard.
To know more about the U.S. Center for World Missions check out their website HERE.