MARCH 4 – The Mighty Have Fallen
2Sa 1:25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.
2Sa 1:27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
David had great a great love for Jonathan and respect for the King that had been anointed by God. This is a complete chapter about the loss of these two men. Saul and Jonathan were recognized as providing for the nation of Israel. The recognition is given to Saul as having been anointed to his position as King. For David, this was a sad time. The nation’s leader was gone. The son that had gone to war and been a great warrior was gone. David felt that loss.
We are living in a time when great men have gone on before us. They were in the presence of the Lord. I call these men great because of the work they have done. These were men that built churches without the gimmicks. They were men who wore out shoe leather going door to door and winning lost souls and built churches. Those that were missionaries averaged about 5 years building and organizing a church. Then they would go on to start another mission work. They opened up states that did not have a scriptural church. They took stands that were unpopular. Most are gone now. We have a few left that carried that spirit of labor.
Those churches they started are now pastored by other pastors now. I have lived long enough to see the work of these men grow and become powerhouses for the Lord. Many have been saved by this old fashion Biblical work ethic. I have seen failure where missionaries have reached for fame and recognition only to fail. Great men have crossed the oceans to build lasting legacies to God in Churches that flourish and do mission work to this day. I want to honor the work of these great men that have gone on before. They were flawed, cracked and imperfect, yet they built for the Lord.
There are some that denigrate that work today. Yet they stand as an example of Great Commission to go, preach the gospel, baptize the saved and teach them all things. They gave their lives and the comfort of being settled in one community because they felt the call to go into a wicked and sinful community and preach against sin. I wish I could name them all. If I tried to name them, I would forget many. I love and appreciate those that are still with us. I give them respect and admiration for the work they have done. I love them even when they are cracked, warped and weary from the work they were engaged in. They are due our respect.
Thank you for the tremendous work you have done, Pastors and Missionaries.
The Ship the missionaries
Indigenous Church Method
1854 – On this date Mrs. John Sydney (Martha Foote) Beecher, was buried at sea as they were returning from the field of Burma where they had labored among the Karens. Though Beecher’s heart was broken, he continued on in his laborers though with another mission’s agency. With failing health he was forced to journey to England for treatment in September of 1866, however he died on Oct. 21, 1866. Among other things he had established a Christian school in Burma besides being an able replacement for Elisha Litchfield Abbott who he replaced in 1846. Abbott, born in New York in 1809, after being trained at the Hamilton Theological Seminary, in Hamilton, N.Y, became one of the highlights of missionary activity because of his work with the Karens of Bassein, Burma from the time he left for that field in 1836 until after the death of Mrs. Abbott in 1845. At that time, with consumption coming on him, he left for the states with his children. It was apparent to him that if he was to return to the field he would have to have an assistant. Abbott did return to Burma in 1852 but died on Dec. 3, 1854. It was Abbott who established the indigenous method of missions. He founded fifty self-supporting churches among the Karens. But it was during his first return to America that he met the young man Beecher and was able to influence him to follow in his footsteps. Beecher had planned to go west to our own nation but said that he couldn’t make a decision until consulting Martha Foote who was in Chicago, and knew that letters could not transfer between them before Abbott left. However the next day a letter came from Martha declaring that if he ever decided to go to an Eastern field, “I should lay no obstacle in your way.” Beecher accepted that as the Lord giving him the clearance to go to Burma.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 88.
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Nothing would stop him
1867 – Josiah Ripley Goddard and his wife Eliza Cushing Barker sailed for Ningpo, China. The 131 day journey was arduous, and the couple experienced much seasickness, but Josiah’s goal of serving in China was fulfilled. On Sept. 30, 1868 a baby boy was born, but Josiah’s lovely bride died the next day and the baby was soon to follow. This was the second wife that he had buried. His first wife, Emma Tripp, had died right after he had fought in the Civil War. He had enlisted soon after he had graduated from Brown University, his father’s alma mater. Josiah was the first born in the family of Josiah and Eliza Goddard, missionaries to Bangkok and Ningpo. He was born in Singapore on Sept. 7, 1840 as his parents were enroute to Bangkok. When Josiah Ripley was thirteen he was sent to America by his parents to live with a missionary widow, Maria Brown, but before the ship arrived she married Dr. William Dean, and they had moved away, and Worchester College where he was to train had closed its doors, and the young traveler was adrift on his own. It was not long before he received word of the death of his father in Ningpo, and then three years later his mother died, so he and his sister had to fend for themselves. They lived on corn meal mush for a long period of time. After Eliza died in Ningpo, Dr. William Dean and his daughter Fanny arrived for a visit from Bangkok. That visit culminated in the marriage of Josiah and Fanny. For more than thirty years he and Fanny labored in Ningpo. His crowning achievement was completing the work of his father in the translation of the Old Testament into the dialect of the area. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 703-04. Francis Wayland Garland, Called to Cathay (New York: Baptist Literature Bureau, 1948), p. 67.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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Few know the sacrifices of our missionaries
1942 – The S.S. West Lashaway, a ship on which the Shaw family, missionaries to French Equatorial Africa (now Central African Republic) was sunk by a German U Boat in the early days of WW II. The shipping lanes of the Atlantic were in constant danger of German subs, and later, for a while, the Japanese Navy ruled the Pacific in those awful days. Harvey and Carol Shaw had volunteered for missionary service in Africa in 1937 and now were forced to return with their three children. As the German torpedo ripped through the ship, Mr. Shaw, his daughter Carol (7) and son Richard (13) were thrown into the sea. Mrs. Shaw and daughter Georgia (11) were trapped in their cabin and went down with the ship. The survivors still had to survive fire from the German sub. When it left they found life jackets and rafts. Mr. Shaw didn’t make it, but the rest did after drifting for twenty-one days, and seeing the Lord wondrously provide food and fresh rain water. Finally they were rescued by a British destroyer after they nearly destroyed them with sixteen volleys of cannon, thinking that they were an enemy submarine. The sailors wept when they realized what they had nearly done. Other missionaries raised the Shaw children, and Richard later entered the ministry, and his sister Carol served the Lord as well. Few know of the sacrifices of our missionaries. [Polly Strong, Burning Wicks (Cleveland, Ohio: Baptist Mid-Missions, 1984), pp. 207-8. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 523-25]. Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
First Missionaries from North Carolina
1846 – Matthew and Eliza Yates were appointed as missionaries to China by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. They were the first missionaries to go to the foreign field from North Carolina. Yates died on March 17, 1888 and was buried in China after a blessed and fruitful ministry. (Walter Sinclair Stewart, Early Baptist Missionaries and Pioneers – Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1926. 2:176)
Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
An Ambassador for Jesus Christ
George Pleasant Bostick was the fifth son of fifteen children, three of whom became missionaries to China. These three gave a total of 110 years to reaching the Chinese with the gospel of Jesus Christ. For many years their mother prayed that God would call at least one of her sons to be a preacher of the gospel. When G. P., as he was affectionately known by his family and friends, answered God’s call to China, she was apprehensive, but later when her youngest son, W. D., and youngest daughter, Addie, also went to China, she exclaimed with joy, “If I could feel as confident and happy about the other children as I do about these three, I would be willing for them to go to China. What a privilege and honor!”
G. P. Bostick was converted to Christ at an early age and was shortly afterward baptized into Floyd’s Creek Baptist Church in North Carolina. Soon after, he had a clear and definite call to preach. The church recognized his call and licensed him to exercise his gifts. He was later ordained at the New Hope Baptist Church near Raleigh, North Carolina. He was a joyful ambassador for Christ, yielding to God fifty-two of the sixty-eight years of his life.
He experienced deep sorrow in losing the wife of his youth and, later, the fine consecrated missionary whom he met in China and married. In both instances, he was a great distance from home when they died suddenly, and both were buried before he could return home. While on furlough, Bostick met and married Lena Stover. She assumed the responsibility for his family and was his devoted wife for the last fourteen years of his life. He contracted typhus fever and never fully recovered. On the occasion of his death, she testified, “He loved life in all its fullness, for God and family and humanity. He died as he had lived. I have never seen such a passing; a going out, as it seemed to me. He was in a coma…On the borderline he called the names of loved ones who had gone on before.” He joined those loved ones June 21, 1926. George Pleasant Bostick was one of those early pioneer missionaries who opened a great nation to the gospel of Jesus Christ. God grant us leadership in world evangelism with the same devoted, courageous, pioneer spirit.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 254-255.
A Preacher, a Missionary and a Soldier
Philadelphia saved from the plague
One cannot peruse the minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association from 1707 to 1807 without often seeing the name David Jones. He was born May 12, 1736, and he experienced salvation and was baptized May 6, 1758, when he was just turning twenty-two years of age. We gather from the records of an October meeting in 1772 that the early Baptist missionaries were thrust out by the Holy Spirit and provided for by the local churches according to the New Testament pattern at Antioch. David Jones wrote several circular letters to the churches making up the Philadelphia Association. These letters revealed the prevailing spiritual condition and welfare of the churches and country. Days of fasting and prayer were often requested. Jones in writing the letter in 1798 mentioned, ”We have been once more prevented assembling in the City of Philadelphia by a dreadful visitation from God. Whatever may be the natural cause of this complaint, no doubt SIN is the procuring cause; nor can we reasonably expect a removal of the calamity without a suitable reformation among the inhabitants, for which we ought fervently to pray to God; and who knoweth but He may in His great mercy, graciously answer our supplications.” The minutes of 1800 record that the association met in Philadelphia. The eleventh entry states, “Conscious that the intereposing Providence of God hath preserved the City of Philadelphia, during the present season, from the malignant fever, and caused the earth to bring forth her fruits more abundantly than for some years past, the Association set apart, and recommend, Thursday the 13th of November next, to be observed as a day of thanksgiving by all the churches in our connection.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 184-185
Dr. Thomas and Carey Bound for India.
On April 4th 1793, William Carey and Dr. John Thomas boarded the “Earl of Oxford” for Calcutta. However, when the ship’s captain was informed that he would forfeit his commission if he took the missionaries, the two men were put ashore. Through Thomas’s hard work, arrangements were made with a Danish ship, and despair was transformed to joy as Mrs. Carey and the Carey children were able to travel as well. They sailed on June 13, and God’s purpose would be fulfilled! Dr. John Tomas suffered many tragedies and died on October 13, 1801, but to this servant of Christ, we are indebted, for he it was who led Carey to India.
Dr. John Thomas, a name that is practically unknown among Baptists today, but Dr. Thomas was greatly used of God in opening the door of the modern-day missionary movement. Reared in the home of a Baptist deacon in England, John Thomas was early subjected to the gospel. He was not saved, however, until after his completion of medical training and his marriage. “Turning eagerly to the Scriptures, he accepted Christ as his Saviour. ‘ And then, he says, ‘my assurance of pardon and everlasting happiness ran high and strong.’ “
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 137-38.
Joshua labored with Mr. Carey in translating the Scripture
December 04, 1837 – Joshua Marshman died, and was laid to rest in “God’s Acre.” That plot in India that is now consecrated by the mingled dust of generations of missionaries who await the resurrection. Marshman, born in a Baptist home in Wiltshire, England, on April 20, 1768 knew early the message of saving grace. When he was 24, he moved to Bristol to supervise a school of the Broadmead Baptist Church. While there he also took classes at the Seminary, and for five years studied Hebrew and Syriac. Carey had gone to India in 1793, and the missionary reports had stirred the hearts of the Marshmans for the cause of missions. The Marshmans applied to the mission, were accepted, and sailed in May, arriving in Calcutta in Oct. of 1799. They opened a young ladies’ boarding school which became the largest of its kind in India. This supplemented their support, and all the profits went to the Serampore Mission. They also established two more such schools which work was carried on by Hannah Marshman. She continued on until her death in 1847. Joshua had not been robust in his youth, and at the time of his leaving had been in poor health but the Lord undertook for His servant and he said that he had not paid out a single sovereign on medicine in 36 years. Joshua labored with Mr. Carey in translating the Scripture, preaching and other missions work. He mastered Chinese and translated the Scriptures into a Chines Bible. He printed the works of Confucius and used the profits to place God’s Word in the hands of the disciples of Confucius. On one occasion he was mobbed and on another he was arrested. The Carey’s and Marshman’s used £80,000 of their own money to save the property when the young men took over the mission after the old men died off.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 505-07.