Posts tagged ‘Missionary’

March 23, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (March 23rd) Patrick: A Missionary “Bound in the Spirit”

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there.” Acts 20:22

Although Patrick is known across the world as the great missionary to Ireland he accomplished this work under a cloud of personal feelings of inadequacy. He felt deeply the fact that he was “countrified” (sec. 12) and that he “had not studied like others” (Confession, sec. 9). He felt that he was “awkward,” “inarticulate,” and that he had a small vocabulary. He said, “I am unable to explain briefly what I mean” (Confession, sec. 10). While his “mind and spirit long and the inclination of [his] heart” was to preach the gospel (Confession, sec. 10), yet his flesh was unwilling and inadequate, lacking confidence.

Despite—or perhaps because of—feeling the limitations of the flesh much as Moses, Jeremiah, and many others did, Patrick was called by God, not by the “clerical intellectuals” (Confession, sec. 13). A number of times Patrick referred to this calling as the working of the Spirit in his heart. It was a calling he could not escape. He says he was “bound in the Spirit” (Confession, sec. 43), that “the Spirit kept prompting” him (sec. 46), and that he was “obliged by the Spirit” (sec. 10).

It was this compelling working of the Spirit of God within Patrick that thrust him into the work of God and kept him there, even during those times when he wanted to visit his family in Britain. He writes, “God knows that I longed to [visit my family], but I am bound by the Spirit who testifies to me that if I do so He will mark me out as guilty, and I am afraid of wasting the labour which I have begun” (Confession, sec. 43).

It was that same Spirit of God working powerfully in him that gave him strength to rise above the labour and abilities of “better qualified” men, to be bold in the face of significant opposition, and to continue his work. He says the Lord “strengthened me in all things, so as not to hinder me from setting out on the journey on which I had decided and also from my work which I had learned from Christ my Lord, but rather I felt within me considerable strength as a result, and my faith was proved before God and man” (Confession, sec. 30). It is the Spirit of God that is needed in the church today. Only He will give the church the spiritual decisiveness and definition it needs to press forward and stand for God in a pluralistic world.

“Take action when and where God leads the way, wait for no ones guidance.”—John G. Paton

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

March 22, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (March 22nd) Patrick, the Pioneer Missionary

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you.” 2 Corinthians 10:16

The times of Patrick were not known for missionary enterprise—they were instead dominated by martyrs and apologists as the church was being consolidated after its acceptance by Constantine in ad 311.

The martyrs such as Polycarp, Justin Martyr, and Perpetuta in North Africa were all within the Roman Empire as were the apologists who were defending the truth against the various errors and taking stands at the various church councils. But missions to “the regions beyond” were almost non-existent. Ulfilas was one of the few missionaries; he worked for forty years evangelizing the Goths in present-day Romania. And then there was Patrick in Ireland, who evangelized those outside the Roman Empire. His testimony was, “I travelled amongst you and everywhere for your sake, beset by many dangers, even to the remote districts beyond which there was no one and where no-one had ever penetrated to baptise or ordain clergy or confirm the people. With God’s favour I have produced all these results tirelessly and most gladly for your salvation” (Confession, sec. 51).

The spirit of the pioneering missionary is one that we need still today. Men like William Carey, Henry Martin, J. G. Paton, and many women like them in the 1800s had the spirit of the early church and were prepared to give their all for the sake of the gospel. The missionary call still echoes around the world—the call that Paul heard and Patrick after him and thousands since: “Come over and help us.” Christian, take your fingers out of your ears and listen to the call of a needy world and to the command of a gracious Saviour: “Go and teach all nations!”

It is faithlessness that stops the forward movement of the church. As Patrick said, “In accordance with the measure of one’s faith in the Trinity one ought to be explicit [variously translated “proceed without holding back”] and to make known God’s gift and His everlasting consolation without jibbing [balking] at the danger, and to spread God’s name everywhere confidently and fearlessly” (Confession, sec. 14).

“Nothing so clears the vision, and lifts up the life, as a decision to move forward with what you know to be entirely in the will of God.”—John G. Paton

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

March 21, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (March 21st) Patrick, the Humanitarian Missionary

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

Augustine is known for his heroic opposition to the heresy of Pelagianism, as Athanasius is for his stand against Arianism. John Chrysostom, the golden mouth, is most known for his eloquence, Tertullian for his brilliant theological brain, and Bernard of Clairvaux for his devotion. But of all of the ancient saints of God whom the church values so much, Patrick is the best known for a great variety of reasons. To many he is known as the humanitarian missionary, the pioneer of Liberation Theology, the one who went from slave to saint.

That Patrick gave his life “to do good unto all men” is evident from his Confession and more especially from his Letter, which was written in defense of slaves. It is true that Patrick had a heart for people and their human needs. It is also true that his great humanitarian contribution was against slavery. But it must be noted that the intensity of Patrick’s humanitarian interests was derived from the intensity of his interest in people’s souls. His gospel indeed had social implications, but it was not at all a social gospel. It was not fiscal poverty that motivated him, but spiritual poverty. It was not economic, social, or physical captivity that drove him, but spiritual captivity.

He says, “And so it was our bounden duty to spread our nets, so that a vast multitude and throng might be caught for God and there might be clergy everywhere to baptise and exhort a people that was poor and needy, as the Lord says—He urges and teaches in the gospel, saying: ‘So go now, teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and see, I am with you every single day right to the end of the world.’ (Matthew 28.19–20)” (Confession, sec. 40).

Patrick’s humanitarian missionary vision was not merely the call of God; it was warmed by an intense and personal sense of a felt Christ and was driven by a burning desire that men might know Christ as he did.

“Love your fellowmen, and cry about them if you cannot bring them to Christ. If you cannot save them, you can weep over them. If you cannot give them a drop of cold water in hell, you can give them your heart’s tears while they are still in this body.”—C. H. Spurgeon

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

May 24, 2014

Missionary died thinking he was a failure; 84 years later thriving churches found hidden in the jungle

by Aaron Dunlop

In 1912, medical missionary Dr. William Leslie went to live and minister to tribal people in a remote corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After 17 years he returned to the U.S. a discouraged man – believing he failed to make an impact for Christ. He died nine years after his return. But in 2010, a team led by Eric Ramsey with Tom Cox World Ministries made a shocking and sensational discovery. They found a network of reproducing churches hidden like glittering diamonds in the dense jungle across the Kwilu River from Vanga, where Dr. Leslie was stationed.

Loading Cessna Caravan

 

With the help of a Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot, Ramsey and his team flew east from Kinshasa to Vanga, a two and a half hour flight in a Cessna Caravan. After they reached Vanga, they hiked a mile to the Kwilu River and used dugout canoes to cross the half-mile-wide expanse. Then they hiked with backpacks another 10 miles into the jungle before they reached the first village of the Yansi people.
“When we got in there, we found a network of reproducing churches throughout the jungle,” Ramsey reports. “Each village had its own gospel choir, although they wouldn’t call it that,” he notes. “They wrote their own songs and would have sing-offs from village to village.”

Based on his previous research, Ramsey thought the Yansi in this remote area might have some exposure to the name of Jesus, but no real understanding of who He is. They were unprepared for their remarkable find.

They found a church in each of the eight villages they visited scattered across 34 miles. Ramsey and his team even found a 1000-seat stone “cathedral” in one of the villages. He learned that this church got so crowded in the 1980s – with many walking miles to attend — that a church planting movement began in the surrounding villages.

The Yansi jungle "cathedral"

Apparently, Dr. Leslie crossed the Kwilu River once a year from Vanga and spent a month traveling through the jungle, carried by servants in a sedan chair. “There is no Bible in the Yansi language,” Ramsey says. “They used a French Bible, so those who taught had to be fluent in French.”

 

“He would teach the Bible, taught the tribal children how to read and write, talked about the importance of education, and told Bible stories,” Ramsey notes. Dr. Leslie started the first organized educational system in these villages, Ramsey learned. When Ramsey returned home he did some additional investigation and discovered Dr. Leslie was affiliated with the American Baptist Missionary Union. The American Baptist Missionary Union was founded in 1814 by Adoniram Judson, who led a pioneering work in Burma. It took some digging for Ramsey to uncover Leslie’s identity. “The tribal people only knew him by one name and I didn’t know if that was a first or last name. They knew he was a Baptist and he was based in that one city and they knew the years.”

Born in Ontario, Canada, William H. Leslie followed his intended profession as a pharmacist until his conversion in 1888. He moved to the Chicago area, where God began to grip his heart with the desire to become a medical missionary.

Dr. William H. Leslie, M.D.

In 1905 William and Clara pioneered a work in Cuilo, Anglola, where they overcame a hurricane that struck the night before one of their children was born, and more mundane obstacles like charging buffaloes and armies of ants.

Dr. Leslie initiated his Congo service in 1893 at Banza-Manteke. Two years later he developed a serious illness. A young missionary named Clara Hill took care of him until he recovered. Their budding friendship ripened into love and a marriage proposal. They were wed in 1896. Seven years later they cleared enough of the leopard-infested jungle along the Kwilu River at Vanga for a new mission station perched on a small plateau. Some of the villages surrounding Vanga were still practicing cannibalism at that time. They spent 17 years at Vanga, but their service ended on a rocky note. “Dr. Leslie had a relational falling out with some of the tribal leaders and was asked not to come back,” Ramsey says. “They reconciled later; there were apologies and forgiveness, but it didn’t end like he hoped.”

“His goal was to spread Christianity. He felt like he was there for 17 years and he never really made a big impact, but the legacy he left is huge.”

 

Leslie_Vanga_Settlement_Africa

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March 23, 2013

Daily Devotionals: (March 23rd) Patrick: A Missionary “Bound in the Spirit”

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there.” Acts 20:22

Although Patrick is known across the world as the great missionary to Ireland he accomplished this work under a cloud of personal feelings of inadequacy. He felt deeply the fact that he was “countrified” (sec. 12) and that he “had not studied like others” (Confession, sec. 9). He felt that he was “awkward,” “inarticulate,” and that he had a small vocabulary. He said, “I am unable to explain briefly what I mean” (Confession, sec. 10). While his “mind and spirit long and the inclination of [his] heart” was to preach the gospel (Confession, sec. 10), yet his flesh was unwilling and inadequate, lacking confidence.

Despite—or perhaps because of—feeling the limitations of the flesh much as Moses, Jeremiah, and many others did, Patrick was called by God, not by the “clerical intellectuals” (Confession, sec. 13). A number of times Patrick referred to this calling as the working of the Spirit in his heart. It was a calling he could not escape. He says he was “bound in the Spirit” (Confession, sec. 43), that “the Spirit kept prompting” him (sec. 46), and that he was “obliged by the Spirit” (sec. 10).

It was this compelling working of the Spirit of God within Patrick that thrust him into the work of God and kept him there, even during those times when he wanted to visit his family in Britain. He writes, “God knows that I longed to [visit my family], but I am bound by the Spirit who testifies to me that if I do so He will mark me out as guilty, and I am afraid of wasting the labour which I have begun” (Confession, sec. 43).

It was that same Spirit of God working powerfully in him that gave him strength to rise above the labour and abilities of “better qualified” men, to be bold in the face of significant opposition, and to continue his work. He says the Lord “strengthened me in all things, so as not to hinder me from setting out on the journey on which I had decided and also from my work which I had learned from Christ my Lord, but rather I felt within me considerable strength as a result, and my faith was proved before God and man” (Confession, sec. 30). It is the Spirit of God that is needed in the church today. Only He will give the church the spiritual decisiveness and definition it needs to press forward and stand for God in a pluralistic world.

“Take action when and where God leads the way, wait for no ones guidance.”—John G. Paton

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

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