Posts belonging to Category Missions

First Missionary to China

Two hundred years ago today, on September 7, 1807, the first Protestant missionary set foot on Chinese soil. John Piper writes:

His name was Robert Morrison. He was a Scottish Presbyterian, and except for one furlough, he spent the next 27 years in China. Persevering against the hostility of official opposition and the resistance of foreign merchants, Morrison baptized the first Chinese Protestant Christian, Cai Gao, on July 16, 1814. After the baptism of Cai Gao, Morrison wrote prophetically in his journal, “May he be the first-fruits of a great harvest, one of millions who shall come and be saved on the day of wrath to come.”

Piper goes on to share about the great harvest of believers that has taken place in China over the past two hundred years and continues to grow. He also shares the dream of many Chinese believers to take the gospel into Muslim lands in a campaign called “Back to Jerusalem.”

I am inspired by Morrison’s perseverance in sharing the gospel for nearly seven years before baptizing his first convert. Piper draws a further lesson from Morrison’s life:

One of the lessons to draw from this anniversary of the arrival of Protestant Christianity in China is that we cannot measure the significance of our lives in our own lifetime. Robert Morrison could not see what we see. It is astonishing.

Finally, Piper recommends a four-part video series issued in 2003, called “The Cross: Jesus in China” which interviews many leaders of the current revival in China. The videos are available for free download at ChinaSoul. I encourage you to visit the Desiring God website to read the full article on China and missions.

Map of the World’s Religions

Welcome to the blog! I invite you to check out my book, The Bible Memory Version.

Here is an interesting map of the world’s religions. (Click map for larger view.)

Map of the World’s Religions
                Source: The Atlas of Faiths; Encyclopedia Britannica (2003)

Each colored section on the map corresponds to the majority religion by population for that region. Here are some of the colors and the religions they represent:

  • Blue = Muslims
  • Yellow = Roman Catholics
  • Orange = Protestants
  • Red = Christians from various churches
  • Purple = Indigenous religions
  • Dark red = Orthodox Christians
  • Light blue = Mormons

I thought this was an interesting overview of how the different religions are concentrated in various parts of the world. As a Christian it is also a good reminder of the importance of world missions and our responsibility in spreading the good news about Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14)

Recommended Books on World Religions:


HT: Brad Wright

See related posts:

Jesus Film Soon to Reach 1000 Translations

From last week’s Christian Post:

The ”Jesus” film – the most translated and widely distributed film in history – announced Tuesday that it is on the verge of reaching its 1000th translation.

As one of the most effective evangelism tools with more than 6 billon viewers globally over 28 years, the “Jesus” film has been seen and translated far more times than top Oscar-winning films such as “Gone With the Wind,” “The Sound of Music,” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

When the 1,000th translation milestone is reached, the one million primarily Ho speaking people in India will be able to hear the Gospel story in their “heart language.” Already through the film more than 200 million people have accepted Christ as their Savior . . .

The Seed Company, part of the Wycliffe Bible Translators family of organizations, partners with the JESUS Film Project to translate the Book of Luke and a script for the film in two to three years . . .

The film is often shown in remote, third-world locales using a makeshift screen and portable projector – often drawing an audience of first-time movie watchers. The “Jesus” film team said it plans to continue translation of the film well beyond its 1,000 mark, focusing on languages with more than 100,000 speakers.

Update: 1000th translation completed as of August 10, 2007 (Mission Network News)

Test Your Skills as a Bible Translator

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a missionary Bible translator? I have always been fascinated with missionary organizations like Wycliffe and New Tribes Mission that focus on translating the Bible into the languages of unreached people groups. Missionaries go and live with the people, learn their language, put the language into writing, translate the Scriptures, and then teach the people how to read the Bible in their own language. It is an awesome task.

Wycliffe U.K has put together a set of interactive puzzles where you can actually try your skills at translating a foreign language.

A foreign language is just like a code that needs to be broken especially where you have no textbooks, trained teachers or linguaphone courses…

A new language may seem daunting but try and solve the puzzles – you’ll be surprised at what you can do!

Apart from aptitude, there are two qualities that are needed to learn another language: adequate time to learn, and the motivation. Obviously those can’t be tested here!

These puzzles though will give you a good idea of your aptitude. Even you don’t do particularly well at this, if the other two factors are in your favour then you’ll still be able to make some headway.

Looks like fun! If you do give this a try, come back to the comments here and let us know how you made out.

“God’s Smuggler to China” Passes Away

Doug Sutphen (Brother David)

Doug Sutphen, better known as “Brother David,” passed away in a hospital near his home in North Bend, Washington yesterday. He was 70 years old. Doug was also known as “God’s Smuggler to China” because of his involvement with smuggling Bibles into China with “Project Pearl” back in the 1980’s. Paul Hattaway from Asia Harvest shares the following about Doug’s life and “Project Pearl.”

Doug Sutphen is best remembered for leading the audacious “Project Pearl” in 1981 – when one million Chinese Bibles, weighing 232 tons, were delivered by barge to thousands of waiting Christians on a beach in southern China. Time magazine described it as “A remarkable mission…the largest operation of its kind in the history of China.” Many Chinese church leaders today say that Project Pearl was a pivotal moment in their history. The Church had only started to re-emerge after decades of brutal oppression, and the desperate need of believers everywhere was for Bibles. A quarter of a century later reports are still being received of the tremendous impact those Bibles had on whole communities. Chinese Christians consider Project Pearl a key event which contributed greatly to the mighty revival presently sweeping the world’s most populous nation …

Operating under a cloak of secrecy because of the highly-sensitive nature of the work, Sutphen and his team worked closely with house church leaders inside China and settled on the bold and risky plan to take one million Bibles into China by boat, all at once. Starting with no money or resources, God supernaturally provided everything needed and the delivery was successfully completed in the evening of 18 June, 1981. More than 10,000 Chinese believers gathered along a beach near the city of Shantou in southern China, and took the one million Bibles away in trucks, cars, donkey carts, on bicycles, and strung across bamboo poles. The army arrived at the beach several hours after the delivery, but the vast majority of Bibles (at least 90%) had been successfully moved by the Chinese Christians. Later, the Three-Self church and others tried to denounce Project Pearl by claiming all the Bibles had been confiscated or swept out to sea, but this was not true. Within weeks, Project Pearl Bibles had made their way to hungry believers in 18 different provinces, and letters of overwhelming gratitude poured in from Christians who had received their first copy of God’s Word.

The whole of Project Pearl, and indeed Doug Sutphen’s life from the time of his conversion, was focused on seeking first the kingdom of God. For decades he received no salary, and mentioned his personal needs only to God, and never to people. God responded to his faith in a marvelous way, and the Sutphens never lacked what they needed. In 1981 the inspirational story of “Brother David” up to that point was told in the best-selling book, “God’s Smuggler to China.”

I thank God for faithful servants like Doug who give their all for the kingdom of God. May we be encouraged to do the same in the places where God has called us to serve.

HT: Phil Gons at PastorBlog

Letter from a Martyr – The Missionary Heart

John Piper shares the following letter from Karen Watson, a Southern Baptist missionary to Iraq who was killed on March 15, 2004. The letter was found after she was slain and was in an envelope marked: “Open in case of death.”

Dear Pastor Phil and Pastor Roger,

You should only be opening this in the event of death.

When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward . . .

The missionary heart:

  • Cares more than some think is wise
  • Risks more than some think is safe
  • Dreams more than some think is practical
  • Expects more than some think is possible.

I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience. . . .

There is no joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him. I love you two and my church family.

In His care,

Salaam, Karen

May Karen’s life, death and testimony inspire each of us to greater levels of prayer, sacrifice and service for our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. You can read Karen’s story along with others in the book Lives Given, Not Taken: 21st Century Southern Baptist Martyrs, by Erich Bridges and Jerry Rankin.

Praying about China’s One Child Policy

While praying for China these past two weeks, one prayer challenge in particular has stayed with me – the challenge concerning China’s ‘One Child’ policy. Here is #4 under “Challenges for Prayer” in Operation World’s Prayer Guide for China on March 24, 2007:

The ‘One Child’ policy is a draconian means of taming the growth of the population. Family life has been deeply impacted, shown in: a higher divorce rate, 10m abortions a year (nearly all girls), suicide (40% of the world’s suicides are in China), pampered children with poor interpersonal skills and the abandonment of baby girls and older people. The rising generation will pay a heavy cost — in 2000 there were 90m marriageable unmarried men; in some areas young men outnumber young women by 30-40% — rape, abductions, female slavery, incest, prostitution and the rapid spread of AIDS could all be the result. Pray for family stability and health. Pray also for wise policies to be implemented that will stabilize the population.

Ten million abortions . . . each year . . . most of them girls. That is unfathomable. That is greater than the population of some countries. “Praying for you, China . . .” (Randy Stonehill; See previous post here for complete song lyrics.)

For more about Operation World, see this post here.

Praying for China with Randy Stonehill

I have been praying along with Operation World’s Daily Prayer Guide for a couple weeks now. This is a new discipline for me, and I keep missing some days here and there, but at least I am praying more than I was before!

This week I have been praying for China. China is such a huge country that Operation World breaks it down according to provinces and spreads the whole country out over a two week period (March 24-April 5).

With China on my mind, I have found myself singing the Randy Stonehill song by that name throughout the week. It is a beautiful song, almost a prayer for China in itself. Here are the lyrics:


Praying for Burundi

I spent about five minutes this morning praying for the Republic of Burundi in Central Africa. I didn’t even know that Burundi existed, but using Operation World’s Pray Today page I was quickly able to learn some key facts about this war-plagued, poverty-stricken nation of about 6-7 million in population and pray accordingly.

I posted about Operation World earlier this week (here). I have bookmarked its Pray Today page right in front of my blog reader link – to make sure that I pray at my computer for others around the world before I start reading blogs from around the world. I encourage you to do the same!

Praying for the Nations – Operation World

Operation World, by Patrick Johnstone, is an amazing book resource that provides demographic and geographical information for every nation in the world, as well as specific prayer requests and answers to prayer. It is arranged in calendar format so that you can pray for the whole world in the course of a year. I have found it helpful in the past both as a source of information and as a guide to prayer for the nations. Our family has also used the children’s version called You Can Change the World in our family prayer times.

So I was very excited to learn that Operation World has put together a daily web page called Operation World – Pray Today. Each day you get information and prayer requests pertaining to a different part of the world. (For example, today’s focus nation is Brunei in Southeast Asia). I encourage you to check it out and make it a part of your regular prayer life.

A big thanks to Justin Taylor over at Between Two Worlds for bringing this to my attention on his blog today.