Before we were married, Alan gave me a recommended and now beloved biography of The Three Mrs. Judsons, by Arabella Stuart.
As I was preparing for the last Women for Missions that I will serve as President for, in which our speaker was a dear friend who is moving back from China for her husband to train as the director of their mission agency here in the States, this passage was recalled to mind, and I shared it as part of my introduction of our speaker.
"The person and manners of Mrs. Judson at this time, were, according to the testimony of some who well recollect her, engaging and attractive in no common degree. Her sweet and ready smile, her dark expressive eye, the animation and sprightliness of her conversation, and her refined taste and manners, made her a favorite in all circles...."
My friend has this charismatic, engaging personality that endears her to all she meets, and I pray God will use her as He used Anne during her time in the States, even though their circumstantial reasons for being in the States are very different. (Anne was home on furlough without Adoniram for some rest and restoration of her own health.)
"After a stay of six weeks with her parents ... [Anne] had a pleasant journey to [Baltimore], stopping one day with friends in New York.... From her letters written about this time we proceed to give some extracts.
"'My journey to this place was pleasant, though fatiguing. I passed one night in New York, and spent a most pleasant evening in the society of a large party of good people who were collected for the purpose of prayer. Many fervent petitions were presented in behalf of the perishing Burmans, and the little church established in that country. It was an evening to me full of interest...."
I encouraged our ladies with the ministry of encouragement we can have as we gather together to listen to and to pray for our missionaries and the works God has given them. Though I am transitioning out of the role of President for this season, I am so thankful to be able to continue on as our WFM Communications Coordinator.
Anne went on to write, "How much of heaven might Christians enjoy even here on earth if they would keep in view what ought to be their great object in life. If they would but make the enjoyment of God their main pursuit, how much more consistent their profession would be with their conduct, how much more useful their lives and how much more rapidly they would ripen for eternal glory.
Anne felt that "Christians do not sufficiently assist one another in their spiritual walk. They are not enough in the habit of conversing familiarly and affectionately on the state of each others' souls, and kindly encouraging each other to persevere and get near to heaven. One degree of grace attained in this world, is worth more than every earthly enjoyment."
And I am so thankful for the emphasis my own pastors have placed on this particular need among believers in our own local church.
"I ought to mention," Anne continues, "that I found much of the true missionary spirit existing in New York.
"I began this letter some days ago, but a violent cold has prevented my finishing it. I am very thankful that I am no farther north than Baltimore, for I feel confident the cold would soon destroy me. I have not been out of the house since I arrived, and hardly out of my chamber. My health is certainly better than when I left Boston, though I have a heavy cold and some cough."
And I appreciate her transparency.
"What can be done," she asks in her conclusion, "to excite a missionary spirit in this country?"
Still a good question.
"I dare not engage in the subject till I am better. It would take up my whole soul, and [slow] my recovery. A little while, and we are in eternity; before we find ourselves there, let us do much for Christ."
And, oh, how I pray that God will give us strength to reignite the missionary spirit in our own hearts, in our local assemblies, in this country. And that we would "do much for Christ" in this present hour.
What inspires you toward missions activity? What helps you to pray for those who are engaged in a full-time while with international missions? I'd love to hear...