Brilliance. Repentance. Transformation. Vision. Sacrifice. Commitment. Passion. Courage. Faith. Love. Steadfastness. Boldness.
These words describe a man who was born in early 19th century America. A man who gave up prestige, fame and success all for the sake of the Gospel. Adoniram Judson was the first foreign missionary from the USA (to my knowledge) and I just finished reading his story, a story that will undoubtedly impact the way I live.
Adoniram Judson was born to a God-fearing couple in the newly found America, his father was even a Congregationalist minister in Massachusettes. Adoniram was fluent in Greek by the age of 12. But when he went off to school at Brown University, he had to face the questions of his previously unquestioned faith. God no longer existed, the Gospel made no sense anymore. Through the influence of a close friend on campus, Adoniram proudly named himself an Athiest. Now, to tell the parents.
His mother and father were saddenned, even shocked by the news, but they did not lose hope. After graduating as Valedictorian of his class at Brown, Adoniram decided to put off graduate school for a short while and he found himself in New York City. He got a taste of theater and writing, but he was unsettled and determined himself to do a little exploring out "west." He mounted his horse and travelled west, when one evening he stabled his horse at a traveler's inn in Connecticut.
The man at the front desk, informed Adoniram that there was only one room left open that evening and it was unfortunately right next to the room of a young man who was very ill and was making unpleasant noises. Not a problem, Adoniram assured the inn keeper. To his disappointment, he was indeed not able to sleep. His ill neighbor kept him awake. As he thought about this young man, his mind drifted to thoughts of death and eternity. O, if only my good friend from university were here! What great discussion we could have about death. He would have a rational answer for the emotional feelings attached to thoughts of death! Adoniram thought to himself.
The next morning, as he was checking out of the inn, he paused to ask about his neighbor upstairs. The inn keeper informed him that he had indeed died that evening. A young man! Such a shame. Adoniram asked if he knew who he was. "Just out of school, I figure. NOt more than your age. Went to that Brown University out East. His name was E..." It only took a brief moment for Adoniram to understand what he was saying. This young man was his close friend from Brown!
Adoniram immediately knew what this meant. He knew in his heart that "E" was lost; he died apart from God. Adoniram knew that he had made a terrible decision during college and his newfound way of life was superficial and wrong! He turned his horse toward East, toward home. He set out on a new journey...
To be continued.