On this day in 1819, Adoniram Judson held his first worship service in the Burmese language.

For nearly six years, Judson had been working on the Burmese language.  He had been studying it and translating scriptures into it.  He had written tracts in the language.  He had carried on private conversations in Burmese with many people, including the governor of the city.  But Judson, feeling that he was still inadequate in the language, had yet to speak publicly in the language he had worked so hard to learn.

Finally, in 1819, the Judson’s completed the construction of their zayat.  A zayat is a small, hut-like building that the Burmese would use for religious discussion.  While the “Baptist zayat” did not compare to the beautiful Buddhist zayats that were often covered in gold with high slated roofs,   Adoniram was excited over the prospect of the new building.  He decided to hold services the next Sunday.

That Sunday, April 4th, the missionaries excitedly gathered in the zayat to pray and prepare.  When the service began, fifteen Burmese adults timidly walked into the zayat to observe what these strange white people were doing.  The children were much bolder and numerous children came running in, decked out in rich necklaces bracelets, and anklets and nothing else.  Few of the adults had ever attended a religious service of any sort before and would, during the service, comment loudly to each other on the style of the building and the dress of the Americans.

When the service was over, Judson congratulated himself at being able to hold their attention for at least part of the time.  Realizing that some things needed to change, Adoniram and Ann attended a Burmese Buddhist service, so they would see what the people were used to in a worship service.  While the monk wasn’t happy to have the American couple there, the Judsons were able to learn so valuable insight into the Burmese culture that allowed them to mold their worship services to fit the mind and culture of the Burmese.


To the Golden Shore

On this day in 1793, William Carey, leaving behind his pregnant wife and two little children boarded a ship, The Oxford, on the Thames to begin his voyage to India.

He was accompanied by his son, Felix, and his missionary partner, John Thomas, as well as Mrs. Thomas and their daughter.  However, the voyage ended almost as quickly as it began, however, when Thomas was forced to return and settle debts before leaving.  During this time, Carey went back to see his wife, Dorothy, and begged her to come with him.  Being pregnant and hing never traveled more than a few miles from home, Dorothy steadfastly refused.  However, when her sister Kitty agreed to accompany the team and help Dorothy give birth, Dorothy agreed to come.

Now having his entire family with him, and Thomas having settled all his debt, the missionaries were ready to try again to reach the land they longed to reach!


Christian History Magazine-Issue 36

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