Does God work in mysterious ways? If you haven’t yet read Part 1, I would encourage you to do so.
There were 2 miracles that occurred to plant seeds in Burma. I heard this story on the radio while driving. Naturally, it grabbed my attention because of my interest in SE Asia. However, this story is intriguing by any standards.
The 1st Miracle
On 5 Feb 1812, Adoniram Judson married Ann Hasseltine.8 Exactly one week later, they set sail to go on a missionary trip to India. They became convinced that baptism is required of believers, so they courageously cut off all support until they could receive support from other sources. Furthermore, they were frustrated by not being allowed entrance into India.
Finally, they found an open door to Rangoon, Burma. More sorrow followed, though, as Adoniram was imprisoned allegedly for being a spy.9 Ann’s persistence won him freedom, but she had brought their newborn as proof for why she was away so much of the time. Adoniram was freed, but not without their newborn catching smallpox and dying. They went six long years without any converts. Finally, on 27 June 1819, they had their first convert.10
Finally, in 1828, Judson made contact with the Karen tribe. One day, Judson went to the bazaar in Moulmein and found a young Karen slave for sale named Kho Tha Byu. Judson bought Tha Byu and tried to teach him and possibly convert him. It turns out he was a hardened criminal with quite an attitude. Judson kept treating him with kindness, though, and eventually Tha Byu was baptized. Through Tha Byu, many Karen were converted.
It was not because Tha Byu was a convincing speaker. It wasn’t even because of his remarkable conversion, although that undoubtedly helped. Certainly, a man who was a thief and a murderer suddenly changing is impressive, but is it enough to convince others that their manner of worship is wrong? No, it was because of a group of legends. One legend was about 2 people in a garden. Even more remarkable was another legend:
Long, long ago the Karen elder brother and his young white brother lived close together. God gave each of them a Book of Gold containing all they needed for their salvation, success and happiness. The Karen brother neglected and lost his Book of Gold and so he fell into a wretched type of existence, ignorant and cruelly oppressed by the Burmese. The white brother, however, prized his Golden Book, or Book of God, and so, when he sailed away across the oceans, God greatly blessed him. Some day the white brother will return, bringing with him God’s Book, which, if the Karen people will receive and obey, will bring to them salvation and untold blessings.9
As you can imagine, Tha Byu preached that the white brother had returned with the Book of God. From this small beginning, many were baptized and introduced to the Bible. Time does not permit to go into the history of the Sabbatarian movement that sprang up out of those humble beginnings, but a few have been called into God’s Church as a result of all of this activity.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
~ Mt 24:14
God will call some through radio, some through TV and some through misguided but relentless people bringing them a book. Not just any book, but “God’s Book”.
Then, there is the other miracle, the rest of the story. Stay tuned for Part 3.
See last part for footnotes and sources