Passing the torch over three hundred years

Our friends, Odell and Beth Summer, are preparing for a particular mission field in Thailand. Who laid the groundwork for that mission field?

In 1695, August Francke, a direct product of the Reformation, founded an orphanage in Prussia and supported over a hundred orphans on faith alone.

Years after Francke’s death, a young man at the university where he had taught picked up his autobiography and was deeply and profoundly influenced. He went on to found orphanages in England that became known all over the world. That man’s name was George Mueller.

While Mueller’s orphanages were thriving, housing over a thousand orphans on faith alone, a young man visited them and in turn was deeply and profoundly influenced. He decided to found a mission board that would never ask for funds but would depend on God alone for all their needs. That man’s name was Hudson Taylor.

A young man listened to Hudson Taylor speak and decided to leave his fortune and his promising future to join Taylor’s China Inland Mission take the gospel to China where it had never been heard. That man’s name was C. T. Studd.

Studd spoke at a conference and deeply and profoundly influenced a young man who left all to take the gospel to China, working among the Lisu people of the western mountains. This man’s name was James Fraser.

James Fraser returned to the States briefly and spoke at a conference where a young woman was deeply and profoundly influenced. She left all to go to China and bring the gospel the Lisu people, first in China and then, after the Communist takeover, in Thailand. During this time she wrote a number of gripping and inspiring books about God’s work in her life and in the lives of the people. This woman’s name was Isobel Kuhn.

Isobel Kuhn and her husband John had a daughter named Kathy, who married another man who had gone to northern Thailand to bring the gospel to the tribal people there. That man’s name was Don Rulison, and as of this writing he is almost a hundred years old and is still living in Chiang Mai. Their children are still working for the Lord there as well.

After Kathy’s death a children’s home and boarding school was established in Chiang Mai and named after her, Kathy’s Home. Our friends Odell and Beth are hoping to be able to leave the U.S. next spring and become the overseers of Kathy’s Home.

Over three hundred years and across three continents, we have traced the work of God, as one generation proclaims His works to another.

Have you ever thought about how the gospel came to you? It started with Jesus, who spoke it, as a fountain of life, to the apostles. They took it as a glorious gift to many people, who carried it, one by one, like a precious treasure, to many other people, who passed it along, like a fire catching hold, to many more.

One by one, from one person to the next, like a roaring blaze, like a rushing river, the gospel traveled across the lands, around the world, taking root like a tree in the heart of one person after another. Then finally, like wind blowing from the east to the west, it came to someone who told it to someone who told it to someone, who told it to you.

—from chapter one of With Two Hands: Stories of God at Work in Ethiopia

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2 comments on “Passing the torch over three hundred years
  1. Rebecca says:

    from Julie Ann
    Submitted on 2010/09/17 at 10:47 am

    How neat! It’s so amazing how God uses people in the lives of others like that. We can’t always see how God is working in people’s hearts, and yet He is.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Submitted on 2010/09/17 at 11:01 am | In reply to Julie Ann.

    And all but those last two people did work that became the subject of multiple books. We never know what the Lord is going to do!

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