Thursday, June 8, 2017

Great Missionary Stories-2- Dr. Johnson Cherian

Bartholomew Ziegenbalg, born in Saxony, Germany, was a missionary to South India from 1706-19. After 34 months of grueling journey, he landed in Tranquebar, a Danish colony on the coast of India. He was received harshly by the governor, got a small room in the Portuguese quarters and began his missionary work under crushing circumstances with the natives wanting nothing of his religion. They tried to get rid of him but he persisted. 

He persuaded a school teacher to teach him how to write the Tamil alphabets on sand and later found a Brahmin from whom he learnt to speak the Tamil language fairly well in 8 months. Some of the Europeans in India then owned slaves and the missionary asked for permission to teach them Tamil. He was permitted to do so and in less than a year, 5 slaves were brought to Christ and baptized. He built a Church with his own earnings and preached in Tamil and Portuguese at it's dedication, which was attended by Christians and non-Christians alike. 

2 years after reaching India, he had mastered the Tamil language and in 1811 he finished translating the New Testament into Tamil; the first translation of this book into any language spoken in India. Other than the New testament, he translated a Danish Liturgy and German hymns to Tamil. He died at the age of 36, after thirteen years of pioneer work. At his burial there were 350 converts, ready to carry on the great commission of Jesus Christ.

Afterthought- Jesus told his disciples, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19, 20)

For those who step out with faith, a God given vision will find it's fulfillment, any corner of the world.

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