February marks the 100th and 200th anniversaries of two events in Christian life.
See Page 8D of People & Faith for an article about ceremonies recognizing the sending of the first missionaries from America to serve overseas.
On Feb. 6, 1812, a group of missionaries was commissioned by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
Soon after, Adoniram and Ann Hasseltine Judson, Samuel and Harriet Newell, Gordon Hall, Samuel and Rosanna Nott and Luther Rice left for India.
This group’s influence was so broad that the Baptist organization of churches in Baton Rouge was named Judson Baptist Association for many years before recently changing its name to Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge.
Despite traveling on separate ships, discussions and study convinced the Judsons and Rice about believer’s baptism. After arrival in India, the Judsons were baptized by Williams Ward. Rice was baptized by British missionary William Carey a few months later. The three resigned from the mission board.
The others retained ties with the ABCFM, but immigration issues forced the group from India. As a result:
Along with evangelism, the Judsons translated the Bible, created a Burmese dictionary, worked with the government, helped orphans, educated children, and built a church and school. Ann Judson was the first person to translate part of the Bible into Siamese (Thai). She also translated Scripture into Burmese and wrote an early history about American missions.
On Feb. 10, 1912, Joseph Lister (1827-1912) died. He was the Christian doctor who discovered sterile surgery procedures in the late 1800s.
In 1860, he became a professor of surgery and studied Louis Pasteur’s work on microorganisms. Using one of Pasteur’s theories, Lister started dressing wounds with carbolic acid. This lowered the rate of infection. He then experimented with cleanliness for the surgery: hand-washing and sterilizing tools. His rates of infection were so low that other surgeons adopted the methods.
Does his name sound familiar? That’s because the product Listerine, now known as a mouthwash, was originally a surgical disinfectant named in his honor.
Sources: http://www.chinstitute.org/; http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/; http://www.jnj.com/; “Baptist Mission Portraits,” John Allen Moore; “The Baptist Heritage,” Leon McBeth; Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Gerald H. Anderson, editor
Send ideas to Leila Pitchford-English, The Advocate, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0588 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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