Scars for Jesus

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    This thread is to relate stories of those who have earned scars serving Jesus Christ, preferably in the harvest field: witnessing, soul-winning, preaching, missions, church planting, etc. This doesn't mean that stories not connected with these areas will be rebuked of course, as long as the scars are for the cause of Jesus Christ.

    The scars may be actual physical scars. They may be emotional scars from persecution or rejection. They may involve a physical condition incurred while serving Christ. They may involve something else I've not thought of. They are simply scars for Jesus of whatever kind.

    There is only one rule here: please do not write in the first person about yourself, such as, "When I was out doing street evangelism one day, a guy punched me...." Please write about other people, or if you do write about yourself and a unique experience you had, make it third person: "Bill (not his real name) was out doing street evangelism one day...."
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Christ Himself suffered incredible scars for us on the cross. He is our first example. Second to Him is the Apostle Paul, who suffered in many different ways for His Savior. Consider his physical suffering:

    "23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
    24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
    25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
    26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
    27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
    28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
    29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
    30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
    31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
    32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
    33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands."
    (2 Cor. 11)

    Consider also Paul's emotional scars, related in his last epistle at the end of his life:

    "9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
    10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
    11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
    12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
    13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
    14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
    15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
    16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
    17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
    18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
    (2 Tim. 4)
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    My wife has a small scar on the tip of a finger on her left hand that represents a whole lot of pain! We were out one day on literature evangelism, sticking tracts in mailboxes (legal in Japan) and witnessing when we could.

    Our city of Asahikawa holds the records for the coldest temperature and the most snow in Japan. Thus it is that, while we have many homes with regular mailboxes, most have mail slots in the doors. And those mail slots have brushes top and bottom to keep the cold out. You have to stick the tract between the brushes and shove it in.

    At one house Patty stuck a tract in the mail slot and had a little trouble getting it in between the brushes. So she ended up shoving her entire hand in. Well, that offended the dog who happened to be on the other side, and he jumped up and grabbed Patty's finger with his sharp little teeth. There ensued a very painful tug-of-war which Patty eventually won, though with a very deep cut in her finger. She came over to me then slowly, holding her finger, with quiet tears streaming from her eyes.

    We rushed to the emergency room where she ended up having stitches both inside her finger and on the skin, the cut was so deep. So now she has a little scar for Jesus on her finger! Not much, but it's for the Savior. And she paid the doctor about $500 for the privilege!
     
  4. Mexdeaf

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    John, great subject. As I was mulling this subject over some thoughts came to mind-

    Scars are not all bad.

    1. They are a sign of healing.

    2. They represent memories. Of course some are good and some are bad but even the "bad" scars usually have some good memories attached to them.

    3. They are a testimony to others. I am reminded of Richard Wurmbrand when he came to Tennessee Temple and showed us his scars that he suffered for Jesus Christ.

    I think anyone who has been faithful to the Lord, in little or in much, has some scars to show for his service. They may be big or small, they may be physical, they may be mental (or even both), but they are scars nonetheless. May we wear our scars humbly, yet happily- such as the disciples who went out rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Very well said, Mexdeaf.

    I remember when Richard Wurmbrand came to speak at Temple also, and he was one I was thinking of when I started this thread. I remember that he wore a robe when he preached, and spoke quietly. I remember him saying that we Americans could enjoy our soft life and our ice cream, but we must always remember our brothers in Christ suffering under Communism.

    For any reader who has never heard of Richard Wurmbrand, he was a pastor in Romania during the Communist era, imprisoned and tortured for his faith in Christ Jesus. He tells of his experiences in Tortured for Christ, a book still in print after all of these years. Check it out at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0340863684/?tag=baptis04-20
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Here is the story of an unknown, single Irish missionary to Peru, then a single American woman missionary. They must have had deep scars for Jesus on their souls: feelings of failure, doubt, loneliness, rejection. But God was with them, though they may not have felt so towards the end. Read and be blessed and challenged by their faithfulness.


    One Nameless Man
    By Deb Brammer


    A nameless man left his home in lreland to spread the gospel in Peru. No one listened. As far as we know, not one person came to Christ under his ministry.


    When he died in the mountain village where he had given his life, the villagers refused to bury him in the respectable cemetery.That was reserved for faithful Roman Catho1ics. They laid the missionary to rest with criminals, homosexuals, suicide victims, and other social outcasts. No fancy gravestone recorded his name for posterity. A simple pile of stones marked the spot of this man who, though he was faithful, gave his life for nothing.

    A single lady gave it another try. Mabel Walker, an American, fared a little better. From her faithful efforts to plant the seed of the gospel in this rocky soil, she saw several people saved, mostly children. Yet after years of service, she left Peru with no churches started, no lasting ministry to show for her work.


    Twenty years later, Bob and Betty Whatley left the jungle and came to that same mountain valley. At first they saw little fruit, but after a few years, things began to change. After years of indifference, the Peruvians grew interested in the gospel. This slow, unfruitful field became incredibly receptive.


    Today, in many areas, Peruvians mob missionaries for tracts, then sit down and read them immediately. Churches are springing up everywhere. Peruvians come to the city and are saved. Then they return to their villages to share Christ with friends and relatives. Once a group of believers is formed they beg missionaries to help them start a church.


    This area of Peru now has more than one hundred fundamenta1 Baptist churches. Missionaries cannot begin to meet the needs of Peruvian churches crying for help, much less start churches in every place Christians are begging for them to come.


    Of course, Satan won't give up Peru easily. Pockets of great opposition still slow the spread of the gospel. In some areas, school teachers refuse to pass students who attend Baptist church services.


    Other schools, however, invite missionaries to come and teach Bible dasses. Today, missionaries to Peru are reaping an abundant harvest of souls.

    And what about the Irish missionary who so faithfully planted the gospel, yet died in apparent failure? Today Peruvians lead Bob Whatley to the little pile of stones that cover his grave. "This man," they tell him, "told us about Jesus."


    Across the world today, missionaries and pastors grieve over fields that produce little, if any, fruit. They'd gladly give their lives to bring souls to Christ and build a lasting ministry. Yet in the middle of their apparent failure, Satan whispers, "Why give your life for nothing?"


    The cemetery in Peru is still filled with the bodies of criminals, outcasts, and one nameless missionary whose life ended in failure. Few would desire such a site for a final resting place. Bob Whatley, however, disagrees. He says, "When I die, bury me beside that old missionary. He was faithful.

    Conquest for Adults, September 24, 1995
    Shaumberg, IL: Regular Baptist Press
     
    #6 John of Japan, Aug 31, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2009
  7. ReformedBaptist

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    Bob (not his real name) went out to preach the Gospel in south america and someone threw a rock and hit him in the head. Bob rejoiced.
     
  8. Mexdeaf

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    National pastors suffer also!

    As a missionary to the deaf of Mexico it was my privilege to meet several national pastors, most of them hearing, who had a burden for the deaf as well as for the hearing. One of those men was Pastor Bernabe.

    Pastor Bernabe pastored amongst the Huasteca Indian people in the mountains of Veracruz state. Like many Mexican pastors in rural areas, he had a primary pastorate in the small city of Coxcatalan as well as a mission church in a small village that was a winding, twisting, nail-biting 45 minute drive on a narrow gravel road from his city.

    Each Sunday after the morning services at the church in Coxcatalan, Pastor Bernabe and his wife would kiss their children and hop on their small moped for the treacherous drive up the mountain to the other church. After that long drive and another service, they would try to return to their home before it became dark and was too dangerous to drive.

    In that village there was a gang of men who hated Pastor Bernabe. They would curse him as he visited and preached the Gospel and threaten him with harm.

    One afternoon as Pastor Bernabe and his wife climbed the mountain trail on their moped, they came to a section that was underneath an overhanging crag of rock. Some of the men who hated the pastor were waiting for them, and as they reached that area the men began to pelt them with large rocks. Pastor Bernabe and his wife were hit and knocked off their moped as the men continued to hurl rocks down upon them. They scrambled to find refuge and finally the attack ceased. Their moped was badly damaged, and they had suffered many bruises and lacerations, but they were still alive.

    Not knowing if the men were armed, Pastor Bernabe prayed about it and decided that th wisest course of action would be to return home. So they began to walk down a long, narrow hiking path which led to their city, push-dragging the moped as flies and gnats attacked their bloody cuts. It was a long journey and they did not get home until it was dark.

    The next Sunday following their services in the city, they once again hugged their children and climbed on the small moped (that had since been pieced back together) to return to the work in the village. The gang thought that they had forever run off or perhaps even killed Pastor Bernabe, so they were not waiting for them and they were shocked when he and his wife rode into the village and parked at the clearing where they held their meetings.

    It was not long after that the men who comprised that gang became members of the family of God. Pastor Bernabe and his wife still bear the scars today of "what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church." (Col. 1:24)

    What a humbling privilege it is to know and to serve with such men and women as these!
     
    #8 Mexdeaf, Sep 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2009
  9. John of Japan

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    Praise the Lord for this faithful pastor, and thanks for the story Mexdeaf.
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thanks for the contribution to the thread.
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Hudson Taylor, who arrived in China in as a single man in 1854, turned out to be one of the greatest missionaries of the modern era. What made him great was his deep and unchanging desire to reach the inland of China for Jesus Christ. This eventually let him to found the China Inland Mission when his original mission board turned out to be incompetent.

    In the process of his early ministry he determined to copy German missionary Karl Gutzlaff in dressing and living like the Chinese in order to reach the Chinese. This might be considered the origin of the process called contextualization in modern missiology. For the Scriptural basis, see 1 Cor. 9:19-23.

    Since Gutzlaff had seen his reputation tarnished in hiring suspicious nationals for evangelization, it was left to Taylor to popularize his contextualization. Before that ever happened, he was roundly criticized and attacked by those who should have known better.

    All of this hurt him deeply, but the biggest scar on his heart came when he fell in love with Maria, a young lady teacher in a mission school who had grown up as a "missionary kid" in China. Maria loved him too, but she couldn't tell him. The woman missionary who headed her school forced her to write a letter of complete rejection to Hudson, and his heart was broken. The woman's first objection? She thought it was completely shameful that Taylor was dressing like the Chinese to reach the Chinese for Christ!

    The story turned out well. God brought Hudson and Maria together, and they served God in inland China for many years. But I can only imagine the scars on his heart received for his stand on how to reach the Chinese for Christ.
     
  12. JPPT1974

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    Praying for those that risk their lives in the name of Jesus cause and for His sake! They are really brave people!:jesus:
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Amen! Believers around the world are suffering daily for Christ.
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    We have friends who were missionaries for many years in Africa. Unfortunately, they had to come back to the States for medical treatment several times over the years. I believe the main problem was malaria. Now he is pastoring in the States. As I understand it, his body was finally not able to handle it. They are noble, good Christians, and I'm sure they would love to be back on the mission field with the Africans they loved and gave many years of their lives to.

    Sometimes our American bodies simply can't handle the viruses and bacteria in other countries. In other countries the stress level is very high compared to the homeland, and missionaries end up with stress-related disease that may even take them off the field. I knew one missionary who had heart problems, and was told that because of the stress he had to go back to the States or he would die in Japan, leaving his wife and children alone to cope.

    Back in the old days many missionaries and missionary children died on the fields of the world. Adoniram Judson had his first and second wife and several of his children die of disease in 19th century Burma. After his first wife died, he dug a grave for himself and sat by it wishing to die. Hudson Taylor saw his first wife die in China after only ten years of marriage. The scars left on the soul in such a case are truly scars for Jesus.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    Sometimes the scars on a missionary's heart come from the nationals. Here is the story I wrote (part of a book I'm working on) of how Karl Guzlaff, an early missionary to China, was deeply hurt.

    While in Hong Kong late in his ministry, Karl had a brainstorm. Foreigners in those days were limited to living in five cities along the coast of China. Why not have a society of Chinese evangelists who could go into the inland and preach Christ? And why not support those evangelists with Western money? The Chinese Association (sometimes translated “Chinese Union”) was founded in 1844, and wonderful reports began to reach Europe. Gutzlaff told of 130 Chinese evangelists, ten thousand New Testaments distributed along with many tracts and complete Bibles. The men traveled to all the provinces of China, and as far as the borders of Tibet and Mongolia. And best of all, Gutzlaff reported that 2871 converts had been baptized!

    In 1850 he returned to London and began to campaign for his organization. According to Howard Taylor,
    “From Ireland to Hungary he passed, proclaiming in all the leading capitals of Europe the duty of the Christian Church toward the unevangelized millions of China. For the first time the need and claims of that great land came home to many a heart, with the result that multitudes were on their knees praying as never before. It was prayer for which Gutzlaff primarily appealed, prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon China in its agelong darkness. But true prayer, potent in itself, is sure to bring about practical results, and in this case quite a number of organized efforts grew up in London and on the continent that resulted in permanent blessing” (Hudson Taylor: The Growth of a Soul, Vol. 1, by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, p. 88).

    Alas, not all was as it seemed. The German missionary eventually entrusted with watching over the Chinese evangelists soon learned that most of the reports were fabricated. Very few of the evangelists had even gone past Canton, and some of the reports were written in opium dens not far from where Gutzlaff himself lived. Gullible and trusting, Gutzlaff did not have the leadership abilities to run the organization his burden created. Nothing daunted, Gutzlaff returned to China and did his best to lead his mission out of the mess and restore its reputation.

    The sad missionary suffered a sudden illness in 1851, and died on August 9 of that year. According to the January 1952 edition of his missionary newsletter, “The Gleaner,” “Even in his last hours, all his thoughts were directed to the evangelization of China. He spoke of it with great confidence, and in the delirium of fever frequently expressed bright hopes for the blessing and regeneration of his beloved Sinim. Truly of him it may be said that he departed this life and entered the presence of the Lord bearing the millions of China upon his heart” (ibid, p. 91). He was buried in Hong Kong, where his grave can still be seen and one can walk on a street named after him.

    So, was Karl Gutzlaff a failure? Were his dreams bigger than his talents? If so, he was a glorious failure! And yet his dreams inspired many a young missionary to follow Christ’s call, including such greatly-used missionaries as Hudson Taylor and David Livingstone. May we all dream big, pray for great things, and step out in faith to follow Christ to the ends of the earth!
     
  16. John of Japan

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    The defining experience of Chuck’s pastoral ministry may have been when he took over the pastorate of the Southside Baptist Church of Millington, Tennessee. The church was a brand new building in the countryside on seven acres of land, and after being chosen as pastor Chuck went down from his home in Wheaton, Illinois, to help build the parsonage on that land.

    The family settled in happily, and the ministry went well. Many were saved, and the Sunday School reached over 200 in attendance. This was the largest church Chuck had yet pastored. Many sailors began coming from the nearby Memphis Naval Air Station, and many of them were saved also.

    One day in the Spring of 1965 a sailor came to church, and the pastor from Pennsylvania welcomed him even though he was black. However, this was a white southern church, and black people weren’t welcome in those days in most such churches. A deacon rose as the service started and said, “If he is staying, I’m going,” and he walked out. A leading woman in the church went to sit next to the young sailor to show support for her pastor in his stand, but later said, depending on her imagination rather than fact, “He smelled bad!”

    A movement started in the church to kick out the upstart Yankee. Five leading families led the effort, and began calling current and lapsed members, preparing for a showdown. A business meeting was called, and without the faithful pastor being allowed to defend himself, all sorts of base and false charges were brought. The end result was that the pastor was given his notice and told to leave not only the church, but the parsonage right away. One of the pastor’s sons was there in the vestibule, listening to this show of viciousness, and when the leader of the opposition walked by him he said to the boy, “Don’t take it to heart. It was time for your Dad to leave anyway.” But the boy did take it to heart, and fled from God for many years, even becoming a Maoist before gradually making his way back.

    God was watching all of this, and He remembered the deep pain of that pastor and the sins of the believers. One by one, God took care of the matter, with one of the leaders of the opposition dying of cancer soon afterward, another dying in a car crash, and so forth. But the damage was done. The scar on Chuck's heart was painful and deep, and he never again had the zeal he had in Millington.

    In spite of this kind of wickedness among professing Christians, Chuck was a faithful preacher for sixty years, and a witness for Christ until he died. One of his sons remembers going out on visitation with him and being rejected in a particularly harsh way. Chuck told his son, “Johnny, just remember, they haven’t rejected us, they have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Chuck was my father, my brother became the Maoist, and I was young Johnny. Oh, and by the way. The church died later on. God will not bless such doings.
     
    #16 John of Japan, Sep 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2009

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