April 30

It was on this day in 1823 that George Boardman and his wife were sent to Burma as missionaries. Working with other missionaries, God blessed their work, particularly amongst the Karen tribe. By 1910 there were 774 Karen Baptist churches and more than 50,000 members.

High in the hills overlooking the territory of the Karens were their ancient enemies, the Brecs. Like the Palestinian Philistines, the Brecs lived by plunder and murder and were greatly feared.

At an assembly of Karen churches the matter of evangelizing the Brecs came up. After much discussion, concluding that it was too dangerous, one of the Karen evangelists volunteered to go, if the brethren would promise to pray for him and to take care of his family while he was gone. The group tried to dissuade the man, but his stubborn faith could not be extinguished, and the promise was made.

With nothing and no one but the Lord, his Bible, a song book and some food, the evangelist set off, climbing up into the mountains and down the other side. He didn’t realize that the first Brec village he approached was one of the most wicked of them all. He was immediately surrounded by dozens of fierce men with spears and knives. Pulling out his Bible, the Karen said, “This is the white book of which our ancestors have told us. Listen to what it says.” Then he spoke to them of Christ and began to sing. He had a beautiful voice and the Brecs’ wrath calmed a bit.

After the spears and knives were put down, the evangelist once again told them about the Saviour. As the faces of his audience softened, he became more bold. The Lord was once again working among the heathen, and he was commanded to stay and tell them more. This he did for several weeks. After some time, he said that he needed to see that his family was well, but that if they let him go, he would return. They did, and he did.

It took several years, but eventually a church was established in that village and soon other villages were being evangelized as well.