August 3, 2004

I. Cor. 16:9 ‘for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’

Robert Thomas was ordained on June 4, 1863, in a little church in Hanover, Wales.
The next month he and his wife were sent to Shanghai, China, by the London Mission
Society, where his wife died soon after they arrived.
In  1866, after having evangelized for a few months in the southern part of
Korea, Thomas traveled on the American ship, General Sherman, up the Taedong
River, which runs from Namp’o on the Yellow Sea northward past P’yongyang, the
capital of what is now North Korea.  In a shallow part along the river, the ship
was grounded on a sandbar.  Korean soldiers on shore, not having seen many vessels
of this type on the river, became suspicious and scared, perhaps thinking there
were foreign soldiers on board.  They boarded the ships waving long knives at the
passengers and crew and started killing many of them.
When Thomas saw that he was going to be killed, he held out his Korean Bible
to them and said in that language, “Jesus, Jesus.”  His head was cut off and
thrown into the river.  Though some may say his mission voyage was a failure and
a waste of a young life, God does not perceive things the way we do, and His ways
are not our ways.
Twenty-five years after Thomas’s death, an American visitor stayed at a small
guest house in the area where Thomas was killed, and noticed strange wallpaper in
the main room.  The paper had Korea words and numbers printed on it.  When he
asked the owner of the house about it, the owner told him about Thomas being killed there,
and said that he had taken the Korean Bible that Thomas held out to the
soldiers and used the pages to cover his walls.  For twenty-five years, he said,
many had come to his house to “read the walls” where Thomas’s Bible was preserved.

Whether Robert Thomas, Baron von Welz or Raymond Lull, they in love obeyed Christ’s
command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.  We certainly rejoice to
see that when the Gospel is preached, souls are converted and join us to worship
the King.  But let us also rejoice in the preaching of these men who did not see
results but rather death.  Death is gain for them and us.  Paul reminds us “To
live is Christ and to die is gain”.  These three men knew that very well.

PRAYER – TOGO – Pray that our brother Kossi is able to begin registration of
the Eglise Evangelique Lutherienne de Confession (EELC)

– CONGO – Pray that the difficulties Pastor Muzakuza faces with  the
government and expenses may be solved in attempting church registration for the
Eglise Lutherienne de Confession du Congo. (ELCC)

In Christ,
Pastor David Koenig