I may as well have been born in a church building. It is where I have spent the majority of my life. I grew up on the mission field in a loving, Christian home, attended a Christian university, and could not wait, after graduating, to set off to Mexico, to be a missionary.
Life did not go as planned. Every opportunity for mission fell through, and what I thought had been God’s plan for me became a wasted dream. I blamed God. I became mean, depressed, angry and isolated.
Life happens. It’s just one of those things. There will be times in our lives of inexplicable joy, and there will be other times of inexplicable pain. In the joy, it is easy to praise and be thankful, and to share God’s love and the joys of life in Christ with others. In the pain, we have a choice: to let our circumstances get the best of us, and lose sight of our joy, our calling, our God; or, to keep moving forward and trust that God has a higher purpose.
Adoniram Judson and his wife, Ann, chose to trust. Both were interested in foreign missions, so two weeks after marrying, Adoniram and Ann left for India. After a four-month ship voyage, they arrived in India and later headed to Burma. Hardship was there, to welcome them to the mission field: the premature birth and subsequent death of their first child, the birth of a son who died eight months later, the arrest and nineteen-month imprisonment of Adoniram, the death of Ann and, six-months later, the death of their daughter, Maria .
Some time after the deaths of Ann and Maria, Adoniram found healing from his losses and new meaning for life; as did I, when my “wasted dream” of mission in Mexico was revived in the summer of 2009. I am now in the process of creating a free counseling program for migrant workers,which I intend to oversee from here, with periodic trips to Mexico.
Adoniram Judson is an inspirational figure in Baptist missions. He was dedicated to his calling, trusted God, and knew, as Paul did, and as we do, that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sara Robb is a student at McAfee School of Theology, Atlanta, Georgia.