Category Archives: Missionary Stories

Announcing the Launch of Our New Website

How-Creating-a-New-Website-Can-Help-You-Grow-RevenueToday, I am pleased to announce the launch of the new and updated website for Joy to the World Ministries. Many thanks to Church OS for their hard work in helping us with the work on this new site. They have really been terrific. May the Lord continue blessing their work. Through this, we hope to share with you what the Lord has been doing among us in the past, what He is doing now as we look forward to what He will do in the future.

In turn, I hope that you will:
  1. Join us in praising the Lord for His love towards us which love was demonstrated in the death and resurrection our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Pray for and with us regularly as we continue to labor for the gospel that we may maintain and work towards the vision that the Lord has for us.
  3. Spread the word concerning this work and recruit others to join us in doing #1 and #2 above.
  4. Give financially to support this important work for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the various regions where we are working and beyond.
  5. Stay tuned. We will be posting regular updates on this site, so please come back and visit often. We want you to walk with us through the journey ahead as we apply ourselves with the Lord’s help to the task of “Taking the Whole Gospel, to the Whole Man and to the Whole World.”
god-be-the-gloryThank you for being such faithful and encouraging supporters. May the Lord richly bless you. To God be the glory!
“From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!” Psalm 113:3

Most Men are Not Satisfied with the Permanent Output of Their Lives

Only One LifeMost men are not satisfied with the permanent output of their lives. Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within his followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world he came to redeem. Fame, pleasure and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of his eternal plans. The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards.

J. Campbell White, Excerpt from Secretary of the Laymen’s Missionary Movement, 1909.


The Murray Family History – From Scotland to Nyasaland via South Africa

Here is a fascinating bit of the Murray family history.  It’s part of the book, William Murray of Nyasaland which I am currently working on.  Enjoy:

andrew-murray-africa-for-christ--pal-box The first missionary of the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa to go to Nyasaland was the Rev. A. C. Murray, a son of the Dutch Reformed parsonage of Graaff Reinet.

The Murray family of which he was a member, played a very important part in the church and the religions life of the Dutch people in South Africa.  About thirty to sixty years ago, quite a large number of our ministers and missionaries either belonged to the Murray family or were connected with it by marriage.  The first Murray to come to South Africa was Andrew Murray, a minister of the Church of Scotland, who had wanted to become a missionary.  His mother had, however, strongly objected as she was afraid that if he became a missionary, he would be devoured by cannibals!  He had therefore not gone to the mission field, but in 1821 he accepted an invitation go go to the Cape of Good Hope.  Dr. Thom, the Dutch Reformed Church minister at Caledon, was on a visit to England and Lord Charles Somerset, at that time Governor at the Cape, had charged him to try and find ministers for the vacant congregations at the Cape to obtain teachers as well.  One of the first ministers whom Dr. Thom found was Andrew Murray, who felt that the need at the Cape was so great that he dared not refuse the invitation.  At the same time, he also saw in his going to South Africa an opportunity to do something with regard to mission work amongst the natives and thus to fulfill a long-felt urge.

After his arrival at the Cape, a notice appeared in the Government Gazette to the effect that he had been appointed to the congregation at Graaff Reinet.  He was to live and labour there for the next 45 years.

In 1824, two years after his arrival at Graaff Reinet, he undertook a journey to Cape Town to attend the sitting of the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church.  There he met the young lady who was to become his wife, Maria Susanna Stegmann, the eldest child of Johan Gotlob Stegmann and Jacomina Sophia Hoppe, both of German descent.

When Mr. Murray arrived in South Africa, he could speak Dutch fairly well as he had spent ten months in Holland, before coming out, to learn the language, and he very soon identified himself with his adopted country.

In course of time eleven children were born to the couple in the Graaff Reinet parsonage.  The eldest son John, born in 1826, was later to become one of the professors at the Theological Seminary at Stellenbosch.  The second born son in 1828, became the famous church-father and prolific writer on spiritual subjects whose books are known throughout the world to-day, – Andrew Murray of Wellington.  The third son William, born in 1829, later minister at Worcester, was the father of the subject of this book.  The fifth child was Charles, who was to become his father’s successor at Graaff Reinet and Andrew Charles Murray who became the first Dutch Reformed Church missionary to Nyasaland, was his son.  The youngest son of the parsonage, George, also became a minister so that out of the six sons born to Andrew Murray and Maria Stegmann, five became ministers of the Gospel whilst four daughters married ministers.

Andrew Charles Murray – he was always known as “A.C.” to distinguish him from his father and his uncle – had felt himself called to the mission-field when he was a student at the Theological Seminary at Stellenbosch, where he became the first secretary of the Student’s Missionary Society.  In that capacity he had written to Dr. Stewart of Lovedale to ask advice with regard to a new field of work, where the gospel was unknown, and Dr. Stewart had replied that Nyasaland was such a field and that missionaries of our church would be heartily welcome there by the Scottish missionaries.

 Look out for the book, William Murray of Nyasaland which will be coming out in the next few months – and please remember to pray for this work.  Thank you very much!

Malawi before Christian Missionaries

I am working on a new edition of a book entitled, William Murray of Nyasaland which should be released in a couple of months or so, Lord willing.  The book is centered on the Rev. Dr. William Murray of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in South Africa who went to Malawi as a missionary in the late 1800’s.  It’s an interesting read.  One of the most remarkable things in the book is the transformation which the gospel has brought to Malawian life and culture.  It’s quite powerful to see how far we have come as a people because of the gospel.  I share with you this long excerpt from the book.

This was what life was like in Malawi before the arrival of the missionaries as reported by the then Evangelist Namoni Katengeza who became the first ordained minister in the Nkhoma Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (C.C.A.P.):

Maji_majiThe state of affairs was terrible because the Native chiefs were like roaring lions, – I mean the Angoni chiefs who had conquered the inhabitants of this country.  They thought no more of killing people than one would think of killing a fowl and had no idea of the value of a man’s life, such as the Word of God teaches.  The Angoni had conquered the Achewa of this country and looked upon them as slaves without any value.  They showed them no mercy and if a man hated another and wanted him out of the way, he would accuse him of some crime before the headman, even if it was not true.  It was useless for the accused to deny the accusation, – the headman simply had him put to death.  If someone should accuse a man of being a mfiti, that is a sorcerer who eats human flesh, or of being a thief, then a small army, or “war” as they called it, was sent by the headman to seize all in that kraal, men, women and children, and to bring them back as prisoners, – not a soul might escape.  Every man was killed and the women and children were sold as slaves.  If a man had a wife with a pretty or attractive face, the Ngoni-chief would say: “It is not fitting for a slave to have such a pretty wife” and he would take her for himself.  Her husband would be killed so that he might not find a way of recovering her or of poisoning the chief.  Or suppose the headman had married a wife from a far-away kraal.  If she visited her own kraal too frequently or stayed away too long, the headman would say:  “She is insulting me” and he would send for her and her mother and would put them both to death.  All such victims were done to death with assegais. 
A Ngoni warriorBut the Angoni-headmen had another custom, namely that of the poison-cup, – Mwabvi.  The chief would say:  “I want to clear my country of mfiti and thieves and adulterers,” and would send for a mwabvi-doctor and his poison bag.  Messengers would then be sent to all the kraals to summon his people to his headkraal to drink the poison-cup.  Everyone had to be there on an appointed day and those who refused or fled were put to death unless they had a  lawful reason for not coming. All present had to drink the poison-cup and if large numbers of them died, the chief and his indunas rejoiced and said that the country had now been cleansed of all its evil inhabitants.  If parents were among those who died of the poison, the headman would give their children to the witchdoctor as payment.  Those who escaped death by being able to vomit the poison were very happy because they could say:  “We are good people who have not practised sorcery or done any other evil.”
Another means of testing people was boiling water.  If a woman was accused of adultery and was ordered to appear before the headman and she denied the accusation, he would say:  “Come back to-morrow morning early and we shall see if you are innocent.” On her return the following day, he would order a pot of water to be put on the fire and as soon as the water was very hot, she had to thrust her hand deep down in it.  Should her hand show traces of burns the next day, she would be judged guilty and the man who had shared her sin would be brought and the two be put to death without mercy, as the tribe believed that if such people were allowed to live they would be the cause of an epidemic of small-pox or some other evil.
These Angoni customs resulted in the depopulation of the country and to-day there are many people who have lost their families and friends because of it.
To obtain clothing was also a reason for going to war.  The first prisoner taken, – woman or child – belonged to the headman, but if more than one was taken, the headman would allow their captor to keep the others so that he could buy clothes for his wife and children.  The Angoni looked upon captives as the money with which they could buy clothes, and the Arab slave-traders, who were the merchants of that time, bought these prisoners as slaves and carried them off to far distant countries.  The currency in which they paid the Angoni for their slaves was clothing. 
Such were the dreadful things in this country which were causing the extermination of the people before the Word of God was brought to them.
koyi-ngonichiefWhy did the first missionaries encounter such terrific opposition?  Because they wanted to put a stop to these wars and raids and opposed the poison-cup and the ordeal of boiling water.  They told the headmen:  “You must stop making war on each other because you are destroying your own nation.  See how empty of inhabitants your own country has become!”
The result was that the Angoni headmen were bent on killing these messengers of God because they forbad these evil deeds and opposed them.  But the Lord softened the hearts of some of the headmen who had influence, and not only they but also their great chief, CHIWERE, became the friend of the messengers of the Lord and did not betray them. (These extracts are taken from a missionary magazine, Die Koningsbode, Feb., 1931).

Look out for the book coming out in a couple of months.  God bless!

Korean Family on AirAsia Jet Found Their Calling as Christian Missionaries

Christians in the South Korean city of Yeosu on Sunday prayed for the Korean family on board the missing AirAsia jet. YONHAP/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Christians in the South Korean city of Yeosu on Sunday prayed for the Korean family on board the missing AirAsia jet. YONHAP/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

The young Korean family on board the AirAsia jetliner belonged to a group of active South Korean travelers: Christian missionaries.

YEOSU, South Korea—The young Korean family aboard the AirAsia jetliner that vanished on Sunday belonged to a group of active South Korean travelers: Christian missionaries.

Park Seong-beom, 37 years old, and his wife Lee Kyung-hwa had moved to Indonesia in September with their infant daughter to begin teaching Korean and computer skills in the town of Malang, on the eastern half of Java island.

Mr. Park was a missionary from his home church, Yeosu First Presbyterian Church, based in this fishing town of about 300,000 people at the southern coast of the Korean peninsula. Ms. Lee was a missionary sent by her church in Seoul.

Mr. Park and his wife were just two months into their new postings and still getting the lay of the land, said Kim Jong-heon, the pastor who oversees Yeosu First Presbyterian Church’s missions work, in an interview on Monday.

Ms. Lee, a native of Seoul, had already spent several years living in Indonesia as a missionary, Mr. Kim said, and she influenced the decision for the family to move there. Their daughter, Park Yuna, was born about nine months before the move.

The family was traveling to Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya, where the plane had departed, to renew their visas, according to an official at Yeosu First Presbyterian Church. The church said that Mr. Park’s parents wanted privacy and were declining to speak to the media.

Mr. Park and his wife are part of a larger wave of Korean Christians who have fanned out across the continent and around the world. At the end of 2013, there were nearly 26,000 South Korean missionaries working in 169 countries around the world, according to the Korea World Missions Association, an interdenominational Protestant group based in Seoul.

Nearly 700 of those missionaries are based in Indonesia, according to the organization, making the country one of the biggest missions fields for South Korea’s Protestants, behind the country’s neighbors, China and Japan.

Korean Christians have in recent years been drawn to Indonesia, a country of about 250 million people that is 87% Muslim. While Indonesia recognizes Protestantism and Roman Catholicism and allows Christians to worship freely, it frowns on open evangelism, said Lee Jang-ho, a Presbyterian pastor in Seoul who served as a missionary in Malang between 1988 and 1996.

Malang was a particularly popular destination for Indonesia-bound missionaries from Korea, Mr. Lee said, pointing to a good system of international schools for the missionaries’ children and universities.

“When I heard the news [about the AirAsia flight], I was very sad,” said Mr. Lee, 54, who plans to return to Malang after he retires as pastor.

Yeosu First Presbyterian Church is a prime example of Korea’s missionary impulse. The church was founded in 1908 and occupies a prime hillside location in the center of Yeosu, just steps from a statue of one of the country’s most-important historical figures, Admiral Yi Sun-sin, who launched his naval expeditions against the Japanese in the 1500s from the port town.

The church supports missionaries to 18 countries, including Russia, Swaziland and most Southeast Asian nations.

Mr. Park was born into a Christian family and grew up in Yeosu. He moved to Cambodia at around the age of 30, teaching Korean and computer skills for two years at a university in Phnom Penh through the Korea International Cooperation Agency, a South Korean government program similar to the Peace Corps in the U.S.

After two years in Cambodia, Mr. Park returned to South Korea with a determination to go back to the Southeast Asian nation as a missionary, said Mr. Kim, the pastor at Yeosu First Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Park went to Cambodia as a non-ordained missionary—a relative rarity, since most of the missionaries sent by his church had been ordained. Mr. Park stayed for about five years before returning home for a sabbatical.

During his nearly two-year furlough, Mr. Park married Ms. Lee and the couple became parents.

Mr. Park’s fellow churchgoers on Monday described him as a very passionate and sincere believer. He was deeply involved in Sunday school during his middle- and high-school years, and he graduated with a degree in Chinese language studies from a nearby university, they said.

One longtime elder at the church, H.S. Kim, said he first met Mr. Park after his return from Cambodia. During a dedication ceremony before their departure, Mr. Kim recalled, Mr. Park stood with his wife and their baby before a congregation of about 350 worshipers.

Speaking before the assembled parishioners, Yeosu First Presbyterian Church’s senior pastor, Kim Sung-chun, prayed for the couple and announced that Mr. Park would change his focus from Cambodia to Indonesia.

They departed for Malang not long afterward.

Source:  This article first appeared in the Wall Street Journal on December 29, 2014 and was written by Jonathan Cheng and Min-Jeong Lee

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Man-Centered Missions

Near the end of his extraordinary life, William Carey was becoming a household name in England. Biographies were being turned out to an eager public. Even mementos of Carey’s life were prized as almost sacred objects. One day a friend of Carey’s was going on and on about the fame of the “Father of Modern Missions.” Carey interrupted him sharply saying, “When I am gone, speak no more of Mr. Carey. Speak of Mr. Carey’s Saviour.” Carey wasn’t the last missionary to become a celebrity, and his rejection of such misplaced attention, his “He must increase; I must decrease” attitude is refreshing. But the whole story underscores a dangerous tendency in ministry.

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