Saturday, April 23, 2011

She Called Him a Coward

(Day 1 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

In the summer of 1917, William Cameron Townsend had completed his junior year at Occidental College in Los Angels, California.  The United States had just entered the First World War.  Townsend, along with many of his classmates, had enlisted with the National Guard.  He thought he was on his way to fight in France.

Before he was to leave for France, however, he had occasion to visit a retired lady missionary.  She caught him up short when she bluntly called him a coward.  She said, “Here you are going off to war and leaving the mission field to us women!”

Townsend was stunned.  She was right.  God was leading him to go to Guatemala as a Bible salesman.  But he saw no way he could back out of military service once he had enlisted.  he went to his recruiting officer.  The officer took a long look at the frail, skinny Cameron Townsend.  he said, “Sure, go ahead, Townsend.  You’ll probably do more good selling Bibles in Guatemala than shooting in France.”

When he arrived in Guatemala, Townsend asked one man, “Do you know the Lord Jesus?”

“Sorry,” he answered, “don’t know him.  I’m new around here myself.”

Cameron Townsend’s biggest burden was the realization that more than two-fifths of Central Americans didn’t even speak the national language, but rather fragmented dialects of the Mayans.  His concern grew particularly for the largest Mayan language family, the Cakchiquels.

One old Cakchiquel village chief asked him, “Why haven’t you come sooner?  We have heard that you have told this wonderful story in other nearby towns, and we have been wondering what sin we have committed against God that kept Him from sending you to us.”

Townsend later wrote in his journal, “The fault is not theirs.  God has sent, but we have refused to go!”

Townsend went on to translate the New Testament into Cakchiquel.  Through that experience, he developed the scientific translation technology Wycliffe linguists have applied in over a thousand language groups around the world.

From “Two Thousand Tongues to Go” by Ethel Wallis.

Again please pray:

1) That through Bible translation, the Kingdom of God would continue to permeate the areas of the world without God’s Word.

2) That God would prepare hearts to receive the seed of his Word.

3) That God would meet our financial need to his glory and the strengthening of our faith.


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