On February 19, 1812, Nancy and Adoniram Judson set sail from Salem as two of the first missionaries to ever go out from North America. Several months prior, Adoniram sat down and deliberately wrote a letter to Nancy’s father requesting her hand in marriage. Here is an excerpt…how foreign (no pun intended) does this sound?
I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the…fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you…? (from To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson, by Courtney Anderson, p. 83)
Wow! I seriously doubt if most military recruits are this serious minded about the realities of peril and death on the battlefield. Can you image how Nancy’s father felt? So, you want to marry my daughter and then promptly take her on a death tour to India? Are you crazy?!
Was Adoniram crazy? Was Nancy? What about Nancy’s parents in consenting to such a pre-nuptial death sentence? No on all accounts! They were consecrated to their Savior and His calling upon their lives to get the gospel to those who had never heard. Most parents would forbid such godly obedience. Most Christians would stay home where it’s safe and comfy. Oh, God, please help me to say with Paul, “I DIE DAILY,” and sing with Judson Van deVenter, “I surrender all!”