1788 – 1850
Adoniram Judson was the son of a Congregational minister. He taught himself to read at the age of 3 and by his tenth year he knew Latin and Greek. At the age of 16 he entered Brown University and graduated three years later as the valedictorian of his class. At Andover Theological Seminary he could not get away from the words of a missionary appeal, “Go ye into all the world.”
In 1810 he helped form the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Misions; two years later he and his new wife, Ann, sailed for India. When the Indian government refused them entry into the country, they went to Burma where they worked for six years before winning a convert. During those years they were plagued with ill health, loneliness, and the death of their baby son. Judson was imprisoned for nearly two years during which time Ann faithfully visited him, smuggling to him his books, papers, and notes which he used to translate the whole Bible into the Burmese language.
Soon after his release from prison, Ann and their baby daughter, Maria, died of spotted fever. Judson withdrew into seclusion in the interior where he completed the translation of the Bible into Burmese. In 1845 he returned to visit America, but the burning desire to win the Burmese people sent him back to the Orient where he soon died. As a young man he had cried out, “I will not leave Burma until the cross is planted here forever.” Thirty years after his death, Burma had sixty-three Christian churches, one hundred and sixty-three missionaries, and over seven thousand baptized converts.