Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Amazing Missionary Story

Solomon Ginsbury
Missionary to Brazil

Solomon Ginsburg was born near Suwalki, Poland, on August 6, 1867.  His father was a Jewish rabbi.  After finding his fathers religious practices distasteful,  he ran away from home at 15 years old.  One afternoon he was stopped by a converted Jew who invited him to a church service where he was speaking on Isaiah 53.  Solomon remembered his father slapping him when he asked about who Isaiah 53 was speaking of so Solomon went to this service out of curiosity and his eyes were beginning to be enlightened.  Solomon got a copy of the New Testament and read it.  When he came to the picture of Calvary he realized that he was guilty of crucifying Christ and God saved him.

Solomon told his uncle about his faith in Christ and his uncle’s reaction was sadness and violent rage.  He was driven from his house with curses, broom sticks, and hot water.  On Sunday morning Solomon took several people from Bible class with him to witness to the Jews in east London.  The Jews assaulted him.  He was beaten unmercifully and kicked until he seemed to be dead.  When he regained consciousness he found himself in a garbage box, some of his bones broken, his body covered with bruises and his clothes soaked with blood.  “Oh, but those were glorious times!” says Solomon.

One day while he and another young convert were engaged in evangelistic calling, a man told them there was a group of Jews on the fifth floor of a certain factory that were interested in Christianity.  Not suspecting a trap, they went and were attacked by a large number of men armed with hammers, stones and knives.  His companion escaped but he was severely beaten and dropped head first over the banister and down a spiral staircase.

The purpose became increasingly clear to Solomon to be involved in foreign missions.  He surrendered to the evangelization of Brazil.  Hudson Taylor was one of the participating ministers at his ordination and farewell service.  Solomon went to Portugal to study Portuguese and set a goal to learn 100 words a day.  He has an eagerness to evangelize the people so he wrote a tract in Portuguese called, “Saint Peter was never Pope.”  After selling three thousand he wrote another called, “The religion of rags,” which exposed the Catholic priests for their exploitation of faked relics.  He reached Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 10th, 1890.

Eager to start evangelizing, Solomon went into the square, stood up on a chair and began to sing, “There is a fountain filled with blood…”  He then began to preach and soon had an audience of 5000 people.  Solomon would only preach on Christ and Him crucified.  Solomon supported himself by selling Bibles and other religious literature. 

It was a day of gladness when Solomon’s fiancée, Miss Bishop arrived from England to share his arduous lonely life.  But because of inadequate income, he had to take his bride into bad living conditions in the old Jesuit prison.  There she contracted yellow fever and in five months was dead.

Two years later in 1893 Solomon married Miss Emma Morton and they started their missionary work in Campos, Brazil.  Solomon wanted to build a church at Campos but had no money and the poor congregation had nothing as well.  He decided to use one of his missionary principles: ask the Lord and tell the people about the needs.  He began to tell the citizens of his desire to build a chapel but he did not ask for donations.  A few days later a Jesuit priest published an article denouncing the Protestants in bitter terms and announcing that any person who helped the Protestants build a church would be excommunicated.  That article built the church!  Every day he would receive donations with the request to publish their name because they would count it an honor to be excommunicated.

As a matter of missionary principle, he believed that a courageous, positive attack is the best approach.  Taking his wife and folding organ, he went to San Fidelis and as he played a song to a crowd of 1000, some threw stones and garbage at him and when he began to preach some shouted curses at him and others threatened him with knives and clubs.  He was thrown in a filthy jail and the police chief said he would let him go the next day if he never preached again.  He responded, “If you release me, I will certainly continue to preach.”

Because of many invitations he set out on a several thousand mile journey into the Amazon where he found a porter named Nelson who was laboring heroically in the Amazon Valley.  Nelson and his family suffered in poverty and disease for years while preaching in the jungle.  Nelson was bold in preaching which Solomon loved.  Solomon said, “The quickest way to evangelize South America is to put Brother Nelson on top of the Andes and let him preach.”  Solomon was the first person to baptize converts in the Amazon River and to organize the first evangelical church there.

Returning from the Amazon, a local priest hired a bandit to kill Solomon at his next open air meeting.  Solomon found out and went anyway.  He preached boldly for an hour, attacking the Church of Rome and exposing their immorality.  The assassin never showed his face.  Solomon found out two months later that God saved the bandit.

Later, another notorious killer, Antonio Silvino, was hired to kill Solomon.  The bandit met him one night and asked Solomon if he knew who he was.  Solomon said that he did and that he was hired to kill him.  The bandit said that was true.  The bandit couldn’t do it.  He said that the monk who hired him said Solomon was wicked and dangerous but I went to your preaching meeting to find out more about you and saw you were a good man.  They talked and prayed the rest of the night.  The bandit, who killed 66 men, was converted and transformed.  A reporter for a paper interviewed the bandit and disgustedly reported:  “All Antonio Silvino will talk about is the Bible and the Baptist.”

Solomon did so much more in Brazil.  Finally on April 1, 1927, the firebrand of Brazil burned out.  Did it really burn out?  Rather, its radiance was transferred to another sphere, where it will continue to shine with undiminished luster in the constellation of the missionary immortals.

1 comment:

Tim Killillay said...

I love these stories of sold out men!