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Adoniram Judson: Bound for Burma

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As America's first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson spent thirty-eight years working in Burma, then one of the most hostile countries on earth. Judson was ignored, mocked, beaten, and tortured, yet he never lost sight of his goal to translate the Bible into the Burmese language. Today, over 150 years after his death, his remains the only translation of the Bible in Burm As America's first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson spent thirty-eight years working in Burma, then one of the most hostile countries on earth. Judson was ignored, mocked, beaten, and tortured, yet he never lost sight of his goal to translate the Bible into the Burmese language. Today, over 150 years after his death, his remains the only translation of the Bible in Burmese.


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As America's first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson spent thirty-eight years working in Burma, then one of the most hostile countries on earth. Judson was ignored, mocked, beaten, and tortured, yet he never lost sight of his goal to translate the Bible into the Burmese language. Today, over 150 years after his death, his remains the only translation of the Bible in Burm As America's first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson spent thirty-eight years working in Burma, then one of the most hostile countries on earth. Judson was ignored, mocked, beaten, and tortured, yet he never lost sight of his goal to translate the Bible into the Burmese language. Today, over 150 years after his death, his remains the only translation of the Bible in Burmese.

30 review for Adoniram Judson: Bound for Burma

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mikayla

    I really enjoyed reading about Adoniram Judson. While his life had a lot of super hard things in it, the authors focused on the good that came out of it, and made the book hopeful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book had the same problems as the book I read by the Benges about David Livingstone: focusing on the role of Adoniram's character and efforts in helping him do what he did instead of on the role of God's work and grace in Adoniram's life that made him who he was and helped him to do what he did. At one point Adoniram meets the missionary William Carey and the authors write of him "Despite his lowly start, through sheer determination Carey had opened the eyes of English Christians to the nee This book had the same problems as the book I read by the Benges about David Livingstone: focusing on the role of Adoniram's character and efforts in helping him do what he did instead of on the role of God's work and grace in Adoniram's life that made him who he was and helped him to do what he did. At one point Adoniram meets the missionary William Carey and the authors write of him "Despite his lowly start, through sheer determination Carey had opened the eyes of English Christians to the need to send out missionaries. He had founded the Baptist missionary Society and gone out as the organization's first missionary. His extraordinary ability translating foreign languages had earned him the position of Prof. of Oriental languages...." It was that phrase "through sheer determination Carey had opened the eyes of English Christians." Since when can sheer determination open anyone's eyes? If there is anything that Christians should be able to agree on it is that only God can open eyes. I fear what will happen if our children grow up thinking that missionaries do what they do through sheer determination, if they seek to overcome the difficulties in their lives and win souls through sheer determination. Determination has its place, but when we give it first place, we have in our efforts the seeds of our own undoing. Missionaries, the truly good missionaries, have understood this better than anyone and those that write about them, especially those that write to children, need to understand it too. This book is a biography of a Christian, but I cannot call it a Christian biography because it is not written from a Christian perspective. Yes, it does talk occasionally about God and prayer, but I think it takes more than that to give a book a truly Christian perspective.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This is an amazing man who deserves more attention than he receives. How he sacrificed all he had for the souls of the Burmese people is inspiring. I cried reading this book. He was a man who only did what he thought God wanted him to do, even if that included changing his "religious label", uprooting him and his wife from their home, staying faithful through kidnappings and near-death experiences, and the list goes on. Truly a hero of the faith. The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is This is an amazing man who deserves more attention than he receives. How he sacrificed all he had for the souls of the Burmese people is inspiring. I cried reading this book. He was a man who only did what he thought God wanted him to do, even if that included changing his "religious label", uprooting him and his wife from their home, staying faithful through kidnappings and near-death experiences, and the list goes on. Truly a hero of the faith. The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because of the writing style. It hurried through the last maybe 10 years or more of his life, and kinda skipped around the info. A little hard to follow that part. All in all, worth reading.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Wow, I cannot believe what this man went through to bring the gospel to a nation that hated God. The Lord did amazing things through his life. His diligence in translating the Bible in to Burmese finally paid off and is still the translation used today. If you are facing a life of persecution or teaching your children about possible persecution we and they may face in the near future, this biography is a must read. Again, easy to read, both my 10 and 3 year old loved it!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This has been our least favorite of the missionary books we have read. The life of Adoniram Judson was truly amazing, and wrought with sadness. Chapter after chapter of his loved ones dying was just too much for my kids. We don't hide the fact that bad things happen from our children, but this was really a bit much. They were excited about all Adoniram was able to do, but upset each time someone else died.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dale

    I love the Judsons and their ministry. However, I don't think this presentation of their story was as good as it could have been. It is still a good book and worth a read but I don't think the format and writing was as invigorating as I had hoped.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Duane Frasier

    This is meant for young adults. That didn't keep me from thoroughly enjoying the narrative. Well-written. Good pace. The author doesn't avoid writing about the unglamorous, tragic and even questionable regarding the missionary heroes in the story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    J F

    I did not intend to read this book, but I sat down and burned through 50 pages and ended up signing it out. It's a quick/ easy read, but very interesting. I'd say it was designed to be read in upper elementary/ middle school, so my four star is contextual to its purposed audience. The Judson family's death count I already knew, but I was unfamiliar with what Ann and Sarah's Judson's role in the mission work, which this book detailed. A stand out was how Adoniram's partial Bible translation survive I did not intend to read this book, but I sat down and burned through 50 pages and ended up signing it out. It's a quick/ easy read, but very interesting. I'd say it was designed to be read in upper elementary/ middle school, so my four star is contextual to its purposed audience. The Judson family's death count I already knew, but I was unfamiliar with what Ann and Sarah's Judson's role in the mission work, which this book detailed. A stand out was how Adoniram's partial Bible translation survived through his imprisonment and torture. Though it isn't the point of the story, Adoniram's story is a good counter that missionaries were just an arm of empire. (The answer to that charge should be 'It's complicated.') Almost every step of the way, the British empire/ East India Company was a hindrance to the mission work, forcing them sneak through to even evangelize, or causing their arrest when the British invaded Burma. What I'm realizing is it isn't a modern critique of missions, but a very old one. The reason Judson is arrested and imprisoned for a year is because once the British invade, the Burmese assume all foreigners were spies for the empire (particularly if they learned the Burmese language.) And even when the British need a translator for their negotiations, Adoniram only reluctantly agree if freedom of religion is included in the treaty... and after months away from the missions (and his wife dies while he is away) the one thing he wanted wasn't included in the treaty, wasting his time. It's quite clear then that the interests of the Empire and the Mission were exceedingly different. Great read. I recommend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emily Gibson

    We loved reading about Adoniram Judson, and if you use Sonlight this isn't one to miss. However, this book needs some serious editing! There were many, many places in the book where the wrong word was used, or a word was missing. This made reading aloud difficult at times and took away from the story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    We greatly enjoy all of these biographies! Dr. Judson was bombarded with sadness, yet he still accomplished great things. These have been a highlight of our homeschool curriculum! Who would've thought that biographies would become the most beloved books for young children! We love the Christian Heroes series!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary Prather

    We love this books in our home! I have used them as read aloud for many years. Highly recommend!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chandra

    Two things struck my boys and me as we reflected on Adoniram Judson's life. First, his missionary experience is one of a long, slow-and-steady faithfulness to his calling. His story isn't memorable for amazing, miraculous works, but for his commitment to share the Gospel with the Burmese people - via the 7+year process of translating the full Bible into their language (and 30+ years overseas). Secondly, he was very intellectually gifted, and we loved seeing how the Lord used his strong intellect Two things struck my boys and me as we reflected on Adoniram Judson's life. First, his missionary experience is one of a long, slow-and-steady faithfulness to his calling. His story isn't memorable for amazing, miraculous works, but for his commitment to share the Gospel with the Burmese people - via the 7+year process of translating the full Bible into their language (and 30+ years overseas). Secondly, he was very intellectually gifted, and we loved seeing how the Lord used his strong intellectual gifts to do the hard work that was needed in creating the first Burmese Bible translation. Also, the amount of death and suffering that he experienced in the lives of those he loved was sobering to us. (Two-time widower, lost babies, lost children, lost family, lost friends, etc.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kristie

    We listened to this book as a family. We were challenged and encouraged in our faith through the incredible story of this man of God.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sonnigirl

    So inspired by this missionary and Bible translator. He went through so much for the sake of the Gospel. Helps me better understand missionary life and what my sister and her family go through. Great book. Will definitely read more from this series!

  15. 4 out of 5

    CC

    The Benge's aren't overly talented writers. Nonetheless, my family has enjoyed reading several of their missionary books. Adoniram Judson has been my favorite one so far. I'm needing to air a pet peeve of mine about missionaries in the 19th Century. Many of them seem to go off in the hinterland and either leave their children back in England (or wherever)or send them back to England. Adoniram did this. In my mind, it is wrong to serve others to the detriment of one's family. This man suffered. S The Benge's aren't overly talented writers. Nonetheless, my family has enjoyed reading several of their missionary books. Adoniram Judson has been my favorite one so far. I'm needing to air a pet peeve of mine about missionaries in the 19th Century. Many of them seem to go off in the hinterland and either leave their children back in England (or wherever)or send them back to England. Adoniram did this. In my mind, it is wrong to serve others to the detriment of one's family. This man suffered. Seriously suffered (three wives died and lots, maybe six, children; he endured starvation, imprisonment and torture). But I can't reconcile such sarifice for the cause of Christ when he's got children and wives dying here and there. I don't know any missionaries today who operate in this manner. Phew...I think I feel a little better. I won't put down my opinion of David Livingstone and what his wife and children went through as he went gallavanting through Africa.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jody

    This was a pretty good read although you can tell that it was written for a younger audience. a lady at church let me borrow this, it didn't take any time to read and it was informative. It tells the story of how a lost man was found, how he made it his life's mission to reach the people in Burma with the Gospel and the high cost of his mission. There is a lot of loss of life in this book but Judson keeps plugging along to complete his translation of the Bible into the Burmese language. Towards This was a pretty good read although you can tell that it was written for a younger audience. a lady at church let me borrow this, it didn't take any time to read and it was informative. It tells the story of how a lost man was found, how he made it his life's mission to reach the people in Burma with the Gospel and the high cost of his mission. There is a lot of loss of life in this book but Judson keeps plugging along to complete his translation of the Bible into the Burmese language. Towards the end it gets difficult to keep up because of all of the children that Judson had in his three marriages (life as a missionary seems to be awful hard on the wives as they keep dying) and to add to the confusion they begin to name the children names of those friends and family that have already died. You can see how that could get a little confusing but it is still a good, quick and easy read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Esther Filbrun

    Adoniram Judson : Bound for Burma is a fascinating biography of an interesting man. Born the son of a pastor, Adoniram spent his early years in the church. As a young man, he became a deist. Eventually realizing how empty life was with those beliefs, he turned back to Christianity. Soon after, he felt called to the mission field, and along with his wife, he moved to Burma to serve. Through hard toil and perseverance, Adoniram made a difference in the lives of the many Burmese he witnessed to. I Adoniram Judson : Bound for Burma is a fascinating biography of an interesting man. Born the son of a pastor, Adoniram spent his early years in the church. As a young man, he became a deist. Eventually realizing how empty life was with those beliefs, he turned back to Christianity. Soon after, he felt called to the mission field, and along with his wife, he moved to Burma to serve. Through hard toil and perseverance, Adoniram made a difference in the lives of the many Burmese he witnessed to. I loved how simple, understandable, and yet how gripping this story was. Many biographies feel “flat”, but Janet and Geoff Benge brought Adoniram’s story to life in a truly engaging way. I’m glad my brothers have the chance to learn church history from books like this. Looking for healthy books for your family? Check out my website for more reviews!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    The writing is adequate, but not especially skilled. This book is mainly a recounting of the historical events that occurred in Judson's life: travel, deaths, imprisonment, etc. There is very little related of what is going on in his spiritual life, lessons learned, sharing of the gospel with the natives, etc. In many ways, this could have been a secular biography sharing just the facts that Judson believed certain things. Going into it with a framework of knowing that Judson was a Christian and The writing is adequate, but not especially skilled. This book is mainly a recounting of the historical events that occurred in Judson's life: travel, deaths, imprisonment, etc. There is very little related of what is going on in his spiritual life, lessons learned, sharing of the gospel with the natives, etc. In many ways, this could have been a secular biography sharing just the facts that Judson believed certain things. Going into it with a framework of knowing that Judson was a Christian and understanding what the motivations for missions would be, this is a decent biography to read because it's amazing the magnitude of difficulty he faced. But, it's an acceptable biography, not an outstanding one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Although this book is written so simply, the story it tells is almost beyond belief. What this man endured, accomplished, and witnessed is without comparison (to anything I have read before). I lost count of how many children he buried, months he spent in jail, hours he laboured in studying, translating and preaching the bible but thankfully do remember this one figure: his translation is still the one and only translation of the Bible into the Burmese language. I'd love to visit this country mys Although this book is written so simply, the story it tells is almost beyond belief. What this man endured, accomplished, and witnessed is without comparison (to anything I have read before). I lost count of how many children he buried, months he spent in jail, hours he laboured in studying, translating and preaching the bible but thankfully do remember this one figure: his translation is still the one and only translation of the Bible into the Burmese language. I'd love to visit this country myself, read other biographies of his life, and live a life a fraction as eternally significant as his.

  20. 4 out of 5

    James Bunyan

    This is a brilliant series. The authors pick brilliantly humble, faithful Christians who labour hard to see people won for him despite the cost. Great to read with a younger Christian or someone who doesn't read brilliantly. Adoniram Judson, the first foreign American missionary, gave so much for the people of Burma. His life, 2 wives, 6/7 kids (I forget how many exactly), 20 or so colleagues, a career and a lengthy imprisonment. But he left behind him a fledgling church, a land that was no longe This is a brilliant series. The authors pick brilliantly humble, faithful Christians who labour hard to see people won for him despite the cost. Great to read with a younger Christian or someone who doesn't read brilliantly. Adoniram Judson, the first foreign American missionary, gave so much for the people of Burma. His life, 2 wives, 6/7 kids (I forget how many exactly), 20 or so colleagues, a career and a lengthy imprisonment. But he left behind him a fledgling church, a land that was no longer unreached, budding missionary work and a translation of the Bible in Burmese from Hebrew that is so good it is still being used today. What a man. I would love to be half the warrior he was.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    4.5 stars I didn't know much about about this man before I read this book, and now I have so much respect for Adoniram Judson. He went through SO MUCH trouble, pain, and heartache during his life as a missionary. People kept dying! So much dying. It made me think of the the title of an episode of "Lost": This Place is Death. When I finished this book, I literally cried from the heartache this man went through. I enjoyed the love story between him and his first wife, Ann. He translated the entire 4.5 stars I didn't know much about about this man before I read this book, and now I have so much respect for Adoniram Judson. He went through SO MUCH trouble, pain, and heartache during his life as a missionary. People kept dying! So much dying. It made me think of the the title of an episode of "Lost": This Place is Death. When I finished this book, I literally cried from the heartache this man went through. I enjoyed the love story between him and his first wife, Ann. He translated the entire Bible into Burmese! He translated the OT from the Hebrew (as opposed to English) to Burmese to provide a more accurate translation even though it took more time and effort.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    When Eli read this book in second grade, and we found out we were moving to Indonesia, he told me that Indonesia was okay for now, but he had a real heart for Burma. Adoniram Judson's life is hard to understand or reconcile in our human way of thinking-but he used his life to honor and glorify the Lord. I am looking at using this book in my classroom next year is we study Burma/Myanmar during International Month in the elementary.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lance Towers

    It took Adoniram Judson (or A.J. as I say when talking with my kids) nine years to see eighteen Burmese men and women converted to Christ. But due to his diligence he saw many more brought into the kingdom thereafter. A.J.'s story is one of great tragedy and loss (namely the death of several members of his family while on the mission field). Through it all, Judson exemplified magnificent surrender. Along with thousands of others, I am grateful for his life of sacrifice for the people of Burma.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this to my kids, since we are not of the same faith. I probably would have hosed to wait until they were over 12, but it was a good book. He was truly an amazing man, very little doctrine was discussed, but it gave you an awe for his discipleship as a Christian. It got a little depressing...but I guess that was reality then.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I've learned so much about Bible translation work in Burma and India. Opened my eyes to all the missionary activities in India back in 1800's. I am so proud to be Adoniram's sister. I'm glad i wasn't his wife or daughter though!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Cline

    I really was awed at the sacrifices of this man and many of the other missionaries who died bring the gospel to a place of almost total darkness. I thought it was well written in that it told everything that need to be told, in a very easy to read manned.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book was not as easy or fast of a read as I expected as a result of reading other YWAM books, but maybe it is because of his name, the country he was in, or the time. Regardless, it was good to read his story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mathias Seiwert

    "Powerful account of the first Christian missionary sent out from the United States. He and his family endured so much to share the love of Jesus with others. What a powerful example and witness for us today."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    An especially interesting read since I know Burmese immigrants whose tribe is Christian. They would not know of Jesus if it wasn't for Adoniram Judson's work and the work of those who worked with him.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cecile

    An easy read. I finished it in two days. Full of heartache and adventure. I will follow it up will more books on Burma. My dad is currently tutoring a student from Burma, now called Myanmar.

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