June Sutton Died Sept 8 2009

June Margaret Sutton, Veteran Missionary to Hong Kong and Pioneer of Wholeness Through Christ International, died in Melbourne on Tuesday September 8, 2009, at 11pm. She was in intensive care following chemotherapy treatment for bone-marrow cancer.

June Sutton

June is remembered as a tireless and dedicated woman of God with a forthright manner and unbounded commitment to build God’s Kingdom. In her young adult years June lived in Hong Kong and ministered among the Swatow speaking communities.

The Funeral Services for June Sutton were as follows:

10.30am – burial at Lilydale Memorial Park, on Tuesday 15th September.

A Thanksgiving Service followed at 1pm at New Hope Baptist Church, Blackburn North.

Brief Biographical Notes

Born November 14,1936, first child to Len and Iris Sutton. Siblings: Barrie, Julie and Colin.

14.11.1936 ~ 08.09.2009

June received theological training at Melbourne Bible Institute which later became Bible College of Victoria. In 1965 she began missionary service as an Australian Baptist Missionary with American Baptists in Hong Kong, where she trained hundreds of Chinese Christians in children and youth ministries, evangelism and discipleship.

After leaving Hong Kong in 1984 June founded Wholeness Through Christ Ministries Australia, through which hundreds have been equipped to minister Jesus’ healing to emotionally hurt and sick people.

At the same time she pioneered a ministry in China, visiting house churches and taking Hong Kong Christians with her to train house church leaders.  Hong Kong Christians still continue this ministry, visiting China twice a year.

June was always an excellent student, being dux of her subjects in her final year at school. She pursued further studies over the years and was awarded an MA in the USA.

In 1995 June was led by God to visit Eastern Europe and here He showed her the need to equip Christians, now freed from behind the Iron Curtain.  She established World to Christ International (WTCI), with a qualified Christian Board, to develop a ministry of training Christians in former communist countries in discipleship, evangelism, children ministry, Jesus Healing of the Whole Person and leadership development for the Church.   In 2005 the Lord directed a change in focus nations towards Asia, and WTCI sent teams to Nagaland (NE India), India, Cambodia and Hong Kong, with many opportunities opening up in Asian countries.  June served as International Field Director for WTCI and oversaw the ministry in each nation.

June created Jesus Healing of the Whole Person as a ministry to lead people into release from spiritual oppression and inner pain. She was privileged to train workers in the former Communist country of Slovakia and ultimately hand that work over to the locals.

For much of the past decade June attended Full Gospel Assembly Melbourne (directed there through prophetic encouragement), where she was actively engaged with the Chinese congregation led by Ps Shirley Ma.

June Sutton (1)

June also ran monthly training sessions for Jesus Healing of the Whole Person, and maintained overseas ministry trips. As recently as January 2009 June spent time in Hong Kong, as God was opening that mission field to her once more. She also met with and encouraged Christians in China as well.

In 2005, June was led by the Lord to write her autobiography ‘To God be the Glory: Forty Years in Missions Ministry’. Her book was launched in Hong Kong to the great delight of those she had blessed there.

June never married and was single-hearted in her desire to serve the Lord. She encouraged, trained, ministered to people, exhorted and prayed, drawing others into her various strategies for building God’s Kingdom.

In May 2009, June was diagnosed with blood and bone marrow cancer.  During the short period of illness, June was never in despair; she was full of hope and believing for a miracle.  Her prayers were filled with thanksgiving for the love and peace of the Lord.  Those around her were lifted up by her great faith and devotion to our Lord.

She was visited by several of the Slovakian pastors whom she had taught and encouraged over the past decade, since they were visiting Melbourne. June took a short holiday to Queensland before undergoing chemo therapy for her cancer. It seems that the first dose of chemo so impacted her physically that her kidneys, lungs and heart were compromised and she was quickly in intensive care. She never recovered.

June died peacefully surrounded by loving family members and close friends on September 8, 2009.  June was 72 years old.

June is sadly missed by people who she blessed around the world. Ps Shirley Ma expressed on Tuesday morning, the day of June’s death, that the Chinese congregation were grieving, wishing to have opportunity to show their love to June who had been a wonderful spiritual mother to the work. Sadly that chance did not come.

June at grave of Robert Morrison (1)

I knew June from many years ago. I can’t even remember how we met. About eight years ago, very shortly after I began attending Full Gospel Assembly Melbourne, June turned up. She was sitting right in front of me and was delighted to see me there. She told me how the Lord had impressed her that she was to attend a Chinese congregation not very far north of her home. She did not know such a church existed and was surprised and delighted to find out about FGAM. She attended there faithfully, joining the Mission Committee, introducing the church to her Slovakian contacts (which led to several ministry trips there by leaders from FGAM, including my ministry there a year ago – Sept 2008), blessing many of the members through the Jesus Healer of the Whole Person training program, and finding great blessing through her connection with the Chinese congregation of the church.

June was a very forthright and determined lady. She took everything seriously and displayed great persistence and wisdom. She got things done and gave of herself as far as she was able.

Karen and Ed Seymour assisted her wonderfully at WTCI and took on much more responsibility in the inner healing training program this year. June’s brother Barrie was Chairman of the Board for WTCI for a time, before retiring.

The World To Christ International (WTCI) ministry will continue to build upon the work that June has established in obedience to God’s leading, in Australia, Slovakia and Hong Kong.  WTCI is the provider of Jesus’ Healing of the Whole Person (JHWP) training course. Many of those personally trained by Sis June are well equipped to bless others and so they will continue to minister faithfully, as June has prepared them to do.
WTCI Contact: Karen Seymour, JHWP Training Director  www.wtciaus@gmail.com

We praise God for June’s ministry and example. Our prayer is that this “seed” that has fallen into the ground will cause a whole new generation of selfless servants of the Lord to be raised up in the spirit and commitment of June Sutton. We also pray that the monthly prayer initiative which June set in place for outreach into China will bring forth new churches and increased fruitfulness in that land.

A further note – from Sophia Hunter….

I am privileged to have shared many precious moments with Sister June.

June’s passion was Missions to the Nations, and to the last days, her thoughts and plans were for the lost and hurting – in need of Jesus and healing.

Sister June, your total dependence on God and obedience to His plans, is an inspiration and role model for me and co-workers in the Kingdom of God. You are greatly missed.

– Sophia

june sutton and sophia hunter

Elijah Coleman Bridgman Goes to China

Elijah Coleman Bridgman was born in Belchertown, Massachusetts, USA April 22, 1801.  He was to become the first missionary sent to China by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). It was this Board that had also sent Adoniram Judson to India – America’s first foreign missionary.

Mainly Congregationalist in its denominational make-up, the ABCFM later embraced other denominations – until about 60 years later when “denominations came to feel they could operate more effectively with separate organisations … and left the ABCFM with Congregationalists as its chief supporters” (Encyclopaedia of Modern Christian Missions, page 655).

Elijah Bridgman trained at Andover Theological College and then sailed for China on 14 October, 1829.  Here he met up with London Missionary Society worker, Robert Morrison, China’s pioneer missionary.

Bridgman devoted a year to conquering the Cantonese language – later writing a 730-page manual on it! (Dictionary of the Christian Church, page 155). In 1832 Bridgman started a mission press and began publication of ‘The Chinese Repository‘, which he edited until 1847. This monthly magazine was designed to awaken the Christian world’s interest in the spiritual needs of that vast land. This was the world’s first major journal on China, making Bridgman America’s first China expert.

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In 1836 he commenced translating the Scriptures into Cantonese, but this task was suspended when the tragic “Opium War” broke out (1839-1842).  But by 1845 the Chinese Emperor pronounced an edict permitting missionary work. The same year Elijah Bridgman married Miss Eliza Jane Gillett. Together they continued to serve the Lord, “on one occasion nearly sacrificing their lives to an infuriated mob” (Great Missionaries, page 102).

They worked together at Guangzhou and adopted two little Chinese girls. Eliza later, in 1850, founded and managed for 15 years the first girls’ school in Shanghai.

Failing health led to Dr Bridgman’s death in Shanghai on 2 November, 1861, and his wife temporarily returned to America. Then, at the age of 59, and alone, she returned to the mission at Peking, where she and her late husband had laboured. Here she secured substantial property and started Bridgman Academy, noted for educating a large number of Chinese women leaders.

Just a decade later she, too, passed into the presence of her Lord, on 10 November, 1871.

To put Bridgman’s work in perspective, Hudson Taylor’s China Inland Mission which directed English missionaries to China, was formed in 1865, four years after Bridgman’s death.

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This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com

Find hundreds of succinct Church History posts at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/topics/ministry/church-history

Samuel Pollard and the Miao

Samuel Pollard was born on April 20, 1864.  The place was Cornwall, England, where his father pastored a Bible Christian Church. It was his father who led him to Christ and instilled in him a passion to serve the Lord.

Converted at the age of 11, he came under the influence of Pastor FW Bourne (who wrote the life story of Billy Bray), and it was during this time he felt led into missionary service.

At the age of 22 he sailed for Shanghai and there worked with the China Inland Mission.  At the age of 36 he married Emma Hainge, also working with CIM. “There was much opposition. As they passed along the street men would spit upon the ground, and women would hold their noses…” (Twelve Mighty Missionaries, by E Enock, page 62).

Pollard’s early efforts were largely ineffective, despite his energy and inventiveness. In the early days he would beat a Chinese gong as he marched up and down the streets. Known as ‘the little man with the gong’ he attracted large crowds of curious Chinese but for six long years, he knew of no converts from his efforts.

Pollard’s initiative led to him being regarded as a famous ethnologist and anthropologist. In 1903 he was the first westerner to visit the Yi people of Liangshan.

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However it was on 12 July, 1904, that “the great harvest began” and with an unexpected connection.  Ministry among the Miao people saw startling results. The Miao (also spelled Meow) were a people group from the Yunnan mountains in Western China who worshipped gods of wood and stone. Unexpectedly a small hunting party of Miao tribesmen arrived at Pollard’s door asking to be taught to read and learn the gospel.

From that day on a continuous stream of people came to his door that they might hear the Good News. Persecution broke upon the new-born Church. On one occasion “Pollard was beaten nearly to death”, and spent two months in hospital as a result. On recovering, he turned his attention to translating the Scriptures into the Miao language. This necessitated inventing a script – for they had no written language – and teaching them to read. The writing system which he created is known as the Pollard script and Pollard Miao.

Over the next eleven years Pollard won many Miao to Christ and planted churches in their villages. Pollard would venture on horseback to the remote mountain villages, preaching the gospel. Their hunger to learn brought more than 100 at a time to Pollard’s little mission station in Chaotung. They would start their lessons at 5am and still be reading at 1am the next morning. These natives crammed themselves with understanding of Christianity.

The New Testament in Miao was eventually published by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Not long after Pollard completed translating the book of Revelation he contracted typhoid fever and died.

Upon his death at the age of 51 (September 17, 1915), 1,200 mourners gathered at the burial service. In the June, 1996, issue of the magazine, Pray for China, Tao Yumi, who 60 years earlier had been a pupil in the school Pollard had established, was quoted as saying:  “We were slaves before he came.  He taught us everything.”  And the article adds “in July, 1995, the Communist authorities restored his (Pollard’s) grave, and declared the site a national monument”!

Samuel Pollard had brought a tribal group of tens of thousands out of darkness and animism into the light of the gospel. He brought them out of ignorance to a place of education and dignity. He spread democratic thought, founded schools and developed education in China’s undeveloped regions. He promoted civilized customs, getting rid of harm from opium, and encouraging charity.

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This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com

Find hundreds of succinct Church History posts at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/topics/ministry/church-history

John Sung Brings Revival to China

John Sung was converted on February 10, 1927. The place was Union Theological Seminary, New York – a hot-bed of liberal theology. But this young Chinese student (then 26 years of age), attended an evangelistic campaign at nearby Calvary Baptist Church. “He expected to hear an eloquent and learned preacher, but instead the speaker was a 15 year-old girl!”

And when the Gospel was faithfully proclaimed and Christ exalted, Sung confessed: “My soul’s thirst was somewhat slaked.”

Whilst his fellow students scoffed at evangelical Christianity, John Sung began to study the Scriptures as never before. Now he discovered that Christ did rise from the dead – contrary to the affirmations of his lecturers, and that salvation was through faith in Him.

“He absented himself from lectures and spent time in prayer. Day after day went by this way. Then, on the evening of 10 February, light broke on his darkened soul. He forgot it was midnight and awakened his fellow students with his shouts of ‘Hallelujah!’”

From the night of his conversion Sung took on the name John, in honour of John the Baptist.

The authorities at Union Theological Seminary were quite sure he had suffered a mental breakdown. They had him committed to the psychopathic ward of Bloomingdale Hospital. It became his new theological college. Here he spent six months unlearning the heresies of Fosdick and Coffin, his previous lecturers, and six months of drinking deep in the Word of God, reading it from cover to cover forty times.

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John boarded a ship bound for Shanghai on October 4, 1927. Before reaching China he threw all of his academic honours and medals overboard (except his doctoral diploma which he kept to show to his father). He knew that China needed the gospel, not an academic.

Back in China he married, attended the Bethel Bible School of Shanghai, became an evangelist and was instrumental in leading a great evangelistic movement. In the next 15 years (before his death at the age of 43) “he shook the church in China and South-East Asia. His converts were numbered in tens of thousands.”

John R.W. Stott – who wrote the Foreword to one of John Sung’s biographies – says that he was “the greatest evangelist China has even known”.

John Sung was born on September 27, 1901 in Hinghwa, Fukien province, southeast China, to a Methodist pastor, as one of eleven children. Sung had both a fiery temper and a soft heart. He was about eight years old when about 3,000 people where gloriously saved in a revival at his home church. He was converted at age 9 and from the age of 13 began assisting his father, even filling in as a preacher and earning the nickname ‘Little Pastor’.

Sung was a brilliant scholar and went to university where he came under the influence of modernist unbelief. In America he earned a PhD in Chemistry by 1926 but was discomforted by Jesus’ words, “What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). A Methodist pastor suggested he study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. But the deadening effect of the liberal theology caused Sung to lose heart in Christianity and turn to Taoism, Buddhism and the Koran.

After 40 days of desperation, to the point of wishing to die, he pressed on with the confession of his sins and then had a midnight vision of Jesus saying, “’My son, your sins are forgiven! Your name is now changed to John”. John had a new passion for souls which burned brightly until his death.

Missionary endeavour in China had yielded minimal fruit from the time of Robert Morrison to the arrival of John Sung. It was he who wrestled the Chinese people from the mouth of the dragon.

It has been estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 Chinese were born again in 15 years of Sung’s relentless service. He traversed the length and breadth of China and Southeast Asia.

Sung’s message was to point out sin and show that only the blood of Jesus can save. Rather than evangelism, Sung was a revivalist, bringing dormant Christians to vital faith.

Sung’s preaching prowess was attested to by William E Schubert, veteran missionary to China, who said, “Dr. John Sung was probably the greatest preacher of the 20th century. I have heard almost all of the great preachers from 1910 until now, including RA Torrey, Billy Sunday, Henry Jowett, and Billy Graham. Yet John Sung surpassed them all in pulpit power, attested by amazing and enduring results”.

From the day of Sung’s conversion, with its supernatural vision of Christ, he operated under an anointing that made his efforts highly effective. He is called a true apostolic evangelist, countless signs and wonders following his ministry and he displayed a genuine prophetic anointing. On several occasions he revealed the sins of some backslidden pastor with amazing and fearful accuracy.

He has been variously dubbed the “John Wesley of China”, the “Ice-Breaker” and the “Apostle of Revival”.

Sung was also an intercessor, rising at 5am each day to pray for 2 or 3 hours. He also prayed for he sick, reserving one meeting at each crusade for healing prayer. Genuine healings occurred in the hundreds, including restored sight, lame walking and hearing restored. He personally laid hands and prayed for over 500 people at some meetings.

Sung suffered from intestinal tuberculosis which often crippled him with pain. That disease contributed to his early death, on August 18, 1944, aged 43.

Find hundreds of succinct Church History posts at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/topics/ministry/church-history

This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com

Isobel Selina Miller Kuhn Tells Her Story about Missions in Asia

Isobel Selina Miller Kuhn was born on December 17, 1901, in Toronto, Canada, to a Presbyterian

home, where her father was a lay-preacher and her grandfather a Presbyterian minister.

Yet when her English professor at University of British Columbia sneered at her faith she quickly became agnostic, to avoid the shame of Christ. However, she was distressed to find that the man she planned to marry was not only cheating on her but intended to do so once they were wed. This led her to thoughts of suicide, but also to reaching out to God. She found peace through prayer and thus began a slow journey into a dynamic faith.

In the summer of 1924 she met a missionary conference speaker who became her mentor and friend, James O Fraser. Thus Isobel ended up at Moody Bible Institute, where she met her future husband, John Kuhn, and from there she went to China.

For 27 years she worked in Asia with the China Inland Mission. Her experiences are told in a series of eight best-selling autobiographical volumes.

By Searching tells of her early life in Canada, the clash with the English professor during her university days, her studies at Moody Bible Institute, and subsequent application to C.I.M. And their rejection of her application: “You are proud, disobedient and likely to be a trouble-maker” (page 98).

But the book concludes with her sailing for China, on 11 October, 1928.

China Inland Mission is a mission organisation set up by English missionary Hudson Taylor on 25 June 1865 in Brighton, while he was on leave from his own exploits in China. Isobel worked among the Lisu people of Yunnan Province, China.

Her second volume, Vistas, takes up the story of her missionary adventures, her marriage on 4 November, 1929, to John Kuhn (an “irresistible force collides with an immovable object” is how she described it!) More than once she “put on her hat and coat” and walked out on him! But she always came back.

“Without God’s help,” wrote her biographer, “most marriages would not have endured the shattering experiences she and John shared” (One Vision Only, by C. Canfield. Vistas, by I. Kuhn is included in this volume).

Isobel made a significant impact in China, especially through her innovative “Rainy Season Bible School”, which taught the locals who were inactive during the wet season. From these classes evangelists were raised up who took the gospel across China. Of the 18,000 Lisu who lived in Fugong in 1950 – 3,400 professed faith in Christ. As of 2007, there are estimated to be 80-90 percent of the 70,000 making the same profession.

Forced to leave China around 1950 due to “violent guerrilla warfare”, the Kuhns continued their missionary work in Thailand. The story is told in Ascent to the Tribes.

But in 1955 Isobel was flown home to the United States, where she died of cancer in March, 1957.

This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com