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

Wilfred Grenfell at the North Sea

English Physician and Missionary Wilfred Thomason Grenfell experienced his ‘ice-pan’ adventure, on April 21, 1908. The story of this remarkable life commences on February 28, 1865 with Grefell’s birth at Parkgate near Chester, England.

At the age of 20 he attended a tent meeting run by Moody and Sankey, and Moody’s common-sense – when a platform guest was “coagulating a prayer” (Moody, by J. Pollock, page 275: “Let us sing a hymn while our brother finishes his prayer” said Moody!) – led to Grenfell’s conversion.

After graduating in medicine he joined the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen – and for the rest of his life he worked among the North Sea fishermen of Labrador and Newfoundland, seeking to improve conditions for those who lived there.

The story of his meeting his wife-to-be on the deck of the “Mauretania“, as he was returning to his mission field from England, is worth telling.

“Within a few hours (of meeting her) he proposed. ‘But you don’t even know my name!’ she protested. ‘It doesn’t matter,’ he replied. ‘I know what it’s going to be’!” (Arrows of Desire, by Dr FW Boreham).

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It was that same year that the “ice-pan” adventure occurred – on Easter Day! The request had come from 100 kilometres southward for Grenfell to amputate a leg. He hitched his team of huskies to the sled – “Moody, Watch, Sly, Doc, Brin, Jerry, Sue and Jack … as beautiful beasts as ever hauled a komatik over our northern barriers,” he wrote.

But as they were crossing a huge ice-pan, it suddenly broke loose from the mainland. “The piece of frozen snow on which we lay was so small that it was evident we must all be drowned if we were forced to remain on it as it was driven sea-ward into open water.” He continued that darkness was falling and “there was not one chance in a thousand of my being seen …” The temperature was dropping rapidly.

Grenfell knew that if he could survive the night, a rescue party might find him next morning. But could he survive in that cold? “I saw that I must have the skins of some of my dogs if I were to live the night without freezing …” Three dogs were slain, and Grenfell huddled in their fur until next morning, when a rescue took place.

For days, he tells us, he had painful reminders “in my frozen hands and feet.” But he fully recovered and continued his medical missionary work.

“In our hallway stands a bronze tablet,” he writes, “to the memory of three noble dogs – Moody, Watch, Sly – whose lives were given for mine on the ice – 21 April, 1908. One cannot but think of Another – the Lamb of God – Whose “life was given for mine” … that first Easter Day.

Grenfell went on to achieve much for those he cared about. He raised funds through speaking tours and books. When the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen withdrew its support, he founded the International Grenfell Association. During his forty years of ministry in Labrador and Newfoundland he helped establish six hospitals, four hospital ships, seven nursing stations, two orphanages, two large schools, fourteen industrial centres, libraries and a cooperative lumber mill in Labrador.

Grenfell died on October 9, 1940, in Charlotte, Vermont, USA.

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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

Jacob De Shazer Converts Japan

Jacob De Shazer was part of Lt Col James H (Jimmie) Doolittle’s Bomber Squadron which bombed Tokyo, on April 18, 1942.  Sixteen North American B25 bombers rested on the deck of “USS Hornet” until – at 3.15 a.m. – the alarm was given.  Battle stations!  So it was the first bombing of Japan’s capital city took place.  But B25 number 16, named ‘Bat Out of Hell’, ran out of fuel and the crew bailed out over enemy occupied territory in China.

Jacob De Shazer tells how he and his buddies were captured, “imprisoned, beaten and half-starved”.  Three fellow crewmembers were executed, and a fourth died of “slow starvation”.

Duriing his 40 months of brutality and solitary confinement De Shazer asked a guard if he might have a Bible. The request was granted. “I eagerly read its pages.  Chapter after chapter gripped my heart,” he later wrote.

And then, on 8 June, 1944, “God gave me grace to confess my sins to Him … and He saved me for Jesus’ sake.”

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De Shazer and several other crew members were imprisoned until their liberation a few days after Japan’s surrender in August 1945. After the war, home in America, De Shazer entered Seattle Pacific (Bible) College, and later returned to Japan as a missionary!

One of his first meetings was in the largest auditorium in Osaka – 4000 crowded inside and 3000 listened outside – and Jacob De Shazer (who had once bombed Tokyo), and Mitsuo Fuchida (who once bombed Pearl Harbour and who De Shazer led to faith in 1950), testified together of their common love for the One Who had reconciled them to God … and each other.

De Shazer preached and planted Free Methodist churches in Japan for nearly 30 years, before returning to the USA and retiring. However, he and his wife enjoyed a further 30 years together in retirement.

Jacob De Shazer died in his sleep on March 15, 2008 at his home is Salem, Oregon, at the age of 95.

Further information about Jacob De Shazer can be found at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/church-history/jacob-deshazer-bombs-japan

An article about De Shazer’s mother and her remarkable sense to pray at the very time De Shazer was parachuting from his plane can be found at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/family/parenting-family/the-prayers-of-a-mother

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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