Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Missionary in Focus: J. O. Fraser

“Spent the night on the top of a range ten thousand feet high, after two days with no human habitation. Darkness came on and snow began to fall. Our Lisu made a sort of booth for us. Morning, snow thick on the ground, obscuring the track. The Lisu, wet through, shivering with cold. Had to find our way over the pass…. No food till late in the afternoon when (below the snow-line) we could make a fire.
Saw armed robbers, but they did not attack us. Scenery magnificent. I enjoyed it after a fashion” (*).

One man who saw more than mountains. One man dedicated to His God. One man expending His life to bring the gospel to the lost. One man who knew how to pray. J. O. Fraser spent the majority of his life trekking up and down steep mountain passes working among a people often ignored by the outside world. The Lisu people. Their villages dotted the sides of the mountain ranges located in the southwestern corner of China. They themselves were bound by the dark cords of their heathen beliefs and their desperate worship of the demons that wreaked such fear and havoc in their lives. Such a people so steeped in Satan's darkness.

Would the light of Christ ever break forth among them? These people fit Paul's description in II Corinthians 4:4, “... the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Who would be the torchbearer? J. O. Fraser was God’s chosen man. He had experienced what Paul describes in II Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Fully believing that it was his job “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, J. O. Fraser left behind his home in England and traveled to China to work among the Lisu people.

One of his trademarks was the letters that he wrote back to those who were supporting him in prayer. While ministering among the Lisu people, he was made aware of the fact that the only weapon he had to break through their profound darkness was prayer. Knowing this, he asked a core group of believers back in England to pray for his work, even as he was praying for it as he worked in China. His letters were full of detailed descriptions of the people he was working with, so that those “holding the ropes” in England were able to pray intelligently concerning his work. And God answered their prayers. Many, many of the Lisu were victoriously saved and went on to tell their own people of Christ’s atoning blood. Up and down the mountainsides that Fraser himself had climbed many a time, the Lisu people turned to Christ, even whole villages at a time.

The key to Fraser’s successful work was his dependence upon prayer. Only by God’s power will God’s kingdom be furthered, and this power is accessed through prayer. Therefore, may we commit to upholding God’s work in our prayers to Him.

* Taylor, Mrs. Howard. Behind the Ranges. pg. 86 quotation from one of Fraser’s letters.
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