The Ship the missionaries
Indigenous Church Method
1854 – On this date Mrs. John Sydney (Martha Foote) Beecher, was buried at sea as they were returning from the field of Burma where they had labored among the Karens. Though Beecher’s heart was broken, he continued on in his laborers though with another mission’s agency. With failing health he was forced to journey to England for treatment in September of 1866, however he died on Oct. 21, 1866. Among other things he had established a Christian school in Burma besides being an able replacement for Elisha Litchfield Abbott who he replaced in 1846. Abbott, born in New York in 1809, after being trained at the Hamilton Theological Seminary, in Hamilton, N.Y, became one of the highlights of missionary activity because of his work with the Karens of Bassein, Burma from the time he left for that field in 1836 until after the death of Mrs. Abbott in 1845. At that time, with consumption coming on him, he left for the states with his children. It was apparent to him that if he was to return to the field he would have to have an assistant. Abbott did return to Burma in 1852 but died on Dec. 3, 1854. It was Abbott who established the indigenous method of missions. He founded fifty self-supporting churches among the Karens. But it was during his first return to America that he met the young man Beecher and was able to influence him to follow in his footsteps. Beecher had planned to go west to our own nation but said that he couldn’t make a decision until consulting Martha Foote who was in Chicago, and knew that letters could not transfer between them before Abbott left. However the next day a letter came from Martha declaring that if he ever decided to go to an Eastern field, “I should lay no obstacle in your way.” Beecher accepted that as the Lord giving him the clearance to go to Burma.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 88.
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