There's a great new TV show on lately called "Who Do You Think You Are?" that follows celebrities as they discover their geneology and ancestry roots.
There is something so powerful for all of us about learning about our ancestors.
I have known a few different interesting facts about various ancestors, but this weekend I learned some exciting and surprising new facts about a distant relative.
My dad has been reading a book by a former missionary to China who was my great-great-great Uncle. His name was Henry Brown.
Henry Brown travelled as an evangelist across the US and Canada for several years before going as the very first missionary to China for the General Conference Mennonite Church, a group of Anabaptist Mennonites. He spent much of his life as a missionary there. He actually went without formal support in 1909, and it wasn't until 1914 that he was officially endorsed by the denomination. He wrote and self published 3 books of his travels, which my dad is reading now, and I look forward to reading after he's done. My dad shared that they are pretty riveting, and filled with stories of God coming through and doing miracles to sustain his missionary endeavors.
And, get this ... he even spent several years in prison for spreading the Gospel. Wow. After some time back in the US, they even returned to China where they had previously been imprisoned to continue on the work. They were part of the generation of missionaries responsible for the underground Church and staggering growth of Christianity across the nation today.
It seems that he was a godly, effective leader. According to their denomnational records, "he proposed a plan to share leadership of the church and mission with the Chinese Christians." His third book seems to deal with this transfer of authority as well.
So absolutely grateful for the godly heritage we appreciate today, and yearning to leave the same kind of legacy for generations yet to come.