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Ann Judson: A Missionary Life for Burma: A Biography, Including Selections from Her Memoir and Letters

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Previously published as My Heart in His Hands, this book is fully revised and updated and is the best modern biography of Ann Judson available. If you only read one biography this year, read Ann Judson: a missionary life for Burma. If you're going through trials or suffering you need to read this book and find out that trials are always for a purpose rightly understood the Previously published as My Heart in His Hands, this book is fully revised and updated and is the best modern biography of Ann Judson available. If you only read one biography this year, read Ann Judson: a missionary life for Burma. If you're going through trials or suffering you need to read this book and find out that trials are always for a purpose rightly understood they glorify God and build us up in the faith. Sharon James uses the sources carefully to bring Ann (and Adoniram) Judson's piety and hard work for the Lord to our attention, not to venerate them but to challenge us to deeper commitment and service to the Lord.


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Previously published as My Heart in His Hands, this book is fully revised and updated and is the best modern biography of Ann Judson available. If you only read one biography this year, read Ann Judson: a missionary life for Burma. If you're going through trials or suffering you need to read this book and find out that trials are always for a purpose rightly understood the Previously published as My Heart in His Hands, this book is fully revised and updated and is the best modern biography of Ann Judson available. If you only read one biography this year, read Ann Judson: a missionary life for Burma. If you're going through trials or suffering you need to read this book and find out that trials are always for a purpose rightly understood they glorify God and build us up in the faith. Sharon James uses the sources carefully to bring Ann (and Adoniram) Judson's piety and hard work for the Lord to our attention, not to venerate them but to challenge us to deeper commitment and service to the Lord.

30 review for Ann Judson: A Missionary Life for Burma: A Biography, Including Selections from Her Memoir and Letters

  1. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    A great read but so sad..... Ann Hasseltine received a proposal from Adoniram Judson who was shortly to leave for Asia as one of America's first overseas Missionaries. He wrote to her father as follows "I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure for a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to A great read but so sad..... Ann Hasseltine received a proposal from Adoniram Judson who was shortly to leave for Asia as one of America's first overseas Missionaries. He wrote to her father as follows "I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure for a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you, for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness, brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from the heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?" Amazingly, Ann's father left the decision to her and she immediately consented, against the advice of most who felt that women should not travel to the mission field. But Ann was an unusual woman with a strong faith in God "We found it exceedingly hot the first tikme that we crossed the equator. When going round the Cape of Good Hope, we had rough, rainy weather for twenty days. I never knew till then "the dangers of the deep." I never felt before, my entire dependence on God for preservation. Some nights I never slept on account of the rocking of the vessel and the roaring of the winds. Yet God preserved us- enabled us to trust in Him and feel safe. Surely we have every reason to confide in God, and leave it with Him to dispose of us as He pleases....." Completely committed to evangelising the "heathen" they persevered through many trials and sought always to thank God in the midst of them "As it respects our temporal privations, use has made them familiar and easy to be borne; they are of short duration, and when brought in competition with the worth of immortal souls, sink into nothing......When we feel a disposition to sigh for the enjoyments of our native country , we turn our eyes on the miserable objects around.....While they vainly imagine to purchase promotion in another state of existance, by strictly worshipping their idols, and building pagodas, our hopes of future happiness are fixed on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.....(we have) one wish remaining- that of being instrumental of leading these Burmans to partake of the same source of happiness with ourselves." This couple faced unbelievable hardship yet continued to serve God and each other. Theirs is one of the most tragic missionary stories I have read but also one of the most inspirational as they continued their work and eventually saw souls saved in Burma. This book is clean, free of bad language and sexual content. There is limited violence in connection with an imprisonment and some of the descriptions of illnesses and disease may upset some readers. It is well worth reading especially for potential missionaries or those struggling on the field as an encouragement to continue trusting God!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    "He has my heart in His hands, and when I am called to face danger, to pass through scenes of terror and distress, He can inspire me with fortitude and enable me to trust in Him." -Ann Judson I have never been more inspired by anyone than Ann Judson. Her character and personality were beautiful, and it is clearly presented in this biography that her strength came ultimately from the Lord. She went through horrific events, and yet, she continued to find joy again and again. I loved that she wasn't "He has my heart in His hands, and when I am called to face danger, to pass through scenes of terror and distress, He can inspire me with fortitude and enable me to trust in Him." -Ann Judson I have never been more inspired by anyone than Ann Judson. Her character and personality were beautiful, and it is clearly presented in this biography that her strength came ultimately from the Lord. She went through horrific events, and yet, she continued to find joy again and again. I loved that she wasn't weak, and worked right alongside her husband. But neither did she belittle her husband. As Christian woman, we can be strong and do many great things, but still have a humble and submissive heart to the authority God has placed in our life. Adoniram loved his wife and respected her highly. This book is sad, but yet triumphant for a Christian reading it. Ann set aside her frivolous youthful and took up her cross and followed Christ. She had confidence in her Saviour. You must pick up this book and be encouraged in your walk with the Lord. Wherever you are, whatever the Lord has called you to do, He can enable you for the task.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Biographical writings on Christian saints strengthen the faith and stir the soul unlike any other writings by man — this book was no different. Ann’s eyes set on the kingdom will stay with me forever. May my lowly American mission draw lasting encouragement from her foreign one. Soli Deo Gloria!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    This was a very inspiring and challenging book! I really enjoyed reading about the life of Anne Judson... such an excellent and godly heroine for Christian women!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Carroll

    One of the best missionary biographies I have ever read. A lot of primary source material artfully tied together.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Molly Marie

    I was thankful to learn about Mrs. Ann Judson and how God led her and was faithful to her both in her efforts to serve him and in her many trials. Her confidence in God gave her hope to keep obeying him even when enduring unspeakable hardships. And praise the Lord for his using her to further his kingdom in immeasurable ways!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elijah

    read for school 💀 u n f o r g i v a b l y d u l l 💀

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    This is a fantastic book about an amazing woman. Added April 2021: I was really struck this time by how much Ann and Adoniram are partners in their mission work. I kept comparing them mentally to T.P. and Martha Crawford, American Baptist missionaries in China about a generation after the Judsons. T.P. saw Martha as an accessory, and anything she did that seemed to upstage him (even things incredibly beneficial to mission work like her ability to learn Chinese very quickly and efficiently) he too This is a fantastic book about an amazing woman. Added April 2021: I was really struck this time by how much Ann and Adoniram are partners in their mission work. I kept comparing them mentally to T.P. and Martha Crawford, American Baptist missionaries in China about a generation after the Judsons. T.P. saw Martha as an accessory, and anything she did that seemed to upstage him (even things incredibly beneficial to mission work like her ability to learn Chinese very quickly and efficiently) he took as a personal affront. This really retarded the ability of each of them and both of them to advance the mission in China. But the Judsons! As one of my students said this week, they were a serious power couple! This is absolutely true, and I think it was largely due to Adoniram's ability and eagerness to see two things. First, his desire to see the Kingdom of God expand by whatever method the Holy Spirit saw fit to inspire and direct and second, his desire to see Ann's gifts used to their fullest extent and power. He fully admired her and was grateful for all she added to the mission (and she did the same for him). This meant that both of them were fully freed to pursue mission work to the fullest extent of their energy and gifting (and way beyond, by the empowering of the Spirit). What an incredible gift to the Church Ann was -- she spoke four languages, she translated missionary tracts and the N.T. into three different languages, she wrote catechisms for children in their local languages, she adopted Burmese children and raised them as her own, she started schools for women and girls, she kept her husband and her infant daughter alive for two years while he was in a death camp, she wrote a memoir that has raised millions of dollars to support mission work, especially mission work done for and by women, and she did all this while enduring the deaths of her children and before her own death at the incredibly young age of 36. And Adoniram couldn't have been more pleased by everything she did. The Church needs more Ann Judsons AND it needs more Adoniram Judsons.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bekah

    AMAZING book! What a legacy Ann Judson has left! I remember reading a short biography for young kids on Ann Judson and I remember enjoying the story, but after reading this book, Mrs. Judson is now one of my favorites. I admire her gracious poise and grace and her desire to honor and respect her husband. Throughout all of her journal entries, I read of only the highest admiration and respect for her husband. But she also realized that she had her part to play as a missionary, as well. She realiz AMAZING book! What a legacy Ann Judson has left! I remember reading a short biography for young kids on Ann Judson and I remember enjoying the story, but after reading this book, Mrs. Judson is now one of my favorites. I admire her gracious poise and grace and her desire to honor and respect her husband. Throughout all of her journal entries, I read of only the highest admiration and respect for her husband. But she also realized that she had her part to play as a missionary, as well. She realized her part as her husband's help-meet and rose to the occasion wonderfully. Mrs. Judson's life of faith was so inspiring and has encouraged me in my own relationship with Jesus Christ. I highly recommend this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This is an excellent biography of Ann Judson, Adoniram Judson's wife. It was full of excerpts from letters and firsthand accounts, but it was also cohesively written. Ann's faith and endurance are truly inspiring and this is by far one of the most engaging biographies I have ever read. This is an excellent biography of Ann Judson, Adoniram Judson's wife. It was full of excerpts from letters and firsthand accounts, but it was also cohesively written. Ann's faith and endurance are truly inspiring and this is by far one of the most engaging biographies I have ever read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam Thomas

    Ann Judson, alongside her husband Adoniram, was one of the first missionaries to Burma, who was greatly used by God in her lifetime and whose legacy had an impact on future generations of mission workers. This account of her life and work shows her clear commitment to God's calling, her courageous love for others, and her steadfast faith in the midst of personal suffering. Throughout, Sharon James quotes extensively from primary sources to open up for us Ann's thoughts and motivations. One of th Ann Judson, alongside her husband Adoniram, was one of the first missionaries to Burma, who was greatly used by God in her lifetime and whose legacy had an impact on future generations of mission workers. This account of her life and work shows her clear commitment to God's calling, her courageous love for others, and her steadfast faith in the midst of personal suffering. Throughout, Sharon James quotes extensively from primary sources to open up for us Ann's thoughts and motivations. One of the more painful tragedies she experienced was the death of her son Roger aged just 8 months. Her response to this devastation gives us an example of firm faith mingling with deep mourning. A fortnight after the event, she wrote: "We feel the anguish a little abated, and have returned to our study and employment; but when for a moment we realize what we once possessed, and our now bereaved state, the wound opens and bleeds afresh. Yet we would still say, 'Thy will be done'" (103). There are also several passages that illustrate her sense of isolation and her longing for her home country. In today's age of instant communication and global travel, it's important to reflect on how much of a challenge this must have been for overseas workers in the past. Ann could spend months in complete uncertainty about the wellbeing of her husband or her family in America, and the reverse was also true. An encouragement to take advantage of the easy opportunities we now have to communicate with mission partners overseas! This biography also shines a valuable spotlight on the ministry of women in missionary history. Sharon James shows how Ann Judson was both a devoted wife, and a committed mission worker in her own right. Her legacy includes the immediate impact of her ministry on the nascent Burmese church, her work in promoting education for girls, and her contributions to encouraging interest in world mission. Overall, an inspiring account of a life lived for the glory of Christ.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sue L

    To be the first female American missionary to go to Southeast Asia is remarkable. However, as I now have completed this book I see that she would not have wanted any recognition for anything, except for our eyes to be on Christ and on his concern for the lost. A marvel at the work that she allowed in her young heart. What an undertaking! To leave family, conveniences (which to today's standard would be quite rugged!), Security, and your country, Knowing so little of what to expect, is so brave! Th To be the first female American missionary to go to Southeast Asia is remarkable. However, as I now have completed this book I see that she would not have wanted any recognition for anything, except for our eyes to be on Christ and on his concern for the lost. A marvel at the work that she allowed in her young heart. What an undertaking! To leave family, conveniences (which to today's standard would be quite rugged!), Security, and your country, Knowing so little of what to expect, is so brave! This book is most inspiring, it is filled with letters penned by Ann herself which really allows you to see her heart!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Lei

    This dramatic and often compelling retelling of Ann Judson's life and death in both the physical and spiritual realms leads to much contemplation of one's personal piety as well as an unavoidable magnitude of desirous forbearance toward the omniscient ways of our Father to be washed over one's entire self. This biographical sketch of her perils, plights, and ultimate perishing for the prize of the upward calling speaks to the ease, relative safety, and certain laziness which is procurred in much This dramatic and often compelling retelling of Ann Judson's life and death in both the physical and spiritual realms leads to much contemplation of one's personal piety as well as an unavoidable magnitude of desirous forbearance toward the omniscient ways of our Father to be washed over one's entire self. This biographical sketch of her perils, plights, and ultimate perishing for the prize of the upward calling speaks to the ease, relative safety, and certain laziness which is procurred in much of Christiandom today. What a challenge this book was! I fully recommend it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tim Franks

    Very few missionaries in the history of the world had to endure and persevered through such hardship and blocks for the work they were called to than the Judson's! This is a riveting read that captures the depth of the mix of suffering and joy felt by this great woman of God. The strongest part of reading this work is all of the actual journal entries mixed in with narrative from the author. The moments of anguish with lost love ones and "failed" ministry are heart-wrenching, yet encouraging wit Very few missionaries in the history of the world had to endure and persevered through such hardship and blocks for the work they were called to than the Judson's! This is a riveting read that captures the depth of the mix of suffering and joy felt by this great woman of God. The strongest part of reading this work is all of the actual journal entries mixed in with narrative from the author. The moments of anguish with lost love ones and "failed" ministry are heart-wrenching, yet encouraging with their responses throughout. This is a must read for believers, especially those that are on the mission field or have the calling to do so. Read this in tandem with To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kaylee

    A well written collection of letters and memoir from Ann Judson's life. Sharon James did an excellent job of narrating for clarity yet leaving Ann's words at the forefront. Ann Judson lived an incredibly sacrificial life and her words are touching. May her story continue to motivate a new generation to share the Gospel cross-culturally. A well written collection of letters and memoir from Ann Judson's life. Sharon James did an excellent job of narrating for clarity yet leaving Ann's words at the forefront. Ann Judson lived an incredibly sacrificial life and her words are touching. May her story continue to motivate a new generation to share the Gospel cross-culturally.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nettie

    A great book about the wife of Adoniram Judson. I was looking for books about Christian wives for encouragement in my growth in Christ. Ann Judson's dedication to Christ, her husband, the females of Burma, and her children is just the example I was looking for. The writing itself was occasionally awkward and jumpy, but I still highly recommend the book. A great book about the wife of Adoniram Judson. I was looking for books about Christian wives for encouragement in my growth in Christ. Ann Judson's dedication to Christ, her husband, the females of Burma, and her children is just the example I was looking for. The writing itself was occasionally awkward and jumpy, but I still highly recommend the book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Helena

    A must read for any Christian. It's really encouraging to see how much Ann gave up dedicated her life for the sharing of the Gospel. I found it so helpful to read during the COVID19 pandemic as it lifted by eyes from my own situation and helped me to see God's goodness and plan even in hard times. A must read for any Christian. It's really encouraging to see how much Ann gave up dedicated her life for the sharing of the Gospel. I found it so helpful to read during the COVID19 pandemic as it lifted by eyes from my own situation and helped me to see God's goodness and plan even in hard times.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    What a humbling and edifying read. Most of Ann's time in Burma was marked with loss of children, oppression, and caring for Adoniram in prison (while herself was ill at times); but yet, she always had the gospel and its advancement in Burma at the forefront of her mind. What a humbling and edifying read. Most of Ann's time in Burma was marked with loss of children, oppression, and caring for Adoniram in prison (while herself was ill at times); but yet, she always had the gospel and its advancement in Burma at the forefront of her mind.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Caroline McDowell

    One of the most impactful books I have ever read. I found a big sister in Ann Judson.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nate Hoover

    Great accompaniment to To The Golden Shores! Has a deeper appreciation for Ann Judson's contribution to the Burma mission than that book. Thrilling! Great accompaniment to To The Golden Shores! Has a deeper appreciation for Ann Judson's contribution to the Burma mission than that book. Thrilling!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    One of the most encouraging,challenging, and inspiring books I have ever read. It's a page turner! One of the most encouraging,challenging, and inspiring books I have ever read. It's a page turner!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    A must read for all Christians!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Ateca

    What an inspiration. To have the faith and trust that Ann Judson did would be a worthy goal of any believer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angela Nowak

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The life of this female missionary is truly fascinating and deserves great attention. Very inspiriting for modern believers and I can't recommend it highly enough. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The life of this female missionary is truly fascinating and deserves great attention. Very inspiriting for modern believers and I can't recommend it highly enough.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Keel

    Inspiring and heartbreaking.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emma Lambert

    My Heart in His Hands is a biography on Ann Judson, wife of Adoniram Judson one of the first four missionaries sent out by America. Ann and Adoniram left America in 1812 to evangelize to the heathen in Burma, a cruel, arrogant people. The history of this amazingly faithful couple is truly an example of God’s mercy and grace as He preserved Ann and Adoniram from succumbing to many a frightful trial and doubt. Ann truly was, and always will be, a faithful follower of God. As she faced many a faith My Heart in His Hands is a biography on Ann Judson, wife of Adoniram Judson one of the first four missionaries sent out by America. Ann and Adoniram left America in 1812 to evangelize to the heathen in Burma, a cruel, arrogant people. The history of this amazingly faithful couple is truly an example of God’s mercy and grace as He preserved Ann and Adoniram from succumbing to many a frightful trial and doubt. Ann truly was, and always will be, a faithful follower of God. As she faced many a faith testing trial as Ann was not only attacked by sicknesses of various kinds, but also suffers the loose of loved ones and, ultimately, death for her service to God. My Heart in His Hands truly is a convicting book as it challenges the reader to look at their own life as a Christian in their service to God. The overall layout is O.K. as I do so very much appreciate the author’s not jumping three years ahead or four back as she tells the history of Ann and how the author educates the reader as they go along. But I do not like how she puts some of Ann’s writings, while she (Ann) was back in America, at the back of the book. I personally felt as if that was a little random, as I do strongly think that Ann’s writings could have been put in the actual story without disturbing the smooth flow of the book. This is a well done book and I would not hesitate to recommend it to any person. Emma Lambert-

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    Inspiring, convicting, and truly, entertaining. Ann Judson led a amazing, laser-focused life full of love and adventure and the gospel. It is no surprise that she was so revered in the nineteenth century American church. You should totally read this book... and then we can talk about it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jacalyn

    I really enjoy reading about the Judsons. Very inspiring lives. The Judsons, George Mueller and Keith Green are my favorite biographies to read!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    It is a Christian classic - - she was the first American woman to be a missionary. Job was her husband's favorite book of the Bible - - very much like their life. It is a Christian classic - - she was the first American woman to be a missionary. Job was her husband's favorite book of the Bible - - very much like their life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    excellent book on the life of Ann Judson.....this book has been such a spiritual encouragement to me....I have read it several times!!

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