The word "consecrate" literally means "to place into the hand." When a person consecrates his life to the Lord, he is placing his life in God's hands. I want to describe how God used this word "consecrate" to direct my family to Cambodia.
Bro. Jeff Jupp came to Lancaster Baptist Church during my sophomore year at West Coast Baptist College to present his ministry at the missions conference. The presentation dealt with a little, obscure country in Southeast Asia that I had never even heard of- the country of Cambodia. Bro. Jupp's zeal and passion, along with his stirring presentation, made a profound impact on me. Weeks went by, and I could not stop thinking about Cambodia. Bro. Jupp's son, John, was one of my classmates in college, and was a casual friend at the time. I approached John one day and told him of the profound influence his father had had on my life, and asked him if his father would be interested in my going to Cambodia on a missions trip and working along side him for a few weeks. John's response was, "Absolutely! My dad actually wants someone from the college to come and help him. Just write him a letter and let him know what is on your heart."
Thrilled at the possibility of going to Cambodia, I wrote Bro. Jupp a letter introducing myself and offering to spend a few weeks with him in Cambodia when he arrived. However, Bro. Jupp never read that letter, because just a few days after the writing of that letter, the Lord saw it fit to take Bro. Jupp and his ten year old son home. They were traveling on deputation in Arkansas when they were involved in the fatal wreck. In one day, my friend John lost his father and his ten year old brother. My heart was broken for him, and questions began arising in my heart. "Why, God? Bro. Jupp was going to do a great work for You! What is the purpose in this?" For months I asked this question; and for months I wondered why God had burdened my heart for the Cambodian people, and then taken the very man whose testimony was used to burden my heart in the first place. Little did I know that Romans 8:28 was about to become very real to me.
About six months after the home-going of Bro. Jupp, I attended the Spiritual Leadership Conference in Lancaster, CA, under the leadership of Pastor Paul Chappell. Pastor R.B. Oulette preached the closing sermon, and he preached on the topic of consecration. His final two illustrations that he used to close the sermon were the lives of Bro. Jeff Jupp, one of his good friends, and William Borden. I had never heard of William Borden until that night; and God would use the testimonies of both of these men to profoundly impact my life.
William Borden graduated from high school in 1904 at the age of sixteen. His parents were the owners of the Borden Dairy Company, and William was to be the successor of the family business. For his graduation gift, his parents sent him on a trip around the world: he visited various parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe. While on this trip, William, already a devoted Christian, felt God was leading him to be a missionary to the foreign field. He felt a special burden for the Muslim Kansu people of China.
He attended Yale University, and during his time there he was used of God to spark the fires of revival amongst the student body. He had the testimony of a young man of God with wisdom and spiritual maturity beyond his years. After doing graduate work at Princeton, he went to Egypt to study Arabic in preparation for the Muslims in China.
While in Egypt, at the age of twenty-five, he contracted spinal meningitis. Before he ever planted a church, before he every translated a piece of Scripture, before he ever discipled a new convert, he died at the young age of twenty-five.
As I listened to the story of that young man's life, I still asked myself, "Why? Why Bro. Jupp? Why William Borden? Why did they die, when they were going to do so much?" The answer came at the end of Bro. Oulette's telling of the story.
After William Borden's death, his Bible was found. In the front cover, these three phrases were found: "No reserves. No return. No regrets." At Borden's funeral, twelve other men surrendered to take his place on the mission field.
When I heard that William Borden's death was instrumental in the calling of twelve other men, I realized that those twelve men might have never gone had it not been for the life and death of William Borden. Immediately my mind went to Bro. Jupp and his son. I knew that Bro. Jupp did not die by accident. There was a purpose. And I knew in my heart that at least a small part of that purpose involved me. That night, I consecrated my life to the Lord, and surrendered to go to Cambodia. That was nearly five years ago, and I am just as stirred today as I was that night. Praise be to God.