Missionary saved by prayed-down rain



Ludwig Nommensen was called of God to Sumatra's jungle. His cry became, "Dead or alive, Sumatra's jungle for Christ!" Many were the unusual experiences that Ludwig experienced in those jungles where savages and head-hunters stalked his trails.

Two young American missionaries by the name of Henry Lyman and Samuel Munson landed in Sumatra in 1833, the year before Ludwig was born. They were murdered by the fierce Batak tribes.

The old chief rushed at one of the missionaries and cut off his head, and then the warriors martyred the other preacher. The guide who had come with the Americans was bound before a huge fire which the savages had lighted. The chief cut a slice of flesh from the guide's arm and cooked it over the fire while the bound man looked on. Finally, with long knives the Bataks rushed up to the man and sliced the flesh from his bones and cooked it. when this feast was over, the natives returned to their former jungle isolation.

Ludwig determined under God to conquer these people for Christ. Many were the dangers he faced. One particular time the warriors determined to murder him. They told him: "We will cut off your legs and throw you into the river. We will cut off your head and call the people to come and eat you." But Nommensen knew that God was able to protect him until his work was finished.

In 1864 a tirade of cruelty broke out among the Bataks against this man of God. He had been able to win a few converts. Then the chiefs invited him to a sacrificial feast that they were making to the spirits, with the evil intent of murdering him during the concourse. Ludwig, realizing what the chiefs had in mind, marched to the place where the feast was held. A thousand cannibalistic warriors assembled at the spot and awaited the moment when the medicine man would light the fires.

These Batak cannibals stood with their long spears, heavy clubs, guns, and head-hunting knives, awaiting the touch that would spark the fire into life. They knew as soon as the sacrifice was lighted that the word would be given to murder the missionary, preparatory to cooking him over the same flame.

Straight as an arrow, unmoved by fear, Ludwig marched to the center of the warrior-crowded area. He lifted his voice until it rang with the challenge of the Cross. He said, "I ask all to lay aside your weapons of war."

The warriors rumbled their threats and answered, "We can as well kill you with our hands." The medicine man, seeing the crowd hesitate, refused to carry out the rite unless "a person from your midst is sacrificed."

The missionary cried out against the medicine man and called him "the spirit of the devil and the channel through which the evil spirit worked."

Meanwhile, Ludwig was calling upon God to work a miracle of deliverance. While the crowd mumbled among themselves, a heavy cloud darkened the skies, the heavens opened, and down poured the rain. So great was the flood that the people were driven to their huts, and in the sanctity of their homes they reasoned among themselves that the spirits were with the missionary.

Henceforth they listened to his message; and from this experience, which was a turning point, multiplied thousands of these cannibals accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. In fifty years a hundred and eighty thousand Bataks were won to Christ; and when Ludwig Nommensen died in 1918, at the age of eighty-four, he was laid to rest in a grave which was surrounded by more than forty thousand converts.


From: ANSWERED PRAYER IN MISSIONARY SERVICE By Basil William Miller, Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City, Missouri. First Printing, April 1951 Second Printing, July 1951 Printed in United States of America