In 1981, Don Richardson’s book Eternity in Their Hearts put into a systematic form the theology of missions that he had earlier expressed in his biography, The Peace Child (1974). Both books were considered revolutionary in the study of missions. But a major contributing factor in Richardson’s work is the story of missions in present-day Myanmar (previously the Kingdom of Burma)—and especially the story of the Judsons, the Boardmans, and the Wades among the Karen peoples of Burma.
The story of the Karen revival is detailed in a few obscure books of the mid-19th century, and Mrs. Macleod Wylie’s The Gospel in Burma is probably the most famous of those. Wylie details how the Karen peoples—now seven million people speaking 13 different languages—had believed that a man would come from far away to bring them the truth about an ancient book that they had lost. They already had traditional concepts of the Creation and the Fall of Man.
This book deals mainly with primary sources like letters and journals, giving firsthand accounts of work among the Karen, the Burmese, the Mon people (then known as Talaings), and other people groups in the Kingdom of Burma.
Interestingly, a chapter is devoted to Arracan (Rakhine), today famous as the violence-torn region from which hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been displaced.
This book is the most complete overview of early missions in Burma, and will continue to hold an important place for those interested in missions in South and Southeast Asia.