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"The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner." William Cameron Townsend.
From the Battlefield to the Mission Field
William Cameron Townsend was one of the most influential mission leaders in the last century. Born in California in 1896, raised in a Presbyterian Church, he was inspired to join the Student Volunteer Movement after hearing missionary John Mott speak at Occidental College in Los Angeles. In 1917, as William Townsend prepared to join the army and participate in the war, he was challenged by a missionary on furlough to make the Great Commission his priority and go to the mission field instead of the battlefield.
Does God Speak My Language?
He departed for Guatemala, August 1917, with a Bible Association that sold Spanish Bibles in the field. He had almost completed his first year of service in Guatemala when one of the Kaqchikel Indians approached his table, looked at the Spanish Bible and asked "If your God is so smart, why doesn’t He speak my language?" Cameron was shocked to learn that although this man lived in Guatemala, he was one of the 200,000 Kaqchikel people who spoke no Spanish. The cutting comment of this Indian so troubled Cameron, that he dedicated the next 13 years of his life to translating the Bible into their language.