The Church Jesus Left For Us 2

J.O. Fraser and the Lisu people in Burma and China.

There was an air of mystery about this talented man who had chosen a primitive pioneer’s life over the applause of an English concert hall and the wealth of an engineering career.  Some said that it was wrong for J.O. Fraser to waste his musical and engineering gifts on the mission field. Yet, Mr. Fraser was greatly used of God through prayer and loving labor to turn multitudes of the Lisu people from their slavery to demon-worship to following Jesus Christ.

After mastering the difficult Lisu language, Fraser developed his own “Fraser Script” (a Lisu alphabet and grammar) and translated the Scriptures into the tribal dialect. By 1916 there was a move of the Spirit among the Lisu, resulting in sixty thousand baptisms within only two years. The Lisu church was now sending its own people to evangelize other villages and baptize new disciples.  The movement continued to grow and eventually became one of the largest tribal Christian bodies in the world.

By about 1918, Lisu people started to come to Christ in the broader region of the China/Burma/Tibet border.  By the 1930s, the movement among the Lisu was expanding rapidly. Other missionaries came to help, but it was native evangelists who did the main work of spreading the gospel to their own people—perhaps in part enabled by Fraser’s deliberate practice of encouraging them to be self-supporting.

The Lisu church continued to grow during the 20th century, at times at a spectacular rate.  The Chinese government acknowledged that by the 1990s, over 90% of the Lisu in China were Christian.

Fraser left China for a short respite in the late 1920s, married, and returned.  He died of disease shortly after his return and did not see the large part of the results of his prayers and efforts. His primary contribution to the success among the Lisu is considered by many to be his earnest praying. When he prayed it was called by those who worked with him “travailing prayer.”

What motivated Fraser in his work, and especially in his praying?  He saw the many millions of unreached Chinese and the mere handful of missionaries there to minister to them.  But great as was the need for more missionaries, there was an even greater need.  Fraser saw that those missionaries and the indigenous Christians in China needed to be endued with far greater power.

Likewise, Fraser was burdened because the Church at home in Europe seemed to be making so little real impact on the world. So, he prayed.  J. O. Fraser is remembered most of all for his devotion to prayer for the Lisu people, the church in China, and church of our God around the world.

Image of Lisu church via

3 thoughts on “The Church Jesus Left For Us 2

  1. I love learning the history of Kingdom workers! What an amazing testimony and life lived fully to making disciples. Thank you for sharing. Who will be our Fraser today? Why are these miracles not taking place here? These are the questions I have in my mind so much. And in today’s world, deciphering the blurred lines that are “preached” in modern day churches wutg a flair for entertainment to grab you. In desolate places on the globe, people can reached with just a voice and heart. From someone who cares and loves and wants to lead. They’re out there! I know! And I love uncovering and learning about these missionaries! Have a blessed day my friend. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind response, Karla. These stories are great encouragements to me. They draw me toward a more surrendered and submitted life in union with my God, and toward more courage in speaking what He is speaking. Mostly, they draw me to pray for our God to move, to pour out His Spirit, and for more Frasers. I can’t pray for more Frasers if I am not willing to be one.

      How are the classroom book readings going these days! Those sound like a great blend of gift and opportunity!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! Your response is beautiful! I feel the same way. The visits are wonderful. They fill my heart and soul. I can show the love of Jesus to kids and share about the history of our area, too. It’s a win-win! I have more on Friday and I’m preparing to teach 3rd graders the writing process at a school next Wednesday. God is so good! Thank you for your encouragement and prayers! Stay well and blessed!

        Liked by 1 person

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