Posts Tagged ‘Streams in the Desert’


Lettie Burd was born 3/3/1870, to Isaac & Margaret Burd, Afton,IA. Isaac was a banker, the home reflected culture & wealth, & their last child, Lettie became a talented, delightful teenager. When she was 14 a Western Union Telegraph operator Charles Cowman, age 16, entered her life. Her parents didn’t approve of the friendship & when Charles was transferred by WUT they were relieved. But he returned with 5 solid WUT yrs. experience & as manager of their Glenwood Springs, CO office. They were married 6/18/1889.

They came back to Chicago & he advanced with Western Union. Lettie after some time was converted to Christ in a ME church.  Charles was impressed with her immediate life change but didn’t have interest himself. Later he was redeemed & the distance he’d felt between their conversions became a happy, holy reunion. They once went to Moody Church & as A B Simpson made appeals Charles turned to Lettie, “This means you & me.” They briefly attended God’s Bible School (Cincinnati) & sailed for Japan in 1901.

Along with Juji Nakada & E A Kilbourne they organized Oriental Missionary Society (1907).  Charles died in 1924, Kilbourne in 1928, & Lettie carried on the work until 1949. Her Streams in the Desert (first published in ’25) has been translated into 15 languages, passing 3,000,000 in sales. The attractive banker’s daughter (she said “In a sense Charles was my savior, he saved me from a life of wealth, leisure & plenty”) gave the world a view of her greater, bigger Savior via her famous devotional text. She died 4/17/1960.

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Chinese civil war begins, 1945.  Chiang Kai-Shek vs Mao Tse-Tung.  Chiang Kai-Shek had clear leanings toward (if not in fact was) real Christianity.   The museum in Taipei, Taiwan exhited both his Bible and his copy of Lettie Cowman’s Streams in the Desert (in the fall of 1991). 

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March, 3

The End Of Our Strength

“Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

How strong is the snare of the things that are seen, and how necessary for God to keep us in the things that axe unseen! If Peter is to walk on the water he must walk; if he is going to swim, he must swim, but he cannot do both. If the bird is going to fly it must keep away from fences and the trees, and trust to its buoyant wings. But if it tries to keep within easy reach of the ground, it will make poor work of flying.

God had to bring Abraham to the end of his own strength, and to let him see that in his own body he could do nothing. He had to consider his own body as good as dead, and then take God for the whole work; and when he looked away from himself, and trusted God alone, then he became fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able to perform. That is what God is teaching us, and He has to keep away encouraging results until we learn to trust without them, and then He loves to make His Word real in fact as well as faith.–A. B. Simpson

I do not ask that He must prove
His Word is true to me,
And that before I can believe
He first must let me see.
It is enough for me to know
‘Tis true because He says ’tis so;
On His unchanging Word I’ll stand
And trust till I can understand.
–E. M. Winter

Lettie Burd Cowman was born this date (3/3/1870) in the state of Iowa.  She and her husband, Charles, founded OMS (Oriental Missionary Society) in 1907.  She first published Streams in the Desert in 1925.   It has been translated into at least fifteen (15) languages.

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