BORN: December 5, 1860
DIED: July 16, 1931
LIFE SPAN: 70 years, 7 months, 11 days
On January 13, 1877, Studd who had recently received $145,000 from an inheritance, put it all in the bank of heaven, and continued on with his work in China as a poor missionary. Before it was all over, he had also brought Christ to India, challenged students across America to Christian service, and pioneered a great work in Africa which was to become the World-wide Evangelization Crusade.
Edward Studd, retired planter had made a fortune in India and had come back to England to spend it. He was very fond of sports of all kinds. But above all was his love for horse racing. He bought, trained and raced horses.
A friend, Mr. Vincent, invited the elder Studd to attend the Moody-Sankey revival in London in the spring of 1875. Studd received Christ, counseled with Moody and made some notable changes. He withdrew from the turf, selling his horses, except for one each that he gave to his three sons.
His three eldest sons were J.E.K. (Kynaston), G.B. (George), and C.T. (Charlie). They were all at Eton College when their father was converted. He made arrangements to meet his sons, and surprised them when he stopped their carriage in front of a hall with a sign, “Moody and Sankey revival.” The boys thought they were going to a theater or the Christy Minstrels. The father said, “Boys, I might as well tell you now. I’ve been converted by Mr. Moody. No more racing and gambling. I’ve found the real thing.” The sons were amazed but made no move.
Now young C.T. had to escape being alone with his father when he was at home, for salvation would always come up as a topic. One year passed. Their father usually had preachers staying at his house on weekends. One weekend two preachers came. One afternoon, one of the preachers caught C.T. on his way to play cricket. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. His answer not being convincing enough, the guest pressed the point and finally down on his knees went C.T. and when he arose, his heart was filled with joy and peace. All three brothers were won to Christ that same day, and all became outstanding witnesses for the gospel. This was in 1876 when Studd was 16 years of age.’
About this time Studd was fast becoming the most outstanding cricket player in England. The brothers started a Bible class at Eton and C.T. stayed on two more years, becoming the captain of the cricket team in his last year. He finished at Eton in 1879 and enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge, the next year, 1880 By 1882 he was considered one of the best cricket players in the world. He was probably the best known athlete of his day in England. He captained the team his last year at Cambridge 1883-84. He got his B.A.. degree and left Cambridge in 1885.
Studd had been somewhat backslidden since his conversion, and it took the Moody-Sankey team meetings of 1882 at Cambridge University to straighten him out. He got a burden for souls, and a call from China seemed to be what he felt God wanted him to do. Soon six others from Cambridge University joined him in this goal and the “Cambridge Seven” became well known.
In February, 1885, they sailed for China arriving in Shanghai on March 18th. They at once began the study of the language seven to ten hours a day, donned Chinese garb, and ate with and like the Chinese.
It was on his 25th birthday (December of 1885) that he was to inherit $145,000. He had already determined it would go into the work of the Lord. He was alone at Chunking on that day. Perhaps Studd was born in 1861 as we cannot account for a year. On January 13, 1887, he sent out four checks of $25,000 each and five of $5,000 each – a total of $125,000A He sent $25,000 to the following people:
DLL. Moody – expressing the hope that he would be able to start some gospel work at Tricot in North India, where his father had made his fortune. Moody used the money however to start Moody Bible Institute to train people to take the gospel into all the world.
George Mueller – $20,000 of which was to be used on missionary work and $5,000 for the work among the orphans.
George Holland in Whitechapel, to be used for the Lord among the poor in London. Holland had been a spiritual help to Studd’s father.
Commissioner Booth Tucker for the Salvation Army in India. It was used to send out a party of 50 new officers, and came following a night of prayer for reinforcements.
In a few months he gave away several more thousands when he determined the exact amount of the inheritance. Most of this went to the China Inland Mission. He now had $17,000 left.
Priscilla Livingstone Steward arrived in Shanghai in 1887A She was from Belfast, Ireland. Studd arrived in Shanghai in April of that year. There was a Sailor’s Home where Miss Steward was working and where Studd was trying to win the lost. Meetings were held and sailors were saved. Soon Miss Steward went to the center of China, and Studd prepared to go North. Correspondence began in June and engagement was agreed upon on October 5th. Kneeling in the snow in March, 1888, praying for souls during an open-air meeting caused her to get pneumonia. Studd himself had been at death’s door for weeks with pleurisy in both lungs, typhoid, and then pneumonia. He recovered just in time to come to Miss Stewart’s side. She got better. Everyone decided it was as good a time as ever, so Pastor Shi had a Christian ceremony, but they had to go to Tientsin to be married by the consul for official records’ sake. This was March 1888. Just before his marriage he presented his bride with the $17,000 remaining from the inheritance. She said, “Charlie, what did the Lord tell the rich young man to do? Sell all. Well then, we will start clear with the Lord at our wedding.” They wrote General Booth on July 3, 1888, and told him the Salvation Army would realine this last amount of funds. They left Tientsin with $5 and some bedding and for the next 41 years of marriage together God provided for them.
They went to an inland City, Lungang-Fu and the only house they could get was one considered haunted. For five years (1888-1892) they never went outside without a volley of curses from their neighbors. Finally opposition began to subside. Studd spent a good deal of time with an opium refuge for the victims of this drug. As many as 50 at a time would be there. During seven years some 800 went through the refuge, some saved as well as cured.
Their first child was born in 1889A Mrs. Studd had a relapse and almost died. Four more children were to follow, the fifth living just one day. Mrs. Studd never saw a doctor through all this. The four that lived were girls, Grace, Dorothy, Edith and Pauline. A sixth child was born after their return to England, a boy, but he only lived two days. Pauline married Norman Grubb, later WEC director.
In 1894 after ten years of service, the Lord directed them to return home to England, his asthmatic condition being a key factor. With four small children it was no easy job to journey to the coast. Naturally there was a royal welcome by Mrs. Studd (mother). The children knowing only Chinese now had to learn English culture and tongue. The health of the parents was poor, but soon Studd began to take meetings. Things were happening in the USA. Studd’s brother, J.E.K. at Moody’s request had toured the states telling the story of the “Cambridge Seven.” Students in America caught the fire, and two of their number began the Student Volunteer Movement, with amazing results. Hundreds were enrolled.
C.T. Studd was invited to come. In 1896 he came and stayed for 18 months. He spoke as much as six times a day, seldom under an hour, had endless interviews with students. Outstanding things happened in such places as Knoxville, Tenn., in June; Lincoln, Nebraska in December; Minneapolis, Minn., in January of 1897.
Back in England from 1897 to 1900 gave him time for reflection, recuperation and readiness for the next assignment which was India. It was the father’s dying wish that some of the family would take the Gospel there. So they went, a better climate also appealing to them. However, his asthma which he had for years continued to plague him. He hardly slept except between 2 and 4 AM.. Night after night he was sitting up in a chair fighting for his breath. He was at Tricot for six months, then he became the pastor of the Union Church at Ootacamund in South India. The church reached out to all kinds of people, and a week never went by without one to three conversions transpiring. All four of his daughters made definite decisions for Christ and were baptized in India. The family returned to England in 1906.
From 1906 to 1908 he must have spoken to tens of thousands of men, many of whom never went to a religious service, but were drawn to hear him by his sporting reputation. Many made their decisions for Christ.
While in Liverpool in 1908 he saw a sign, “Cannibals want missionaries.” He sought out the author of the sign, a Dr. Karl Chum. Studd, now 50 felt the call to Africa. They talked together about opening Africa from the Nile to the Niger to Christian missionaries. This was the largest unevangelized region in Africa at this time. Penniless, turned down by a doctor, dropped by a committee, he persisted. God provided funds and on December 15, 1910, he left, sailing alone, leaving his wife behind. Arriving at Khartoum he had a delay of some weeks. Accompanied by Bishop Gwynedd, he set off for Southern Sudan. Joined by a third, they went by mule and foot on a 21/2 months-trek through malaria and sleeping sickness country. Of their 29 donkeys, 25 died. Back at Khartoum, Studd got a severe attack of malaria. While trekking in 1911 on the Nile they were told that beyond the southern frontier of the Sudan, in the Belgian Congo, between the Nile and Lake Chad were vast masses of people as depraved and destitute as those they had seen, who had never heard of Christ. He decided the rest of his life would be spent with this challenge.
Returning home briefly he visited Cambridge and stirred people to the depths with a challenge of the unevangelized world. He challenged others to join him, set down a doctrinal statement, bought a missions headquarters, and in January 1913, was back in Africa. This time leaving his wife seemed harder. Studd simply believed “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” Studd’s one companion was Alfred B. Buxton and they journeyed through Kenya and Uganda to the shores of Lake Albert. They had a good reception from the Belgian official and were allowed to enter the Congo. Soon they were in the very heart of Africa, after nine months of arduous traveling, living in tents. They had now reached the fringes of the great tropical forest which stretches for hundreds of miles to the south and contains, though unknown to them at the time, the biggest population of the whole of Congo. This was October 16, 1913.
Immediate work started, clearing, planting and building. A mission house went up in a few weeks. Once a poisonous snake slept with Studd all night and never bit him. Only five years previous these natives had been shooting arrows at every new arrival. Within two years the heart of Africa was surveyed, four strategic centers chosen, covering some hundreds of miles and involving about eight tribes. These included Napa (5 days south of Niagara), Poke (five days northeast of Napa), and Bambili (six days beyond Napa). Now Studd and Buxton split. Studd continued going 300 miles beyond Bambili to the Congo River, then 700 miles to the mouth, and then on to England to find more recruits. Buxton met a new party of five to open the work at Napa, plus reducing the language to writing. Buxton also had the first baptismal service at Niagara on June 19, 1915, during Studd’s absence, with 12 converts.
Studd arrived home in late 1914 to find his wife very ill, but faithfully carrying on the home-base operations. She formed prayer centers, issued monthly pamphlets by the thousands, wrote often 20 to 30 letters a day, planned and edited the first issues of a magazine. He issued the most stirring appeals that pen could write through his magazine. A farewell rally was fixed for July 14, 1916, with the actual departure July 24th. This would be Studd’s last day home in England. This would also be the third time he had to leave his wife, which does not get any easier as the years go by. He still had 15 years of ministry and was only to see his wife for two weeks during the remaining years.
A party of eight did go back with him, including his daughter Edith who was to marry Alfred Buxton. Arriving at Napa was an amazing experience for Studd. He had left a few deserted houses, now there were many Christians and a vibrant work. Then on to Niagara where the first white wedding in Africa’s heart was to be conducted. Studd settled at Napa and scattered his staff to man the other three strategic centers already named. In January, 1917, some 15 or 20 members of the native church went out to preach for three months. In April some 50 now wanted to go and preach plus they just baptized 81 more converts. By August 50 more desired baptism.
Soon a work was opened in the Ituri Province, which was to eventually surpass the work in the Welle Province where the original four stations were. Studd visited that area in June, 1918, and was amazed at what he saw. The station at Deti Hill had many Christians, large crowds and many converts. Things slowed down as the war halted new missionaries from coming and Buxton and his wife took a well deserved furlough 1919-21. In 1920 early prayer meetings seemed to be the only encouraging thing going for Studd as he was having a terrible irritation of arms and legs with many bad ulcers on his feet and ankles. However, beginning in 1919 new workers began to be sent and by 1922 the missionary population had grown from six to 40 including daughter Pauline and her husband. Buxton’s return in 1921 to Nala, freeing Studd for pioneer evangelistic work up in the Ituri Province, was encouraging. Tribe after tribe now wanted missionaries.
In the Ituri forest, four days south of Nala, lived a big chief named Ibambi. His village was the center of a great population. In 1922 Studd moved his headquarters here. Ibambi became the name given the place. Natives came by the hundreds to be taught and baptized. Almost every day one could hear hymns of people coming from various directions. He began to go into the forest area around about. Up at Imbai (5 hours away) a house of God to seat 1,200 was built. Over to Adzangwe (3 hours away) saw 500 to 600 worshipping the Lord on Sunday. Studd’s health began to fail badly. Many urged him to go home to England, but it was as if he was in the midst of an amazing black-skinned revival, something he had already given his life for, so he felt he must stay on. Now six stations were operating in Ituri Province in addition to the first four original ones in Welle Province.
Back in England a miracle of sorts happened. The day after Studd left in 1916 his wife got off the invalid’s bed never to return. She began to live the life of a whirlwind, and the salvation of souls, plus the care of her children were the only things she lived for. She traveled in behalf of her Lord and her husband to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, and South Africa. She was considered one of the finest missionary speakers in the world. By 1921 Mrs. Studd expanded the headquarters at home. Previously in 1919 Gilbert Barclay, husband of daughter Dorothy became Overseer of the Home Office. The mission title was changed from Heart of Africa Mission to Worldwide Evangelization Crusade.
But we must go back to Africa where the beloved “Bwana” continued to minister. A time of crisis developed, natives were saved but not really controlled by the Holy Spirit; some missionaries were rebelling against his leadership as too rigid. Studd built the work on living in native-built houses, plainest of foods, no holidays, no recreations, only complete absorption in saving the heathen. A number of missionaries resigned and two were dismissed. In 1925 some eight missionaries joined Studd in a great time of soulsearching and mighty power fell upon them, and the mission was reborn in harmony and power. The blessings spread to the remotest station. Soon the desire of his heart was to see a Spirit-filled church in the heart of Africa. Up to 2,000 would gather at such places as Imbai if they knew Studd was going to be there. He wrote nearly 200 hymns, which he accompanied on a banjo. We have already mentioned the Bangala language used in Welle Province, but in the Ituri Province the language was Kingwana, and so Studd, equal to the task was determined to translate the New Testament into this dialect. Quite a feat for a man nearing 70. He worked at it night and day, some 18 hours per session, with no meals but what he gulped down while writing. While he translated, Jack Harrison typed and at the end of the day would have to gently massage Studd before he could sit up straight again. He finished it, plus Psalms and Proverbs. His payment for this, heart attack after heart attack. In 1928 nobody thought he would live for a week, and only a Belgian Red Cross doctor’s treatment with various drugs revived him. By continuing to use morphia he could gain temporary strength to work and preach. He still had 3 more years to live. Studd had asthma, recurring malaria, dysentery, chills, pains of gallstones ever with him in varying combinations, yet he continued 8 to 18 hours per day to address, often for hours, thousands of black creatures, telling them of Jesus Christ.
In 1928 his beloved wife, whom he had not seen in twelve years, and whom he had only been with for about two years since 1910 when he left for Africa, who herself had come through so much difficulty, and who was to die one year later, visited Egypt and then paid him a visit for two weeks. Some 2,000 Christians gathered to meet her. The natives had always been told that their Bwana’s wife was at home, so busy getting white men and women to come out and tell them about Jesus, that she could not come herself. But when they saw her in person they began to understand in a way that no words could convey, the sacrifice that Studd and his wife had paid to bring salvation to them. The parting was terrible. They said goodbye to each other in his bamboo house, knowing it was the last time they would meet on earth. They went to a waiting motor car down the path from the house without another word being said. She got in with set face and eyes straight ahead in front of her and was gone. In 1929 she died while on a visit to Malaga, Spain.
Studd was soon to join her. On Sunday, July 12, 1931, Studd seemed fit, conducting a five-hour meeting at Ibambi. On Monday he asked for an injection of quinine as he felt cold and thought he had some fever- At night there was much pain which was diagnosed as gallstones. Tuesday and Wednesday his condition worsened. Thursday was his coronation day; he got so weak he could hardly talk. He did murmur “heart bad” and when asked if he was going to leave said, “very likely.” With each little breath he could spare he could only say, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” By 7 p.m. he was unconscious and at 10:30 p.m. he was gone. Nearly 2,000 blacks, including four chiefs, were at the funeral the next day. He was buried in a simple grave.
Go Ye into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature … England … China … America … India . . . Africa. There is little doubt he received a special, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” as he joined his wife for a well deserved vacation, something he never knew down on earth.
The main source of information for this story comes from the book, C.T. Studd, Cricketer and Pioneer by Norman C. Grubb.
C.T. Studd, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. C.T. Studd is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?