No Bible, no breakfast!
In 1975 I was a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Dan Bacon (DTS grad and OMF director at the time) was the chapel speaker and asked us students whether we were praying for any specific missionary. At the end of his talk, Dr. Bacon handed out a little blue commitment card which I filled out. Within days I received information concerning Dr. Henry Breidenthal, a graduate of DTS as well as a medical doctor and linguist. After six years of tribal and medical ministry, Dr. Henry moved to Bangkok and in 1971 started the Bangkok Bible College. I set about lifting Dr. Henry up to God daily, even though my knowledge was limited to a card with his picture on it. In God’s timing I began to attend an OMF monthly prayer meeting as a way to further my growing interest in Asia. At one memorable meeting I poured out my heart to God for Dr. Breidenthal, mentioning the problems I imagined that he and his wife and children were encountering in that Buddhist stronghold. It was then that a veteran missionary pulled me aside and gently whispered in my ear, “Larry, Dr. Henry is single.”
I continued to pray for Dr. Henry over the next five years and had the thrill of meeting him personally in 1980 during my Thai language study in Bangkok. After six years of up-country church planting experience I joined Dr. Henry in ministry at the Bangkok Bible Seminary to then be installed as dean in his place when Henry left for home assignment.
In 2001 Dr Henry and I were able to jointly start the Chiang Mai Theological Seminary. Last month there was a special chapel service to honour Dr Henry Briedenthal’s 51 years of service in Thailand. Henry has a passionate discipline for the Word, prayer and evangelism and handed out wristbands with his famous motto – no Bible, no breakfast!
I don’t know of any single male missionary in OMF who has maintained such a consistent walk and ministry on the field for over 50 years. Dr. Henry is not just finishing the race; he is sprinting as fast as his nearly 84 year old legs will carry him. Like the apostle Paul, he is gearing up for a strong finish.
Every Sunday, for probably 40 years, Dr. Henry has handed out gospel tracts in a local park. Henry has never owned a vehicle and so peddles to the park on his ancient bicycle. I see a crouched figure, bent over the handlebars with a first year Bible student/disciple peddling behind trying to stay up with him. I thought to myself, “When I grow up, I want to be Dr. Henry Breidenthal!”