By Kellie Moeller
In November 1887 William Borden was born into a very wealthy family. As heir to the Borden family fortune, he was already a millionaire before he went to college. For his high school graduation present, his parents gave the 16-year-old a trip around the world. As he traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world’s hurting people. It was during this international trip that God impressed upon his heart a desire to serve as a missionary. With the world at his fingertips and a fortune in his pocket, Bill’s friends thought he was crazy to throw his life away as a missionary. But God had another plan.
While at Yale University, Borden started a movement that would transform campus life for Christ. What started as a morning prayer time with a friend, grew into a bible study and spread across the Yale campus like wildfire. By the end of his first year, 150 freshmen were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer. By the time Borden was a senior, a thousand of Yale’s 1,300 students were meeting and 80% of the campus came to know Christ!
William Borden was a mighty man of prayer. The names of each student were prayed over one by one within the student groups. The question was always asked, ‘who will take this person?’ When nobody wanted the responsibility of praying for the most difficult students and the hardest hearts, Bill’s voice could be heard, ‘Put him down to me.
Although he was a millionaire, Bill was more interested in God’s business plans. He dreamed of becoming a missionary to China. Faithful to his calling, and not missing the opportunity at hand, he founded New Haven Rescue Mission and would often be found in the lower parts of the city, on the street at night, in a cheap hotel or restaurant where he had taken someone for a meal. He was always looking to lead people to Christ through practical service.
After graduation from Yale, Borden turned down high-paying job offers. At a very young age, he led a student movement, was a board member of the National Bible Institute and became director of Moody Bible Institute. At age 22, after he finally finished his graduate studies at Princeton, he joined the China Inland mission and sailed for China to pursue his dream. Before arriving in China, he stopped in Egypt for language study. While there, he contracted spinal meningitis and within a very short time, he died at the age of 25, never making it to China.
From a human perspective, Borden’s death seems like a waste and a tragedy, but God had a larger purpose. Through the life of William Borden, thousands of young people came to Christ and went on to impact the world for the gospel. Having founded one of the greatest student movements in history, generations were influenced for Christ. William Borden was also a prayer warrior. When one English visitor to the U.S. was asked what had most impressed him about America, is said, “The sight of that young millionaire kneeling with his arm around a ‘bum’ in the Yale Hope Mission.
Never underestimate what God can do through the lives of a small group of students. CVM exists to encourage veterinary professionals and students to live out their faith by providing opportunities in the U.S. and around the world, to serve through their profession. CVM knows that veterinary school is not solely about academics or career vision, it’s about serving God and living lives of worship in obedience to Christ. Through events like RLRI, Short-Term mission opportunities, Internships, and Christian Veterinary Fellowship groups, we pray that God will move in the hearts of students in a mighty way.
Find out more at the CVM website.