23 October 2012

A 31 Day Grand Prix {day 23} ~ three missionary heroes I've never met... yet!

Therefore, surrounded as we are by such a vast cloud of witnesses, let us fling aside every encumbrance and the sin that so readily entangles our feet. And let us run with patient endurance the race that lies before us... (Hebrews 12.1 Weymouth Bible)

I'm definitely noticing a trend here... (and at least I'm talking about not imaginary real people today!). I do so love missionary biographies and autobiographies... and the individual stories of these three women do fascinate, intrigue and inspire me in the strength and the power of these incredibly strong but gentle.  An idea that sometimes perplexes me is how God used women, so commonly referred to as the gentle sex, in all of their weakness and delicateness, to undeniably proclaim His grace, goodness, power, love, justice, strength, provision, mercy... At least one of these women also made a very strong stand in regards to not preaching before an assembly containing men... and so God's character was also evident in her quietness.

... It seems like many of the heroes-to-me-women I've mentioned this month are also undeniably strong, confident and otherwise ambitious women. The difference is not in how they approach life; it is now they accept God's working in their and through their lives. It is in that quality of being able to rest in the hands of God, breathing "Not my will but Thine be done" in almost every.single.breath! Gentleness might not seem like the primary characteristic to describe them. Yet I can't pull myself away from it.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." (1 Peter 3.3-6)
I've written about each one of these women before on this blog, so instead of rehashing old material, I'll simply give you a teaser from each post. Then a simple click will allow you to find out a bit more about the ones which interest you! Enjoy!

Gladys Alyward

What's in a name?
"My heart is full of praise that one so insignificant, uneducated, and ordinary in every way could be used to His glory for the blessing of His people in poor persecuted China." (Gladys Aylward)
Gladys Aylward is one of my heroes.
I've been thinking about her this week - probably because I have a friend who makes me think of her. This friend has been coming with me every week, helping me teach a literacy class for the past few months. She doesn't speak the local verbal languages... but she's very fluent with languages that speak directly to hearts. Mamata (the oldest lady and most faithful student in the class) and those who live in her concession call my friend "Everyone's Friend..." The other day I think she told me (my Zarma isn't all that great - but it is improving) that getting to meet my friend has been a gift because Mamata doesn't just call her "Everyone's Friend" like everyone else. Instead, she gets to call her "My Friend." And she does. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard her use my friend's name...

Helen Roseveare

How is it that I've never heard of HER?
I've been reading the book Captured by Grace (David Jeremiah) and in chapter 8 of the book, he writes the following words: 
"Can we allow ourselves to be such total captives of His grace that we trust Him completely with life's most terrible moments?" (p. 159) 
Dr. Jeremiah then continues with the story of a lady who did answer "Yes!" to that question.  Helen Roseveare... 
...was a British medical missionary in the Congo. She stayed at her post during some of the worst turmoil in the country's history in 1964. Many Westerners fled, but Helen believed she should be willing to make any sacrifice for a Savior who had made the ultimate sacrifice for her. 
Someone tried to poison her, but her dog at the food and the attempt fails. Still she stayed on.... Even when her house was looted of every item within it, she refused to leave her post. 
It's not as if Helen had no fear. She rarely slept well, knowing that at any moment someone could enter her home and take her life. But she concentrated on learning to trust God more absolutely. 
On Saturday, August 15, 1964, a truckload of soldiers commandeered her hospital.... 

Isabel Crawford
Ever heard of Isabel Crawford?
Six young Kiowa braves sat on their horses, calmly watching her. All were naked to the waist. Their heavy black hair hung in thick braids, interwoven with rawhide and strips of ermine. All wore bone chestplates and copper bracelets. 
Isabel pulled her team to a halt. Moving slowly to hide her racing heart, she raised her right hand, palm forward in greeting. 

One by one, the Indians guided their horses down the slope toward her and formed a semicircle, blocking her path. 
"You come here all alone and you no scared? Maybe we scalp you." The leader's face was solemn. 
The banks of the dry wash screened Isabel and the six Indian men from the outside world. She was truly at their mercy. 
"I think maybe we scalp you now." the leader signed. He prodded his horse forward. A knife appeared in his left hand. He snatched the Winchester from his lap and placed the end of the barrel against Isabel's head. She heard the click of the hammer as it was cocked. 

Isabel went completely numb. Every thought went out of her brain. The roaring in her ears grew into a crescendo as she awaited the fatal bullet. Cold chills shot up her spine. She closed her eyes and prepared to die...

A few weeks ago, Rebekah handed me a book. The cover of Light on the Mountain, by Leonard Sanders, shows the picture of a beautiful young woman and several Native Americans in the background behind her. Those words above formed the teaser paragraph on the front pages, designed to hook prospective readers. Rebekah had already emphatically announced it was one of her favorite books ever... as she handed it to me. At this point, I figured it was nothing more one of those formula-pioneer-western-romance-sort of novels. But? I'd promised Rebekah...

Do you find any of these women inspirational?

Which one and why? 

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