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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Slessor’

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Farm fresh eggs. The young ladies who help clean my house brought me some lovely brown eggs. Why do they seem to taste better when the shells are brown?

Getting (almost) caught up Since the wedding at the end of February I have felt behind in getting necessary things accomplished. Some of it involves preparing for Bible studies and speaking engagements, but most of it is mundane stuff like ironing, cleaning out closets, preparing for taxes in two countries….you know, boring but necessary stuff. This week I was able to take care of a few of those things, which brings a feeling of satisfaction. After the ladies retreat next weekend I will have a retirement planning project to work on and some final tax information to send off. Maybe by the end of May I will feel completely caught up!

Date day My husband and I had a date day on Monday, his day off this semester. It was fun to go out for coffee and later out for lunch while getting a few errands done and spending time talking together.

Lending books from my library Some of the younger women from our church have been asking to borrow some of my books. During our years in Calgary we were blessed with a used bookstore that sold only Christian books. I was able to build a substantial missionary biography library due to their extensive stock and extremely reasonable prices. These books are full of gems to challenge, encourage and bless us in our Christian walk and I am delighted to be able to share them with others. Side note: If you have borrowed any of my books, even if you have had them for years, would you please send them home? Their Mommy wants them back!

Lead on card sales I have a ministry of making and giving away hand crafted greeting cards with Bible verses on them. I love blessing people with my cards, but I have been looking for a way to at least pay for my expenses. This week I was given a couple of leads for possibly selling my cards. I hope these pan out!

I have no new nature photographs from this week, but I will share some favorites from our trip to Scotland several years ago. I hope to take some pictures on the way to and from the ladies’ retreat next weekend, so check with me in two weeks for those.

Scottish Thistle

Scottish Thistle

Bagpipes in Sterling

Bagpipes in Sterling

Sunset over Garrique

Sunset over Garrique

"Sheepies"

“Sheepies”

Rainbow over the valley

Rainbow over the valley

Torthorwald castle ruins

Torthorwald castle ruins

Dundee

Dundee

Garrique sunset

Garrique sunset

Edinburgh church

Edinburgh church

Mary Slessor Window Dundee

Mary Slessor Window Dundee

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. Mobility! It snowed overnight, but the rest of the week has been warm enough for most of the winter’s accumulation of ice and snow to melt. I’ve been trying to go outside to walk around or do errands each day to help build up my weakened leg muscles. I was even able to go without my cane a couple of the days!

2. Sense of humor One of the things I love about my husband id his sense of humor. He joked with the congregation that he and Pastor David had whirled around in teacups at Disneyland when they were in southern California last week. (No time for that kind of activity during a conference!!) A photographer in the church found some silly images of the pastors and photoshopped them into a teacup ride picture. The church family seemed to really enjoy seeing the lighter side of their pastors.

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3. God remains the same Currently the winds of change are blowing for many of our family, friends and ministries. Most of these touch us in some way and cause me anxiety if I do not leave them with the Lord. God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. I am asking God to keep me focusing on that promise in these times of uncertainty.

4. A photograph I took I love taking pictures, but am in no way a trained photographer. In the past couple of years two different publishers have asked permission to use one of my photos in their books. They both asked to publish a picture of a stained glass window portraying missionary Mary Slessor I took when we visited Dundee Scotland several years ago. This has been my fleeting moment of photography fame!

Mary Slessor Window Dundee

5. Family in Christ God has recently drawn to our church a number of families who have emigrated from Africa. I am enjoying getting to know them and marvel at the sacrifices they have made for the promise of a better life for their families. Language, culture, climate are all different, but we are one in Christ and enjoy wonderful fellowship together based on that familial bond.

What has God blessed you with this past week?

 

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Last year it was my great privilege to visit the McManus Museum of Dundee Scotland.  There we saw a display about the brave redheaded missionary, Mary Slessor.  We were saddened to observe that much of the display touted her humanitarian efforts and downplayed her evangelistic zeal.  Mary Slessor was a godly woman who served the Lord and her African brothers and sisters whole-heartedly.  The following article summarizes an excellent biography of her life and ministry, Mary Slessor of Calabar by W. P. Livingstone.  It was originally published in the early 1900’s and can be found used online.  Modern reprints, or rather copies, are available but do not always contain clear renditions of the photos from the original, so you may want to check on that before ordering one.

Mary Slessor:  Brave Missionary Example

Mary Slessor was a sensible, thrifty Scottish lass born in 1848.  Her father’s alcoholism ruined the family financially and forced Mary to begin working at the mills when she was just eleven. An elderly neighbour woman was burdened for the souls of area children, earnestly urging them to forsake their sins and come to Christ.  Mary responded and soon began gathering street children to attend religious meetings.   A missionary spoke of the great need in Africa, particularly the Calabar region and Mary’s heart grew burdened for missions. After arranging for the care of her mother and sisters, Mary left for service in Africa.  She was 28 years old.

Mary Slessor window in Dundee, Scotland

Mary’s spent time on the African coast training under veteran missionaries.   A survey trip to the Calabar region caused her to observe, “Calabar needs a brave heart and a stout body.”[1]  Possessed of a stout heart, Mary found her body weakened by the many tropical diseases she was exposed to, but she persevered in her desire to work inland.  Mary was finally left in charge of her own station at Calabar (Nigeria).  Her earnest, winsome concern for the souls soon won the affection and admiration of the mission staff and the natives.  Mary exercised extreme frugality – eating native food, sleeping in a native house, and doing all her own work.  She quickly learned to speak the language.  Mary often travelled barefoot or by canoe to minister to various tribes, and campaigned tirelessly to end the superstitious and evil practices that often meant death for the innocent.  Her efforts were so joyful and devoted that her field directors noted, “Her labours are manifold, but she sustains them cheerfully – she enjoys the unreserved friendship and confidence of the people, and has much influence over them.”[2]

When Mary learned in 1886 that both her mother and sister had died, leaving her without family in this world, she commented, “Heaven is now nearer to me than Britain, and no one will be anxious about me if I go up-country.”[3]  She moved further inland to Okoyong.  The inhabitants were wild, fearless, and superstitious with no regard for life. Slowly Mary influenced the tribesmen to make changes by introducing the gospel and gently but staunchly standing against the vile tribal rituals and vengeful reprisals enacted when death or illness struck.

The “White Ma” was called upon to intercede to save lives and prevent tribal warfare.  “Run, Ma!” her friends would urge her when hearing of trouble brewing in a nearby area.  Mary would run to the area of conflict and bravely and calmly argue for the life of those facing certain unwarranted death. Her basis of argument was “the Book” and the words of the great God.  Many lives that would have been carelessly cast away at a whim or superstition were saved by the timely intervention of Mary.

When requests came from other interior tribes for White Ma to come to them with the stories of the good book, Mary longed to go.  Though her spirit was more than willing, her body was increasingly frail.  Years of privation and extreme frugality had left her body weak and unable to function and she entered heaven in her sixty-sixth year.  Mary Slessor was a faithful servant of her beloved Saviour who cared more for the souls of the lost than for any personal recognition or comfort in this life. Her unselfish work is responsible for numerous Africans coming to know the Lord.


[1] Livingstone, W. P., Mary Slessor of Calabar Pioneer Missionary (London:  Hodder and Stoughton, 1923), p. 32

[2] Livingstone, p. 35

[3] Livingstone, p. 51

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