DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY - CLASSICAL TESTIMONIES… MARY SLESSOR... Scottish missionary to Calabar (Nigeria) Africa.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – Revelation 12:11.
By way of encouragement, I would like to devote Tuesdays to classical testimonies which have brought great blessing and glory to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. These are of men and women, who have faithfully served for the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that you will be blessed, encouraged, and inspired by these testimonies as I was…
Mary Slessor's heart thumped within her. "Oh, reverend, I couldn't do that." "But why?" he asked. "You speak to children all the time. I've heard you. You know the Scriptures well. Surely you won't mind going up on the platform to speak to our adult Fellowship on 'The common people heard Him gladly'." Mary glanced shyly around the meeting hall.
"Perhaps I may speak to them just as I am, reverend? I mean right here. To as few as want to listen."
So on the floor of the meeting hall that February night of 1874 Mary spoke to the Fellowship gathered around her - nervously avoiding eye contact with men. She elaborated on the Twelfth Chapter of Mark and how Jesus was confronted first by the learned Pharisees, and next by the aristocratic Sadducees, before once again he and his good news were received with joy by the common people. "Very well explained, Mary," enthused the reverend. "I'm only repeating that which I read in the Gospel," said Mary shyly.
She left the hall to scurry home. There were few about in the dark winter-chilled slums of Dundee, Scotland, but the few who were about were known well enough by her to worry her. She still ached from her refusal to speak from the platform. She had a hundred reasons to be self-conscious. At 25 she was unmarried. She was short. She had a face peppered with freckles. Her hair was carrot red. She was poor. She had no formal education. And she carried her dead father's shame. He drank himself to death. Who was she - the daughter of a drunk - to rise above the others to speak? Yet her timidity made her heart ache.
"Oh Lord, how I wanted to be like Doctor Livingstone," she sighed. The great Scottish missionary David Livingstone was Mary's hero. She had read Missionary Travels, hardly stopping to breathe, a second time, a third time. He was a Scot, just like her. He was second oldest of seven children, just like her. He had been poor, just like her. He had even worked in a textile mill many years, just like her! How many times had she told herself, 'We share so many similarities. Why then can not I be a missionary just like him? Yes, to Africa just like Livingstone!'
And yet here she was. When Livingstone was 26 he was in London, finishing his medical degree and missionary studies just before leaving for Africa! Mary at 26 still laboured on a loom in the factory, terrified of men, frightened to even speak… She was to frightened to speak! Oh! How God used this woman to bring Christ to Nigeria!
Here is her Biography...
Born: December 2, 1848, near Aberdeen, Scotland. 2nd of 7 siblings.
Childhood distinctions: Timid, impressionable.
1858... Family moved to Dundee.
1859... Father, 3 siblings died over next four years.
1859... Began part-time in weaving mill.
1862... Worked full-time.
1864... Became very active in church.
1876... Accepted for training by Presbyterian mission society, sailed for Calabar (part of what is now Nigeria).
1880... Opened Old Town mission.
1882... Took in first twin babies.
1885... Assigned to Creek Town.
1886... Reconnoitered murderous Okoyong area.
1888 ...Settled at Ekenge among Okoyong, began several years of incredible adventure.
1891... On furlough to Scotland recognized as outstanding missionary, began writing articles touting abilities of Africans. 1892... Appointed Vice-Counsel to administer justice to Okoyong.
1896... Relocated to Akpap.
1898... took four of her 'children' on furlough to Scotland.
1903... Left Akpap to begin ministry among Aros and Ibibios.
1906... Broke with mission society, took judgeship.
1907... Major decline in health.
1910... Opened mission in Ikpe.
1914... Feted in Nigeria with Silver Cross.
Died January 13, 1915.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes and give your all to win the lost to Christ? Then like Mary Slessor, put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water, and dare to follow Jesus wherever He leads you?
Loving Father, I thank you for the life of Mary Slessor, and I pray that anyone reading this may be inspired by her testimony to give their life to you, and that you would use them in the same way as Mary. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be a person of like faith, that I may bring glory to your name. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.