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Tuesday, August 07, 2007


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 Savior, 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. Enjoy…

Clara Maass, born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1876, was the first nurse ever to be honored on a United States postage stamp.

Clara was thrust into a caring role from early in life. She was the oldest of ten children of German immigrant parents. While in high school, she worked as a mother’s helper to help support her large family. At 15, she began working at the Newark Orphan Asylum and, two years later, the 17-year-old enrolled in the Christina Trefz Training School of Nurses at Newark German Hospital. At the age of 21, only a few years after her graduation, Maass was named head nurse of the school.

Clara left her post at Newark German Hospital in April 1898 to volunteer as a contract nurse at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Her two terms of service took her to Florida, Georgia, Cuba, and the Phillipines, where battle wounds took a backseat to deadly diseases like yellow fever, typhoid fever, and malaria.

In 1900, the Army began a series of yellow fever experiments at Las Animas Hospital in Havana, Cuba. By this time, it was known that yellow fever was transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Major William C. Gorgas and Dr. John Guiteras hoped to prove that by inducing a controlled case of the disease from a mosquito bite, they could treat the light illness and help patients develop an immunity. In the hopes of aiding medical science, Clara Maass volunteered to be bitten.

Clara received seven bites from infected mosquitoes over the course of several months. Her last exposure took place on August 14, 1901. Shortly afterwards, she grew ill. On August 24, 1901, Maass died of yellow fever. The experiments had demonstrated that bites from infected mosquitoes could not safely induce immunity from yellow fever. Clara Maass was the only woman and the only American to die in Gorgas’ and Guiteras’ yellow fever experiments.

Although Clara was buried with military honors, no fuss was made over her until thirty years later when another nurse stumbled across the facts, researched her story and raised funds for a memorial. Much later, in honor of her brave self-sacrifice, the United States issued the stamp shown here. Clara, by the way, was the first nurse honored on a U.S. postage stamp. If yellow fever does not threaten the world today as it did a century ago, it is in part owing to the Christian courage of Clara Maass.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes and give your all to win the lost to Christ? Then like, Clara Maass, 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 Clara Maass, 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 you used Clara. 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.

Be encouraged.

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