My mother-in-law was one of the most amazing and inspirational people I have ever had the privilege to meet. I met her when I was only 16, and as a young girl she made it her responsibility to teach me as much as she could. I can still see those chubby little hands of hers, wrapped around an old coffee mug as we sat in her tiny kitchen and she shared with me story upon story of God’s faithfulness in her life. Such times would usually end with her pulling out a box stuffed full of old bent up black and whites, each one carefully held out for me to hold while she told the story that belonged with the face in the photo.
I remember one particular afternoon, over 30 years ago, as our conversation led to her dear mother, Ruby McIntyre. She had been Australian by birth, born to a farmer from Campbelltown, New South Wales. She studied and became a nurse, which was an amazing feat as she had been orphaned as a young girl.
As a young woman, Ruby felt the call of God to go and serve Him as a missionary to the headhunters of Papua New Guinea. What a difficult undertaking not only because of who she felt called to serve but also because she was young, single and beautiful. In that era women still did not travel and minister alone but off she went, apparently with the same tenacity for serving the Lord that I have seen in her decedents since.
She served with her whole heart, tending to the sick, delivering babies and being a source of comfort and prayer for the women of the village. They respected and protected her. The women of the village would stand in a semi-circle of protection around her in the river so that she could bathe without fear of being bitten by the river snakes.
She served the people with all that was within her. One day, while walking through the jungle she saved a villager from a boa constrictor that had dropped out of a nearby tree and began squeezing the life from its victim. She grabbed her knife, which she always carried with her and stabbed the snake repeatedly until it let go of its hold. She was a woman of great faith and prayer. She had to be because He was all she had in that primitive little world.
As time passed, she became accepted into their strange world. She watched one evening as the New Guineans buried a young mother. It was their custom to bury the living baby with its mother. She just could not understand such primitive ways. So that night, with her spade in hand, she went out and dug up the baby, brought him home and cared for him. Time and time again she would brave the fears of the dark jungle and find the fresh grave that held her next wee one. She cared for them all.
Missionary martyr who lost his life in the late 1950’s trying to reach the Auca Indians of Ecuador
Jeannie went on and on about her mother. As tears rolled down my face I thought of those sweet babies. What a beautiful love. This amazing young missionary would soon meet and marry another missionary from England and become the parents of this inspirational woman who sat before me. No wonder my husband loved the Lord so, he grew up on a steady diet of this amazing faith full of prayer, miracles and self sacrificing love.
These times of fellowship with my mother-in-law impacted my life. As a matter of fact, I have developed an insatiable hunger to hear about the trials and triumphs of other missionaries. They inspire me, teach me, and in the end I am deeply humbled as I realize that in my short times of service I have not had to sacrifice anything in comparison to these giants of the faith.
Missionaries who have inspired my life include:
Henry Townsend, George Whitefield, Gladys Alward, John Wesley, John Birch, William Carey, St Francis, Adoniram Judson, Charlotte White, George Mueller, Jim Elliot, Samuel Dyer, David Livingston, Eric Liddell, Mary Slessor, Hudson Taylor, Robert Pierce, Father Damien, Mother Theresa, Amy Carmichael, Nate Saint, and of course William and Catherine Booth (founders of the Salvation Army)
May I recommend this book?
It is the story of one of my heroes of the faith, Nate Saint: On A Wing and A Prayer. If you have read this book, please feel free to comment your thoughts below.
Stasia is mother to six beautiful children and wife to a dedicated, loving husband. They have served as a family together on the mission field on four continents for nearly 30 years. Stasia’s passion is to share in true colors the grace of God in her life. You can read more about her and the ministry of the Women’s Bible Cafe. Stasia is the CEO of LifeVerse Books and you can Subscribe to LVB to receive regular free and discounted book deals and timely reviews. If this article has blessed you in any small way, please consider showing your support by clicking subscribe in the upper right corner. Copyright© 2015 Stasia Nielsen All Rights Reserved