by Barbara Latta
As we approach the end of Women’s History Month, we can honor the legacy of some dedicated Christian women and missionaries. Their sacrifices to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in places far from their homes can inspire us to grow our own faith.
Katherine Bushnell, born in 1855, spent her life seeking purity of the scriptures in translated versions of the Bible. She published God’s Word to Women, served as a medical doctor and missionary in North America, Europe, and Asia. She was also outspoken about women’s rights and fought diligently for equality for women in the countries where she worked. She died in 1946 at the age of 89.
Elizabeth Elliot, who died in 2015, was a well-known speaker and author. She supported the work of her husband, Jim Elliot, in Ecuador among the Auca Indians. When Jim was martyred by these tribes, Elizabeth spent two years ministering to the same people who killed her husband. Her ability to remain with these tribes is one of the greatest examples of what the power of forgiveness can do. The movie, End of the Spear, tells the story of the Elliots and their legacy among the Ecuadoran tribe.
Isobel Selina Miller Kuhn was a missionary to the Lisu people in Yunnan Province, China and northern Thailand. She and her husband, John, served these people as evangelists and church planters. She is the author of nine books about their experiences. She died in 1957.
Margaret Dryburgh, a British teacher, went to Singapore during World War II and was captured and spent time in a prison camp. Her experiences were portrayed in the 1996 movie, Paradise Road. She died in 1945.
Wilhelmina “Minnie” Vautrin was a missionary in China for 28 years. She cared for up to 10,000 Chinese refugees during the Nanking Massacre in China. She stood up to the Japanese in order to protect the civilians at her college. She returned to the United States under duress in 1940. She was awarded the Emblem of the Blue Jade by the Chinese government after her death in 1941.
Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, was born in China to medical missionary parents. Ruth spent her childhood helping her parents. The dire circumstances where they ministered such as poverty, disease, and strife emblazoned on her soul the need these people had to hear about Christ. Her goal was to be a missionary in Tibet after she was grown.
She went back to America and attended Wheaton College where she met her future husband. Because of her desire for missions, she was torn between the man she loved and the mission field. God made her calling clear that she was to marry Billy and assist her husband.
Ruth was well-known for her books, poems, and for helping Billy Graham with his sermons. They raised five children together. Her death in 2007 left a hole in the hearts of those who have followed BGEA for years. This quote from Billy Graham shows what kind of relationship the couple had.
When asked where he goes for spiritual counsel and support, Billy Graham answered, “My wife, Ruth. She is a great student of the Bible.”
Accolades for famous women were broadcast across the airwaves during Women’s History Month. Many of them accomplished great feats that benefited humanity. The sad fact that men posing as women are now elevated to award status on magazines and in sports competitions shows us how far society has degenerated.
We can keep the value of women alive by honoring Christian women like these highlighted in this post. Their contributions on cultures and societies where they lived and worked left a legacy. Their dedication to Christ should not only be praised but they also exhibit qualities all females can emulate.
Do you have a faith hero? Feel free to share your thoughts.