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God does a powerful and magnificent thing by raising up missionaries. He not only regenerates hearts but He establishes some to go to the hard places, live a hard life, and some even to die for His name. The selfish will of the natural man would never do that.

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The self-sacrificing heart of a regenerated Christian, would. I think of many woman missionaries who lived and died for His Gospel.

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One of my favorites is Gladys Aylward, missionary to China. We might be inclined to even think of them like super-Christians, given extra strength or morality or character, or who were extra spiritual.

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LOL, they were simply women, with the same sins, tendencies, and foibles as the rest of us. In fact, you might be surprised to find that some female missionaries may have possessed extra doses of foibles and struggles as they considered the mission field. Some of them may have mixed their motives for going, struggling with the exact same issues we do today- feminism and being conflicted against prescribed gender roles.

After William Carey, missionary to India and considered the Father of Modern Missions, died ina fervor arose among the faithful. He had founded the Baptist Missionary Society, spent 41 years in India without a furlough and raised consciousness among Christians of the need for bringing the Gospel to the nations.

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Missions exploded. In addition to the missions movement powerfully springing up in the mid s, in which many Christians desired to goanother powerful movement sprang up too- First Wave Feminism. Whereas ly, the only credible careers available to women were teaching or nursing, now, many women found that a missionary life afforded them a chance at a fulfilling career and even leadership opportunities on the foreign field that would not have happened back home.

The Civil War had helped with that, either with women handling the homestead or the business while the men were gone, or serving in the army itself as doctors.

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Once bitten by the independence bug, many women found that missions offered similar opportunity to lead an independent life. She tried to get an organization going, but it went nowhere. By the time of the Civil War inthere was less opposition to females singly ing men on the foreign mission field.

Lottie was indifferent to the Baptist religion of her parents until age 18, when she experienced an awakening during a series of revivals. She then attended Virginia Female Seminary and Albemarle Female Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia graduating in with the first master of arts degrees awarded to a woman by a southern institution. Lottie taught at home for a while, but then responded to a call from her sister Edmonia in who had already been approved for the China mission field and had been there a year.

Foreign missions often encountered an issue of gender. In many nations, only women could reach women. Men counseling or giving the Gospel or interacting in general with women presented a scandalous problem. Can we wonder at the mortal weariness and disgust, the sense of wasted powers and the conviction that her life is a failure, that comes over a woman when, instead of the ever broadening activities that she had planned, she finds herself tied down to the petty work of teaching a few girls? That was how Lottie viewed women missionaries teaching children on the mission field.

Her specific directive from the SBC Missions Board was to teach women, not to Single missionary women churches, Single missionary women, or teach men. Rebelling, Lottie did all three, loudly. She decided that to make a lasting impact she had to reach the men of the community. Being a woman called to leadership within and simultaneously beyond those walls [of an SBC church] was complicated to say the least but I worked within the system. After all, I had no personal aspirations to preach nor was it my aim to teach men.

If men showed up in my class, I did not throw them out. I taught. She found it easier to advance her expanded view of female missionary work on the foreign field. When no men were available to preach, she did. If that be freedom, give me slavery.

Finding a life of gospel boldness

Forgoing biblical submission, she threatened reation. Her rebelliousness resonates to this day. Lottie remained unmarried to her death. As regards her death, the common story is that Lottie gave away all her money and gave her food to starving Chinese during a famine, dying a board a ship at Kobe Harbor weighing 50 pounds.

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Other documents indicate Moon suffered from an infection located behind her ear, which the missions doctor theorized had invaded her spinal column and caused dementia. Mary chose missionary work over marriage, eventually becoming a revered Judge in native court, something that would not have happened back in Scotland. Married W. Eugene Sallee. She resisted mightily.

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Yet Annie remained uncertain. Though she said she loved Sallee a great deal, she also viewed marriage as a personal defeat. And despite this love, she remained uncertain about fulfilling the station of wife. I feel a single woman can do so much more work than a married one with household cares. I feel I could have more influence with the young unmarried. I never did feel called upon to keep house for a man. I want to be in the work myself. It hurts him when I talk this way.

How women can help prepare single female missionaries for the field

I have seen the other side…the taste I had of public work, of the meetings with women, of moving whole audiences, and of helping people make decisions for God, of counciling [sic] with people about their work, and helping the discouraged—has taken a bigger hold on me than I thought and I flinch when I think of merging my own self, identity and all, literally losing right of self and all for him.

My how it hurts my pride. I hate to think I gave up my name.

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When Annie did eventually marry, she had the officiant take the word obey out of the vows and replace it with the word help. It is a fact that God calls some to singleness, and that is OK. In that case it would be a mixed motive that we women should be careful to examine before making drastic life decisions, most importantly, of the mission field. Genesis makes that clear that it is within all of us until the glorification to want to rule over a husband. If it is for the Lord, no work is petty. Did Paul deem it petty to make tents? Any historical person will have had a blending of truth and myth attached to their name.

We are all used to the mythologizing that surrounds Lottie Moon or Amy Carmichael she will be looked at in a separate essay. In the s and early s life was rough for these women as it still is in many places. The hard life, relentless cultural opposition, and some martyrdoms make it clear that God was first priority. Yet their mixed motives are not out of bounds to examine, nor is is unwarranted to say that the sometimes lack of rigorous oversight may have later incited some of these women to overstep, bowing to Single missionary women natural tendency to usurp.

It is also a call to examine everything with clear eyes, not to be clouded by mythologizing or romanticizing missions.

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Many conferences rally young people to do extraordinary, counter-cultural, radical things for kingdom. High school, college, and seminary students are exhorted to do anything but settle for a predictable, cozy existence. The drumbeat, intentional or not, is risk, run, burn out, and die for Jesus.

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This would completely contradict what Paul says about women in 1 Corinthians 11, where he tells the women how to pray and prophesy in church. His assumption is that they will pray and prophesy, which means his assumption is that they will speak during church services. A letter to young women interested in going overseas. As a wife, I Single missionary women deed to help my husband be the best man he can be as he lives out his calling to make disciples. If you are called to singleness, you are still created to be a helper in a general sense to the body of Christ, but you are also able to maximize your giftedness in a unique, devoted way 1 Cor.

So if you are single, I would encourage you to find a ministry that you love with leaders that you can work under and help. Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children. View All Posts. Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog. Like Like.

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You must be logged in to post a comment. Mary Slessor Scottish Missionary to Nigeria. Mary accepted a marriage Mary Slessor proposal from a man 30 years her junior, but decided not to marry him when the Board refused to allow him to leave Duke Town, and Mary refused to leave the interior. Shaw It is a fact that God calls some to singleness, and that is OK. Like this: Like Loading Author: elizabethprata Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children. Loading Comments

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Take the initiative and reach out to her.


I am single and served overseas for twelve years as a church planter.


Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives.


She is passionate about helping others tell their stories, whether they're missionaries on the field, new believers or part of a missionary support team.