Educating missionary children is exciting and exacting. On one hand, few people are more fortunate than missionary kids. They grow up as internationals with the world their home. They roam across Europe or explore Africa as easily as other children go around the block. On the other hand, many mission settings do not offer adequate schooling or needed interaction with other youth.

Ruth Bell Graham vividly remembers September 2, 1933. She was 13. Her father, a missionary surgeon in China, and her mother were sending her to boarding school in what is now Pyongyang, North Korea. For Ruth, it was a brutal parting, and she earnestly prayed she would die before morning. But dawn came, her prayers unanswered, she gripped her bags and trudged toward the riverfront. She was leaving all that was loved and familiar: her parents, her Chinese friends, the missionaries, her home, her memories. The Nagasaki Maru carried her down the Whangpoo River into the Yangtze River and onto the East China Sea.

A week later waves of homesickness pounded her like a churning surf. Ruth kept busy by day, but evenings were harder, and she would bury her head in her pillow and cry herself to sleep, night after night, week after week. She fell ill, and in the infirmary she read through the Psalms, finding comfort in Psalm 27:10—Even if my father and mother should desert me, you will take care of me.

Still, the hurt and fear, and doubt persisted. Finally, she went to her sister Rosa, also enrolled in Pyongyang. “I don’t know what to tell you to do,” Rosa replied matter-of-factly, “unless you take some verse and put your own name in it. See if that helps.” Ruth picked up her Bible and turned to a favorite chapter, Isaiah 53, and put her name in it: “He was wounded and crushed because of Ruth’s sins; by taking Ruth’s punishment, he made Ruth completely well.”

Her heart leaped, and the healing began.

Has anyone believed us or seen the mighty power Of the Lord in action? Like a young plant or a root that sprouts in dry ground, The servant grew up obeying the Lord. By taking our punishment, he made us completely well. (Isaiah 53:1,2a,5b)

Robert J. Morgan, On This Day: 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). Sept. 2.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

1192The Third Crusade ended when Richard Lionheart and Saladin sign an agreement that allowed Christians access to the holy city.

1578 – The first Anglican worship service held in Canada is led by Rev. Robert Wolfall at Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island around this date. The service is commemorated on the third of September.

1792 – A Parisian mob slaughtered twenty-five Roman Catholic priests as counter-revolutionaries, beginning a week of “September Massacres” in which 225 priests and hundreds of other people died.

1857Francois Coillard sailed for Cape Town on the Trafalgar. A man of sweet disposition, he gives up scholarly pursuits to win Africans to Christ and will perform such brave feats as risking a hail of bullets to plead for the lives of Christians.

1973J. R. R. Tolkien, a linguist, novelist, and devout Catholic died. He helped lead C. S. Lewis to Christ and was a member of the literary club The Inklings. Among his writings were the fantasy favorites The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

1979Xie Songsan offered the welcome and benediction for the re-opening ceremony at Moore Memorial Church, Shanghai. It had been closed earlier by Chinese communists who interrogated, beat, and imprisoned Xie. The service is presided over by Sun Yanli, another pastor who had suffered brutal treatment from the Communists.

Accessed Christianhistoryinstitute.org 01 September 2022.
Accessed Rhemalogy.com 01 September 2022.

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