Scottish Mary Slessor’s life started out less than ideal. Her father was a drunk who beat her mother and spent his money on alcohol. Mary wasn’t naturally brave, but she trusted Christ as her Savior when she was young and over the years gained courage.
She began a Sunday School class in one of the worst parts of town. One day as she went early to the room where the class was held to prepare for her lesson, a group of rough boys grabbed her. The leader threatened her with a sharp piece of metal tied to a string. He said they’d let her go if she promised to stop teaching the class. She refused to, and he swung the metal closer and closer until it cut her forehead. With blood running down her face, she stared at him and didn’t say a word. Impressed, he let her go and she invited the boys to her class. That night the leader was saved.
When she was twenty-seven the famous missionary, David Livingstone, died. Mary admired the man who had braved Africa and trekked through the country. Mary’s mother always dreamed of one of her son’s going into the mission field, but both died before the dream was accomplished. Mary prayed God would send her anywhere as a missionary. He sent her to Calabar, where she became known as the White Ma. Her name came about when she rescued twin babies. The people believed twins were evil and left them outside to die. Mary took them in and raised them. When they saw that nothing happened to her the people changed the law. Eventually Mary adopted a daughter of her own, whom she called Janie.
Ten years before she died Mary became a vice president in a native court. As she got older she grew more and more sick. She suffered from bouts of malaria, but she never permanently gave up her work and returned to Scotland. Her health was so bad she had to be pushed in a cart for long distance journeys. She died in Calabar on January 13, 1915.