Her Name Was Alice

“She was a lovely, faithful wife, who loved her family, and her Lord very, very much” (Dow Merritt).
Several months earlier, Alice Merritt had woken up in discomfort and felt a lump in her breast. For any woman, anywhere, this would have sent cold fear coursing through her veins. But Alice was the mother of four, and the wife of a missionary. She lived in a pole and thatch hut on the golden veldt of central Africa.
A sample was sent to faraway Johannesburg. It took two weeks for a telegram to return. “Rush her to the hospital.” She fought the disease with more than bravery; she did so with the desperation of a woman who fears for her children, and their father, who would be left alone.
When the doctor finally consented to allow her to go home, they traveled in a train pulled by an enormous steam engine. Sparks flew into the open window, but they could not shut it, for the day was fearfully hot.
When her family and friends met her and Dow at the train station at Kalomo, she had slipped into a coma.
The next day Dow Merritt woke up alone.
There are things that college courses in cultural anthropology cannot fathom. I would rather aspiring missionaries read ten missionary biographies before they read their first book on missiology. Courage and conviction, dedication to God and love for the lost go beyond the ken of a sociologist.
First, read the book of Acts. Then read Dow Merritt’s “The Dew Breakers,” Georgia Hobby’s “Give Us This Bread”; Donna Horne’s touching, funny “Meanwhile Back in the Jungle,” and Donna Mitchell’s “Among the People of the Sun.” These books will tell you volumes about the spread of the Gospel to other lands, its urgency, its Biblical necessity.
“This is the gospel that you heard, and has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul have become a servant” (Colossians 1:23).

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