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The Martyr

“And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6).

She was the mother of scores of orphans, a single woman on the mission field for decades. She fed and clothed generations of young people, introducing them to Christ and shaping their characters for good. She directed lives toward eternity.

One dark night she was brutally murdered.

That was over thirty years ago. Her name was Elaine Britell, a native of California, and a missionary to southern Zambia. She ran an orphanage, fed the hungry, taught them to read and write, and led them to Christ. She was stabbed to death in her bed by an unknown assailant.

There is no calculating the difference she made in that central African region!

If this seems familiar, it should.

Another magnificent Christian woman was murdered recently in Haiti. She was Roberta Edwards, and she ran an orphanage, fed the hungry, and raised young people who now lead the church, lights in that otherwise sad country.

When a young woman asks me if she can make a difference for the Lord’s cause, I usually cite these two inspiring Christians. They did more than talk about the need to make a difference; they acted. They were as strong as any man, sweet-spirited as any Christian woman. Each could easily have taken it easy in her home country, enjoying the luxury of reliable electrical service, good health services and large, established church buildings in which to sit on a Sunday morning. Instead, they chose to work in the dust and suffering of third world countries.

There is no shortage of needs in our world; there is no shortage of opportunities to serve; the only shortage that exists is people of faith, men and women, who will step out and do something in Christ’s name.

You don’t have to work for thirty years on the mission field; commit to two, then evaluate. Perhaps two more? That’s how it’s done, wiping away the tears of a child, combatting their abandoned psyches with the truth that the Lord will never leave them nor forsake them (Hebrews 13:5).

Most of the good done in the Lord’s name is done quietly and consistently, but make no mistake, it is worthwhile work.

“Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:31).

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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