Mary Slessor

maryslessorpioneer

Dies At The Age Of 66 In Mud Hut

Born in 1848 in Scotland, Mary Mitchell Slessor was the second of seven children. She attributed much of her godly character to her upbringing. "I owe a great debt of gratitude to my sainted mother," said Mary. Her father was an alcoholic, which resulted in a family life of poverty and strife.

By Rebecca Hickman

When she was eleven years old, Mary started working to help provide for her family. Her wages were soon the primary source of income, working 10 hour days to make ends meet. Her life was one long act of self-denial. All her own interests were laid aside for the sake of the family. She was content with bare necessaries as long as they were provided for. Mary was extremely close to her mother as they prayed continually for God's provision and protection.

Mary became a Christian at a young age. She enjoyed going to church; it was a wonderful outlet from her miserable home life. She was not well-educated, but loved to read, and would stay up late soaking up any book she could find. She loved reading the Bible most of all, studying Jesus and his life in the gospels. Mary dreamed of doing pioneer work in the remote interior of Africa. At the time, missions work was mainly for men, so she was encouraged to get involved with home missions. It was her older brother who was planning to go as a missionary, but when Mary was 25 years old, he died. She wondered if maybe she could go in his place. Early in 1874 the news of the death of David Livingstone stirred the church and created a great wave of missionary excitement. Mary was then determined to go!

In 1875, Mary was accepted to go with the Calabar Mission. So, at age 27, she sailed for Calabar (located within present day Nigeria). She was stationed in Duke Town as a school teacher. Her living conditions seemed too nice for a missionary, and she was discouraged at how routine her job was. She learned Efik, the local language, quickly and enjoyed teaching to some degree, but her heart was set on doing pioneer work. After three years, she was sent home on furlough because of malaria. When she returned, she was given a new task in Old Town, where she had the freedom to work by herself and live as she pleased. Mary decided to live with the local people as they lived. Her childhood of poverty made this lifestyle seem fairly normal. And, this way, she was able to save part of her missionary salary to send back to her family in Scotland.

Mary began to learn more and more about the culture of the local tribes. Witchcraft and spiritism and cruel tribal customs were hard to fight against. One custom that broke her heart was 'twin-murder'. The tribes thought that twins were a result of a curse caused by an evil spirit who fathered one of the children. Both babies were brutally murdered and the mother was shunned from society. Overwhelmed and depressed, she knelt and prayed, "Lord, the task is impossible for me but not for Thee. Lead the way and I will follow." Rising, she said, "Why should I fear? I am on a Royal Mission. I am in the service of the King of kings. Mary rescued many twins and ministered to their mothers. She was continuously fighting against this evil practice, often risking her life to stop the leaders from killing twins. The Lord gave her favor with the tribesmen, and Mary eventually gained a respect unheard of for a woman.

After only three more years, Mary was sent home on yet another furlough because she was extremely sick. As she returned home, she took Janie, a 6-month-old twin girl she'd rescued. She was home for over three years, staying to look after her mother and sister, who were ill. While home, she would speak to churches and share stories from Africa. Everyone loved Janie and the story of her rescue, it was a powerful testimony. She then returned to Africa again, more determined than ever to pioneer into the interior. She was bold in her ministry and fearless as she traveled from village to village. Mary rescued hundreds of twin babies thrown out into the forest, prevented many wars, stopped the practice of trying to determine guilt by making them drink poison, healed the sick, and told the people about the great God of love whose Son came to earth to die on the cross that sinful men might have eternal life.

While in Africa, she received word that her mother and sister had died. Now Mary had no one close to her. She was overcome with loneliness. She wrote, "There is no one to write and tell my stories and troubles and nonsense to." But she also found a sense of freedom, writing, "Heaven is now nearer to me than Britain, and no one will be anxious about me if I go upcountry." So, in August of 1888, Mary went north to Okoyong the 'up-country' of West Africa. It was an area that had claimed the lives of missionaries in the past, but Mary was sure that pioneer work was best accomplished by women, who were less threatening to unreached tribes than men. For 15 years she stayed with the Okoyongs, teaching them, nursing them and being a peacemaker, they eventually made her a judge for the whole region.

During one of her sick leaves, she met Charles Morrison. He was a young missionary teacher serving in Duke Town. Although he was 18 years younger than her, they soon fell in love. Mary accepted his marriage proposal, but only after he assured her that he would work with her in Okoyong. Sadly, the marriage never happened. His health did not even allow him to stay in Duke Town, and, for Mary, missionary service came before personal relationships. She was destined to live alone with her adopted children. Mary's lifestyle consisted of a mud hut (infested with roaches, rats, and ants), irregular daily schedule (normal in African culture), and simple cotton clothing (instead of the thick petticoats and dresses worn by most European women at the time). The other missionaries were unable to relate to her life. Mary didn't focus on health precautions or cleanliness much. Although she did suffer from malaria occasionally, she outlived most of her missionary coworkers.

She was 55 when she moved on from Okoyong with her seven children to do pioneer work in Itu and other remote areas. She had much fruit with the Ibo people. Janie, her oldest adopted daughter, was a valuable asset in the work. So, for the last ten years of her life, Mary continued doing pioneer work while others came in behind her. Their ministry was made much easier because of her efforts. In 1915, nearly 40 years after coming to Africa, she died at the age of 66 in her mud hut. Mary Slessor has become an inspiration to all who hear her story. She was not only a pioneer missionary, but also a pioneer for women in missions.

Books about Mary Slessor: Mary Slessor of Calabar: Pioneer Missionary, by W.P. Livingstone. God and One Red Head: Mary Slessor of Calabar, by Carol Christian and Gladys Plummer. (info used from: From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, by Ruth A. Tucker, and a few websites)

From our friends at the Traveling Team (www.thetravelingteam.org)

Comments (62)add comment

taiwo ogunmola said:

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aii twins in nigeria and africa must honour and celebrate mary slessor.cos she is reason why we are existing.
June 28, 2010

ALBERT B. GRAN said:

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HOME OF LIFE MINISTRIES, INC.
6/54 Thanon Chidwana, Maesod, Tak 63110 Thailand
e-mail: betcherjay@yahoo.com/Skype: betcher.gran
Contact no. (+66) 836300893



The Executive Director
Mary Slessor

Beloved Director in the Charity:

It’s my opportunity to hear from your prestigious firm/personal affairs and how it offers opportunity for people who are oppressed especially those who are physically ill.

My willingness to convey my intention perhaps a different area from the programs you can provide and offer to the needy. I'll start to introduce myself just to have profound idea regarding my concern. Honestly I'm too needy financially and was unable to sustain even the needs of my family after I lost my job in Thailand. This time I don't know where to have source for I already applied several times in different learning institutions yet all I got to no avail. I'm Albert B. Gran, a Filipino Pastor and teacher who currently reside in 6/54 Thanon Chidwana, Maesod, Tak Thailand .I'm married with two children. Ever since I had a passion also in the voluntary ministerial services in response to my commitment for God and to offer spiritual information to people for inspiration and most of the time help edify them. This is my extra activity aside from my main career as a teacher. I taught in Thailand for two years then at present I concentrate to work with the
Burmese children teaching English lessons and educating to them God's wonderful words. I totally devote myself for this voluntary and sacrificial work for I knew that this is the only way I could offer for the Lord even in spite dire needs and financial instability. I organized the Home of Life Ministry an outreach program for the Burmese children who are very poor and the least in the community. Our little homage group was survived through solicited efforts and survived through sending gifts. Our children in the outreach program started only with 4 but as the Lord leads our way many got interested to our program of activities until we came to this large number of 40 children who regularly attending our educational and spiritual services.

My point of letting you know the content of my purpose is to persuade your heartfelt sympathy and indulgence in view of how you can help our children's group. With this greater number of children and as an organizer I need financial assistance for them for the running cost, transportation and food. I also need assistance for the needs of my family while I was in the field work nurturing, inspiring people and brightening their days to escape the trauma of the sufferings and sad experiences from Myanmar.

I wish I could gain your finest favor to spare your extra resources. Our longings is to help and pray for you that soon your effort could contribute greater change over the lives of poor and needy people in our place. I also hope that this selfless effort will redound for more development and progress in the community where I was.

GOD BLESSED YOU ALL!


Very truly yours,
Albert B. Gran

July 29, 2010

Lexi Peacock said:

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Mary Slessor's story is very inspirational she's a great inspiration to others
January 23, 2011

ejomafuwe david ogaga said:

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in deed she was a great human and a woman of power i bless God for her life and may God bless all her generations
February 18, 2011

ejomafuwe david ogaga said:

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she should be called mother mary slessorsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/cry.gifi love u mother slessor if not 4 u i would not have been alive
February 18, 2011

Ajala kayode said:

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mary is not an ordinary being.She was possesed of the spirit of stephen,that nomatter what it takes people must believe there is God through Jesus.Thank y
ou mother Mary.
February 21, 2011

Heather Wright said:

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I have such a burden for the mission field. Praise the Lord this summer I am going on a mission trip to Ghana. I have been amazed just in the way God has miraculously provided the funds. I am an English major here at Pensacola Christian College and plan to graduate and use my degree in mission work. The harvest is so plenteous, I really pray that more people will answer the call.
March 03, 2011

Jeannot Floor said:

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A true and moving example of a fine Christian to carry out the Lord's commands, which should be every Christian's duty according to the Scripture! Thank you, Lord, for having created her to teach us richly of your works. J:.-)
April 05, 2011

Chioma Joy Nwankpa said:

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Mary Mitchell Slessor,ur life portrayed a pure practical christian who diligently followd d footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ur life is worthy of emulation. Thank You Lord for her life. Give me Grace 2 make a change in my own generation.
April 29, 2011

Chioma Joy Nwankpa said:

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U are indeed a mother,a teacher and a saint. U r a blessing to all.
April 29, 2011

Rev. Mary Brondyke said:

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In became a Christian in a plymouth Brethren Sunday School class at age 9 in 1960. I began reading the Bible, praying and reading biographies. I'll never forget reading about Mary Slessor and crying,and saying 'Mommy, I want to do that!" I married a Presbyterian minister and for years we've shared the gospel, to Kenyans here in the states through ESL [English as a Second Language] and now I have been able to preach Christ here in Nevada. Mary Slessor's faithful life, inspires me still. Praise God!
July 28, 2011

jasmine said:

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i'v got many twin friends, my mum is a twin.....if not for this woman, many of us wont hav existed. how grateful can one be to somwone who decided to sacrifice being and havin what others have.
i really want to be like her and affect lives as much as i can....just like this woman.
September 12, 2011

rachel said:

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smilies/wink.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/angry.gifsmilies/sad.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/cool.gifsmilies/tongue.gifsmilies/kiss.gifsmilies/cry.gif
September 21, 2011

alix said:

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I am doing this for my home worksmilies/sad.gifsmilies/sad.gifsmilies/sad.gif
October 03, 2011

Tamilore A. said:

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I'm doing this for my homework and i love all what mary slessor did when she was alive.smilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gif
October 29, 2011

Shannon said:

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I was doing mary slessor a couple days ago in schoolsmilies/kiss.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/smiley.gif
November 01, 2011

Abby said:

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They forgot trial bye Poison!smilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gif

It's sad about the twins!smilies/cry.gif
November 15, 2011

Matthew Callow said:

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i luf yhu bby 4 lyf xoxoxoxoxo;;;
November 18, 2011

howard moyes said:

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What a great mother you are. May you rest in the bossom of the lord Almighty
February 04, 2012

bob said:

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smilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gif;
)smilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gif
March 20, 2012

bob said:

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god bless u
March 20, 2012

Grace said:

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mary slessor is an amazing person, her dilligence kindness and firey spirit will always be with mesmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/grin.gif>smilies/kiss.gif
April 10, 2012

amity said:

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i am confused i need help oi go to church and and church is less confusing
April 16, 2012

Kelechi Oriaku said:

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I am from Umuahia, the Eastern part of Nigeria, where mary Slessor also work during her missionary expedition. I love Mary Slessor. God also used her to save my life. I am a twin. My own grandmother had as well, but faced the stigma. The pain, agony of what happened to her twins in those days kept haunting her till her death. I mean her very death, she kept asking God for forgiveness. Each day she saw I and my twin brother, she remembered the twins she had lost in the past darkened with ignorance, barbarism and sheer wickedness. I grew up with my Grandma. She told me a lot of stories about her twins and other social stigmas she suffered. I am doing a boo, fiction, on that. I titled it "Flowers in the Sun".

I must say that Slessor is a name to remember in Africa, especially in this part of Nigeria.

Thanks

Kelechi Oriaku
(the author of Leaps of Lore)
April 30, 2012

Horeram Tanti said:

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From today onward, have decided to read a biography for a day. Really, I am blessed to start with Mary Slessor. Thanks Lord.
May 07, 2012

D Norman said:

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Mary Slessor laid down her life for the sake of the cross. May her fruit continue to multiply exponentially to and for the glory of God.
May 14, 2012

ime ibanga said:

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I'm from Oku-Iboku, Itu area of the Old Calabar Province, Nigeria. My paternal grandmother and other older aunties particularly shared the daring stories of Mary Slessor's missionary work, especially in stopping the killing of twins and other unique accomplishments. She's still revered and immortalized in the areas she served as an iconic living legend of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, humanitarian, nurse, judge, peacemaker, teacher, reformer, etc. Stories about her heroic work helped to motivate my embarking on mission's work both in Nigeria and abroad. The native peoples in the areas she served will forever be grateful for the heart and personal sacrifices Mary Slessor shared to fulfill her missionary work. Her courage even when facing danger and plagued with bodily sicknesses is unparallelled to imagine. Through her persistence and determination in Christian ministry and other social services, the native peoples were persuaded to be converted to Christianity, churches, schools, hospitals, rehab and vocational centers were established! The fruits and impacts of her lifelong missionary services are still evident and continuing in greater dimensions today!

Ime Ibanga

Atlanta, GA

Ime Ibanga,

Atlanta, GA
May 25, 2012

SOLA said:

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MARY SLESSOR WAS A WOMAN OF GREAT HONOR! GOD PLEASE RAISE MANY MARIES OF PRESENCE GENERATION IN JESUS NAME! AMEN
June 17, 2012

Kate favour said:

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I wish to be a great like mary
June 28, 2012

Peace said:

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I wish 2 b anoda mary slessor. A great icon indeed.
July 22, 2012

Mike said:

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I wonder how Mary would react to people elevating her to sainthood. She is a good example, but do not pray to her, follow her Jesus smilies/smiley.gif
August 06, 2012

Rellorix said:

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thats my great great aunty smilies/smiley.gif
August 29, 2012

Prince Eros B Prince said:

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Am 4rm Nigeria living in delta state, am so glad 4 d good work of Mary am so happy wen am reading her history she is a gud wman nd good teacher i tank God 4 her life nd good work she worked nd directed her to Nigeria. May her soul rest in d bossom of christ our Lord....AMEN
August 29, 2012

allesmithe said:

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Albert B Gran, Why are you writing a business letter to Mary Slessor?
She's (physically) dead
October 03, 2012

Kelly said:

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B-O-R-E-D!!!!! i hav 2 do this for h/work!!! cant b bothered!smilies/sad.gif but she was a gd woman!!! smilies/smiley.gif
November 07, 2012

SYLVESTER said:

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this was a very intresting story Mary Mlessor was a very great woman and god will always bless hersmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gif
November 17, 2012

Bernard Ezekwem said:

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I decided today to google Mary Slessor and here I am now writing with eyes full of tears of joy.I decided long ago that I must emulate Mary Slessor, I will not only applaud her I will serve the same Truth she served and helped in saving me.

I am from Isunjaba in Isu LGA of Imo state Nigeria.In this town I am yet to see any twin older than me, that means it is likely I am the oldest or one of the oldest survivors of that age of unreason.I grew up and saw myself being protected from some individuals who still believed that I should not live.

We, the survivors of unreason should unite come out and commemorate, Jesus Christ who is Truth,Love and live. In various ways, the darkness Mary Slessor worked to dispel still reigns in various ways in Africa.It wouldnt be enough to just applaud Mary Slessor, let us unite to continue in this divine labour spreading the light and demonstration of Truth. We have the power. The age of lammentation has gone this is the age of joy and purposeful living.

Please use this medium to bring together people of like minded in order to find ways of continuing Mary Slessor,s wonderful legacy.
Thanks
Bernard Ezekwem
London UK
November 26, 2012

AJALA DOLAPO said:

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All I did was cry through this piece. I read about Mary Slessor many times and every time I do, I cry. I have also lived in the city of Calabar where her Statue towers in the middle of the city. In fact the most prominent area in Calabar is named after her. The righteous is blessed and centuries after they live, they are still remembered.

Indeed the beauty of Christianity is selflessness. Despite her arduous work in helping the people of Cross River as a Teacher, Mother and Pioneer. She convinced the Presbyterian Church back home in Scotland to open a School not in her name but in the name of another great missionary HOPE WADDELL who had dedicated himself to missionary work too in Cross River. Waddell died two days after the decision was made and didnt get to know about the honour. That institution still remains one of Nigeria's finest.

I am currently working on a policy and I draw a lot from these indescribably great people....... ..............

DOLAPO AJALA
ABUJA.
December 08, 2012

Jonathan Carson said:

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When I was elementary age, we held a Vacation Bible School at my house. I walked the neighborhood with a Lady serving as a VBS missionary. I'll never forget the strorybook we enjoyed together about "Mary Slessor: The White Mother." My interest in missions exploded as a result. I built homes in Senegal at age 14 with the Badjaranke people of Tonguia, attended 2 Bible colleges, ran a youth ministry, burned out, grew a business career, married, have 3 kids and now serve teaching Bible at church. I feel that I've done very little to serve God, but it's just amazing to know Him. His love inspires the greatest beauty we can see in this world. When someone gets dirty, risks themself repeatedly, cares for those in danger, heals the sick, teaches the poor etc., we get a glimpse of Jesus.

Today, I think of Africa as a place with many tragedies, but also a place of outstanding Christian faith. I've seen video about revival in Uganda. I know hundreds or thousands have died proclaiming Christ at the hands of persecution (other faiths and Communists like "1 pastor, 1 bullet" in South Africa. The African Christians suffer for their faith and it is not reported in the USA news whatsoever. But Jesus is on the move in Africa - praise God. His blood washes away all our sins - He is the Almighty King! St. louis, Missouri USA
December 17, 2012

morenike oyesanya said:

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humm!thank God 4a life well spent.i pray God would help me serve Him in like manner.
amen
~
smilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gif
January 02, 2013

Alanna Wood said:

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i am doing it at schoolsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/cool.gif
February 17, 2013

Alanna Wood said:

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February 17, 2013

Marian said:

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God bless her.am teaching my kids in school abt her.
March 10, 2013

Health Atenode said:

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Wao what an African continent without a Mary Slessor
May 23, 2013

Health Atenode said:

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Wao what an African continent without a Mary Slessor. May God bless all those who supported her in all her move in Africa-Nigeria prescisly to put an end to evil in Jesus name, Amen.
May 23, 2013

Andortan said:

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May the soul of our beloved mother Mary Slessor rest in perfect peace, amen.
July 10, 2013

Jenny said:

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As a child I won a Sunday school prize, a book about Mary. I was so moved and inspired in my christian life! And all I wanted to do when I grew up was mission work. Years later, when asked what person had helped/mentored me in my christian life (meaning a living person), I couldn't think of any living soul..... but only Mary Slessor. As a mother and church junior library installer I always promoted christian biography as it has such wonderful effect. Now supplying my grand children, ...and still involved in mission.
August 13, 2013

Jenny said:

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As a child I won a Sunday school prize, a book about Mary. I was so moved and inspired in my christian life! And all I wanted to do when I grew up was mission work. Years later, when asked what person had helped/mentored me in my christian life (meaning a living person), I couldn't think of any living soul..... but only Mary Slessor. As a mother and church junior library installer I always promoted christian biography as it has such wonderful effect. Now supplying my grand children, ...and still involved in mission.
August 13, 2013

Jim said:

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I thank God for people like Mary Slessor and for you who owe your life to her.
September 28, 2013

Elias Leonard Jideofor Ijendu said:

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We Love you, infact I love you'' Though u are dead but your spirit is alive & words of wisdom lives in our heart...I will Alwayz love you & May God Almighty give u an eternal Rest in Heaven. thank you for us, African twins & I love you but God Loves u more...Thank A victorious lady of Honour!!
November 03, 2013

merra said:

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November 07, 2013

merra said:

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cool story bro
November 07, 2013

Mary said:

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u are wonderful made by God may u so rest in peace.
November 23, 2013

SAMSON said:

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MARY SLESSOR........ UHM IS SUCH A WONDER TO HER GENERATION AND A INSTRUMENT OF MOTIVATION TO US. MAY UR MEMORIES REMAIN EVER GREEN.
December 09, 2013

pancham said:

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Mary slsr can be call mother of Africa,thank God for such a great missonary who sacrified her wll for the sake of Jesus n who gve lght to that pple.
December 15, 2013

pancham said:

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I praise God for her life and her commitment to serve the needy one.who understood the meaning of life.
December 15, 2013

Trent said:

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I'm doing this for homework smilies/shocked.gifsmilies/tongue.gifsmilies/wink.gif
February 11, 2014

nicole193 said:

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I think mary's life was so interestingsmilies/wink.gifI really admire hersmilies/kiss.gif
March 24, 2014

Janet Egans said:

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I am acting in a drama...smilies/cool.gif
i was acting as mary slassor...smilies/grin.gif
I am prouud to act like her...smilies/wink.gif
May 09, 2014

emily said:

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this websie is rubbishsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gif
June 25, 2014

bob said:

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F*** this smilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gifsmilies/cry.gif
June 25, 2014

Daniel isah said:

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I felt in my spirit the Love of God.Am proud of becoming of this great men and women who lay down their life for the cause of Christ
Thanks mother Mary i love you mother see you in Heaven miss you in Africa and my Country Nigeria
July 11, 2014

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Missions Quote

"I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China. I don't know who it was. It must have been a mana well-educated man. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing. And God looked down and saw Gladys Aylward. And God said, Well, she's willing.'" - Gladys Aylward.
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