*All dates complied by Beau Carpenter
For 23 years, Grace and her husband labored in the city of Wenzhou, China, working closely with the China Inland Mission and Hudson Taylor. The Stotts were truly pioneers, being the first missionaries to this city. But they worked hard and faithful, despite hardships and trials. And the Lord blessed them in a mighty way. Even today, the city of Wenzhou is called the Jerusalem of China. Of its 6 million residents, over 10% claim to be evangelical Christians. The oldest church in the city, Chengxi Christian Church, was started by the Stotts.
In order to be used in such a mighty way, one might imagine the Stotts to be some pretty impressive people who were cut out and destined for this type of work. But they weren’t. George was an amputee, having lost his entire left leg in a farming incident. He was rejected by every mission society until Taylor let him aboard. And Grace was just a typical young woman who felt called to serve her Lord, but felt completely unworthy and unprepared. She described the day she first felt called to China and the way she felt:
Mr. Hudson Taylor addressed a small meeting, and as I listened to Mr. Taylor’s tale of the darkness of China and the terrible need of workers there, there came a question that would be answered, “Why may not you go to tell of a Saviour’s love?” I had been converted four years, and had begun in a feeble way to serve the Lord—who had bought me —at first by tract distribution, then Sunday-school teaching. The Lord had often also graciously used me to lead many an anxious soul into the light, but up to this time I had never thought of mission work, never supposed I had any call beyond my native city of Glasgow.
For days this question kept ringing in my heart. I had no home ties, it was true ; but was I fit? Then, too, at that time I had never heard of a young girl going to a heathen land—was it practicable? This latter question I decided to ask Mr.Taylor. He saw no reason why I should not go, even though but twenty years of age, if called of God, and if called, surely the fitness would be given by Him.
In the 60’s, the Jeunesse, a Marxist guerrillas rebel group, were running wild throughout the Congo. They were notorious for going into a village, massacring everyone, and burning it to the ground. They created an atmosphere of fear throughout the region. And it put the missionaries in a rough place. They wanted to stay and help the church in this time of great need, but they knew that they were massive targets for any attack, since the Marxist considered Christians to be their greatest adversaries. So slowly, the missionaries began to be evacuated from the country.
Missionaries Irene Ferrel and Ruth Hege were young missionary ladies who were working in a church and school in one of the villages. During their time in the village, they had come to love and care for these people. The church was extremely strong and the schoo; had grown quite large. One day, this all changed. A plane came overhead and dropped a message for the young women: “Are you in trouble? All missionaries have been evacuated from Mukedi. Kandala Station (a nearby mission station) burned and missionaries evacuated. If you want to be evacuated, sit on the ground. We will send a helicopter for you.” With a second to make a decision, they were at a lose of what to do. They did not want to abandon the African Christians, and yet, as the only two white women in the region, they stuck out as targets, inviting attack. Hand in hand, Irene and Ruth walked to the clearing and sat. The Cessena plane dipped a wing to show that their reply was understood and zipped away.
Quickly packing everything they needed to take with them, they prepared to leave. The church had a farewell ceremony for the women and the entire village went out to wait for the helicopter. They waited long into the night, but it never came. Assuming they ran into a slight problem, the woman went to bed, expecting it early the next morning. But by then, it would be too late.
In the middle of the night, Ruth and Irene were awaken by shouts and screams. The Jeunesse had attacked the village! As the women ran out to escape, they found the Jeunesse pouring into their courtyard. Irene was shot by and arrow and killed. Ruth was beat so badly that she was knocked unconscious. The rebels, thinking both ladies were dead, left them and went after the rest of the village. Ruth, coming back, had to avoid and dodge the Jeunesse four days before she was rescued by the helicopter.
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