In our "Missionaries and Martyrs" session at the recent homeschool conference in Wisconsin, at which we shared the tremendous benefits our family has reaped by reading missionary biographies, several of the children shared snippets from the stories of favorite missionaries. We were so encouraged by the enthusiasm of the folks who attended that session!
Here's one of the snippets:
John and Betty Stam were missionaries in China in the late 1930's. They were a shining light for Jesus - both in their short lives of service for Him in China, and in their deaths at the hands of Communists, in 1934.
After nearly three years in China they were captured by Communists.They showed no fear of them at all; they welcomed them into their house and treated them so hospitably that the soldiers were startled at first.
The next day, the soldiers left the house with the Stams. They stopped to plunder a certain city, leaving the Stams under the supervision of a local postmaster.
"Where are they taking you?" he asked the Stams. "Where are you going?"
"We don't know where they are going," replied John, "but we're going to heaven."
They were killed the next day.
A biographer wrote: The townspeople watching noticed John's expression of unmistakable joy; Betty's of complete serenity.
Their witness through their life and death was a great inspiration to many believers, as well as a wonderful Christian testimony to unbelievers. Some people were saved after hearing of their service for Christ.
The day before the Stams were captured, John wrote in a letter to his friends at home:
"[Pray] that God will help His missionaries to shine for Him every hour."
So the Stams did shine for Him every hour-through their life and through their death.
[Among the many influenced by the Stams was Elisabeth Elliot, who is widely known for her ministry through writing and speaking, and who wrote the life story of her martyred husband, Jim Elliot.]