Did you know that one of the first missionaries to leave America for a foreign land was a woman who was a freed black slave? Yes, her name was Betsey Stockton. She was granted her freedom in 1815 by her slave owner and given permission to attend evening classes.
February 1, 1823 — Betsey Stockton, in company with 13 white missionaries, was on board a ship rounding the southern tip of South America from New Haven, Connecticut in November, sent out by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions.
Betsey Stockton sailed to the Sandwich Islands, what is now Hawaii, with six couples and a single man, plus three Hawaiian men and a Tahitian. The trip took five months by sea with no stopovers. She joined the group partly as a servant to one of the couples who were expecting a child. However, Betsey’s contract with the American Board did make clear that she was not to be simply a servant but was also to share in the mission’s primary work.
She served and taught Hawaiian children at Lahaina, Maui, and later Native American children in Grape Island, Canada. Her schools became powerful platforms for evangelism and discipleship.
Praise the Lord that he can redeem any situation. Think of it – a woman forcibly being removed from her home, brought to a foreign land as a slave. Later freed, then became a powerful spokesperson for the King of kings. Who was able to become educated, and then voluntarily left the comforts of home and dedicated herself to be a missionary teacher of children in a foreign land.
Praise the Lord for the story of Betsey Stockton. Praise the Lord for who he is and what he can do to redeem any situation and any life circumstance for his glory and renown.