"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."
Florence Nightingale (1820-1912)
For many of you, this name will not be a surprise to see on this list. Florence Nightingale, born in Italy in 1820, always felt that her calling was to take care of others through becoming a nurse. Despite disapproval from her wealthy friends and family, she knew that this is what the Lord wanted her to do. A few years into her career, the Crimean War began and her skills were desperately needed. With the help of others, Nightingale drastically improved health conditions within the British base hospital where she worked. Her actions cut deaths down by two-thirds of what it was. The Queen rewarded Nightingale for her efforts with a payment of $250,000, which she used to fund a hospital and training program for nurses. Her life is marked by the improvement of hospital conditions and patient care. She did it all in God’s name and was known for saying, “Christ is the author of our profession.”
Fanny Crosby (1820-1915)
Did you know the woman known as the “Queen of Gospel Songwriters” was blind? When she was just six weeks old she caught a cold that caused inflammation to her eyes. This permanently damaged her optic nerves. However, Crosby never let that stop her from using her creativity to praise God! When she was eight she wrote a poem thanking Him for being her Savior. She would go on to write over 8,000 hymns and gospel songs, of which there are over 100 million copies printed. As if that isn’t amazing enough, Crosby was also an advocate for proper education for the blind. By giving her life to the Lord, He was able to conduct amazing works through her.
Evangeline Cory Booth (1865-1950)
Evangeline Cory Booth is another recognizable name, and for good reason! Her father was the founder of the Salvation Army and Evangeline grew up helping him with the work. At the young age of twenty-three she was given administration positions. Due to her giving personality and sweet singing voice she was often called the “White Angel of the Slums.” After working for the Salvation Army for the majority of her life she was appointed as the first woman general of the worldwide movement. One of her many notable writings is “The world for God! The world for God! There’s nothing else will meet the hunger for my soul.”
Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)
Born in a small town in Ireland, Carmichael was always jealous of her siblings’ blue eyes and would often pray to God to change her eye color. However, she would eventually realize that God shapes us with purpose. She became a Christian when she was fifteen and quickly involved herself in the Church. In her early twenties, she devoted her life to mission work. At first, she traveled to Japan, but a nerve condition she had sent her to India to seek out health assistance. Here, she found God’s plan for her. Carmichael found herself disguising as a traditional Indian woman (luckily she had brown eyes!) to insert herself into temples that had children prostitutes. She would rescue these girls and then provide for them. Queen Mary recognized her efforts and funded a hospital to serve the girls and oftentimes their children. By 1913, they were helping 130 girls. Carmichael continued helping throughout her life and wrote several works. She once said, “It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desire that He creates.”
Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983)
Corrie ten Boom was 48 years old living in the Netherlands when the Nazis invaded in 1940. Two years into the occupation, a Jewish woman came to Corrie’s family seeking refuge. This woman had heard that they had previously helped their Jewish neighbors. The ten Booms agreed replying “In this household, God’s people are always welcomed.” This was just the start for Corrie’s family. Their family continued to take in Jewish people seeking a place to hide, and their house became known as “The Hiding Place.” Corrie ten Boom also received ration cards from a friend who worked in distribution. She passed out one hundred ration cards to Jewish people who could not receive them. Corrie ten Boom and her sister were ultimately found out and sent to a political concentration camp. Here, they held worship services using a Bible that they had snuck in. Unfortunately, her sister, Betsy, died in the camp. However, Corrie ten Boom was released on a clerical error the day before women her age were sent to the gas chambers. Corrie ten Boom continued to hide disabled people who feared execution. After the war, she went on to tell her family's story and that “there is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.”
Gladys Aylward (1902-1970)
As a teenager, Gladys felt that God was calling her to be a missionary and spread the Gospel to China. Nothing was going to get in the way of her calling. When Gladys was thirty years old she spent her life savings on a one-way train ride to China. Finally, she was able to conduct her life’s mission! Except, the train ride had to go through Siberia. Here, she was detained by Russians. Well, Gladys had the Lord on her side and she was able to escape them and hop on a ship headed to Japan, where the British Consul helped her get to China. Gladys began working at an inn, where she would tell travelers of Jesus. She then found herself as an assistant to the Chinese government, where she worked to ban foot binding. When the Japanese invaded she led more than a hundred orphans to safety. She was meant to spend her life loving these people: “These are my people, God has given them to me, and I will live or die with them for Him and His glory.”
Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
As children in America, we are taught of Rosa Parks and her famous act of refusing to give her seat to a white man. Being an African American woman in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama would have been unimaginably hard. Then she became the center of a widely publicized bus boycott. Throughout all these trials, Parks is known to give credit for her peace to God. She once said, “I remember finding such comfort and peace while reading the Bible. Its teaching became a way of life and helped me deal with my day-to-day problems.” When dealing with aggression as a child, Rosa Parks was always taught to retaliate with peace over violence. The Lord gave her the strength to deal with her enemies.
Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)
Elisabeth’s story is known for God’s amazing work of forgiveness in her heart. Born in Belgium, Elisabeth grew up as the children of missionaries. As a child, her family moved to Philadelphia and eventually went to Wheaton College. Here, she felt that God was calling her to translate the New Testament during her life. It was also at college where she would meet her future husband, Jim Elliot. After college, the two went their separate ways, but both ended up in Ecuador to work with the Quichua Indians. In 1953, the two got married. Elisabeth and Jim were married for only three years before Jim was killed trying to contact the Huaorani tribe. They had a ten-month-old daughter, Valerie. However, Elisabeth was determined to spread the Gospel to everyone, even the people who killed her husband. Two Huaorani women taught Elisabeth their language. When her daughter was three years old, Elisabeth and Valerie went to go live with the tribe. She worked with the tribe for four years. She once said, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”
Silvia Tarniceriu (1951-2013)
Silvia gave her life to serving the Lord and trusted Him every step of the way. Living in Romania in the 1900s made this a difficult job. During the day Silvia led Sunday school classes, while at night she would smuggle Bibles into the country. She was able to lay low until one day she was bluntly asked if she would deny her faith. She would not deny her love for Jesus. Under Ceausescu rule, she was put into a labor camp for her faith. Her she was put under horrible brainwashing and labor. Silvia still would not deny her relationship with the Lord. Thanks to God, Silvia eventually was able to escape. She proceeded to travel the world and tell her story.
Jennifer Wiseman (1991-Present)
Growing up in Arkansas and raised by religious parents, Jennifer knew a relationship with Jesus from a young age. She also fell in love with the natural world and the science behind it. Wiseman especially loved the night sky. When she grew up she got a bachelor's degree in physics from MIT, and then went on to get her Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard. When she graduated she was hired by NASA and made her way up to be a Senior Project Scientist. She works to spread the Gospel within this typically agnostic community. She speaks to science and church groups, sharing her experience and love for science and God.
Lord, thank You for working through these amazing women. I pray that we are able to be as bold as them in our love for You. I pray that we will listen to Your plan for us and conduct ourselves in Your image. We see Your love and strength in these works. We love You.
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