In 1900, an uprising in China against Christians and evangelical churches claimed some 32,000 lives. The Shanxi Province was a particularly dangerous place to openly follow Christ. Lizzie Atwater, a young pregnant missionary there, wrote a final letter to her parents on August 3, 1900:
“Dear Ones, I long for a sight of your dear faces, but I fear we shall not meet on earth… I am preparing for the end very quietly and calmly. The Lord is wonderfully near, and He will not fail me. I was very restless and excited while there seemed a chance of life, but God has taken away that feeling, and now I just pray for grace to meet the terrible end bravely. The pain will soon be over, and oh the sweetness of the welcome above!
My little baby will go with me. I think God will give it to me in Heaven, and my dear mother will be so glad to see us. I cannot imagine the Savior’s welcome. Oh, that will compensate for all of these days of suspense. Dear ones, live near to God and cling less closely to earth. There is no other way by which we can receive that peace from God which passeth understanding…. I must keep calm and still these hours. I do not regret coming to China, but am sorry I have done so little. My married life, two precious years, have been so very full of happiness. We will die together, my dear husband and I.
I used to dread separation. If we escape now it will be a miracle. I send my love to all of you, and the dear friends who remember me.”
Lizzie saw eternity. Twelve days after her letter was written, on August 15, 1900, Lizzie Atwater, her unborn baby, and six other missionaries were hacked to death by their guards.
May God give us the same courage, and his peace that passes understanding during the uncertain times we live in. If you don’t know Jesus, please write me and let me introduce you. We are in very precarious times. You need all the courage and help God has available for you.