Against the Odds

Mary Slessor Missionary to Africa, Mary Slessor's bad childhood
Her father was a drunk who couldn't keep a job.

They lived in a slum.

Her brothers died young.

Eleven-year-old Mary was forced to work alongside her mother at the local mill. 

Mary Slessor's happiest moments were spent at church, and she dreamed of being a missionary. 

When Mary's younger sister started earning a wage, Mrs. Slessor encouraged Mary to apply to a mission board. 

So in 1876, 28-year-old Mary, a self-educated mill worker, headed for Africa, "the white man's grave." It seemed unlikely that this small, red-haired, fair-skinned Scottish woman would survive. 

But Mary's early life prepared her for the disease, danger, and difficulty of ministry in Africa. For 39 years she thrived in conditions too difficult for other missionaries and effectively shared Christ with thousands of Africans.

Sometimes we think a difficult childhood ruins a life, but God is in the business of using bad for good (Romans 8:28). 

God can use the difficult parts of your life too. Will you let Him?

Source: Mary Slessor, Forward into Calabar, Janet and Geoff Benge, YWAM publishing
While I recommend this book in the YWAM Christian Heroes series, I do not recommend all of the books in this series.


  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story

  2. What an inspiration Mary is. Thank you for keeping her story alive.


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