The Missionary, a Chief, and a Colt Revolver

Every now and again, I come across something in my reading that stands out to me. This morning I began laughing out loud as I read of Mrs. M. B. Ingalls, who has been described by some as “The Queen of Female Missionaries.”

Ingalls had traveled to the Rangoon Mission alongside her husband in 1851, but continued to answer God’s call to the ends of the earth more than forty years after his death in 1856.

One evening, as she taught the Bible in her bungalow, one of the local people entered and told her that the chief of a hostile tribe was coming with his warriors.

The door was opened, and a swarm of wild men, with flashing eyes, poured into the room. She alone was calm and self-possessed, receiving them kindly as if they were friends. They seemed for a moment subdued by her manner; and, as if by inspiration, she seized the opportunity to divert their attention by stories about America, telling them among other things of Colt’s revolver, laying her hand as she spoke, upon the pistol her lamented husband had presented her. The chief listened with scorn and incredulity pictured upon his face. Then, suddenly picking up a piece of paper, he stuck it upon the wall, and cried, “Shoot.” For a second her heart trembled; she did not know that the pistol was loaded, nor how to use it, for she had never fired one in her life. But again, sending to heaven a swift petition for help, she took aim and fired. The ball pierced the centre of the target. Instantly, as if shot, or perhaps expecting ball would follow ball, the wild natives rushed from the place, and the missionary widow and her frightened flock fell on their knees to render thanks to their Divine Protector.

As it turns out, sometimes the Divine Protector uses a firearm for his purposes. I’ll just leave that here.

David L. Cummins, “The Queen of Female Missionaries,” in This Day in Baptist History: 366 Daily Devotions Drawn from the Baptist Heritage, eds. E. .Wayne Thompson and David L. Cummins (Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1993), 283.

Quoted from G. Winfred Hervey, The Story of Baptist Missions in Foreign Lands (St. Louis: C. R. Barnes, 1892), 868.

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