Day 11: Fanny Crosby: Using What I Have For God
Fanny Crosby was born is 1820. Blind from birth or shortly after. At the age of 8, Fanny wrote her first poem. Fanny was raised in a Christian home and by the age of 15 had memorizes the four gospels, the Pentateuch, the book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and many Psalms. She learned to play the piano, organ, harp, and guitar.
In 1843, Fanny became the first woman to speak in the United States Senate. She advocated for the education of the blind.
Her first poem was published is 1841. Her first hymn was published in 1844. She continued to write hymns about her faith and her country and poems about her convictions.
By the time she died in 1915, Fanny had written almost 9,000 hymns. Fanny’s goal was to win people to Christ through her songs. During the time of her hymn writing, Fanny lived in areas where she could help the poor and immigrants. She was said to give away most of her money as soon as she got it. She kept only the money to pay for her basic necessities and gave the rest away to the poor around her. Though she was blind herself, she used everything she had to point others to Jesus, whether in giving her money or time to help the poor or using her talents to write songs.
What do you do for God with what you have?
What could you do for others with what you have?
Activity: Listen to or sing one of Fanny’s hymns. (“All the Way My Savior Leads Me”, “Blessed Assurance”, “I Am Thine, O Lord”, “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home”, “Near The Cross”, “Redeemed, How I Love To Proclaim It!”, “Rescue The Perishing”, “Take The World, But Give Me Jesus”…)
“Blessed Assurance” sheet music- You can print this out for your kids to see what a hymn looks like in a hymnal. (Not all churches still have hymnals.)
Day 12: John Wesley: Taking Jesus To The People
John Wesley was born in 1703. He was the 15th child (of 19). His mother, Susanna, taught the children to read, speak Latin and Greek, and learn many parts of the New Testament by heart. His mother was very devoted to helping her children develop a relationship with God.
In 1735, John and his brother, Charles, made the trip from their home in England to Savannah, Georgia. He spent a few years in Georgia as Savannah’s parish priest and gathered many holy men and women and grew the church there.
Upon returning to England, Wesley began taking church to the people. He would preach in streets and where people were instead of waiting for them to come to church. He felt the need to go out and meet those who didn’t know God and introduce them. He travelled around on horseback, preaching two or three times a day. (To preach means to proclaim the gospel, to tell people about Jesus.) Like Fanny, Wesley gave most of his money to the poor. He kept only what was necessary to meet his basic needs. He wrote books, he peached sermons, he met people where they were, and taught them about God and how to live a holy life.
Wesley did in 1791. His final words were, “Farewell, farewell. The best of all is, God with us.” He left 135,00 members and 541 preachers in newly named “Methodist” churches.
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” – John Wesley
Day 13: Helen Roseveare: Do Something For God
Helen was born in England in 1925. In Sunday School as a child, she first felt she might be called to life on a foreign mission field. He father thought highly of education, and Helen became a doctor. She still felt called to missions while in school, and said, “I’ll go anywhere God wants me to, whatever the cost.”
After 6 and half years of medical school, 6 months in a missionary training center, 6 months in Belgium studying French and tropical medicine, and 5 week trip to the Congo before she found herself where God was calling her. She was the only doctor for 2.5 million people. She began her work in a mud and thatch hospital while she built the building she needed and learned Swahili. In 11 years, she had a 100 bed hospital and maternity complex and saved thousands of lives.
In 1964, Helen was taken as a prisoner of rebel forces in the area and educed beatings and torture. Once released, she returned to England to tell the people there that God’s grace had been sufficient during her time as a prisoner. She returned to the Congo in 1966 and continued her work helping the sick and injured until 1973. Helen is still alive today, writing books and encouraging people to be the hands of Jesus and do something for God.
“If I truly believe in Him, I’ll trust Him to desire for me that which is for my highest good, and to have planned for its fulfillment.” – Helen Roseveare
“It would seem that God had merely asked me to give Him my mind, my training, the ability that He has given me; to serve Him unquestioningly; and to leave with Him the consequences….How wonderful God is, and how foolish we are to argue with Him and not to trust Him wholly in every situation as we seek to serve Him!” – Helen Roseveare
What do you think you could do for God now?
Use this map to color and find the Congo on the map.
Day 14: Teresa of Avila: Visions of Castles
Teresa of Avila lived during the 1500s. (1515-1582, to be exact.) She lived in Spain and grew up in a family who converted to Christianity from Judiasm. Teresa became a Carmelite nun early in adulthood. These nuns were devoted to prayer, though they were pretty lax about it when Teresa joined. Teresa worked to reform and strengthen her Cloister. (A cloister is a group of people living in a place of seclusion, much like a monastery.)
Teresa sought a deeper relationship with God through prayer and encouraged those around her to do the same. She had many visions during her quiet time with God . One of her visions was that of a castle. She described your spiritual life as walking through a castle, closer and closer to Christ at the center.
“Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.” – Teresa of Avila
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”- Teresa of Avila
Teresa of Avila is considered a Saint by many Christian Traditions. She devoted herself to prayer and to others finding a closer walk with God. Do you think you are devoted to prayer? Do you think you help others on their walk with God?
Day 15: Samuel Kaboo Morris: A Prince With A Mission
Samuel was born in Leberia in 1873 as a Prince among his tribe. When he was 14, he became a Christian, the same year, he was captured by a neighboring tribe. He was beaten daily and used as ransom to get his tribe to bring riches to his captors. One night, Kaboo saw a flash and voice told him to flee. His ropes fell off, he felt strong, and he ran off into the jungle, where he wandered for several days. He found a plantation and stayed there to work.
Samuel felt God calling him to America to learn more about God. He met a missionary who told him all she knew. He asked the missionary who taught her, and she gave him the name Stephen Merritt. Samuel walked to the shore and prayed that God would send a ship to take him to America. Samuel saw a trade ship and asked the Captain to take him to America. The Captain said no. But then several of the workers on the ship ran off, so the Captain asked Samuel to come on board to work. When he first boarded the ship, the other sailors abused him and made fun of Samuel. But by the time they reached America, they were all praying and singing hymns.
In America, Samuel found Stephen Merritt. Mr. Merritt asked Samuel to wait for him at his mission. When Mr. Merritt returned, Samuel had begun a prayer meeting and lead almost 20 men to Christ. Samuel met many people and displayed love and passion for Christ.
Samuel was used by God to draw many people to the Lord. He attended school and many students would come to pray with him. People around the world would come to hear him speak. He inspired people to do something thing for God. Samuel wanted to go back to Liberia and tell the people there about Jesus. When he was 20, he got pneumonia. He prayed for God to heal him. But God told him his work was done and it was time to come home. Other students encouraged him to pray and that he needed to get better so he could go back to Liberia and spread the gospel. Samuel said, “It is not my work… It is His. I have finished my job. He will send others better than I to do the work in Africa.”
After his death, many of his fellow students felt God calling them to go to Africa to be missionaries. Today, 85.6% of Liberians are Christian.
Do you pray for your neighbors? Your city? Your country?
Do you think God is calling you to share Him with your neighbors?
Use this map of Africa to color and find Liberia.
Day 16: Perpetua: I am a Christian!
In 202 AD, Christianity was illegal. Perpetua was a Christian. Perpetua was arrested as she was preparing for Baptism. Her father, a nobleman, asked her to say she was not a Christian, so she would not be put to death. She replied, “Could this vase of water be called any name other than what it is?” Her father said it could not. She replied, “Well, so too I cannot be called anything other than what I am, a Christian.”
At first, Perpetua was held under house arrest. She was baptized in the house while under arrest. She and her fellow Christians were then moved to a prison and locked in a dungeon. She was eventually moved to a better part of the prison where she could receive visitors. Perpetua was sentenced to death in an amphitheater. She told those with her, “You must all stand fast in the faith and love of one another, and do not be weakened by what we have gone through.”
Before her death, Perpetua asked God for a vision, showing if she would be condemned or freed. Perpetua received this vision from God. She saw a narrow ladder reaching to heaven, but only one person could climb up at a time. She saw a garden with a man dressed as a shepherd at the top of the ladder. Around the shepherd were thousands of people dressed in white. When the shepherd looked up and saw her, he said, “I am glad you have come my child.”
Perpetua, along with another martyr with her, Felicitas, are recognized as Saints by many Christian traditions.