Only One Life to Give

Paul DreillingEvents

53 years ago last week on November 25th, Mary Baker, a Richmond native and Immanuel missionary, was martyred by Simba rebel forces in the Belgian Congo. Miss Baker was 50 years old and was in her 18th year as a missionary teacher and administrator in the Congo. Mary was part of an international group of missionaries taken hostage by the rebels on November 4th and forced to walk 15 miles to the rebel base in Banalia.

Mary’s co-worker Margaret Haynes wrote of their captivity, “During those days, three times Mary said to me that she had had “the sentence of death in herself” and said she thought she would die in Banalia and even though I would say that my promise that morning was one of deliverance, she would say very gently- “For you, Maggie – but not for me.”

On November 24,, 1964, Stanleyville (Congo) was recaptured by government forces…and the rebels were furious and acting on the orders of their leader to retaliate demanding the lives of the white folks. “The white folks were rounded up quickly and killed right by the ferry and their bodies thrown in the river. It was over in 15 minutes. Mary died approximately 4 p.m. November 25th.”

Below are quotes from some of the letters Mary wrote to Immanuel over her missionary career:

November 1962 – Prior to returning for her fourth and last term – “Perhaps there never was in my heart a keener forward-look to a term of service than I feel in my heart just now. “Urgency” is the compelling force; the present world situation, the possible soon return of the Lord, the internal upheavals with the Congo itself – all these things cry loudly “Now or never! In the task of making Christ known to those who yet stumble on in heathen darkness.”

January 1964 – “Money and influence and advanced opportunities are as magnets pulling at the hearts of the Christian leaders here, and unless a man has his sights firmly fixed on the Cross and unless he is firmly anchored upon the Word of God, these are days that will try him right to his downfall.”

August 1964 – (Mary’s last letter to Pastor Seume) “My food supplies are low….but the Word of God has become so precious these days—like the voice of the tender Shepherd speaking directly now in our need….As I said the other day, with me it was settled long ago, “by life or death” and there it rests…My special Psalm has been 54—read it.”
Mary Baker gave her life, but the work that she loved so much, went on, others picking up her call for “urgency.”

Her mission, Unevangelized Fields Mission, featured the Congolese church in: