Billy Graham Center

Elizabeth Stevenson's Life Sketch, 1920.

I was born in Paisley, Scotland, have had the advantage of having Christian parents. Father was a layman in the Primitive Methodist church & took quite an active part especially in the open air work.

The public schools in Scotland are under supervision of the Ch. of Scot. so the Bible & Westminster Shorter Catechism were among our textbooks all the way through school. Three half hour periods a week were devoted to Bible study & the other two to the Catechism. This surely has been a help to me all through the years that followed.

I can’t remember the time when I didn’t attend Sunday School, both morning & afternoon (except through sickness) & also Christian Endeavour. I can’t tell the exact date or year of my conversion but it was while at a Junior Endeavour meeting & I signed the pledge to that effect.

After leaving school I worked three & one half years at dressmaking & then came with the rest of the family to America in Dec. 1910.

We settled in Chicago & I started to work in the office of the Testimony Pub. Co. & Great Commission Prayer League where I worked for three & one half years before entering the hospital for training. I joined Moody Church Dec. 25th 1910 & soon was busy in several of the organizations & it was then that I began to realize that the Lord wanted me for some special work.

I was invited several times to the mission study circle but didn’t dare to go in case I might hear something that would lead me to the foreign field. Finally I went & the Lord laid a great burden on my heart for those who lived in heathen lands & had never heard the gospel. Still I wasn’t willing to offer myself & made many excuses for not doing so but never had any peace about the matter. One day I heard a young woman tell how she was going to S. America as a nurse & it made a great impression on me.

Mr. Liebenberg of Nyasaland visited our office one day & told about the great need for workers in Africa & told how much they needed several nurses he also said that he hoped some one in the office, if the Lord so lead, would offer themself for Africa. We had a prayer service after & I told the Lord then that if He wanted me in Africa or elsewhere I was willing to go.

I can’t tell you the peace that came into my heart because it had been a great struggle. The way opened up very easily for me to take up training as a nurse. Those three years were three of the best in my life because I realized that I was where the Lord wanted me & I came through training stronger physically than when I entered. Many times I failed the Lord & almost lost sight of His purpose in my life but He never failed me & then some people were faithfully praying for me.

I had the joy of leading (indirectly) one of my school mates to Christ & she is a volunteer for Africa now & I believe she has already applied to the A.I.M. I believe the Lord led me to the Chicago Union Hospital just for that. The Lord surely has led me in everything when I was willing to let Him & I can look back & see Him through it all.

As soon as I had paid my debts contracted during the training days I entered Moody Bible Institute, taking the special missionary course. During last winter when there was so much sickness I had to leave & take up private duty again. Altogether I have had one whole term & two half terms of work at M.B.I.

I don’t really know how long the Lord wants me to study or if I should take the full course but I will leave that to His leading. I forgot to say that I have taught a sunday school class about one year at Moody Sunday School & six months at a mission Sunday School also have done some open air work. Due to my work as a nurse I wan unable to take up any special work for about five years & sometimes it was impossible even to get to church once a week but then the Lord was with me & I could testify for Him.

Why the Lord wants me in Africa I can’t tell because I feel so unworthy but the I know He has called me & that if I am willing to be used, He can use even me. I don’t exactly know what book has influenced me most but “The Moslem World” left a great impression at the time also “The Lure of Africa” & many others in fact all missionary books are interesting to me but nothing so much as one on Africa. Africa & its great needs are ever before me & I hope & pray daily that the Lord will open the way for me to go if it is His Will.

Sincerely yours in Christ
Elizabeth Stevenson

[From Collection 81, Box 24, Folder 20.]

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Wheaton College 2007