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7 Modern Day Missionaries That Changed the World

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Every generation has those undeniable faith-giants that run hard after God, leaving a legacy of Kingdom impact upon the earth. See how these 7 modern day missionaries did just that.


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These history makers changed the world around them with their “yes” to God’s calling on their lives. Read stories of these inspirational missionaries and be encouraged!

William Carey

British born William Carey is often referred to as the “father of modern Missions.” Born in 1761 this Baptist minister was a missionary, a translator, a social reformer and a cultural anthropologist. He began his work in India founding schools for impoverished children. His work and writing is responsible for the founding of the Baptist Missionary Society, whose reach covers forty countries.

7 Modern Day Missionaries That Changed the World

Photo: Christianity Today

Over his years on the mission field, Carey translated the Bible into dozens of Indian dialects and founded a college to equip local ministers. He truly lived up to his own quote, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.

Mary Slessor

Mary Slessor lived a radical life as a missionary to Nigeria. Known for her powerful personality and sense of humor, Slessor fearlessly worked in regions where many missionaries before her had been martyred. Yet she remained unswayed by the imminent danger saying, “Why should I fear? I am on a Royal Mission. I am in the service of the King of Kings.

7 Modern Day Missionaries That Changed the World

Photo: Dundee City Council; Dundee’s Art Galleries and Museums

In the regions she worked, twins were seen as a bad omen and abandoned by their villages to die in the jungle. Not on Slessor’s watch. She began scooping up the abandoned twins and taking them in. Over her years of service, she saved hundreds of children this way.

John and Betty Stam

John and Betty Stam burned for the gospel. And ultimately gave their lives for it. Upon marrying they moved to a village in China to work as missionaries during the Chinese Civil War. Only having just begun their lives on the mission field, the couple and their three-month-old daughter, Helen, were captured by communist soldiers. They were then marched through the streets to be publicly executed. While walking to their death, a Chinese shopkeep pleaded with their captors to release them. His efforts led the soldiers to search his home, where they found a Bible and proof he too was a Christian. That day, he, along with the Stam’s, was beheaded.

7 Modern Day Missionaries That Changed the World

After their deaths, a letter written by John was found hidden in the clothes of their baby daughter Helen. John writes of his willingness to sacrifice his life for his faith, “My wife, baby and myself are today in the hands of communist bandits. Whether we will be released or not no one knows. May God be magnified in our bodies, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:20”

George Muller

George Muller is best known for caring for thousands of orphans over the course of his life. What would become his mission began with he and his wife opening their home to a staggering 30 orphans. From there Muller’s impact grew as he opened home after home for children in his native Britain. Renowned for never once seeking donations, Muller relied on God to provide everything. And God most certainly did. Muller is quoted as saying “The Lord not only gives as much as is absolutely necessary for his work, but he gives abundantly.”

7 Modern Day Missionaries That Changed the World

One example of this miraculous provision was a day at one of his orphanage’s where the food had run out. In the morning, the children came and sat at the table, and just as they finished prayer, there came a knock on the door with food for that very breakfast. At the age of 70, Mueller began traveling as a missionary, which he continued to do for another 17 years. George Muller’s life is a testimony of miraculous provision and miracles fueled by a powerful lifestyle of prayer.

Jim and Elisabeth Elliot

The powerful story of the Elliot’s begins with Jim’s journey to reach the Waodani tribe in Ecuador. Upon landing, Jim and four others accompanying him were attacked and martyred. Elisabeth was left a widow at 29 with an infant daughter. In a miraculous display of redemption, Elisabeth returned to preach the gospel to the Waodani and lived there for several years after Jim’s death.

7 Modern Day Missionaries That Changed the World

Though Jim Elliot died while still in his twenties, his life and words lived on through Elisabeth, who became a celebrated author and speaker. Her book Through the Gates of Splendor told the story of Jim’s surrender to the call of Christ. Read by thousands, the book made famous Jim’s quote: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.